Curriculumn

The Ph.D. Movie: Part One

The Ph.D. Movie: Part One

This two-part movie is based on Piled Higher and Deeper (also known as PhD Comics), is a newspaper and webcomic strip written and drawn by Jorge Cham that follows the lives of several grad students. First published in the fall of 1997 when Cham was a grad student himself at Stanford University, the strip deals with issues of life in graduate school, including the difficulties of scientific research, the perils of procrastination, the complex student–supervisor relationship and the perpetual search for free food. Cham continued the strip as an Instructor in mechanical engineering at Caltech, and now draws and gives talks about the strip full-time. In recent years, he has presented at the University of Minnesota and some of my students had the chance to have supper with him and share stories that might appear in future Ph.D. comics.

When I heard about the comic strip, I asked my graduate research assistants about it. They were all avid readers. I asked them if it was okay for me as a professor to read the comic and laugh at the events. the story lines are that are humorous, painful, and much too real. The students told me that they wanted me and other instructors to read the comic strips to provide some real insights into their lives and maybe consider how I interact with the graduate students. Ouch. While the comic strips are no longer regularly distributed, Jorge Cham has focused his energy on the Ph.D. films and tours the world speaking at colleges to packed audiences of students. Many of the story lines in the comics come directly from experiences shared with him by the graduate students as well as his own experiences.

The actors in the films are real-life graduate students and professors and filmed on college campuses. Cecelia, one of the characters, is my favorite. The actress who portrays her in the movies is now has earned her Ph.D. in astrophysics. Look for her name in the film credits at the end of the second movie. A highlight in her life was interviewing Dr. Steven Hawking for one of the video specials in the Ph.D. series. The look of joy in her eyes during their short interaction was priceless.

The Ph.D. Movie Part Two

The Ph.D. Movie: Part Two

The exciting and satisfying conclusion of the two-part Ph.D. movie series. I will not spoil the story line. As I shared with notes of the first part of this series, the actors are all real graduate students and professors. The story line is both humerus and painful. And much too real. This is required viewing for anyone in graduate school as a student or a professor. I found it enormously helpful as I think about the complicated lives of the graduate students. Be sure to subscribe to the Ph.D. comic strip. It is based on real life events of graduate students.

Universal Design for Learning Explained by Kirk and Spock

Be sure to watch this six-minute video to understand the three basic principles of Universal Design for Learning. It was created using an online software program called Xtranormal. The odd behavior of Kirk and Spock are caused by the software. It is pretty funny but actually very accurate for understanding the three basic principles of UDL. Enjoy.

History Simulations: Engaging Critical Thinking and Developing Multiple Perspectives from Other Cultures

I teach an introductory global history course for first-year undergraduates at the University of Minnesota.  I have been teaching introductory history courses for nearly four decades.  One of the learning activities that has most engaged the students are history simulations.  While I use a varied learning pedagogy, the most meaningful learning events for the students according to them are the simulations.  The students say that it is taking on the role of another country or group and engaging in highly-energized negotiations with two other groups leads to the following outcomes:  active learning like this is most meaningful, develop understanding of different perspectives of other countries and groups, and development of personal negotiation skills they will use in personal and future professional life. <Click here for the history simulation web page.>

My Global History Course Curriculum: Building Cultural Competency and Skill for a Diverse and Interconnected World

This course focuses on understanding the driving forces of change that have been most consequential for global societies in the twentieth century.  Along with traditional lecture, the course facilitates discussion based on primary and secondary sources.  Students read and discuss the meaning of historical documents that highlight forces of global change such as social movements, religion, and competing economic systems.  In addition to these primary source texts, students will gain a deeper understanding of the global past by analyzing interpretations of history by present-day historians. Through this work, students will gain a better understanding of the practice of history and a better understanding of what it has meant to live in the twentieth century. <Click this link to open the comprehensive course page, readings, lecture videos, historyu simulations and other resources.>

Expanded 2016 Revised Directory of Apple TV Apps used for classroom and personal life

Click on this link to download the Apple TV apps directory I use as classroom teacher and in my personal life.

 

Disclaimer:  This document provides an overview of the Apple TV apps I have found useful as a college educator and in my personal life. After posting up this directory a few weeks ago, I have revised it with addition of more apps and reorganized it.  In the future I will only revise the directory about every six months.

I enjoy Apple TV since I am able to watch on a large-screen with a great sound system the same content that used to be confined to my iPhone, laptop, or desktop computer.   At the University of Minnesota where I am a history professor, Apple TV is integrated into a growing number of classrooms so that students can share video content through the projection television system.  First-year students in the College of Education and Human Development receive an iPad upon arrival and use of it is integrated into many of their first-year courses.  I use the history apps to help me connect today’s events with the history topics we are studying in class. 

Check the App Store Often

This abridged directory contains apps that are often free and are of my interest and taste.  With additional ones being added weekly, this directory does not try to be inclusive of all of them.  A nice feature of these apps are that some will dlowload to your personal iPhone and iPad if you have set up the device to receive automatic downloads.

Click on this link to download the Apple TV apps directory I use as classroom teacher and in my personal life.

2016 Apple TV App Directory

Click this link to download the free Apple TV app directory.

At the University of Minnesota where I am a history professor, Apple TV is integrated into a growing number of classrooms so that students can share video content through the projection television system.  First-year students in the College of Education and Human Development receive an iPad upon arrival and use of it is integrated into many of their first-year courses. 

The Apple TV has been an underappreciated technology that Apple has significantly improved through this third-generation unit.  This annotated directory identifies the apps that I use on my Apple TV unit at home on a regular basis.  There are many other apps that I do not profile simply because they require an additional charge for their use or are not of interest.  Currently there is about 160 apps.  I remember when I purchased my first iPhone and then with the first iPad and there were a relatively small number of apps.  Now the library of Apple apps exceeds half a million.  While I don’t expect the same exponential growth for Apple TV, their library will rapidly expand. Many of these Apple TV apps are also available for use on iPhones and iPads.  If you have set up for automatic download of new apps on all your iOS devices, do not be surprised to see some of these apps appearing on other Apple devices.

The Apple TV device allows many free Internet video sources to be accessed through home televisions.  Unless noted otherwise, all apps in this directory are free to download and use on Apple TV.  There are others (especially games) that require a small fee to download (most under $5) and may also include in-app purchases for additional features or for games to obtain more resources.  This abridged directory contains apps that are often free and frankly are of my taste.  With more than 159 apps and additional ones being added weekly, this directory does not try to be inclusive of all of them. 

Click on this link to download the free annotated directory of Apple TV apps.