Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Receiving & Giving in Consumer Society

In Students, Teaching on December 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

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By Sue Hudd, Professor of Sociology

Professor Sue Hudd’s Sociology 101 class, themed on consumerism has spent the past semester studying consumer culture. The course is designed to enable students to dissect messages we encounter daily that encourage us to “shop ‘til you drop’ using introductory concepts in Sociology. Hudd’s students spent the semester considering the various ways in which consumerism has become an integral component of American culture. They examined both the invisible forces that compel us to consume as well as the impact of consumerism on a wide range of social institutions. Throughout the semester, Hudd’s students also worked in discipline-based groups, with the goal of analyzing the effects of consumerism on their chosen field.

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Cluster Class Redux

In Faculty, Teaching on January 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm

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By Hillary Haldane, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and Nita Prasad, Assistant Professor of History

We have run the cluster course, History 112 – The West in the World / Anthropology 101 – Local Cultures, Global Issues, for four years. Our first clusterers (C1) are seniors, and we’ve just submitted the grades for the most recent batch (C4). We would like to share a few reflections from our time teaching the cluster, and clarify what we think the value of these sorts of classes have for a college moving towards a learning paradigm.

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Teaching in China

In Faculty, Teaching on January 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

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By Keith Kerr, Associate Professor of Sociology

*The following piece documents my observations teaching sociology as an affiliated professor of sociology at Ningxia University in northwest China, and relays what happened when I connected my Quinnipiac students with my Chinese students via Skype. A highly edited version of this piece has previously appeared in Change (2013 Jan/Feb edition). The full post and others like it can be found at the blog: http://onbecomingchinese.blogspot.com

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QU 101: An Approach

In Research, Teaching on January 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm

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By Thomas Williams, Part-Time CAS Faculty

With thanks to my colleague and project partner, Betsy Rosenblum.

There’s an unmistakable connection between critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and QU 101, yet among students there remains a popular and misguided perception that it’s a class without a purpose.

This perception gap is troubling.  A course fully devoted to improving the quality of one’s thinking is exceptional, and essential to success in today’s globalized, knowledge-based economy.

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Writing Outside the Curriculum

In Students, Teaching on December 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

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By Ken Cormier, Assistant Professor of English

A journalism student recently asked me if I thought the internet and all of its digital-communications spin-offs were having a positive or negative effect on young people’s reading and writing skills. She was working on a class project, and I felt compelled to complicate her question. I showed her a short column entitled “The Phonograph” from the Nov 7, 1877, edition of the New York Times in which an anonymous author speculates that “if the phonograph proves to be what its inventor claims that it is, both book-making and reading will fall into disuse.” The author goes on to envision a future in which students “will never have to learn [their] letters or to wrestle with the spelling book.” To me, this alarmist thinking about the phonograph demonstrates that the question of how emerging technologies will impact literacy is not a question of any one historical moment; it is a perennial question. Furthermore, the assumption that we will become either more or less literate tends to ignore the more plausible, and certainly more complex, inevitability that new technologies will continue to make us differently literate. Since the beginning of the written word, the development of newer, faster, and “better” communications platforms (printing press, typewriter, photocopier, online discussion board, instant message, blog, live tweet, etc.) has allowed more and more participants to enter into a larger discourse that is increasingly accessible and progressively diverse. The monolithic and largely subjective issue of “literacy” begins to show its limitations in such a fluid and dynamic communications environment. After all, no one is “literate” in any single, overarching way. The best communicators are those who know how and when to adopt the most appropriate and effective discourse for any given interaction. It seems we are much better served, then, by considering and examining the plethora of “literacies” that advance and recede as our communications technologies continue to evolve.

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Thinking ‘Seminarly’

In Faculty, Teaching on November 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

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By Renée Tursi, Associate Professor of English

This time the context was Emily Dickinson’s poem “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant–” during a 200-level literature course. In the middle of our discussion about what comes of “indirection,” a student burst out with “Oh, that’s just like Plato’s cave!” And there it was again. A student had made a connection back to her QU101 seminar from the year before. Others started to nod and join in, and I switched streams on the spot, pulling up the excerpt from the famous allegory that I hadn’t planned to weave in until the next class.

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Hip Hop as an Educator’s Tool

In Faculty, Teaching on May 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm

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By Don Sawyer, Instructor of Sociology

I recently had the privilege to present at the first New England Regional Conference on Teaching Sociology on April 13 at Stonehill College.  This conference was sponsored by the Association for Humanist Sociology; the Society for the Study of Social Problems -Teaching Social Problems Division; and the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Stonehill College.  This one-day conference was dedicated to best practices in teaching sociology (and social science in general for affiliated faculty in Criminology, Anthropology, Political Science and other interdisciplinary fields). The Conference featured traditional paper and poster sessions, a discussion panel of distinguished teachers in the social science disciplines, and open-group discussions oriented around important themes related to teaching in the social sciences.

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ePortfolios in the Classroom

In Faculty, Students, Teaching on March 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm

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By Tracie Addy, Assistant Professor of Biology

During the Fall 2012 academic semester, a team of Biology faculty who teach the introductory courses for majors (myself, Nancy Burns, Linda Chicoine, and Michael Vieth), took part in a Quinnipiac University pilot initiative involving the implementation of student ePortfolios in their classes. Lisa Connelly has also taken part in this initiative this semester. These courses involved three sections of approximately 50 students each who were mostly freshmen. Having the students use an ePortfolio was the next step for the students, as they already included their laboratory reports in a paper portfolio. To encourage information fluency and reflective learning, students uploaded the final drafts of their reports, as well as a written reflection on how they improved their scientific writing skills over the semester, into their ePortfolios.

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Visitor Speaks About Holocaust

In Students, Teaching on January 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

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By Tad Martin, Adjunct Professor of English

On December 3, 2012, Renée Glassner came to Quinnipiac University to address the students enrolled in EN101 section 84. The students had finished reading Susan Griffin’s essay entitled “Our Secret” on the subject of Heinrich Himmler, the holocaust, and the capacity of humans to practice cruelty and not feel guilt. Mrs. Glassner survived the Holocaust as a young girl and is one of the dwindling number of people who can give a firsthand account of the experience. She comes from a small town in eastern Poland called Losice (pronounced Lo-sheet-zuh) which had a population of 6000 Jewish inhabitants before World War II. Of those 6000, sixteen survived. Five of the sixteen were Mrs. Glassner’s immediate family. One of the themes stressed by the speaker was that she encountered good people and bad people. She said that without the bad people, such mass killing would not have occurred, but without the good people, she would never have survived to come to America, meet the love of her life (Dr. Martin Glassner), and have three beautiful daughters.

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On Learning Communities

In Faculty, Teaching on September 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

One Experiment in Forging Learning Communities

by Paul LoCasto, Associate Professor of Psychology

Below I describe a small pilot experiment outlining a specific, high-impact learning community appropriate to the learning paradigm conversations we have been having in the College of Arts and Sciences and at Quinnipiac University in general. It is meant as one potential answer to the question—‘What might a learning community look like at Quinnipiac University?’ Developing out of the philosophy of the College of Arts and Sciences Action Plan, the purpose of the Experimental Program is to educate students in a process of self-directed growth necessary to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. This requires students to build a sense of personal responsibility for their own lives and the world they live in. They begin to do this by considering the issues and obstacles in constructing a life—including a work-life—that will sustain meaningfulness across a lifespan; by grappling with “ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them” as E.F. Schumacher (1973) has put it. Through a process of deep learning, students recognize that they are the architects of their own lives and engage in self-directed, intelligent living. A student of the experimental program asks “show me how to think and how to choose”—(as quoted in DelBanco, 2012, p.15) rather than ‘tell me the answer’.

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