Thursday, May 31, 2012

Food Art!

My Intro to Art students have recently posted work to their community blog "Art Food Yum!" This ongoing class project aims to collect and boast an international compendium of student recipes. Students prepare and document their favorite dishes which range from the traditional, to the personal to the creative and the bizarre. My students tend to love taking-on the role of "culinary designers" and I have the great pleasure of peering into their food lives. Once in a while, I even try preparing their recipes on my own! Below is an image from this semester of an especially-creative presentation of the dish, "Spring Stuffed Tomatoes."

Here is a link to the blog:

Next week, I will post some work from their curated online exhibition project. Great stuff so far!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Student Post Survey!

Hi everyone! The following link is for the student post-survey. It is also in the "Links" folder above. Please have your students complete the survey prior to our final meeting. If you would like to print the survey, you may. Just bring the hard-copies to the final meeting.

AS we close in on the END

My classes end earlier than everyone else due to the nature of the type of class it is.  In the past two semesters Fall 1 and Fall 2 I had little problem with participation in the BLOG aspect of this class.   For a reason unknown to me some students seldom post.   They can clearly see from their grade how this might impact them, but don't seem to mind taking a zero in the BLOG section.

On the other hand, the students who do post generate a lot of thoughts and ideas and I find their responses very encouraging.  The concept of a very changing working world in the next ten years struck a chord with many of the students.  The really get that the working world of no offices and working away from a office building will become the new reality.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Evaluation Time!

Hello, All! 
I wanted to share that I've made the habit of distributing midterm evaluations before giving students the College's official course evaluations. 
Why wait until after the class is over to find out what students thought? 
I do this for two reasons:  
1. It's my way of getting students to think ahead of time about how they will evaluate the course in relation to their learning, their work, and, of course, my teaching. While many of them have certainly filled out course evaluations before, I wonder how many of them thought about the language. I've tried to connect the language and structure of the evaluations to my own courses.
2. I also want students to know that I am sensitive to their concerns/opinions about the course. After I've looked at their responses, I share with them what others have said and discuss their comments. (Of course everything is anonymous.) Sometimes I can tweak my presentations, our class discussions, their assignments, etc., based on their feedback. 
3. This is a great opportunity to let folks know that different people have different opinions about the content, the readings, the writing, and the discussions--or the amount of work we're doing. There is always (it seems!) those one or two outliers who complain about the work (but don't do it!), fret about how hard the quizzes/exams are (but don't study). Once they hear that others are satisfied or appreciative of my feedback and are excited about what they are learning, things turn around and we can try to salvage what we can of the semester. 
I breathe a sigh of relief once the evaluations are over and sometimes I dread reading the results of my own surveys, but more often than not, I discover that things are going much better than I thought. If you want to see a draft of my survey,here you go!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grammar Game (or Fun with Grammar)

I tried out something new in the computer lab today for my ESL 097 class: "Speed Grammar."

The Activity:
The students got onto the class blog and were instructed to read the latest post. I posted one grammar question at a time and they had to do the exercise/post the answers as comments as quickly as possible.  I told students to post within 2 minutes and started noting who posted the correct answers first, and soon all the students were trying to be speedy and correct.  I verbally told all the students whose answers were correct or if there were any problems by refreshing frequently and looking at the comments.

To post a new question, I simply edited my blog post, and students had to refresh their pages when I said, "OK, I've posted the next question!"

Students were really engaged!

The Application of the Activity to Other Classes/Content:
I think something similar, where students quickly post answers (and can't yet see other students' answers until they have posted and have refreshed the page) could work like a quiz on any content, could work for math formulas and problems, and could be a great way to give commentary on things like proverbs or argumentative issues.

Further Discussion:
I plan to use this again to have a type of quiz over the main concepts in the novel we have been reading ("Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First One Hundred Years").

The Speed Grammar blog post:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Case of Professor Lovelit

At our last f2f meeting some faculty mentioned having to address issues of academic ethics and plagiarism. One approach for addressing this issue in class is through an experiential learner-centered activity. The activities asks students to read a very brief description of events that involved several students in Professor Lovelit's class. Students are then asked to rank characters in the order of their responsibility for a student's failing grade. The activity fosters lively debate and makes an important point. Here is the link to the activity.

I've been exploring Diigo and have found it helpful in many ways. This year I've been trying different blogging tools to create a site that students and faculty could share information and experiencing on education and career planning and haven't really found something that worked. I'm shifting gears and will use Diigo to share information with ACE GED students who are transitioning to credit programs. One of the programs I oversee involves facilitating the application process for about 300 GED students who enter LaGuardia's credit programs each fall and spring. This is a more manageable number to work and involves working with programs that the CDC staff already has relationships with. Don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

I love Diigo but as an  iPad user I've been using Evernote and  I wondered if they were too similar- if you have that dilemma you might find this link useful-as suggested- I use now both, you may like them both too.

May, Math, May, Math 2012!

It’s been busier than I ever remember, but we’re near the end of the semester (even, the post-survey dates are nea.  Cannot believe it’s May 9th, 2012. Cannot!

The unedited comments help us understand that Math Language of Apathy and acceptance as students navigate into our Blog.  The more the students share about their sympathy and apathy toward the subject at hand, the better faculty can plan a friendly approach to get the students to learn and embrace the online and “pencil and paper” models during the time the course runs (and beyond, hopefully).

Prof. Meangru mentioned in his last post the statistics of how negative past experiences affect how students welcome a college  Math courses.  To further fine-tune our creative juices as faculty,  the extensive discussion we held at our last seminar on Designing for Difficulty: Social Pedagogies as a Framework for Course Design in Undergraduate Education article also helped us further peel the many layers these issues bring to our classroom and pros and cons of assigning group work.  In our math courses group work help those who are apathetic toward the subject/exercise at hand.   During our seminar meeting, we all agreed (for the most part) that apathetic behaviors are conducive to introverted behaviors if the subject is not strength of ours.  I have witnessed with our Math sections group work exercises confident students come forth to support other that are anxious and find the subject difficult.  Especially when the most vivacious and extrovert student may convert to a full introvert when faced with an intricate mathematical function to solve.

Check these comments out:  
-The relevance of Math was present:
“I took math class which is MAT 120. However, the result were positive and i enjoy doing math. Also, my major is related to math [Accounting] and i love solve new problem and help other who don't know.” Nipun Patel
To which D. Lama responded:
“patel i think iam gonna major in accounting. we gonna try to solve problems together..” 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
These two students have found a common bond beyond MAT115.  I think this is pretty neat.

-The very important requirement of “liking” a professor’s style/personality  was discussed directly and indirectly:
“Math... okay so when I was a kid I didn't like math…I didn't like it because my mom didn't like it. My dislike for math continued until I ran into a professor that told me to give math a try before I decided not to like it. I soon began to like math, looking at equations as brain teaser puzzles of which I really enjoyed doing. Throughout my math experiences I realized that if students dislike or like math really depends on the teacher. If I have a good teacher I enjoy math and the class and if I have a bad teacher, math is extremely frustrating. However, regardless if the teacher is good or bad, math is what YOU make of it.” E. Council

“I have always said that math and me never mixed well and that we were like oil and vinegar. But after I toke math 96 last semester I started to understand the it's language. Now I am taking math 115.1699 and everything is starting to make sense little by little. I now know that math it's a language that has to be learned and be open-minded to understand it.” D.Pereyra

 -It some cases a positive change did take place:
“I've never been a good math student; I've always struggled and barely scraped by with poor grades. My worst experience has got to be the entire 3rd grade, the most difficult math grade for students and that's when all my anxieties and low self confidence started and never ended until now.” L. Alban

-The practical student was there, too:
“Math is fun, because the answer is obvious. There is always one answer for a question, so if your answer is wrong, your way to solve the answer is wrong. It is not like philosophy, so there is always one answer. I hated math when I was a child, but I started to like it now.” K. Takagi

These shared experiences are now an online mini-support systems for students to rely on as the semesters end.    For next week, we cannot wait to revise the test exercise Prof. Meangeru posted this week and give you a glimpse of the interactions with all mathematical solutions to the practice test.

In the mean time, enjoy the last few weeks left of this Spring I 2012.

Prof. De León

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whoa! Food for thought

Now, here is an article ("Robot Writer, Robot Readers") to make us think of the meaning of where will all of this end. An extract: tools also make it easier than ever to see personal writing as redundant. A student can see other essays on the same topic they are contemplating, or view the aggregate knowledge of a Wikipedia page, and never have the feeling that their writing covers something new. Google overload can be discouraging or overwhelming to a person processing information...

Belated Report on BMCC Conference and Research and Writing Presentation


Michelle, Jason, and I presented on Community 2.0 (this time the focus was networked literature classes) at the Transitions and Transactions: Literature Pedagogy in Community Colleges at Borough of Manhattan Community College (April 20-21). Jason started us off with a brief  review of C 2.0 followed by his findings and outcomes when teaching Writing through Literature (ENG102) via Blogger, and then Michelle let us know the pluses of using Facebook for the same course. I then discussed how bringing in new perspectives from other disciplines into the literature classroom could really help students consider literary texts in a different way.

For a super-quick review of what I covered, go HERE.

Overall, our presentation was well received, and we had some very interested people wanting to know more about what we are doing with our networks.
Then, on April 30, Jason and I had a short workshop on Research and Writing sponsored by the Academic Standing Committee. We covered strategies to make research assignments difficult-to-impossible to plagiarize as well as how to tell when a student may be considering plagiarizing as an option, how to help students not go down that path, and what to do once plagiarism has happened in your class. If you are interested, you can see the whole thing HERE. (If you are really interested, check out the presenter's notes at the bottom of each slide).

But the exciting part for us about this presentation is that, after it, we had a serious conversation about creating a network/repository of sample research prompts from all departments so that we could all learn from each other. As  a Community 2.0 leader, I am very proud that we have gotten to this moment in our college where we are considering sharing and collaborating in something as important as teaching research strategies. So I'm crossing my fingies that network will happen and I am thinking perhaps, a community in Zotero (or a wiki) could be the right tool for it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

City Limits School Staff’s Contact With Students via Social Media

The last two lines are my favorite:
And teachers should “have no expectation of privacy” when using social media, because principals and other officials will be on the lookout for “questionable” behavior.