Tag: teaching

  • How can we ensure consistency in digital education while leaving room for experimentation?

    There was a conversation with senior leadership at my departmental away day which made me think back to this interesting conversation myself and JJ Sylvia had earlier on this year. I heard a clear explanation of the weight which my university places on consistency in the student experience, driven in part by an entirely understandable […]

  • The light we steal when we learn

    The light we steal when we learn

    This extract from Danielle Allen’s superb Why Plato Wrote brought to life an issue which I’ve found myself returning to endlessly over the years. On pg 26 she talks about the Socratic disdain for writing and the capacity for teaching seen to inhere within them. When Socrates says that a written text can be no […]

  • Automation and the reproduction of knowledge

    I understand the allure which MOOCs can have for those inspired by the idea. Why relegate people to second tier tuition at regional universities when the best teachers in the world could teach everyone remotely at little cost? There are many problems with this vision but one that’s little remarked upon is the question of […]

  • The end of the opaque classroom

    The end of the opaque classroom

    From The Idea of the Digital University by Frank Bryce McCluskey and Melanie Lynn Winter pg 6-7: What makes the online course so different? When the semester is finished, there is a record of every interaction, every question and every event that occurred in the digital course. There was no such record with the traditional […]

  • Academics like the idea of Twitter in the classroom but what do students think?

    My notes on Boath, E., Vigurs, K., & Frangos, J. (2018). Twittering Away-Is twitter an appropriate adjunctive tool to enhance learning and engagement in Higher Education?. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 3(2). Twitter has often be framed as a potential tool for teaching and learning. It can be used for virtual peer support groups, developing […]

  • Critical Pedagogy HE Teaching Practice (CPHETP) Lab

    Organised by Dyi Huijg at London South Bank University: The Critical Pedagogy HE Teaching Practice (CPHETP) Lab is intended for all of those who teach in Higher Education (from professors to graduate teaching assistants) and who seek to practically develop their HE teaching practice and, grounded in critical pedagogy principles, expand their teaching tools (e.g for […]

  • On Teaching Theory

    This short exchange with Michael Burawoy offers some thought-provoking reflections on teaching social theory. He identifies the major traditions of teaching theory within American sociology, before outlining his own ethnographic approach: The Survey: surveying extracts from a comprehensive range of social theorists, each one treated as an instance of a broader category. Essentially disconnected and decontextualised. Teaching theory in an […]

  • want to lose all faith in the future of higher education?

    Then read through the comments that have accumulated on this morning’s Anonymous Academic post on the Guardian. Or don’t actually. Perhaps I just want others to share in my misery after having read through the whole set. Possibly the most depressing thing I’ve read all year. As I made my way to my office at […]

  • the perverse statism of those seeking to create a market in higher education

    An excellent, though rather depressing, analysis of the TEF on Wonk HE: There is a remarkable contradiction in all of this. The government is proposing a substantial apparatus of scrutiny, surveillance, intervention and interpolation, which will occupy untold hours of academic staff time. It involves delegating new powers to the minister and to BIS and […]

  • “work hard to find something that fascinates you”: richard feynman’s advice to students

    I’ve found some lovely snippets from this book of Richard Feynman’s letters after only a few pages: “Work hard to find something that fascinates you” “study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible” “I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which […]

  • the creepy treehouse problem

    In their enthusiasm for the pedagogical uses to which social media can be put, academics sometimes don’t stop to question whether students actually want to interact with them on social media. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the creepy treehouse problem’: requiring students to interact with you on what they perceive as a private platform, or […]

  • A new resource for teaching social theory

    Along with Cheryl Brumley, I’ve been producing ‘virtual dayschools’ for the Centre for Social Ontology. They’re intended to provide accessible introductions to difficult topics by mixing up text, image and video. They’re intended as a preliminary to engaging with what is often difficult literature rather than as a replacement for it. The first draft of […]

  • How obsessive auditing produces “a profession which is incompatible with a normal life”

    80% of new teachers in 2005 were still teaching after their first year. In 2015 that has shrunk to just 62%, coupled with record numbers leaving mid career. In the intervening period, we’ve seen successive governments seek to transform schooling in a way that has left the “profession monitored to within an inch of its […]

  • Heating up the floor to see who can keep hopping the longest

    This expression by Will Davies has stuck with me since I read it a few months ago. Teaching is a disturbing example of the process Will is alluding to: ratcheting up demands on staff to the point where many are unwilling to continue. In fact increasing numbers seem unable to continue: The BBC has also […]

  • Using social media to improve the student experience: creating a departmental back channel for undergraduates

    A few years ago when I was running the Twitter feed for the Sociology department at Warwick, I noticed how readily first year undergraduates tweeted practical questions to the account during their first few weeks of the first term. Students tweeted questions intermittently throughout the year but it was particularly marked at the start of […]

  • How to get started on a sociology essay

    Are you clear about what the question is asking? If you’re uncertain about what the terms mean or how they fit together then it’ll be difficult to know how to start writing. Try and clarify issues like these before you start planning the essay. Try getting everything you think about the topic down on paper before […]

  • BSA Teaching Group Conference on June 15th

    BSA TEACHING GROUP CONFERENCE Saturday 15th June 2013 Nottingham Trent University Sponsored by the Higher Education Academy  The BSA’s Teaching Group is pleased to announce a regional conference hosted by the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University. This event is aimed specifically at sociology teachers and will bring together a variety of guest speakers in […]

  • “What are the challenges involved in using social media in teaching?”

    The panel (below) responds at this Digital Change GPP event earlier in the year. Charlotte Mathieson – English and Comparative Literary Studies. Robert O’Toole – Institute of Education. Eleonora Belfiore – Centre for Cultural Policy Studies.