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Run for the Fund

Welcome back to the new school year! Here at Michigan State, we’re making our way into the third week of the term and I’m trying to learn the names of my students. It promises to be a good semester, but there is also a sad absence. Regular readers of the blog might remember my post…

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Why We’re Here

The start of a new semester may not be the best time for deep existential questions, but I like to ask them anyway. Why are we here? I’m not asking metaphysically, however, but rather in the more immediate sense. I return to the question every time I start a new set of classes, largely because…

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Imagining and Narrating Space

I had the recent opportunity of facilitating a GIS teaching session for the Digital Humanities Bootcamp at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in April of this year. The Digital Humanities Bootcamp is put on by UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities and explores technologies and recurrent tools in the DH world in an…

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Applying a Fresh Coat of Paint

It’s a new day, yes it is. Summer has come and gone, and whether I or my students are ready, a new semester is upon us. On one hand, this is always an exciting time. Whether it’s the same U.S. survey course I’ve taught dozens of times or a class that everyone forgot was on…

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End of Semester Reflections

I look at my syllabus, it shows the wear and tear of the semester: dates are crossed out, notes are scribbled across the tops of pages, the corners are dogeared and chewed. It looks like I feel. Our semester ended a little over three weeks ago, and I’m just now starting to feel like I can…

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What Sticks Around after the Grades Are in?

The beginning of a semester is usually when we have a chance to reflect on the big goals of a course. The end of the semester is taken up with grading and other last minute details. Often, we are too burned out by course deadlines to be thinking about how our course fits into a…

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A “Container That Made the Book Possible”: Archives with Julie Berry

Interdisciplinarity is a popular yet challenging idea in higher education. For all the important attention it receives, actually bringing different fields together in the classroom can be much harder than it looks. But research with primary materials, be it in a library, digital database, field site or laboratory, is something that, regardless of our disciplines, most teachers…

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Grading with Emojis (no, really)

This month I’m reflecting on an experimental grading practice that I implemented in my Historical Methods class this semester. In this offering, in addition to introducing students to the nuts and bolts of historical research (archives, primary sources, citation, paragraph construction, etc.), I focused heavily on developing their historical thinking. I emphasized the 5 C’s…

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American Yawp: Student Feedback Results

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been teaching with the American Yawp online textbook this Spring semester. At the conclusion of the semester, I had my students complete a brief survey about the course, which included questions about Yawp, what they liked about it, and what they didn’t. The results were very…

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Pop Culture Revolution

For the last day of my American Revolution class, I asked the students to send me a youtube clip, meme, or other pop culture reference to the revolution, founding fathers, etc. I organized the material so that we covered political comedy, political usage of the founders, memes about the founding fathers and sex, and so…