This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on searching for (and finding) teaching inspiration.
Whether you are a new instructor or a seasoned professor, you can find yourself in search of inspiration for your class structure or the latest trends. Depending on your institution and its culture and expectations, it can be difficult to find people to talk with productively about the philosophy and the daily practice of teaching.
Enter stage left: the Internet to the rescue!
If you love thinking about pedagogy, and especially if you’re interested in teaching with digital tools, the Web is full of like-minded people. They are sharing their assignments, syllabi, and ideas openly for all to see. Here are a few places you can find them.
The Pedagogy Project
HASTAC, a digital humanities collective based at Duke University, hosts The Pedagogy Project on its website.
“More than 80 projects and assignments to shake up your syllabus!”
Examples of posts from professors include explanations of collaborative digital projects, multimedia projects, and in-class activities. The material is designed to be used at the beginning of the semester, when you’re writing your syllabus, or even in the middle, when you need new ideas for a given class day.
Open Pedagogy Notebook
This site’s materials are tied together by a philosophy of “open pedagogy”: a democratic approach to teaching that emphasizes student autonomy and the relationship between students and the teacher.
Posts in the “assignment” category come from professors who have created class projects where students have contributed articles about history to Wikipedia, written multiple-choice questions in order to understand concepts in social psychology, and created a genetics worksheet using the National Library of Medicine’s Genetic Home Reference.
This is an open-access journal covering college teaching. Articles run the gamut, and most combine discussions of theory and classroom practice.
For example, you can find:
- A biology professor talking about using active learning strategies, like letting students plan the syllabus, in the context of science classes
- A professor teaching a graduate course in the history of publishing describes teaching through “maker pedagogy,” and having students create zines or podcasts
- Two professors making an argument as to why you should resist using the software Turnitin to identify plagiarists
The journal has a podcast, too, if you’d find it helpful to have the option of listening rather than reading.
College teachers regularly share ideas and hash out problems on Twitter. It may take some poking around to find the places where the conversation is happening; start by following accounts of pedagogical groups, like @HybridPed and @DigPedLab, and build out from there, following the people they retweet.
Spontaneous acts of pedagogical sharing happen often on Twitter. For example, the Twitter account for the Southern Historical Association’s Graduate Council recently asked its followers to describe good first-day activities, generating a great thread. And a hashtag, #twobookpedagogy, started by a professor who wanted to know which books inspire college teachers most, yielded a rich reading list.
Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.