Death to the Content Dump: A Survey-Course Manifesto

Lately, in preparation for my upcoming gig as Director of my university’s Center for Teaching & Learning, I’ve been immersed in the scholarly literature on teaching and learning. More than anything else, this immersion has affirmed my sense that in my native disciplinary land of History, we need to reassess (or–gasp!–ditch) the survey course. Now, this may seem counter-intuitive. The Id of my profession is yelling: isn’t this course where we serve our institutions’ core curricula? Isn’t it through the survey courses that we reach the most students? If we modify or scrap the survey, won’t college students become even more historically illiterate and thus bring about the collapse of all that is good and holy in western civilization?¬†DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER! ANARCHY OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS!

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Postmortem: Spring Semester

One of the perks at my institution is a spring semester that ends before April does. It’s totally worth starting classes right after the new year, because central Iowa in May >>> central Iowa in January. As is usually the case at the end times, I find myself in a reflective mood–maybe more so this Spring, because I’m finishing my 10th year here, and we all know that bigger round numbers are more significant.  Continue reading “Postmortem: Spring Semester”