Beyond the Blog

The Irish Food Bloggers came to the Milk Market Saturday, and as part of the day, I led a short discussion about building communities online.

There is at least one thing in common between lecturing and blogging In both forms, someone at the physical or virtual front of the room does most of the ‘talking’, and hopes that occasionally someone out there will ask a question or offer a comment which indicates that someone is listening or reading. Continue reading “Beyond the Blog”

Students free to pan profs online…

is coming up all my tweeterstream this morning after a  Canadian court threw out charges of non-academic misconduct against 2 Calgary students for criticizing their lecturer on Facebook. I’ve always felt students should be able to speak out about academics, but I don’t know if this particular case is very helpful – all they said was that her classes were ‘hell’ without specifying why. Continue reading “Students free to pan profs online…”

Back on Bitnet..

I found a really old post on bit.listerv.history from 1992 which shows I’ve been saying the same stuff for almost 20 years (and still can’t type properly)

“I agree that many people end up in humanities undergrad courses due to a lack of direction, or failure to get into other faculties; and I accept there are very few jos for history graduates as historians. I can’t accept the “no practical use” point though. Continue reading “Back on Bitnet..”


Yes, the iPad is here and it is pretty and it is a game changing device but only in some ways. I was impressed with the Course Notes app which goes a long way to fixing some of the common problems of disorganisation that bedevil students, but not all – apps like that on the iPad won’t be a magic bullet to make us all smarter – and they may just confirm some folks in their dumbness. Continue reading “iBut”

Digital History Class

As this term moves on, my Digital History students are (mostly) making progress on their blogs. For the course, an MA option, I decided that the assessment would be based on 10-12 blog postings showing the use of digital tools for history, and discussing readings in the area.  We did all of the practical sessions last term, and I let them run wild applying those skills this term. I haven’t graded anything yet, but I am keeping an eye on things, and these are some of the highlights so far Continue reading “Digital History Class”

Can I make Twitter a requirement for my students?

Harold Jarche is one of the most popular bloggers dealing with social networking, and for good reason – he is insightful. His blog post from yesterday gathers ideas which prompt me to wonder why I haven’t already made twitter a requirement in my courses, and how I can overcome the obstacles to using it in teaching. Continue reading “Can I make Twitter a requirement for my students?”

Collateral learning

An interesting question is posed over at Do You SoTL – how do you structure courses to encourage atudents to take responsibilty for their own learning? I think there is no quick fix, and given the pavlovian response of many students to grades, I think one of our tutorial programmes this term (in HI2001) goes some way towards answering the question. Continue reading “Collateral learning”

Expanding SOTL problem

Action research in any form has a funny – or not funny – way of running away on you. I’ve been doing a bit of SOTL work on the wargame design task in my Hi2007 class, and next term I thought I would have a research plan to  finish of my Masters in Teaching & Learning using that class. However, next term the Hi2001 tutors and I plan to roll out a new set of tutorials for Hi2001, a class which includes all the Hi2007 students, and which will change how they look on group work. I think I have a solution – read on while I think it aloud Continue reading “Expanding SOTL problem”


I’m looking for some (moderately) radical students to help subvert the top-down model that dominates the Irish university sector. I do a quite a bit of research in the Scholarship of  Teaching and Learning, and I have a couple of things going on which I am keen to open up a bit and get some active inputs. I’m actually looking out for students who might be interested in collaborating on two projects, from offering comments all the way to co-authoring papers. One is on how history teaching in universities differs from culture to culture; the other is my ongoing work on group and team based learning using games in my military history option, HI2007.

Continue reading “Subversion”

Blogging as a Personal Learning Environment

I’m making my Digital History students (Hi6018) create and use a blog as the anchor for their assessment portfolio in the the course, and I was hunting around for other courses using blogs, but cannot find as many as I used to be able to see.  Bill Turkel’s class at UWO are doing it, and are about three weeks ahead of mine, but many others have disappeared or closed off. Continue reading “Blogging as a Personal Learning Environment”