Monday, January 16, 2012

Does Anyone Know This Book?

I've gotten stuck giving a 30 minute seminar to faculty next week, and my topic has been ASSIGNED. Oh, goodie. I don't mind the seminar. I don't mind getting an assignment. I am unhappy about the last minute nature of it, especially when the Dean started her request with: "I can't find anyone else to do"

I have to present the "good ideas" in the book below, and of course nobody on campus has a copy. Mine will arrive Thursday, but I thought I'd take a chance and see if any CM folks knew or liked the book and could give me their impressions or ideas to guide my admittedly rapid review of it for the seminar.

Terry P.


  1. I know nothing about this particular book, but I've read his other book, "Life on the Tenure Track: Lessons from the First Year." It's OK but certainly not mind-blowing. The things I remember most about it are that he seemed kinda...delicate, I guess is the word, and didn't seem to know what he was actually going to find in the classroom. That, and he had a horrible case of diarrhea that ended up being Crohn's disease or some such ailment. Other than that, *meh*.

    You'll likely find that the book has lots of interesting but not particularly original strategies for teaching. Plus, the fellow has an engaging writing style, so you should be able to blast through the book quickly.

  2. Does it help that it's in Kindle edition and you could download it now to your computer or kindle or kindle app?

  3. I do not want to read about another professor's diarrhea, as it makes me envious because I myself am constipated.

  4. A half-hour seminar in which no one will have read the material to be discussed ahead of time? How in the world does that work?

    Or perhaps that's part of the problem?

    Sorry; I haven't read the book, so I can't be much help.

  5. They gave me a copy at my last New Faculty Orientation which, since it was not my *first* NFO, I mostly ignored. I pulled it off the shelf and skimmed it, though, which reminded me of my reaction the first time I did that: nice, but only if you've never actually set foot in a classroom before or read anything in the Teaching/Learning field. Most of it's sound, or uncontroversial anyway, often wishy-washy and definitely on the pollyanaish side (staunch defender of student evals; calls reality of their weaknesses "myths"; Ugh). None of it's terribly deep or explained all that well, but for a neophyte, not a bad place to start, and the resources lists are substantial. Lots of online stuff - maybe a bit on the forward-thinking side for 2008.

    So, if people have read it, or not, doesn't really matter. Pick a topic, spew some conventional wisdom, set up a false dichotomy, and let people share anecdata until time runs out.

  6. I've read this book and his other book. He doesn't have anything to say, unless maybe you've never ever thought about teaching a college course. It's inoffensive enough, but there's NOTHING in it that's worth much.

  7. I started it last Spring when I finished my hours in "teachable" subject. (I work at a CC, so all I need is a Master's [X] and 18 hours in the subject field [X])

    It was "nice" for someone a little nervous about putting a class together for the first time, but I learned more by asking the full-timers in the field than the book offered.

  8. found a review


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