All Posts by @smithpres

Prepping for Paris

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Leaving for France in two weeks exactly. You think after having taught this course three times already, it would all be routine by now. And mostly, it is. Still, lots and lots to get done. Teaching a course abroad is an interesting experience. Some of it is just like teaching a regular class: syllabus prep, […]
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Fun & Games

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I’ve been on the gamification train for a long time. Still, I haven’t run out of things to learn, so when Mary Kayler announced a gamification workshop this spring, I was eager to sign up. Creating successful gamification classes/assignments is very time intensive, and I’ve had an idea brewing in my head a long time: […]
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Cold Turkey?

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Looking at the news these days, I find my blood pressure spiking as my anxiety goes through the roof. It seems to be a widespread problem, but that’s little consolation. I’ve got hypertension and anxiety to begin with, and there’s only so much medication can accomplish. Like many academics, I’ve had an active presence on […]
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Learning sans fear

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At the invitation of Steve Greenlaw (hi, Steve!) I’ve enrolled in the #OpenLearning17 cMOOC. On the one hand: I’ve done plenty of work with OER in the past. I’ve posted about it. I’ve even presented about it. That doesn’t mean I’m doing as much as I could, and it doesn’t mean I’ve learned all that can […]
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Giving the LMS a chance

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I haven’t been shy over the years in criticizing the LMS. Students have consistently told me to stick with my website instead. Downside: they can’t see their grade up-to-the-minute. Upside: it’s organized to make it simple and easy to use. Plus all the stuff I’ve mentioned before (openness, availability outside semesters, etc.) Still, my critique […]
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LEGO Critique Deux: CITY Fun in the Park Set (This time it’s PERSONAL!)

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Last year, in an effort to “walk the walk”, I reviewed the LEGO Robie House. I find myself teaching the LEGO FSEM again this fall, and figured: well, let’s walk again. This time, I picked a set I was super excited about, the CITY Fun in the Park set. It’s a pretty small set, considering […]
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After Evernote

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The news about Evernote had been bad for a while, but when they raised their prices this summer, that was it for me. I don’t mind paying for services, but $70 a year is too steep. Plus, I’ve always had a problem with having my data scattered among lots of different platforms. Ideally, I’d like […]
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Explaining professoring to foreign parents 

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Recently my dad came to visit, and he asked me questions about my job that made it clear he doesn’t really know what profs do. This isn’t exactly a surprise: my dad is a Frenchman who never finished high school (or more exactly, he never passed the baccalauréat). Really, why would he be familiar with […]
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Mono…! D’oh! Or, why we should invest in infrastructure maintenance

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I haven’t blogged in forever. Not to excuse my lack of output but I do have a new baby and classes and a six year old and I am department chair. So I’ve had other stuff on my mind. Still, I’ve missed blogging. It’s a good way to stay abreast of current events and express […]
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LEGO FSEM redux

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Last year I developed and taught a new LEGO-themed freshman seminar. Turns out I’ll be teaching it again this coming fall, so I have added motivation to take a critical look at successes and failures of my new course. While I don’t want to dwell on failures, fact is I made a big gamble in […]
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