Archive for January, 2013

22
Jan
13

I have had the same complaint for years. Demographers tell us that the new generation of students will think in a completely different way and come prepared with a host of new technological skill-sets. So far, this has not come to pass. Where are my digital natives?

Used Books in Class

To all those who claim that all students today are digital “natives,” I beg to disagree.

Digital natives are defined as those people who have grown-up using technology daily beginning in the 1960s, but the term is more commonly used to describe those born in the 21st Century. According to the PBS Frontline Website, 

  • Digital Natives aged 12 to 24 spend 4.5 hours a day viewing screen media (TV, Internet, Internet video, mobile video), excluding games;
  • 82 percent of seventh- to twelfth-graders “media multitask” while doing homework, e.g. IM, TV, Web surfing, etc.

The NYTimes 2010 article, “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online” discusses the use of digital devices stating, “Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices.” Certainly, use by our students has increased since then.

Despite  these statistics, I am convinced that many students are not digital “natives…

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10
Jan
13

Making the Most of Your Powerpoints Online

Every time I use a PowerPoint presentation in class, students ask, “Are you going to post this online?” Usually, the online version misses much of the input and energy of the lecture. Here are some tips from Faculty Focus for making online PowerPoint presentations engaging and useful to students.

If you use PowerPoint lectures in your face-to-face classes, you can use those same lectures as jumping-off points for creating narrated animations for your online students to watch.

–Adapting PowerPoint Lectures for Online Delivery: Best Practices 

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08
Jan
13

The Adjunct Situation Gets Attention

willworkforfood243x301Some days it feels like you’re just screaming into a gale-force wind, but my fellows, we are being heard. This year at the MLA convention the plight of contingent faculty was a major topic. MLA President Michael Bérubé spoke in our behalf, and brought together a panel of experts on adjunct issues.  Read more about it Josh Boldt’s blog Copy–Paste.com here: MLA Convention 2012 and The Year of the Adjunct.

William Pannapacker asks the question we are always asking ourselves: What if the Adjuncts Shrugged?  As the majority of faculty, we hold much more power than we exert.  More and more, adjuncts are banding together and in some places forming unions. What might change if we all suddenly walked out one day?

And finally, even the IRS is getting into the game.  I know. Are we sure we want them looking at anything? Maybe we do.  Schools notoriously calculate adjunct hours without regard for the actual amount of work that goes into doing the job. With the new health care laws going into effect, will there be changes to how much colleges will allow adjuncts to work? Read about the issue here: IRS Starts to Address Issues on Adjunct Faculty Hours.

N.B. Don’t forget to check out again, if you have not already, The Adjunct Project, an incredible resource for information about the working conditions of contingent faculty.

 

05
Jan
13

Working Smarter, Not Harder

grading papersAs the semester begins, now is a good time to evaluate our work strategies and begin new ones. Many of us feel overworked during the year. While some perhaps cannot be helped, often our ways of managing our work are to blame . Matt Steel at Metagramme believes that our propensity to take on too much is rooted in fear.

One of the glaring issues I faced was a total lack of boundaries. No phone call was too late to answer, no email too early. My lack of boundaries came from fear. Fear of what would happen if I said no more often. Fear of missing deadlines or disappointing customers. I was also afraid of allowing quiet reflection and creative diversions into the work day. I was punching the clock like any hourly employee. The story I told myself was that slowness and emptiness were the same thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve found recently that when the time is used well, slowness can actually be one of the most profound sources of abundance.

In his article “The Abundance of Slowness,” Steel gives 8 steps to a more balanced life and career.