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Audio and Video Content Made Easy with Descript

As widely used communications media, videos and podcasts should be at the heart of any online class. The problem is that it is nearly impossible to make mistake-free videos and podcasts—at least if you speak off the cuff, as people who make a lot of

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Student Choice: Not Always a Good Thing

I once worked with an institution that decreed that its online courses must be set up so that students have a choice of the order in which they take the modules in the course. All modules were required, but they had to be constructed so

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Trigger Warnings Are about Trust

Virtually all general psychology textbooks recount the story of Phineas Gage, one of the most famous case studies in neuroscience. Gage was a railroad construction foreman. On September 13, 1848, he and his crew were clearing boulders along a route, a process that involved

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Make Room for Teaching Your Disciplinary Process

I recently wrote about the need for faculty to up their game on evidence-based teaching practices. Students are coming to us with a wider range of experience and prior knowledge because of COVID disruptions to learning. Our increased use of evidence-based practices is essential to

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If Content Is King, Maybe It’s Time for a Little Regicide?

It happens almost every time: I’ll be running a workshop on assignment design, or on curricular reform, or on day-to-day instruction. Someone will raise their hand and say they teach chemistry or sociology or art history. They’ll look bashful, or angry, or curmudgeonly. “I can’t

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The Continued Tyranny of Content

“Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams wrote over 250 years ago. He was right in more ways than one—for our field of history and probably for yours too.

Despite all the manufactured uproar over the teaching of “divisive concepts” like critical race theory (Waxman 2021), history

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Shaping a Course: Three Considerations

Course planning for the coming academic year is either underway or about to start. It offers a chance to look at how learning experiences—exams, assignments, and activities—are sequenced in a course and what they add up to collectively. Assembling learning experiences so that they effectively

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Teaching Students, Not Subjects

Too often, faculty make content coverage the focus of lesson planning. They plan their courses around the topics they need to cover, which usually leads to them motoring through information that their students are supposed to write down and retain. When students do not retain

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