Preparing for My 64th Semester of Teaching at Carroll…

It was good to  be sitting at my office desk at school today. Spring semester classes don’t begin until Wednesday, and I had an unusually large amount of uninterrupted time to clean the office, organize materials,discard last semester’s uneaten lunch, and think about my three courses. Precious moments of uninterrupted, focused reflection, planning, and action are rare for me once classes begin, because I choose to have an open door policy for students and colleagues.
I’m teaching Introductory Psychology (after a one semester hiatus) for probably close to the 100th time. I taught it as a graduate student at Ohio State and I have taught here at Carroll a number of summers and evenings in addition to almost every semester since February of 1978. Indeed, this coming semester I shall yet again be teaching a daughter of one of my former students. In some ways Introductory Psychology is the most difficult course for me to teach. Most students are not majors, and it is a challenge to simply and with integrity condense a discipline I have explored for for almost forty years.
This semester, influenced by some conversations I’ve had with several colleagues and students, I am going to incorporate several innovations.

  1. a section on cross-cultural psychology which will occur at the time that social psychologist Richard Nisbett is speaking on campus about the “Geography of the Mind” (see my earlier blog).
  2. having students read and respond to some of my future (and some of my older “Curious David”) blogs that deal with psychological topics. I may create a special wiki for them.
  3. involving students in some fashion with research I shall be conducting with 12 seniors. I am toying with five research topics—the effects of color on behavior, revisiting the “Mozart effect,” revisiting “subliminal” persuasion, evaluation research (e.g. the efficacy of Rosetta Stone software), and systematic evaluation of Web 2.0 learning tools. As the President of this institution is fond of saying, “stay tuned.”

Carroll truly is being enriched more and more by the presence of international students. Today, while photo-copying, I struck up a conversation with a student from Brazil. Last semester I had the delightful experience of learning with and from a student from Vietnam. A former graduate school classmate of mine has just become an editor of a British journal. A Norwegian friend who mentored me in 1974 has just published a book. My discipline is finally becoming more culturally aware, much less chauvinistic—see  Arnett, J. J. (2008). The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American. American Psychologist, 63, 602-614— and recognizing that the world is indeed flat.  How exciting; what fun!
There is much about which to be curious.That is vital to keeping me playful, energized, and wanting to teach and to learn.
Thanks to my incipient readership. Based on statistics I can monitor, I am already attracting a readership base at a higher rate than I did writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year. And this without Mom’s help!

Keep those comments and feedback coming either through posting or by sending them to dsimpsonnorthlake@mac.com. 

Enough for now. I’m dog tired.


On the Internet no one knows that you are a Newf



I shared these cartoons with my freshmen at the end of our course both to illustrate Slideshare and the talent of the cartoonist, but also because I believe that if you “get” the jokes, you are aware of the technological tools and some of their hazards.

| View | Upload your own


Notes for a January 16, 2009 Technology Day Presentation at Carroll University

Below are the points that I wish to explore in my presentation. Each is a resource-rich hypertext link documenting some of the things I’ve discovered in the past year.

  1. Omega and Alpha…
  2. Pioneering at Carroll…
  3. Taking Hart to heart…
  4.  Feeding frenzy
  5. World-wide collaboration
  6. Tools in schools (K-12!)
  7. Reading and Writing
  8. Caveats
  9. Beginner Tools (free)
  10. Curious David Redux

Language and Culture

I have long had a fascination with languages. In high school I studied Latin for two years and followed that with two years of Spanish. When I graduated from Oberlin College in 1971 with an A.B. in Psychology I also had studied the equivalent of a Spanish major (including credits earned at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico). While a graduate student at Ohio State University I marveled at the language fluency of foreign fellow graduate students (I spent 6 months doing research at the University of Bergen, Norway and was humbled by the challenges of learning Norwegian and by how much more about the United States Norwegians knew compared to me!). A critical component of these language learning experiences was having opportunities to be exposed to the literature, theater, art, history, and cultural contexts of these languages. It will be interesting to discover what added value such tools as Rosetta Stone software contribute to efforts to internationalize this campus. I have yet to see convincing empirical evidence that the software lives up to its heavily advertised promises; perhaps research seminar students and I will produce some evidence.
Reading two books recently, Richard E. Nisbett‘s The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why and Malcolm Gladwell’sOutlier’s: The Story of Success, has revitalized my interest in relationships between language, culture, thought, and behavior. Richard Nisbett, whom Gladwell acknowledges as a major influence on his thinking that resulted in this book, will be an invited speaker at Carroll University on March 24, 2009.


Pioneering Web 2.0 Technology Tools (Part 1)

I’ve begun developing a presentation I’m scheduled to give on January 16 to Carroll faculty tentatively titled “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools with Carroll Students: Educational
Technology of the Future, Catching Up with What Fifth-Graders Already Know,
or Another Fad?”I hope to
share with interested members of the Carroll community some of the Web
2.0 learning tools and resources
that I have explored this past semester(Download FYS 100 Section U Syllabus – Dr, David Simpson Labor Day Version PDF with my students (who were especially playful with their photoshop skills).



Snowed in on Christmas Eve with Robin and Debbie

As I grow older I become increasingly contemplative about life and mortality. I just heard from an alumna (always so good to hear from you) who was asking about a classmate who had passed away. I have fond memories about both former students—one of the rewards of dedicating one’s life to teaching so long at the same institution. Another reward is when former students send sons and daughters here and I have them, too, as students.


Curious David Finds a New Home

It’s been a semester now since I blogged for JSOnline as “Curious David.” Much has happened since then. Carroll College has been renamed Carroll University (I still fail to find compelling reasons why the change was made). I’ve taught Web 2.0 Tools in a Freshman Seminar, and I’m giving serious consideration to retiring from College teaching.
I’ve given a lot of thought to which blog authoring tool I want to use. I’ve heard good things about WordPress (endorsed by Jane Hart) and Blogger (which I taught my freshmen)—both of which are free. However, partly out of the high respect I hold Jane Hart in I’ve decided to freelance using the basic version of the software she uses, Typepad. I like the “look” of it and its ease of use.
It is very important that I be able to blog easily across operating systems. Tonight I am writing this on my Mac. When next I sit down I’ll try writing something from my PC. I also was attracted to the ease with which TypePad “ports” blogs to Face book since an increasing number of alumni are using that social network—sometimes to monitor their children!

Curious David

Curious Reflections (Or the Incipient Rebirth of Curious David)

It’s amusing and edifying to revisit the last “Curious David” blog I wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JSOnline) before they discontinued (terminated) their educational community bloggers.

Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools
By David Simpson
Monday, Sep 1 2008, 09:32 AM
I’m nervous and excited. Time to take
off my invisibility cloak. Tomorrow
(Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.)
I meet in person for the first time with my
20 first-year students. What an immense
responsibility to be their first professor!
We’re going to explore 21rst
century learning tools such as blogs,
wikis, podcasts, social networks, virtual
worlds, and Youtube.? The idea for this
course emerged from my
experiences writing this Curious David
blog column. Last year’s opportunity to
write for JSonline was transformative for
me as I learned from elementary and
secondary school teachers, high school
students, virtual school advocates, retired
faculty and readers about innovations,
challenges and successes they faced
promoting learning.

In this first-year seminar we shall focus
on some of the 25 free learning tools
described by educator Jane Hart. As we
examine these learning tools we hope to
answer questions such as these:
1. To what degree can these web
tools truly enhance student learning?
2. To what degree are they just
cool tools?
3. Could they be used to develop
critical thinking?
4. Do they improve or degrade
communication skills?
5. Might they be applied to fostering
cross-cultural or international
6. Might they strengthen or weaken
writing skills?
7. What are their weaknesses or
dangers? Should they complement or
replace 20th century learning
8. How can one evaluate their
We shall read two books—Little Brother,
a work of fiction (maybe it is fiction) and a
work of nonfiction Dispatches from Blogistan. My
intent is to assist students in the transition
from high school to college—and to
investigate Web 2.0 learning tools which
might be useful across classes and in the
workplace. I want to involve them in
educational experiences that will develop
and enhance abilities in reading, writing,
reflecting, presenting, thinking, and
producing. Writing exercises will include
papers, journals, blogs/wikis, and exams.
Presentations will be both formal and
informal; individual and in small groups.
Collaboration will be both with fellow
students and with me
I welcome reader feedback about
this course. I’d gladly share a course
syllabus in .pdf format which has many
hypertext links. (Indeed, I’d welcome
reassurance that I still have readers after a
two month hiatus!).
Still Curious,
email me at dsimpson@carrollu.edu.

Tomorrow’s final exam may give me some insight into what the students have learned. Interestingly, I received an email today from someone in Great Britain interested in the course.
It is my intent to begin (renew) serious writing in a blog format starting in January. I’ll most likely use Type Pad.

I’ve learned so much—and have so much to learn.


Web20comics—Hopefully from our course you see the humor in these!

The dumbest generation or Pioneers of Web 2.0 tools?


Discovering Edicy

Edicy is a bare-bones web creation tool. I am using the tool “i-Lighter” and a Google tool-bar button “Blog This!” to send this to blogger.com.
Such fun!

But what Web 2.0 tools are truly useful? Will make me more efficient? More enlightened? A better person?