Help with teaching, part 3: the syllabus (assessment)

The first time I ever taught, I got some advice: “Make it easy on yourself and give them a midterm and a final. Use multiple choice as much as you can.” I didn’t listen at the time, because the type of class described was so foreign to my (paper-laden) undergraduate experience; in the years since, I haven’t listened because I decided that that advice doesn’t reflect the way I want to teach. But if that has been your learning or teaching experience, how do you learn to do something different?

In my last post, I walked you through how to plan your learning outcomes. In this post, we’re focusing on assessment — the types of assignment that you give and how you might want to weight them. If you think “assessment? You mean there’s more than testing?”, then this post is for you!

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Help with Citations Part 1: Secondary Source Footnotes

As a follow-up to my last posts about citation abbreviations, I thought I’d make a tutorial on how to cite (just in case you need a little refresher). This week’s post will focus on citing secondary sources using Chicago style (which many students find more difficult because it requires footnotes) but we will also briefly discuss using APA style and MLA style because they are frequently used by Classicists.   Continue reading

Help with teaching, part 2: the syllabus (learning outcomes)

In my last post, I introduced our new professionalization series on teaching. There, I was talking mainly in general terms about things you can do to get your class underway. In this post, we’re diving right in: the syllabus is usually your first task when creating a new class, and it has several different functions. Although the vocabulary used to describe the various functions of the syllabus differs, most scholars of teaching and practicing teachers would agree that an ideal syllabus does a few things:  Continue reading

Help with Citation Abbreviations, Part 2: Primary Sources

In my last post I explained how to decode some of the abbreviations you might find in a scholarly article. Today I’ll explain how to decode the primary source abbreviations. We’ve all seen them: footnotes that at first glance seem to be full of gibberish but in reality contain important information that you just can’t seem to decode. Let’s take a look at an example: Continue reading

Help with teaching, part 1: Intro

Many grad students find themselves responsible for a classroom without getting any any formal training in what to do there. Yes, there are teaching centers on every campus, but taking a class or classes in teaching can often be something you realize that you want (or need) to do too late — after the semester has already started, or after the registration period for these classes has ended. In this new series, we take you though your first class, from syllabus to lesson plans. Our focus is primarily on the North American academic context, since that’s what we know, but we’d welcome comments, suggestions, or additions/additional posts from experienced instructors working elsewhere!

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Forgotten Skills: Boolean Searches

Some of us might remember a time before the answer to everything was a (flippant) “Google it”. You had to consider where you might find the information you wanted, physically retrieve that source, hope it had a good index, and page through it. And if you were wrong, the process started all over again. Having powerful computer search tools certainly makes researching easier and faster, but it doesn’t always make it better, more efficient, or more targeted. Search engines like Google in particular can be scattershot, returning popular results rather than academic ones. In this guest post, we learn how to target your searches to get the best of both worlds: the precision of a reference library plus the speed of the internet.

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Help with Citation Abbreviations, Part 1: Secondary Sources

In this back-to-basics post (a nice theme for fall, if you ask me) I’m going to talk about how to figure out what all of those abbreviations are in the bibliography and notes of scholarly works.  I’m not sure if antiquity is worse than other academic disciplines in this regard, but looking at a typical bibliography of a scholarly work is a minefield of abbreviations for both primary and secondary sources.  In this post I will talk about how to decipher the abbreviations for secondary sources, and in a following post I’ll talk about the abbreviations for primary sources. Continue reading