Blog

Top Ten Podcasts of the Year

Yeah, I talk about podcasts a lot. One might say I’ve become mildly obsessed with them. But I’ve learned so much from listening to podcasts, and I’ve learned SO MUCH from making them, that I have opinions–a lot of them–about what makes a good podcast and about my favorites. Spotify told me that my top listened-to podcast for the year was Throughline, from NPR. What Spotify doesn’t account for is that I listen to a…

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Why Assign Podcasts

I’m not a fully disinterested observer here; as you know, I am the host and executive producer of a podcast, so of course I want more people to listen to my podcast. But I think there’s a lot of value in assigning podcasts for students of history, of any age or schooling status. Here are a few reasons I think that. Reason #1: Audio literacy I wrote a whole blog post about this. Students receive…

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Not-Monograph History

(Yes, I’m avoiding doing work on my actual monograph right now, along with a hundred other things.) I’m deeply invested in the idea of creating (and learning) history through not-monographs. And in the past several months and years, I’ve been trying to put my money where my mouth is about this. I’ve been teaching not-monograph history for a while now, but this past year I’ve had a lot of opportunities to create my own history…

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How to Listen to a Podcast for Class

Welcome to a college history class! You’ve probably learned strategies for reading books, articles, even blog posts (maybe). But in this class you’re going to listen to podcasts as a way to learn. So how do you do it? Before we begin, there are some things you need to know. Podcasts are not books Podcasts are like books in a few important ways. Podcasts come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. No two podcasts are…

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Resources for Innovation in Graduate Classes

I have very little experience in teaching graduate classes. Maybe my inexperience breeds anxiety about teaching them. When I teach my undergrad classes, I feel very little anxiety, even when I’m less prepared than I intend. Grad classes are the exact opposite. I could prepare for hundreds of hours for a grad class and I’m still terrified when I walk in the door, every single class period. This coming fall, I’m teaching my second graduate…

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Flexibility in Asynchronicity

[Like my new word?] I’ve decided to stop posting Twitter threads and instead use the tool God intended: blog posts. I’m starting to knuckle down on course prep for the fall. You all know I’m 100% into asynchronous teaching, and I really don’t think there’s anything anyone could say to dissuade me. (This is, by the by, what I tell my students “bias” is: a belief that you hold, no matter what, even in the…

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Tools for Asynchronous Discussion

In the fall, I’m teaching both my undergrad and grad class online (thankfully, GMU and the history department made this an easy and non-controversial choice, despite GMU’s plans to offer in-person classes). So I’m on the hunt for ways to enhance my asynchronous discussions. This post isn’t about what I’ve decided to do, but rather about all the options I’ve found. I’d love feedback on any of them, whether they’ve worked for you or not…

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Revisiting Contract Grading

This past semester I tried contract grading for the first time. The class was a collaborative project, and I wanted grades to be less important than getting the collaboration done. I followed the lead of Ryan Cordell and designed parameters for grade contracts that the students could revisit halfway through the semester if they wanted to change their contracted grade. I made a few changes from the other contract grading systems I’ve seen. Most prominently,…

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Uncharted: American Expeditions

This semester my students made a podcast. I just realized that though I’ve talked a lot about the podcast, I haven’t actually linked to the podcast here. So here it is, for all three of you who read my blog. I’m super proud of how the students did on this assignment despite the many, many barriers to their success. So here’s my request: if you listen to one or more of the episodes (and you…

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In Praise of Generosity

It’s been a hard eight weeks. There’s a lot to be angry or sad or anxious about. But I want to remember the joys and successes of this time as well. So here’s a few of those. —– This semester, I proposed a course that was a grand experiment on a number of levels. It was going to be a course in which our final product was a collaboratively produced podcast series. I was going…

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