Friday, September 9, 2016


"These 10 Million People Explain Why Belgian Colonization Was Literally The Worst."
"What Pythagoreas says about triangles will blow your mind"
"You'll never guess what percentage of your grade comes from test scores!"

What’s going on here? No, WVU hasn’t outsourced curriculum development to Buzzfeed. These are all tweets from #ClickbaitSyllabus, a twitter hashtag that was trending earlier this week.

It began when Colby College professor Laura Seay tweeted:
Though Seay was quick to point out in this Washington Post article that her clickbait syllabus was “just goofing around,” she might be on to something. We should remember that the primary function of a syllabus is not to be an engagement tool, but to clearly communicate course requirements. But why can’t it do both? Remember that any time you communicate with your students, you have an opportunity to do so in a unique and memorable way. There's never a bad time to engage your students!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Stranger Printings - 3D Printing’s Rapid Expansion

According to a recent report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the 3D printing market will continue to expand in the coming years. Although expected, the rapid rate of expansion in the industry has been turning some heads. It is now projected that the 3D printing market will surpass $35.4 billion sometime in the year 2020, which would equal a 24.1 percent compound annual growth rate over the duration of the period forecast. This means the industry may nearly double in the next five years. In addition, the software needed to create the printer files and related services and materials are predicted to grow significantly with the market. This research was conducted in eight global markets from twenty different industries.
Many of us have likely thought about what kinds of objects we could produce with our own 3D printers and how those may be used to enhance learning. With prices decreasing while the market continues increasing, it may not be long before each of us is printing our own practical or strange things.
For additional information, please see my 3D Printer Buying Guide post.

Stranger Printings

Image generated at Make It Stranger.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Is your online course like a pig?

Remember in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, The Little House in the Big Woods, when they butchered the pig? Every part of that pig—even the parts that weren’t food—was used for some practical purpose? Nothing was wasted. Even the one part that had no practical use, the pig’s bladder, was inflated like a balloon to make a ball for the children to play with. Still useful.

Apologies to our vegetarian readership for the analogy, but the same holds true for the content of an online course. Every piece and part of the content of an online course must have practical purpose. That is, every word, every activity, every reading, every assessment connects directly back to the course outcomes laid out in the syllabus and each sub-objective of the learning modules. 

So take a look at your current online courses. Can you relate your learning activities, etc. directly back to one course outcome or another? If you can’t, it’s time to reevaluate them and look for replacements that focus student efforts toward what you told them they would be able to do once they finished the course. 

Anyone else in the mood for bacon?