Ah, the life of a superprofessor. Since I started teaching a massive open online course, I’ve been called “Internet royalty” by theFinancial Times and been told I had great skin on the public-radio show Marketplace. This must be what the edX president Anant Agarwal meant when, responding to concerns that MOOCs were overhyped, he asked, “What better to hype than education? For the first time, you’re going to make the teacher a rock star” (Information Week).
In all those years I was pursuing a Ph.D. in religious studies, the question of what my profession really stood for rarely came up in conversation with fellow academics, save for occasional moments when the position of the humanities in higher education came under criticism in public discourse. When such moments passed, it was again simply assumed that anyone entering a doctoral program in the humanities knowingly signed on to a traditional career of specialized research and teaching.
In my work with the President’s Leadership Academy, I have had to read a number of leadership books. The most recent book is The No Asshole Rule by Robert I. Sutton a PhD in Organizational Psychology and a professor at Stanford. One of the first anecdotes in the book involves a discussion between academics in which they express their gratitude (and surprise) that their academic unit is, remarkable, ass-hole free. This is actually a common theme among the leadership books we have been asked to read: that academics are hard to work with, and often are what the book would consider, ass-holes.
I’ve been an adjunct for 14 years—the first six while finishing my (unfunded) Ph.D., and the past eight as an active teacher-scholar and job seeker. For six years now, I’ve taught in the University Writing Program at George Washington University—a “program,” not a “department,” with full- and part-time faculty but no tenure lines, except for the one occupied by the executive director.
Just because scholars who seek to publish in open-access journals are open to new forms of peer review, that doesn't mean they all see eye-to-eye -- or know what to expect. As one sting operation shows, many such journals are unable to reject obviously flawed submissions, even as they promise thorough review processes. Meanwhile, other journals are even criticized for being too much like the traditional publishing they aim to reform.
The Building an Accessible Future for the Humanities Project will facilitate four two-day long workshops where humanists, librarians, information scientists, and cultural heritage professionals can learn about technologies, design standards, and accessibility issues associated with the use of digital technologies.
One rarely hears the word “perks” or “advantages” applied to adjunct work -- and with good reason. But despite the often deplorable working conditions of adjuncts, there can be moments of opportunity. In this piece, I write about six potential benefits of adjunct work, which may be useful for individuals hoping to move into full-time teaching positions or doctoral programs.
Sarah Kendzior, Al-Jazeera English’s firebrand of social and economic justice, suggested this week that there should be a Norton Anthology of Academics Declaring They Quit, among whose august contributions she would place Zachary Ernst’s “Why I...
I am currently teaching a course using the replacement model of blended learning in order to export what is normally experienced as uni-directional content (lecture, prezis, films, performative critiques) to an online space in order to better exploit instead of undermine the richness of the face to face encounter with the class. We are currently about halfway through the semester, and I have some thoughts, some concerns, and some frustrations (as one tends to have half way through the semester, when evaluating learning and learning environments can only be partial at best).
Professional writing is not the same thing as personal blogging—at least, when it comes to money. Academic bloggers publish high-quality, accessible work as good (or better) than that of mainstream publications. But when those publications come calling, academic bloggers, used to not being paid for either their blogging or their research, often do not ask for compensation. They should. The difference between personal blogging and professional writing is that, in the case of the latter, a media organization is profiting from your labor—and if you are already a prominent online writer, they are benefiting from your reputation and audience. Get paid.
Despite the talk about how massive open online courses, or MOOCs, will dramatically alter the landscape of higher education, the courses have in some ways taken academe back -- to the days of huge gender gaps, when senior scholars overwhelmingly were men.
Through today, you can download a Kindle version of Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez’s new book Invent to Learn for free. You should do so. Really, you should buy the book. (Amazon Affiliate link) Hailed as the “bible” for bringing the maker movement into schools, I think Invent to Learn is the most important education book published this year, offering not just a vision of how “making” and “tinkering” could transform classrooms, but a practical guide for how to move school in a more constructionist direction – how to design better learning environments and projects, how to foster wonder and build capacity in children (and adults), and how to combat the drudgery of a standardized-test-obsessed school system.