Monthly Archives: December 2014

Shakespeare’s Restless World

I’m compiling audio podcasts for my intro-Shakespeare course, whose home page at the moment is full of Latin placeholder text. Here’s one in particular that’s at the top of any list:

There’ll be assignments that incorporate material from these podcasts, and other ways to integrate them with our readings.

Annual Report

As a follow-up to my earlier post on visitor surveillance, Jetpack has produced my 2014 Annual Report on this blog’s posting and reading statistics. Read it for yourself, if you like.
It’s interesting reading about how most readers find these posts (Twitter), which were most popular (my first Teaching + Learning newsletter), and how many of my 55 posts this year were published on Mondays.

You’ve got mail: 172 messages, 48 unread

This screen is from the Pine e-mail client, a simple text-based email interface that I used in the mid-1990s, also known as the Internet’s ye olden days.

Travel with me now to an era of scarcity, when email was special. When I went to a special computer lab (no laptop) to use special text-language (no mouse) to log into a screen like this, where I’d linger over my two messages from that week, and tap out a reply with two fingers.

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Earning your Shakespeare badge

Second post in a series on the design & delivery of my intro-Shakespeare course next term. 

When you complete a degree, you earn a diploma. When you complete a course, you earn a grade on your transcript. Should this system of credentials translate to a more granular level, to particular goals within a course?

Imagine you meet a goal in my intro-to-Shakespeare course, say by publishing a couple of blog posts on the historical context or source-texts of Twelfth Night. Call it the “Context” badge. You’ve shown that you can read texts in relation to other texts – a skill that you can then transport to your next class, whether it be in History or English or Sociology or another discipline altogether.

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Begin with the End in Mind

The first in a series of posts on designing and delivering an introduction-to-Shakespeare course for 160 undergraduates, starting in January 2015. 

Course design is a rare pleasure and prerogative: the chance to set learning outcomes, align them with an assessment blueprint, and plan for various pathways to engage students. Know what I’m saying?

Okay, maybe that makes it sound pretty abstruse. That’s because I’ve utterly changed my course-design habits since becoming an Associate Dean. I take — even lead — workshops on how to align your goals with your grades, so I’ve reversed my process. Instead of browsing my shelves for texts I’d like to teach, I start by writing learning outcomes (which means this, or this). Then I work backwards to decide which texts will meet those outcomes.

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Teaching + Learning News 2.04

 End-of-Term Edition, 2014-12-12
Semi-regular reports on higher-education teaching and learning 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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Visitor surveillance, 365 days a year

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I know things about my site’s readers. Okay, let’s drop the passive voice: I know things about you, dear readers.

Like what? The Jetpack plugin — which I activated a year ago on this WordPress blog — tells me that I’ve had 9,923 page-visits in 12 months, and about 29 per day since the beginning of 2014. The numbers fluctuate wildly, peaking when I send out irregular Teaching + Learning newsletters to the Faculty of Arts list here at the University of Calgary.

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