What We Read in October 2022

Learning Innovation staff regularly share articles and other media in a section at the bottom of our main page titled “What We’re Reading.” These articles pique our interest and often spark discussion among our team. ICYMI, here’s what we read last month. We hope some of these articles inspire and challenge your thinking around teaching and learning.

How Conducting a Mixed-mode Class is Similar to Hosting a Late-night Talk Show

Faculty Focus

Faculty are increasingly called on to conduct “mixed-mode” classes, sometimes called hybrid or HyFlex classes. These sessions are conducted with some students in-person and others using Zoom or other conferencing tools to view and participate at a distance.… Continue reading >>>

‘The System Needs to Be Changed’

Inside Higher Ed

Introductory calculus or general chemistry courses are gateways to science, technology, engineering and math degrees—and careers. Many critics argue they too often serve as grueling gatekeepers instead, turning off students interested in STEM before they have a chance to excel… Continue reading >>>

What Does It Mean When Students Can’t Pass Your Course?

The Chronicle of Higher Education

If you’ve got an opinion about what’s wrong with higher education today, it was probably confirmed by a recent New York Times story about the departure of an organic-chemistry professor from New York University after students complained about how he taught his course and graded their… Continue reading >>>

Using a gradebook with alternative grading, part 1: The basics

Grading for Growth

An important practical question that every new alternative grader should ask is: How do I record these weird marks? This week, we’ll dive deep into the nuts-and-bolts of recording grades in an alternatively graded class, starting with the basics: How do you enter and summarize marks? Next week, we’ll… Continue reading >>>

8 Ways to Use QR Codes in Higher Education Classrooms


My obsession with QR (quick response) codes began over a decade ago, when I was a 5th- and 6th-grade classroom teacher. I used QR codes on bulletin boards so that during Open House, families could scan them to view students’ digital work. I also used QR codes for assignments so that… Continue reading >>>

Do Your Students Know What Office Hours Are For?

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Teaching Newsletter

This week:

  • I fill you in on findings from a new study on office hours.
  • I pass along a thoughtful comment on the purpose of STEM courses.
  • I share some readers’ examples of having students write a letter to future classes. Continue reading >>>

Using a gradebook with alternative grading, part 2: Final grades

Grading for Growth

Last week, I introduced my method for using a spreadsheet to record grades in an alternatively graded class. This week, we’ll look at how you can use a spreadsheet to determine final grades. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, do that now! We’ll build on those ideas in today’s post. Continue reading >>>

Post-Traditional Students are the New Premium Students


Several articles caught my eye this week. Connecting the dots, I’m seeing two patterns emerging. First, post-traditional students being recruited aggressively by a surprisingly broad swath of colleges and universities. One could argue this trend started with the MOOCs and with OPMs like 2U moving… Continue reading >>>

Lessons From the Pivot

Inside Higher Ed

This fall, I retired after almost 40 years as editor of Duke Magazine, the university’s alumni magazine. That’s a long stint covering a campus—a lot of time to accumulate institutional and higher education knowledge. I thought that, after all that time, there weren’t many campus characteristics I hadn’t… Continue reading >>>

How (and why) to use video assessments in alternative grading

Grading for Growth

Just as there is no such thing as a single, best way to do alternative grading in a class, there is no single, best way to assess student learning. We gravitate toward timed tests and quizzes mostly because that’s what we are used to. But if you read in between the Four Pillars, you’ll find that many methods of… Continue reading >>>

Ratings and Gender Bias Over Time

Inside Higher Ed

Two new studies on gender bias in student evaluations of teaching look at the phenomenon from fresh—and troubling—angles. One study surveyed students at the beginning of the semester and after their first exam and found that female instructors faced more backlash for grades given than did male… Continue reading >>>