11 episodes

What defines a great professor? "Playing in the Sandbox: Conversations in Pedagogy" is a podcast series that answers this question with one word: play. Most will agree that the best professors and instructors of higher education are those who promote (and exemplify) passion, curiosity, exploration, experimentation, and the willingness to fail and try again. In other words, as this podcast argues, the best professors are those who meaningfully and thoughtfully play.

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What defines a great professor? "Playing in the Sandbox: Conversations in Pedagogy" is a podcast series that answers this question with one word: play. Most will agree that the best professors and instructors of higher education are those who promote (and exemplify) passion, curiosity, exploration, experimentation, and the willingness to fail and try again. In other words, as this podcast argues, the best professors are those who meaningfully and thoughtfully play.

    Thinking about the Post-Thanksgiving Pivot (Fall 2020)

    Thinking about the Post-Thanksgiving Pivot (Fall 2020)

    In this episode, Dr. Katherine Troyer (Assistant Director of The Collaborative) and new host Dr. Lauren Malone (Academic Technologist) discuss the unique challenges and opportunities facing us as we move fully remote post-Thanksgiving. Although we've pivoted before, this will be a new experience for our first-years (many of whom are moving out of the dorms and back home); it is also the holiday season, ensuring there will be many new experiences looming on the horizon. In this special episode, we answer questions we've been hearing from faculty about how we can not just survive, but thrive, as we transition through the fall pivot and wrap up this semester.

    • 33 min
    Soliciting Midsemester Feedback

    Soliciting Midsemester Feedback

    It's easy to dread the end-of-semester course evaluation because, by that point, we are essentially conducting a postmortem. But what if we sought out the pulse of our class while it was still alive? In this episode we look at the benefits of soliciting midsemester feedback from our students as part of the process of play--the act of adopting, adapting, and revising through a meaningful conversation. From transparent conversations to the starfish model of asking for feedback (more of, less of, keep doing, start doing, stop doing), in this episode we discuss how midsemester feedback can help make just-in-time adjustments and opportunities for explanations that will help ensure the best learning and teaching possible. 
    Sources referenced in and consulted for this episode:
    Brookfield, Stephen D. and Stephen Preskill. Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. 2nd edition, Jossey-Bass, 2005.
    Mercer-Mapstone, Lucy and Sophia Abbot, eds. The Power of Partnership: Students, Staff, and Faculty Revolutionizing Higher Education. Elon University Center for Engaged Learning, 2020.
     

    • 17 min
    E9: Starting Right, Right from the Start

    E9: Starting Right, Right from the Start

    Imagine being invited over to play and then just going over instructions. Disappointing, right? But isn’t that what happens all the time on the first day of a new class? The start of the semester should not force students to wait for the “good stuff.” Instead, they should feel invited to immediately begin thinking about the content and practicing the skills they will master over the next several weeks. This episode shares several activities that could be used in those early class sessions as well as pitfalls to avoid as we encourage our students to play…right from the start.  
    Sources referenced in and consulted for this episode:
    Gannon, Kevin. “The Absolute Worst Way to Start the Semester.” ChronicleVitae. August 3, 2016.
     
    Gonzalez, Jennifer. “Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?” Cult of Pedagogy. October 30, 2016.
     
    Lang, James M. “How to Teach a Good First Day of Class.” The Chronicle of Higher Education.
     
    “Make the Most of the First Day of Class.” Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University.
     
    Mayhall, Marguerite. “The Vital Importance of First-Day Activities.” Inside Higher Ed. August, 14, 2018.
     
    Nunn, Lisa M. 33 Simple Strategies for Faculty: A Week-by-Week Resource for Teaching First-Year and First-Generation Students. Rutgers UP, 2019.
     
    Stevens, John and Matt Vaudrey. The Classroom Chef: Sharpen Your Lessons, Season Your Classes, Make Math Meaningful. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., 2016.

    • 19 min
    E8: Discussion as Creation of Knowledge

    E8: Discussion as Creation of Knowledge

    Discussion can be a powerful tool not just for sharing and hearing ideas but also for building understandings and systems of information. From using preparatory notes to having students plan the shape of a class conversation, this episode explores several ways that faculty can use discussion as a method for allowing our students to be co-creators of knowledge. 
    Sources referenced in and consulted for this episode:
    Abate, Tom. “How to Use ‘Active Learning’ to Teaching Critical Thinking in the Lab.” Stanford Engineering. Feb. 4, 2019.
    Brookfield, Stephen D. and Stephen Preskill. Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. 2nd edition, Jossey-Bass, 2005.
    Cheung, Floyd. “Preparatory Notes as a Way to Individualize Teaching and Learning.” The National Teaching and Learning Forum. March 15, 2019.
    Flaherty, Colleen. “The Dangers of Fluent Lectures.” Inside Higher Ed. September 9, 2019.
    Howard, Jay R. Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online. Jossey-Bass, 2015.
    Lang, James M. Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. Jossey-Bass, 2016.
    Sawyer, R. Keith. Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. 2nd ed. Oxford UP, 2012.

    • 14 min
    E7: Turning Discussion into Conversation

    E7: Turning Discussion into Conversation

    Too often class discussions follow a call-and-response format rather than producing true dialogue. From chalk talks (where students respond to the ideas they wrote on the board) to designated facilitators (where students practice the art of crafting a conversation), this episode offers eight practical ways to help turn discussions into conversations where students not only talk but also reflect, listen, and respond. (19 minutes)
     
    Sources referenced in and consulted for this episode:
    Brookfield, Stephen D. Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions. Jossey-Bass, 2012.
    Brookfield, Stephen D. and Stephen Preskill. Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. 2nd edition, Jossey-Bass, 2005.
    Howard, Jay R. Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online. Jossey-Bass, 2015.
    Palmer, Parker J. To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey. HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

    • 19 min
    E6: Hearing from Everyone in Discussions

    E6: Hearing from Everyone in Discussions

    Discussion can help students to hear multiple perspectives, but only when everyone--and not just a select few--are contributing to class conversations. From having students create heat maps to show the shape of class discussions to the highly controversial method of "progressive stacking," this episode offers five practical ways to help foster discussions where everyone's voice can be heard.
     
    Sources referenced in and consulted for this episode:
    Brookfield, Stephen D. and Stephen Preskill. Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. 2nd edition, Jossey-Bass, 2005.
    Hess, Frederick M. and Grant Addison. "'Anti-Racist': 'I Will Always Call on My Black Women Students First.'" National Review. Oct. 27, 2017.
    Howard, Jay R. Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online. Jossey-Bass, 2015.

     

     

    • 20 min

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