Just trying to be a viable node in the network of life

Disposable assignments and intellectual StairMasters

09.08.14 Posted in ALTLab, Assessment by

David Wiley calls them “disposable assignments.” These are assignments that students complain about doing and faculty complain about grading. They’re assignments that add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away. Not only do these […]


Introducing #VCUALTLab

09.01.14 Posted in ALTLab, VCU by

Last week, the Provost at VCU formally announced something we’ve been planning for a few months. The announcement that went out to the VCU community by email was as follows: Dear Colleagues, Since 2000, VCU’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has been devoted to helping VCU maintain and grow its commitment to high-quality, learner-centered education. […]


Twitter strategy

08.24.14 Posted in ALTLab, Social Media, VCU by

For lots of reasons, it has been an interesting start to the new academic year. One particularly interesting development has been the number of high-level administrators at VCU who have joined Twitter in the last week or two.  Academic deans, vice provosts, the provost, and the president of the university. Yes, the president of the […]


a portfolio-ish thing

08.01.14 Posted in Digital engagemetn, portfolio, Technology, VCU by

“…>a portfolio-ish thing…” That’s language used by my colleague, Tom Woodward, in a great post (not page) on The Tao of Posts. I highly recommend reading it… IF YOU’RE A GEEK! No, actually, it’s an important post; Tom has shown me the light with respect to post-driven development in WordPress. Whereas Tom wrote more about […]


A challenge to the #thoughtvectors and #ds106 communities

07.14.14 Posted in thoughtvectors, VCU by

I have been waiting to reveal the video below for a while. I don’t remember exactly how we got here, but I know it’s the result of working with wonderfully zany and creative people. Shortly after we knew we would be teaching an open online course about research writing, which naturally includes helping students understand logic and […]


Research and writing in the digital age: A #thoughtvectors Hangout and Twitter backchannel

07.09.14 Posted in MOOC, Online Learning, thoughtvectors by

Today, as part of the #thoughtvectors course, we held a Google+ Hangout with a couple of our awesome VCU librarians. We discussed some key concepts around the inquiry project, where students will be demonstrating their understanding of research and writing in the digital age. I post this mostly for students and other participants, but I […]


On why I didn’t invite my students to a #BlogParty

07.02.14 Posted in Social Media, thoughtvectors by

Each of the 6 instructors in our UNIV200 digital engagement pilot (aka Inquiry and the Craft of Argument, aka Living the Dreams: Digital Investigations and Unfettered Minds, aka #thoughtvectors…) is leading students through the learning experience a little bit differently. There are some core elements of the design of the course that are constant across […]


Digital Investigations (and inquiry projects): The Gold Standard(s)?

06.17.14 Posted in MOOC, thoughtvectors, VCU by

For all stduents in UNIV200 at VCU, the culminating experience is an inquiry project. Given that the course is a “research writing” course, you can surmise that an inquiry project is, essentially, a project that involves research and writing. Typically, and not surprisingly, that means students write a research paper. As I understand it, there […]


“As we may think”: Vannevar Bush meet Stephen Wolfram

06.12.14 Posted in Technology, thoughtvectors by

In As We May Think, from 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote: Logic can become enormously difficult, and it would undoubtedly be well to produce more assurance in its use. The machines for higher analysis have usually been equation solvers. Ideas are beginning to appear for equation transformers, which will rearrange the relationship expressed by an equation […]


What I feel like when I think

06.09.14 Posted in thoughtvectors by

When I think, I feel… like this.   And like this…   And I feel worried about being this