A tool we use at the center to improve our ability to work together is StrengthsFinder, a research-based tool for identifying one’s talents and proclivities in one’s work life. One of my top strengths, as identified and described by this instrument, is “input.” I like to learn about news, information, and ideas frequently and from multiple difference sources. That explains why I’m such a fan of following people on Twitter, reading blogs, and listening to podcasts. I love the idea that I can “subscribe” to these sources and pick up all kinds of interesting tidbits over time, tidbits that quite often come in useful down the road in unexpected ways.
Our graduate fellows and I were discussing our strengths the other day, and, in the context of the “input” strength, one of our new fellows asked me what blogs and podcasts I follow. I thought I would share a few favorites here on the blog, in case there are others who would like to seek more input on topics I find interesting. I’ll start with blogs that focus primarily on teaching.
- Casting Out Nines – This blog by Grand Valley State University math professor (and fellow Vandy math PhD alum) Robert Talbert recently moved over to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Robert is a talented and committed teacher, and he blogs about teaching math with and without educational technology.
- sciencegeekgirl – Stephanie Chasteen describes herself as a “science educator and communicator.” She’s a physicist by training, and she’s currently affiliated with the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative through the University of Colorado-Boulder. She spends most of her time helping K12 and higher ed science instructors improve and enhance their teaching, and that’s the main topic of her blog.
- edwired – Mills Kelly is a historian at George Mason University with a strong interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning and the digital humanities. His was one of the first blogs I started following, way back when. His posts are infrequent and usually brief, but always very, very smart.
- Too Hot to Teach – This group blog by three female faculty members chronicles their experiences teaching and navigating the world of higher ed. Why the title? Here’s what they say: “To us, being too hot to teach has nothing to do with physical attractiveness. Instead, it has more to do with rocking our roles in the ivory towers.”
- Change of Basis – My grad student colleague Patrick Bahls teaches at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He’s a talented mathematician and an even more talented teacher. He has a book coming out next year on the use of writing in the teaching of math and other quantitative disciplines. He blogs about math, teaching math, teaching math using writing, and (usually when he’s had a rough day) university politics.
- Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning – This group blog is written by the teaching center staff at Texas Wesleyan University, led by their director, Amy Collier. It’s one of the best teaching center blogs around, with frequent, insightful, useful posts about all kinds of teaching topics.
- Tomorrow’s Professor Blog – I’ve been a fan of the Tomorrow’s Professor listserv for years and years. Edited by Stanfords’ Richard Reis, the listserv provides “desktop faculty development” twice a week throughout the school year. Last spring I requested permission from Richard to mirror the listserv emails on a blog so that readers could comment on articles and so that I could follow the listserv via RSS. Posts cover many different aspects of higher education and the faculty experience.
There are a number of blogs focused on technology and visual thinking that I follow, too. I’ll share those in future posts, along with some podcast suggestions.
Image: “TTEOR,” Knivesout, Flickr (CC)