The One with a Plea (and Nic Cage)
Welcome to Week Eleven of Once More, With Feeling.
I would apologize again for the extended delay between newsletters and pledge to do better, but I think we all know How It Is right now, and so I will let that go unsaid.
BE THE SPARK - Thoughts on Teaching and Learning
I do promise though to return to sharing some of the most intriguing teaching and learning resources I discover in the next newsletter, but in the meantime please bear with me as I offer a plea to any undergraduate introductory biology teachers or people who know them.
Together with Michele Lemons of Assumption University, I am Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) called Transforming Assessment, Feedback, and Grading in Undergraduate Biology Education (TUnE-Bio).
Our ultimate aim is to improve these practices (assessment, feedback, and grading) in introductory biology in order to improve equity, welcome more students into the study of STEM fields related to biology, and combat "weed-out" culture. But first we have to understand what is currently happening in biology classrooms across diverse types of institutions across the country.
I'm hoping you would be able and willing to help us get this birds-eye view of current assessment, feedback, and grading practices in introductory biology lecture sections in the U.S.
If you are willing to help, would you be able to complete a ~ ten-minute survey?
You can find the survey here and here:
Official advertisement, should you wish to share with your networks:
The research team would appreciate you spending ~10-15 minutes completing a survey on how you measure student learning and grading. This survey will ask questions about your background and your teaching practices. Four randomly chosen people who respond to the survey will receive a $200 Amazon gift card.
If you are interested, you can find the survey here and here:
HIVEMIND - On Social Neuroscience & Our Synchronous Selves
To make up for the lack of teaching tips in the last section, here is a gift from Michelle Pacansky-Brock and colleagues that is relevant to both teaching and the degree to which human beings are ultrasocial creatures.
I had the privilege of attending a webinar on Michelle’s Humanizing Online STEM (teaching) project and was amazed when they shared out their entire academy via Canvas.
Check it out:
A description of “humanizing,” from Michelle’s website:
“Humanizing leverages learning science and culturally responsive teaching to create an inclusive, equitable online class climate for today's diverse students. When you teach online, it is easy to relate to your students simply as names on a screen. But your students are much more than that. They are capable, resilient humans who bring an array of perspectives and knowledge to your class. They also bring life experiences shaped by racism, poverty, and social marginalization. In humanized online courses, positive instructor-student relationships are prioritized and serve "as the connective tissue between students, engagement, and rigor" (Pacansky-Brock et al., 2020, p. 2). In any learning modality, human connection is the antidote for the emotional disruption that prevents many students from performing to their full potential and in online courses, creating that connection is even more important (Jaggars & Xu, 2016).”
OUR MONSTERS, OUR SELVES - Uncertainty, Challenges, Mental Health
My new book on crafting learning environments to support student mental health has a final title, cover, and pub date.
She’s out May 2023, available for pre-order wherever books are sold in September 2022. Stay tuned.
Thank you to Beacon Press, my wonderful literary agent Jessica Papin, and my fabulous editor Rachael Marks. It has certainly been a team (and a dream) effort.
EMOTION & MOTIVATION - Feeling and Striving
As I’ve been wrapping up final edits on both Mind Over Monsters and my Emotion and Motivation textbook with Lani Shiota, I’ve been reading two popular/trade books on the topics, both written by researchers at the top of these fields.
The first is Get It Done by Ayelet Fishbach, summarizing her lifetime of research on goal setting and goal striving.
The second is Future Tense by Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, in which she asks us to reframe anxiety as friend, not foe.
INCIDENTALLY - A LOVE LETTER TO NIC CAGE
I have a thing for people—and works of art—who are a bit too much, a bit too raw, a bit maudlin. I can tell that some of my more refined friends find these affections to be a mark of tastelessness, but I don’t much care. I unabashedly love Moulin Rogue, Tim Curry (especially in this role), The National, and everything Helena Fitzgerald writes.
So of course I also love Nic Cage.
If you, too, love Nic Cage, you must read this phenomenal piece on him in Harper’s Magazine. It is called, perfectly, National Treasure: The Ecstatic Cult of Nic Cage. Almost every sentence has a revelatory detail worth gasping over.
If you find your Nic Cage appetite whetted, check out the conversation following Miles Klee’s provocative poll, “what's the WORST movie of the Nic Cage '90s action trilogy?” Feelings were had.
Who or what is your most ridiculous fave?