Long time gone

I’ve been struggling to re-connect Pinboard with WordPress: the connection broke on an update over a year ago, and I’ve had no luck finding a solution. Now I’m looking for alternatives to using Pinboard to get a short set of daily notes to WP.
  • DevonThink
  • Bear
  • Ulysses – but I’ve already set that aside
  • IFTTT – but that hasn’t been working with WP
  • Zapier
  • ….
More precisely: The Pinboard widget in the sidebar is working correctly, as is the news aggregator. What’s no longer working is the IFTTT connection. I need an alternative. I seems to be an authentication issue, but I’m at a loss for the moment.
First blossoms
It will take a few days …

Reading: Intellectual and Emotional Obstacles to Adopting Evidence-based Teaching Practices – improving learning

From Intellectual and Emotional Obstacles to Adopting Evidence-based Teaching Practices – improving learning

David Wiley considers why teachers might resist the methods he’s promoting: You can hear the Promotion in casting intellect and emotion as Obstcles. But let’s consider a few of his points:

It’s a truism in higher education that the majority of faculty have advanced degrees in their disciplines but no formal training in teaching and learning. Absent formal training, many faculty replicate the teaching and learning practices of … their favorite professors …

It’s a truism but Wiley is jumping the gun: He needs to argue that those w/formal training adapt evidence-based teaching while those who don’t suffice with … er evidence that how they learned was effective. This is anecdotal not evidence in Wiley’s argument.

Why is it so difficult for people to adopt evidence-based practices? In the case of college and university faculty adopting evidence-based teaching practices, the reasons appear to be personal. Smith and Herckis (2018) provide an amazing report of related work in the adoption of technology-enhanced learning resources, which deeply influences my thinking below.

Wiley himself seems to be getting entangled in the cross-over of “technology-enhanced learning resources” (?) and “evidence-based learning.” Of course those teachers who adapt TELR adapt EBL. We need to set that against other “resources” and methods to make signficant sense of the work.

And, in a similar path, of course teaching practices are personal – in spite of Wiley’s condescending assertion that we are not how we teach: “Perhaps it begins with helping faculty understand – both intellectually and emotionally – that they are not their teaching practices.” Engagement demands personal engagement. It’s what teachers seek to create in students; it’s what teachers must practice to be teachers. It’s even what Wiley demonstrates by being condescending towards teachers: that’s a personal attitude embedded in his teaching method.

In the end, Wiley makes a case for the value of being entwined and engaged.

Faculty’s mental models of what “good teaching” looks like are thus deeply personal because they are intertwined with their own experiences as learners. Their teaching practices can even become entangled with their sense of identity, leading faculty to think of the way they teach as a part of “who they are.”

Intertwined and entangled and engaged is the mental model we desire.

I, for one, spent a lot of my professional life believing that showing faculty the data was all that would be necessary. That if a preponderance of well-designed studies showed that a specific teaching practice was more effective, the scholarly evidence would be sufficiently persuasive on its own.

Cognitive studies and cognitive models (Flower and Hayes, and others in rhet-comp) do not address did not address what I taught. They did not measure what I needed to see as evidence of learning. To my mind, this is at the center of the active skeptisim of “evidence-based learning”: It does not provide the kind of evidence of the kind of learning that would address what I needed to know to iterate my teaching methods.

Ask the teachers what makes evidence of learning in the discipline and in the context in which teaching a learning are occuring. To see why teachers resisit, consider that *they already have ways of producing evidence of learning – evidence that fits that suits the material they are teaching.

Finally, Wiley and EBL get lost in the black boxes of Effectiveness and Efficiency. These are not effective nor efficient measures of the kind of learning I ever sought or practiced – or even learned by. In teaching that deserves the title of teaching, effective and efficient are laugable.

See Coles, William, The Plural ‘I’ and After. And Berthoff, Ann. Forming/Thinking/Writing and her further work in reading, writing, and forming.

Reading: Tropes and Networked Digital Activism #3: How Fact-Checkers Use Knowledge of Tropes to Fact-Check Quickly (and how you could too) | Hapgood

From Tropes and Networked Digital Activism #3: How Fact-Checkers Use Knowledge of Tropes to Fact-Check Quickly (and how you could too) | Hapgood

Mike uses the algorithm to find instances (what makes a falsehood effective and spread is its formula, which can be used to signal the spread), and offers a way to deal with the propaganda:

And here’s where we find perhaps one application of all this theory around a trope-focused approach. Because what if instead of focusing on truth or falsity of content early in a cycle we focused on providing the sort of trope-specific context fact-checkers bring to the table? We don’t have the fact-check yet — but we do have the history of the trope that informs their plausibility judgments. We know for example that this trope of the “ballot-discarding public official” will appear in 2022 and 2024, and that we’ll go through the same pattern of discovering it and taking so long to disconfirm it that any subsequent actions are rendered meaningless. But what if in the meantime you could ask everyone liking it and sharing it to read a short history of the trope, and the ways its been used in the past. If they still want to tweet it after knowing that hey, this is the same scam people fell for three elections in a row, then okay, go ahead.

Reading: Tropes and Networked Digital Activism #2: The Portability and Persistence of Tropes | Hapgood

From Tropes and Networked Digital Activism #2: The Portability and Persistence of Tropes | Hapgood

Mike gets down to cases to illustrate how propagandists use tropes.

In the hands of a propagandist, the way the Body Count trope works in propaganda is this:

Pick your villain
– As deaths are reported (your field) try to either find, imply, or manufacture a connection to the chosen villain.
– Aggregate the deaths, and with each new instance, claim that this is one in a growing body of deaths
– When there is pushback on any one death, point to the size of the list (the “body count”) and point out that even if x% of these were true it would be devastating

Body Count works well on two dimensions simultaneously: each new death is a “potential” connection which “eventifies” your claim and grabs attention. But the point is not the individual claim, but the “count” — the impression that there is a steady stream of suspicious deaths of such a volume that something is fishy here.

Mike is focused on how tropes move  through the rhetorical system. The same algorithms that media has used since they got them from earlier propagandists are employed by contemporary propagandists.

My interest is with how the tropes that spread are based on the mass comm model of “efficient” and “effective”: tropes that “work” are based on reductionism. Those two black boxes allow tropes to spawn and swallow up critical consideration. Consideration isn’t “efficient”. “Efficient” communication is communication that doesn’t need or encourage consideration.  That’s for tech manuals and Powerpoint Presentations (until something blows up) but never fine for critique. In short, tropes reify. Naturalize, essentilize. At a cost.

Narratives do the same thing. That’s not a way out.

A way to work with tropes is to unpack them, which Mike is doing by showing how they are packaged in the first place. There will be resistance: Tropes Don’t Need Interpreting. They State What They Mean.