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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Storyteller: Kathryn Tucker Windham

The world lost one of the great storytellers today. Kathryn Tucker Windham was the author of 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey and many other books. She also participated in storytelling conventions and shared stories on public radio.

I found a story from KTW in a show I used to host and co-produce on Alabama Public Radio. This particular episode of Alabama Life from October 2, 2005 was a preview of the visit from the StoryCorps mobile booth that came to downtown Northport, Alabama a month later.

I actually got to visit KTW at her home in Selma, Alabama and record this particular story (Jeffrey was not there that day). She talks about the importance of family stories and the importance of recording those stories. [Click to listen]

Thankfully, there are many, many recordings of stories from Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Additional news items about Ms. Windham can be read at the Montgomery Advertiser and from, which also includes a video with KTW telling a couple of stories.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Let's do it to improve learning

I like this statement from the opinion piece in the Chronicle.
"Let's not do assessment just because it is mandated. Let's not do it to make accreditation agencies happy or because everyone else is doing it. Let's do it to improve learning."
Of course, there are still many issues to work out in order to determine what to assess, better ways to assess, and what to do with those assessments. But underlying all the debate SHOULD be this foundation: Do it to improve learning.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What if you could buy individual chapters instead of the whole (expensive) textbook?

It's kind of like buying individual songs instead of the whole album on iTunes or eMusic.

In this case, though, it's not so much about preference for a particular song or very interesting chapter. In the textbook case, some professors do not assign the whole book. They only require reading of particular chapters that apply to that class. Yet, students have been forced to pay for whole textbooks—sometimes 100 or 200 dollars or more.

I think this new model for textbooks is a good idea for two reasons. The first is economical: Saving money on textbooks is important for many students trying to earn a degree. The second is educational: Professors may want to structure the class by synthesizing ideas so that students gain an understanding of issues that no current textbook covers in quite the same way.

However, there are some issues this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education that are worth considering, especially the "whole book" experience.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Would you use in academia?

Would you use link shorteners, such as and, to provide more convenient links to sources in academic papers? Would you be allowed to do this?

Butler Cain's trying it, but he's curious to know what you think.

And so am I.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Learning about the art of teaching

I recently ordered a lecture series from The Great Courses. It arrived today, and I'm now watching the first episode. I'm very excited to start learning from The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One space or two: How many do you put after your sentences?

Do you type one space after the end of a sentence? Or do you type two?

As you can see, I only use one space, but I picked that up this past decade while working with an online news web site. Now it's a habit, but that was not how I learned to type. Back in the '80s, two spaces was the rule.

The writer from Slate, however, was adamant about the one-space rule.
"Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong," Slate columnist Farhad Manjoo writes in a recent editorial.
However, judging from comments left on the blog post at, the grammar court is still undecided.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Online Learning: New report focuses on a blend of online and classroom teaching

This eLearning Update focuses on the mix of online and classroom teaching. The authors of the report see this combination as being the future of education, especially for high school.

'The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning' is one of the first reports
devoted exclusively to blended learning. And while its authors concede blended learning is inherently variable in quality, financial feasibility, and format, they argue it will be the vehicle that pushes the proportion of high school courses offered online to 50 percent by 2019, while the percentage of K-12 students who study fully online flattens at around 10 percent.
I wonder if this is the direction you'll see online learning going in universities, community colleges, and Christian higher education in the near future?

Monday, January 17, 2011

How NOT to argue

I like this post from my brother. If you have ideas you want others to hear, avoid these things!
Use of language that is unduly forceful in delivery or style may effectively inflame the passions of an audience or inspire those who already agree with the speaker. However, beyond this limited use, the hyperbolic delivery of our ideas has several serious drawbacks. [Read more]