“Memoir in a Digital Age”

If you were to lead a workshop like this one, what genre of (hardware or software) tools would you teach?

Ground rules:

  1. Tools must be affordable or (preferably) free.
  2. Tools must not require advanced computing skills: knowing how to use a word processor and knowing how to use a web browser should be enough.
  3. Tools would preferably already be owned by workshop participants.

Memoir in a Digital Age
Learn to document and reflect upon your life through the use of various simple and affordable (or free!) digital tools and media. Participants will work with their choice of text, image, sound, and video to create a memoir appropriate for the digital age in which we live. No advanced computing skills required.

George H. Williams is a teacher, scholar, volunteer, would-be hacker, indie enthusiast, nonprofit advocate, word herder, and world traveler.

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bullet points on my first day of teaching

  1. Grading Participation Here is my evil|brilliant (depending on your perspective) plan: I’m going to make participation worth 12% of the final grade. Students will get graded on participation 4 times this semester, so each grade is worth a maximum of 3 points. In order to get a grade, a student must solicit 2 brief letters (emails, really) of recommendation from fellow students. And those emails need to contain specific details about how that student has contributed something valuable to the class. What do you think?
  2. Sticky Notes & Flickr In my first class this morning (Senior Seminar) I repeated the sticky-note+flickr process from last semester. This time, I asked students three questions:
    1. Orange sticky: Why did you major in English?
    2. Blue sticky: What do you plan to do after you graduate?
    3. Yellow sticky: If you needed to explain what’s valuable about your undergraduate education (to a potential employer, to a graduate or professional program), what would you say?

    We then stuck all the notes on the wall and discussed the answers while I took pictures. Before they left, students took back their sticky notes, and they’ll develop those initial thoughts as the semester goes on.

  3. Office Hours I came up with 3 possible permutations of offering office hours that work with my schedule, and I’m using a poll on Doodle to have students vote on which permutation works for them. The one with the most votes wins. And, of course, students are always welcome to make an appointment with me outside of office hours.
  4. Live Calendar My homepage has been completely revamped and is now super simple. It does need some style (cascading style, if you will) and I’ll soon add unobtrusive but accessible links to research and service activities, but I have succeeded at stripping it down to the basics: my semester schedule (with links to pages for my classes), a public version of my Google Calendar, and basic contact information. We’ll see how this goes…
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tc3.0: definitions, instructions, & publishing schedule


Teaching Carnival: “[A] periodic collection of blogposts to do with higher education” (Miriam Jones).

Blog carnival: “[A] type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks to other blog articles on the particular topic” (Wikipedia).


You can easily have one of your blog posts about teaching in higher education included in an issue of the teaching carnival by doing any or all of the following:

  1. Email the next host directly (see list below) with the address to the permalink of your blog post, and/or
  2. Tag your post in Delicious with teaching-carnival, and/or
  3. Tag your post with Technorati tags.

Publishing schedule

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Collaborative brainstorming: Teaching Carnival 3.0

If you’ve expressed interest in TC3, then you should have received a message from me that looked a little something like this:

Okay, here we go! Follow this link to share your available dates.

With this blog entry, I’m asking you all to help me brainstorm ways of making TC3 the most valuable resource it can be. Below is a list of my thoughts, some of which are phrased as questions. Your responses and additions will be very helpful:

  1. This project is fundamentally collaborative and open to just about anyone.
  2. This project should have its own website that links to all the individual carnivals as they appear.
  3. The website might also store an archived copy of each of those carnivals.
  4. The website might also be the place where the interviews (see below) are hosted.
  5. The website could provide a forum in which users ask questions of bloggers or seek advice about such things as constructing a syllabus, designing an assignment, or responding to a particular situation in class.
  6. Interviews (or even roundtable discussions) about teaching with well-known and not-so-well-known academics would be great. What’s the best way to go about conducting these? …presenting these?
  7. Should this have a different name, so that it’s taken more seriously by those not already privy to the blogging world? I’m thinking here of such professional entities as committees that make decisions regarding hiring, promotion, & tenure. What would be a more “professional” sounding name?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

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Teaching Carnival 3.0

I’m putting together a planning team for Teaching Carnival 3.0. Let’s collaborate.

Once upon a time, I had a “blogging about teaching” idea.

That idea took on an active life and then went dormant (for a variety of reasons).

Now I’d like to bring the idea to life again, with a few possible tweaks:

  1. Social Bookmarking: We should use Delicious or a similar web service to catalog and annotate the links while still posting a selection of those links as a regular “carnival.”
  2. Discipline-specific carnivals: We could make each carnival specific to that particular host’s academic discipline. (I’m not wedded to this idea, so if participants don’t like it, we don’t have to do it.) Edited to add: I agree with those who have suggested that this is not a very good idea. Scratch that one.
  3. Interviews: Let’s interview teachers (both well-known and unknown) about their pedagogy. Heck, let’s interview well-known scholars about their pedagogy. I don’t have any specific plan about how this would work. Recorded Skype calls? Video chats? IM transcripts? Email transcripts? I’m open to anything.

Leave a comment or gmail me at george.workbook if you’re interested in hosting, or if you’re interested in being part of the planning team.

Please use the form below to indicate your available dates to host.

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