I taught 17th+18th Century Philosophy as a synchronous on-line course this semester. It’s a course I used to teach regularly but haven’t taught for about 8 years. Here are some reflections.Continue reading “Looking back at the semester, 17th+18th c. philosophy”
Tips for writing a philosophy paper
Over on Twitter, Helen de Cruz asked: “Can anyone give me examples of philosophers (preferably recently) who have argued that philosophy’s all about argument–that stuff like emotions, moods, the beauty of writing, doesn’t matter to philosophical work and might even be distracting?”
I suggested that this comes out more in teaching than in written philosophy. It’s almost— but not quite— something I say in the page of writing advice that I hand out along with the first paper assignment in courses that I teach.1Continue reading “Tips for writing a philosophy paper”
Winding down the on-line class, art
My Philosophy of Art class this term was synchronous, meaning that students and I typically logged onto a real-time Zoom meeting for class. I had students fill out a survey about their experience of the course. One question was about how the on-line experience compared to a face-to-face class, and this was the result—
From the standpoint of learning and engagement, having this course on-line was ____ having it in person.
|…better than… 23%||…about the same as… 41%||…worse than… 36%|
I would have said about the same, but that’s not quite right. There were definite differences, but some were for the better. On balance, it was a good course. Although I was adapting to the format as I went along, I’m not sure it would have been a better course face-to-face in a classroom.Continue reading “Winding down the on-line class, art”
How the on-line classes are going
I am teaching fully on-line this term, and it’s going OK.Continue reading “How the on-line classes are going”
Justice for goblins
Over at Aesthetics for Birds, Rebecca Scott posts about using D&D for teaching ethics. The activity sounds awesome. What struck me as relevant to my teaching, though, was something Scott writes about course design.
Continue reading “Justice for goblins”
Typically when instructors plan courses, they are taught to use what’s called “backwards design.” You start with the learning outcomes (what you want students to know or be able to do by the end of the class) and then work backwards to design the activities and pick the readings that are most likely to help students achieve those outcomes. And while backwards design is an important element of good course design, if it becomes too all-encompassing as a pedagogical frame, it can close off generative possibilities in the classroom. Backwards design puts the instructor in the position of determining from the outset what the goals of the class are as well as how students will get there.
Teaching round-up, part two
In the first post reflecting on this wild semester, I discussed a class that went from face-to-face meetings to Zoom meetings. I turned my other class upside down completely.
Understanding Science, as it happens, is the only thing I’d ever taught on-line before. When I designed the course for Summer 2015, I faced up to some basic realities of the medium: Asynchronous interactions are best.Continue reading “Teaching round-up, part two”
Against compelling video in on-line class meetings
In the previous post, I lamented that most of the students didn’t use video in my seminar this semester. It came at a cost of making conversation and genuine interaction harder— and also of souring my own experience of the class meetings.
Commenters here and on Facebook consider the possibility of requiring or at least strongly encouraging students to turn on video.1 I think that adopting that kind of policy would be a mistake, at least for me. Here are some reasons why.Continue reading “Against compelling video in on-line class meetings”
Teaching round-up, part one
I got grades for Spring 2020 turned in today. The last face-to-face class meeting was March 10, over two months ago. I want to post a bit about how that went, just to think through it myself.
My pragmatism seminar required the least change. We had met every week in the department seminar room. That became a weekly Zoom meeting.Continue reading “Teaching round-up, part one”
I’ve formulated and not written several blog posts about life in the time of Covid-19.
Last week was Spring Break, which meant that events didn’t quite register the way they would have done any other week. Being at home and not seeing students would have happened anyway. Now classes have resumed, such as they are.Continue reading “Remote feelings”
Last time I taught a seminar on pragmatism, I began to doubt that it made sense to see “pragmatism” as a movement and blogged about the fundamental differences between Peirce’s and James’ positions. I’m teaching pragmatism again, and the differences are even more salient this time.
What follows is a somewhat rambling discussion of differences between Peirce and James on method, on truth, and in their general outlook.Continue reading “Irreconcilable differences”