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You likely begin each workday by checking your professional e-mail account. The paper you assigned in your senior seminar course is due today, and you are expecting to receive some e-mails from students regarding this assignment. You relax into your desk chair with a cup of coffee and begin reading the new messages in your inbox...

Sound familiar?

A new article from the Association for Psychological Science presents some interesting data on student e-mails and offers suggestions for maintaining your sanity as they pile up.

You should download your gradebook to your local computer after you submit your final grades. Student access to Blackboard courses is removed two weeks after the end of the semester. During this process Grade Center records are deleted. All your Grade Center records will be lost if you do not download your gradebook before student access is removed from Blackboard courses.

Follow these steps to do it.
In order to download (export) the gradebook for a course, you should:

  1. Goto the [Control Panel] for that course and click on the [Grade Center] link to expand it. Click on [Full Grade Center].
  2. Move your mouse over the [Work Offline] button on the menu bar and then click on the [Download] link.
  3. Under [Data] section, select the [Full Grade Center] option, under the [Options] section, select [Tab] as the delimiter type and [Yes] to include hidden information.
  4. In the [Save Location] section, choose [My Computer] and then click on the [Submit] button at the bottom of the page.
  5. On the next page click on the [Download] button. You should get a dialog box with a request to save the file. Save the file to a location where you can find it later. The file you saved can be opened with Microsoft Excel.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center [HTML].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Download Conversation #15

Sarita Cargas

A conversation with Sarita Cargas of the University of New Mexico on teaching, learning, and social justice.

We just have to teach them what the issues are, and help them be informed. You don't have to reveal your political leanings to do that. Just to raise awareness of things that they should be concerned about and things they might want to take a stand on, no matter what their stand is, but that they're responsible for our country. They're responsible for the direction it moves in.

Links for this episode:

Get Involved: Rising Tide returns to Xavier in 2012

Rising Tide is a conference on the future of New Orleans. It's an annual gathering for all who wish to learn more and do more to assist New Orleans' recovery. It's for everyone who loves New Orleans and is working to bring a better future to all its residents.

Last year Rising Tide came to our campus for the first time, in partnership with Xavier's Center for the Advancement of Teaching. The program was bigger and more ambitious than ever, with programs on social media, social justice, the BP oil disaster, food and music. Keynote speakers were Richard Campanella and David Simon. (If you missed it, don't worry, you can watch it online.)

This year's conference (Saturday Sept. 22, 2012) promises an even broader scope. Topics currently under development include the cultural economy, education, electoral politics, the NFL bounty scandal, and religion and spirituality. If it is relevant to New Orleans, you may find it here.

Want to get involved? Help develop programming, volunteer to work the event, or just tell us what you think.

Call Bart Everson in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching at 504-520-5164 or email for more information.

There has been some heated discussion in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the future of the college lecture.  Is it a thing of the past in the internet age?  See what students have to say.  Whatever your opinion of the views being expressed, this article has been getting a lot of attention.

A few days ago, Lee Bessette posted a call to action on Inside Higher Ed:

We need a Day of HigherEd (hashtag #dayofhighered). While many of us have written posts broadly outlining what we do in a day (and how disgusted we all are by the at best misleading and at worst dishonest portrayal of our work), few of us have ever taken the time to actually record, in minutia, what we do as professors from the moment we wake up to the minute we fall asleep. All the work we do that contributes to our job as educators.

The idea, then, is for academics to take the day of April 2nd to tweet and/or blog about what they do, as a way of reminding the world that yes, we do work for a living.

This might best be understood in the context of David C. Levy's recent polemic in the Washington Post, which asks the question, "Do college professors work hard enough?"

As for Bessette's post, it garnered only three comments, one of which derided the proposition. One might think that idea was dead in the water.

Not so.

There's quite a discussion on Twitter. Just check the #DayofHigherEd hashtag. Bessette affirms it's on for April 2nd.

Of course, that's right in our spring break, so authentic participation from Xavier faculty is probably not realistic. Still it's something, perhaps, to keep your eye on.

The nonprofit TED, famous for their 18-minute lectures on a vast variety of topics, which some credit with sparking an intellectual movement, has a new YouTube channel for teachers and professors.

It's called TED-Ed. The full launch is expected in April, but a smattering of videos is available now, in five categories:

  • Awesome Nature
  • How Things Work
  • Playing With Language
  • Questions No One (Yet) Knows the Answers To
  • Inventions that Shaped History

Each video teams an educator with an animator, and given TED's track record, they are virtually guaranteed to be of the highest quality both in terms of presentation style and the ideas presented.

These videos are shorter than TED's 18-minute standard. Obviously one can't expect a great depth in a short video, but these might serve as good conversation starters, either in the classroom or online.

Here's an example, in which Jason Munshi-South shows how animals develop genetic differences in evolution, even within an urban city.

You can check out all the TED-Ed videos on their new YouTube channel.

Download Conversation #14

Karen DeMoss

A conversation with Karen DeMoss of The New School on teaching, learning, and under-prepared students.

They pursue individualized learning; they find individualized questions and like-minded groups where they have passions, all the time, every day. They actually know how to do that. We just haven't ever had an experience that's persistent and consistent enough across academia where they're using that kind of interest-driven inquiry inside things they're producing for us. And that last phrase, "for us," may be part of it.

Links for this episode:

If you use any Google services, you've undoubtedly noted their new privacy policy, since they've been springing pop-up alerts to users over the past month or so.

How does it all boil down?

Sharon Vaknin offers a concise summary of the changes and why you might have cause for concern:
Five ways Google's unified privacy policy affects you