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Congrats, ProfHackerCongrats, ProfHacker

Congrats, ProfHacker

One of the reasons ProfHacker has been so helpful to me is that I'm teaching undergraduates a couple of classes which I never took while I was an undergrad, or, indeed, in high school (essay writing and research writing). Since the vast majority of my classes were related to computer science or information technology in some way, I didn't get a peek into how to teach the liberal arts well.

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Topics: Education, Media
Congrats, ProfHacker April 26, 2010  |  By Alissa Wilkinson
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One of my favorite websites in the past year has been ProfHacker, a multi-author blog for the college or university professor (and mostly aimed at the adjunct or junior faculty member). The blog covers pedagogy, productivity, technology tools, and other things are are helpful to those of us who are just starting out in our uni-level teaching careers. (I can't confirm this, but I'm pretty sure the name is a nod to productivity/technology sites like LifeHacker.)

One of the reasons ProfHacker has been so helpful to me is that I'm teaching undergraduates a couple of classes which I never took while I was an undergrad, or, indeed, in high school (essay writing and research writing). Since the vast majority of my classes were related to computer science or information technology in some way, I didn't get a peek into how to teach the liberal arts well. And being homeschooled, I never had that experience of the "great English teacher." The last time I actually sat in a classroom and learned about English was in the fifth grade.

Teaching comes naturally to me, so this year has been relatively smooth sailing, all things considered. And yet I have pondered the strange truth that teachers in primary and secondary schools do take pedagogy and classroom management classes, and yet college teachers—unless they had a TA experience while in grad school that included some training—have little to no training on teaching techniques. I read a book, but mostly I felt like I was flying blind. I suppose having six or seven years of college and graduate education are supposed to help you know what to do, but I think most people can attest that the classroom skill level of professors overall might say otherwise, no matter how intelligent they are.

In any case, I say all this because I was delighted to find out that ProfHacker had been picked up as a blog by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Now teachers all over the place will have access to this excellent resource. One of the best things about ProfHacker is that it fosters a spirit of openness about techniques, ideas, tools, and other hints for those who are just trying to give their students a great education. There's no proprietary information here. Nobody's trying to fight department politics and get a leg up on someone else because this is colleagues across, not inside, institutions. It's refreshing, and it's just what a new professor—like me—needs to succeed.

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