What is “a semiotics of class morality”?

class_and_campus_lifeA review of Class and Campus Life: Managing and Experiencing Inequality at an Elite College by Elizabeth M. Lee, Cornell University Press (2016):

“How do low socioeconomic status students make their way through largely affluent college communities? . . . merely gaining access to an elite college is not the end of the story.” (p. 2)

“How do students negotiate the deeply complex boundaries of class position within their intimate friendships and peer circles?” (p.2)

“How [is] class inequality interpreted through a semiotics of class morality within an elite institutional context . . . ?” (p. 31)

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Organizing Administrative Data to Answer Your Questions

Data PoolIn August of 2016, schools using the edX platform agreed on a common data structure (standards) for their MOOCs in order to facilitate research on student learning and to allow for comparisons of data across schools.[1] Of course, education researchers working with massive data sets are not the only ones who require standardized, well-organized data. With increasing frequency, a wide range of decision-makers — from higher ed administrators to marketing analysts to individual consumers — collect and analyze data in order to help answer a broad spectrum of questions and inform their decisions. These analyses rely on well-organized, and often standardized, data.

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Working Together

Most faculty who do experimental work begin their academic lives leading fairly small lab groups: perhaps two or three graduate students and a post-doc. A group of this size is fairly straightforward to manage and support. At this stage, faculty are often physically present in the lab – working side-by-side with students – and it is relatively easy to know when there are issues with group dynamics, or when a particular member of the group is having difficulty or problems.


In addition, in these early stages, the lines of communication between the PI and their mentees, as well as those between other group members, are often fairly direct. However, as PIs build successful careers, their research often diversifies, and their lab groups grow. Often the old models for successful mentoring, management, and communication may not be quite so effective, and new, more relevant models may not be quite so obvious.

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On Our Way

Autumn Woods 2013 - Newton MAA while ago, many of my colleagues began to think about ways to more effectively share the good work we do here. Some individuals have moved on and others have arrived – as happens in the way of offices – but the ideas took shape and persisted and now are bearing some fruit:

Last year, we began to play more often in the Twitter sandbox (and will pass 1,000 tweets later this week). Earlier this summer, we launched this blog (six posts and counting!). And, in recent weeks, we have begun redesigning and adding to the content of our website. While we do not claim to be social media wizards yet, we are pleased and proud about these three new ways we’ve embraced in order to share our story with you, our campus, and the wider higher education community.

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What Sticks Out From Make It Stick

9780674729018With the expansion of access to the internet and the launch of the “Information Age,” some educators began to argue that the focus of learning should not be retrieval from memory. Instead, they called for a focus on teaching students how to access and use the vast amount of information available at their fingertips. However, others pushed back on the idea that memorization is no longer important. In their book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel support this argument and present ideas on right (and wrong) strategies for learning.

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A Practical Review of a Practical Book

If you teach STEM courses in higher ed, Felder and Brent’s Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide is worth checking out. It’s essentially a one-stop shop for what you need to know to design and teach a course effectively. felder brent tl stem coverThe book is filled with tips, examples, answers to common teaching questions, and citations of the relevant teaching and learning literature. It’s very skimmable and written in easy-to-read language. It covers topics such as writing learning objectives, planning for your class/lab sessions, active learning, ed tech, and how to help your students develop professional skills. Information on neuroscience and the science of learning is sprinkled throughout in sections called “Brainwaves”.

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Support for your Fall Semester Teaching

The beginning of the Fall semester just a couple weeks away. Are you stressing about teaching a new course, teaching for the first time, or teaching at MIT for the first time?  The Teaching and Learning Lab is here to support you in your teaching, whether you’veDipa_CEEworkshop been teaching for years, or are just getting started!  Staff from TLL are also available to help create customized department-based workshops to serve the needs of groups of faculty, students, or postdocs in a particular discipline.

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