David Miller's Blog

An Experiment in Teaching with Social Media

March 28, 2013 - 8:41am

What role might social media play in our teaching? Not “in the classroom”—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other media reach out past the walls of the institution and into the networked world, inviting new ways to create and share knowledge. I know many teachers who ban electronic devices from their classrooms (or try to). Why not invite them in and take full advantage of their affordances?

Othello Trial Blog (part 2)

March 28, 2013 - 1:24pm

The Othello trial was an assignment created for my regular Shakespeare survey course. Three trials, over the years, with mixed results and different outcomes: some students flourished, some struggled—but even the strugglers and stragglers, I believed, were learning from their setbacks. It did always seem to me, though, that the mock trial put a strain on students’ time and energy; it threatened to overwhelm them and the course.

From Active to Integrative to “BTC” Learning

April 01, 2013 - 9:12am

More buzzwords, but what do they mean? Since I don’t specialize in research on pedagogy, these are field notes. Active Learning We’ve heard about this one for a while. To me the idea is simple and intuitive, but its implications, as they dawned on me, changed the way I design courses. It comes down to this: students learn and retain more from what they do than from what the instructor does. The model of the professor as both an authority and a virtuoso doesn’t leave a lot of room for students to take the initiative. I have to confess it was hard for me to yield the floor. To do so, I first had to admit that I love the limelight and don’t like to share it. The principles of active learning re-center the classroom, making it less a theater for me to dramatize intellectual work, more a lab for students to experiment.