A wonderful tool for teaching about random sampling and random assignment is available through the generosity of Scott Plous who created the invaluable online resource Social Psychology Network. I introduce students to Research Randomizer in my Psychology 205 “Statistics and Experimental Design” course where I require that they go through the excellent online tutorials. I often have students subsequently draw random samples from my class list who are the designated students-to-be-called-upon for the day. I see Research randomizer as a valuable teaching tool in almost any course where students and faculty are interested in an easy to use, valid, way of drawing random samples or to randomly assign participants to conditions. Much superior to drawing mixed numbers from my hat!
Here is a brief screencast one of my research assistants and i made illustrating how I introduce Research randomizer to my PSY 205 students.
It was a foggy 5:30 a.m. morning when I let the Newf out for her morning “duties.” One of many good reasons for driving carefully to Carroll this Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I surely would NOT like to hit another deer—nor would Santa or my car.
I can still see fog outside my Rankin classroom. Thirty-seven years ago I was in this very building giving a sample lecture illustrating how I teach as part of my two-day job interview to become a faculty member at then-called Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I still have a copy of that presentation—and I remain at my first and only job for better or for worse. So much has changed—buildings, enrollment, technology, the institution’s name, the organizational structure. I feel obligated to protect traditions and overriding institutional historical values, but there are fewer and fewer here that remember them. So many of my former mentoring faculty and staff friends have moved on through retirement or from life. I miss their wisdom but try to preserve their gifts to Carroll.
And here I sit proctoring an 8:00 a.m.Saturday morning final exam covering “Statistics and Experimental Design” taken by students several of whose relatives (aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters) were former students or advisees of mine.
There are times when they look and behave very young and I recognize that I am 65-years old. Many other times they keep me young with their energy, willingness to learn, and playfulness. I feel that way especially in the present of my student research assistants—four of whom are graduating this year.
It has been a rough semester. I continue to find challenging teaching three consecutive seventy-minute courses in a row with 10 minute breaks even when two of the courses are the same. And this year I am co-chairing the Planning and Budget Committee (with a delightful colleague and poet BJ Best).
It has been the Dickens of a task: The Wurst of Times and the Best of Times. Younger colleagues like BJ, though, and the fewer and fewer remaining colleagues from my past reinforce my willingness to remain here and make a difference before departing.
The chimes just sounded. 10:00 a.m. Eight students remaining. Very good students among which several, should they wish, might join Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood as student research assistants.
I hope I never find myself in the position of this monk where I need to call in technical support to figure out how to read an object called a “book.” In my judgment there IS a danger, however, in becoming too dependent on “technology learning tools.” My favorite tools remain a # 2 pencil with an eraser, a Pilot G-2 broad ink pen, some writing paper, and my mind. Nonetheless, this blog post is a heart-felt mini-festschrift to an Internet visionary.
I’ve written numerous blog posts about the tremendous value I find from Jane Hart’s annual identifying top learning tools. I have unbridled admiration and respect for her vision, willingness to share, and thought-provoking ideas. As I wind up (or wind down) my teaching career over the next few years, I am making an intentional, concerted effort to use things I have learned from Jane (directly or indirectly) over the past seven years. Thank you, Comrade and Mentor across the Pond!
- I have incorporated into my Experimental Social Psychology class use of a Ning (or see Julie Lindsay‘s superb utilization of a Ning). If you would like to visit this Ning, especially if you are a former student or classmate of mine or are also an experimental social psychologist, let me know. I would welcome incorporating into the Ning your thoughts about the course or your thoughts about being a social psychologist or using social psychology.
- Jane has influenced (favorably) my extra-classroom university academic life (e.g. I maintain alumni contact through Linkedin, and by my cross-posting my WordPress blogs across Facebook and Twitter.
- Jane’s influence has transformed the way I conduct my committee work (e.g. I recently began a Planning and Budget Committee meeting which I co-chair with a screenflow screencast which explained to colleagues how to access budget and planning information).
- Jane has transformed my daily interaction with my student research assistants who annually pilot test all tools on Jane’s list. Among the tools we currently use or are bench-marking for student learning utility are Google Drive, Class Owl, and WordPress. These research assistants continue to revitalize me with their intelligence, playfulness, eagerness to learn, and youth. I have invited this year’s S -Team to identify what Top Tools they find most valuable and which they’d like to learn. Stay tuned.
It was a reasonably quiet day at Camp Carroll as I returned to campus for the first time since Mothers’ Day (Commencement) . I adjusted my invisibility cloak to semi-permeable but kept the missile defense system active. I spent most of the morning shoveling a path through my office and lab—the piles of papers, notebooks, etc. gave clear evidence that I had departed in a hurry. So THAT is where my Ipod was! Yech—that sandwich needs an escort out to the trash bin.
I dealt with the usual annoyances of computers not working; lack of access to locked rooms and I left today satisfied with having created creating a semblance of order in the office and lab.
How delightful to find summer notes on my door from three alumni! (I’m looking forward to chatting with alumnus Mike Martin about our collaborating on an applied social psychology research project. Thank you, Anita Rodriguez, Julie Sascer-Burgos (PsyD!), and Kristina Dones for stopping by. Of COURSE, I remember all three of you—and yes, I’d love to get together either in person, via Skype, or by phone. Thanks for your kind words—and the memories! Yes, Kristina (class of 2009) I too have many positive memories. Anita and Julie (class of ’82) remember my office being in the basement of Voorhees. Each of these three former students also had classes with my two emeriti colleagues, Ralph and Virginia Parsons
It’s amazing (satisfying) how much I can get done with no interruptions. I chatted with a student who is trying to return to campus after experienced some academic difficulties. I believe that she will be able to graduate and I tried to be be both appropriately supportive and realistic about how she needs to change her behavior to succeed.
I had a brief visit from two colleagues. I shared with Psychology colleague Chris May my excitement about (self) publishing my statistics text and we made a lunch date. Tomorrow I (sigh) have three meetings.
Time to head home and see how the Newf is doing in my absence. She has now been home a week since her week’s hospital stay.
Dear First-year Student,
I may not meet you for awhile since I am not teaching first-year courses as often as I used to. I do offer you a heartfelt welcome. You may well be the son or daughter or niece or nephew of one of my former students. That happens a lot.
First-year students have played a very important positive role in my life during my 36+ years of teaching here. You have made me smile, motivated me to learn from your enthusiasm, made me proud as I have seen you grow across your years here, and made me especially happy when we have been able to stay in touch across the years.
You sometimes have been favorably referred to as “the App Generation.” Don’t forget that your best apps are your values and your mind. You, the Class of 2018, do have very different life experiences than I. I look forward to learning from you and with you—if not directly this year, then in subsequent years. Do drop by and say hello in the interim.
Here are a few friendly suggestions I offer based on my years of teaching and learning.
- Don’t be too proud to seek help or advice from faculty, staff, administrators, and older students here—especially those who know the campus and our students well.
- Take advantage of opportunities to try new things, to meet new people (especially from different cultures) and to learn how to learn better. Let us become a global choir of learning.
- Research suggests that the quality of relationships (e.g. with peers, with faculty) is central to a positive, successful college experience.
- Set aside some time for self-reflection.
- Let self-discipline enable you rather than imprison you, find the right balance between service and involuntary servitude, between doing a right thing and doing things right. My own freshman year at Oberlin College in 1967 was informative and formative, lonely and elating, value challenging and values affirming. I envy you the learning opportunities that are here.
There is an interesting, well-written article in Time Magazine about Mindful Meditation that recently drew my attention for several reasons.
- This is a semester I finally have an unusually large amount of time to focus on reading, writing, reflection and research as I plan an ordered exit from Carroll Land within the next two-to-four years. There is much yet for me to do before I move on.
3. I have always admired his holiness the Dalai Lama, who holds an honorary degree from Carroll COLLEGE (WI). Ah, the things things I remember that many here at Carroll do not know or recall since they weren’t here then:).
4. I have been very impressed by the research and values of Richard Davidson, who shared the evolution of his research program in a well-written, thoughtful book The Emotional Life of Your Brain. Here are some of his current activities.
5. I have also found of value thinking about (though I have been remiss in practicing) the ideas in Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius’s Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. I truly have been blessed to have opportunities to pursue each in my 35 years here surrounded by bright students and colleagues.
6. Some of my younger Carroll University colleagues are starting to gain well-deserved recognition exploring these topics and building bridges across interdisciplinary areas. And, their enviable publication rate even motivates me (in my own way) to match/complement/ supplement their scholarly contributions—but at my own speed as I savor the twilight of my career here.
7. Recently President Obama (who is visiting Waukesha, WI today which may explain the many hovering helicopters) has called for a BRAIN Initiative. Concomitantly, there is an explosion of apps and software claiming to improve thinking and to optimize brain power.
8. I have been intrigued by recent attempts to popularize and capitalize on such findings and initiatives and am contemplating doing some modest research to address their claims—particularly those that purport to improve memory, enhance happiness, and enhance one’s ability to focus.
9. I’ve always been fascinated by the too much neglected research of Ellen Langer’s creative work exploring concepts of mindfulness and mindlessness—as she uses the terms. I found fascinating her book Counterclockwise, though I am still struggling with believing its implications of age-reversal. Still there IS empirical evidence (needful of replication and extension) that subjective perceptions of age can be affected by the mere process of measuring variables related to aging. This merits further study.
10. So many questions to answer. Time to make some decisions and see where the research takes us.
I spent the first half of today reconnecting with my business partners, Greg and Jane Schneider. Greg and I became immediate friends when I first joined the Carroll faculty in 1978. He served as Director of Counseling, Career and Health Services at Carroll University for thirteen years. and also taught Business and Organizational Psychology. In 1990 he left Carroll and founded Schneider Consulting. Shortly thereafter he invited me to become his business partner, a decision both of us have never regretted. I always leave Greg treasuring the richness of our relationship and in awe of how well we work together.
Today was our usual constructive chaos. Catching up on personal events over a cup of team, updating and upgrading his computers, discussing some writing projects we have been talking about doing together—for about 10 years. Teasing; Toiling; Trusting; Teaching; Confiding; Consoling; being mutually uplifting—all within a natural atmosphere of unconditional positive regard.
We are always quite comfortable correcting each other and moving back and forth between teacher and learner roles. I am introducing him to WordPress blogging software. He shared with me some of his forté using dictation functions built into the Mac. I can see how that capability may help me quite a bit with my writing. For example I just dictated these last two sentences. And these, too. So much to learn —it’s so fun to learn with someone.Thank you, partners, Greg and Jane, for all the learning and collaborative opportunities.