The Book is maker of the Reader

“The Child is father of the Man,” William Wordsworth once wrote, counter-intuitively. What you experience in youth shapes your grown-up sensibility. My first post in this series on bookshelves was in that vein.

In the same way, the Book is maker of the Reader. Books change our minds, shift our perceptions, enlarge our imaginations. They enable readers to experience unfamiliar things, to see the world as if they had different circumstances. They enable us to empathize with other people more readily. Martha Nussbaum has said as much about the humanities in general. Continue reading

Digital Distractions in the Classroom

On Wednesday 29 October, from 11-12 p.m. in SS1339, the Faculty of Arts Teaching + Learning Committee will host a workshop on Digital Distractions in the Classroom, presented by Julie Sedivy from LLC (Linguistics, Languages and Cultures), who was recently the focus of a story in Swerve magazine on this subject. She’s published a book on the psychology of advertisements and she blogs for Psychology Today. Continue reading

Of Arranging Books there is no End

books[First in a series of posts about books, shelves, and -- wait for it -- bookshelves. Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking my Library” is a model of the form, and Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader is more recent.]

I got a stack of books for my ninth birthday. They were the types of books that kids read in the 1980s: Gordon Korman’s Macdonald Hall series; Roald Dahl’s Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar; Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw. Three decades later, I remember that stack being about four feet high, but it was probably shorter. I took them to my room and arranged them, three separate times, on shelves: first by author, then by size, then by the order I would read them. I experimented with different shelving regimens everywhere in my room: alphabetically by author; by genre (science books here, Archie digests there); by size; and by series.

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Using Swivl for Lecture Capture

[This is the first in a planned series of posts about planning + teaching my Intro-to-Shakespeare course next term, English 205 here at the University of Calgary.]

51mA7ucmyiLA few weeks ago, I mused on Twitter about looking for a lecture-capture system — that is, a way to film my classes and post them online for students to review, or even (let’s be honest) to watch instead of coming to an 8 a.m. class.

Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Paul Schacht, I’ve settled on Swivl, a little robotic stand that swivels and turns to follow you, recording audio and video to your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. You can see the official promo-video on their web site, which won me over more than the time-lapse capabilities you can see here and here. (Maybe next time?) My colleague in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, D’Arcy Norman, tested it out and posted his own video.

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Teaching + Learning News 2.02

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 13.38.342014-09-25
Semi-regular reports on higher-education teaching and learning, as seen from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Arts. By Michael Ullyot, Associate Dean (Teaching + Learning): saving your inbox from overload since 2014. Follow me on Twitter, if you do that sort of thing.
Feedback and submissions are always welcome. Leave a comment below, or drop me a line.

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Call for ASHA Instructors

tumblr_lbulx5UCOy1qzb5wzo1_500Call for Instructors, 2015-2016 & 2016-2017, Arts & Science Honours Academy (AHSA)

The Arts & Science Honours Academy (ASHA) is an interdisciplinary program for high-achieving undergraduates (30 per year) in both the Faculties of Arts and Science. In 1959, C.P. Snow lamented that too few intellectuals could describe both the plot of a Shakespeare play and the second law of thermodynamics; ASHA aims to produce more of them.

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New Slate of D2L Workshops for Arts Faculty

Eight new Arts-faculty-only workshops on D2L are now available, this week and next. [UPDATE on 2014-09-11: Workshops are now open to Teaching Assistants, too.] The first is rather short notice, but if you’re new to the system this week then some help can’t come too soon. All are in MB 203B (MacKimmie Block).

Click on a date to register. Each workshop has 20 spaces, so some may already be full. Continue reading