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Category: Teaching

Do Space Innovation Fellowship

The Do Space Innovation Fellowship was created to allow teachers, nonprofit workers, and librarians the space, time, and resources to create community learning projects for Omaha and beyond. I’m proud to say I coordinated the efforts to launch the first year of the fellowship. Though my move to Grand Rapids didn’t allow me to lead the project all the way to the final presentations, I am very proud of the amazing fellows that participated and the Do Space team for making everything happen. Check out the final products the fellows created: Learn to code lessons and materials using Bricklayer, which… Read Do Space Innovation Fellowship

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Who’s Afraid of History?

Contemporary US society. (That’s who) The College Board revised the AP history exam to better reflect actual historical knowledge and scholarship. Manufactured political outrage convinced them to water it down with nationalism. From NPR: For example, in the 2014 version Europeans “helped increase the intensity and destructiveness of American Indian warfare.” Now it says simply that the Europeans’ introduction of guns and alcohol “stimulated changes” in Native communities. People are deeply uncomfortable with the past. Just ask Ben Affleck. He tried to cover the fact that he is the descendant of slaveholders (and then got Streisand-ed). I’ve started doing some… Read Who’s Afraid of History?

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Understanding Students’ Mindset

Beloit College’s Mindset List spurred some pretty strong opinions on twitter today (all of which were negative from what I saw). I was curious so I checked my year’s (2009) list and found it to be filled with bad jokes and observations that on their own give a very superficial (at best) impression of my class’ cultural experiences. So I suppose I’ll agree that the list is trolling us. However, that doesn’t mean the idea behind the mindset list isn’t useful. From being a TA for some great professors, I’ve learned that good teachers try to understand how their students… Read Understanding Students’ Mindset

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HIMYM: A sitcom for historians

Nobody takes an intro class to get on any other path but the path to not being hungover anymore -Marshall Eriksen While How I Met Your Mother‘s stance on 100-level classes might not please academics, it is the ultimate sitcom for historians. The entire show is an oral history of a father’s life up until meeting his children’s mother. The show takes advantage of this format for comedic and occasionally dramatic effect, in the process revealing several fundamentals of the craft of history. Memory and Unreliable Narrators One of my favorite gags in the show is the narrator’s inability to… Read HIMYM: A sitcom for historians

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Stuff Good Teachers Like

I have been fortunate enough to participate in UNL’s Preparing Future Faculty program this summer and fall. Throughout the process I have reflected numerous times on teaching, specifically my own thoughts on teaching and my experiences in the classroom (as an undergraduate and graduate student in addition to as a teaching assistant). I am lucky to have been/be in the classroom learning history and learning how to teach from some of the finest professors. During my time in the class room, a few commonalities stick out: Clarity Good teachers are clear. Clarity seems to be the most important aspects of… Read Stuff Good Teachers Like

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The Stupid Student Problem Part I

Undergraduates taking survey courses are stupid. Well, when compared to their instructors (professors, grad students, people who already have BAs, Mas, and PhDs). As teachers, we devote our professional lives to our subject area, but this one class students take freshman or sophomore year might be the only exposure they get to it. We know this. We know novices aren’t as skilled as experts and we say we adjust our expectations. We also like to complain about our students. They sleep in class. They skip class. They don’t do the readying. They don’t study. They don’t pay attention. They don’t… Read The Stupid Student Problem Part I


The Stupid Student Problem Part II

Let’s deconstruct some of the thinking of our “stupid students.” I may have been guilty of some of this thinking as I mentioned in Part I, which briefly speaks more generally about why we as teachers need to better articulate the logic behind our courses. I don’t need to go to class because -the notes are online -I took the same course in high school -I’m 18 and think I know everything -I could be doing something more fun like sleeping This is just students being lazy/unmotivated/immature right? Well yes, but what do students hear as to why they need… Read The Stupid Student Problem Part II

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Dark Side of the City

Course Description This class explores the urban underworld of North America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through the examination of primary and secondary sources, including articles, books, films, and websites, students will seek to understand how underworld activities like organized crime, gambling, prostitution, and murder shaped conceptions of race, class, and gender. The course will primarily focus on the United States, but will also cover topics in Canadian and Mexican history. Students will learn the practice of history and develop critical thinking skills through several varied assignments, including a guided research project on a topic of their own choosing.… Read Dark Side of the City

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US Before 1877

Course Description This course is a survey of some of the main themes and events of American history occurring before 1877. We will cover many topics, focusing particularly on the themes of race, expansion, and war. We will explore the changes in society, conflicts, and implications of historical events from the first Europeans setting foot on land in the Western Hemisphere through Reconstruction after the Civil War. We will seek to understand individual events and people during their time by contextualizing, comparing, and contrasting them. We will engage history through several different mediums including primary sources created by people in… Read US Before 1877

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Single Life and Marriage in the 20th Century

Course Description This class explores how social expectations of both married and single men and women changed throughout the twentieth century. Gender roles, economic independence, and conceptions of marriage, sexuality and proper behavior were only some of the social norms affected by the century’s sexual revolutions and movements. Students will engage with a wide variety of sources from depictions of marriage and single life in both popular culture and scholarly writings, students and develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of these works. The course will pay special attention to varying experiences of men and women, people with and without… Read Single Life and Marriage in the 20th Century