April 4, 2020

To Grade or Not to Grade? During Coronavirus, That Is The Question (edsurge.com)

Stommel Comments on Grading During Coronavirus

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer of Digital Studies, commented on an EdSurge.com article, “To Grade or Not to Grade? During Coronavirus, That is the Question.”

Crises tend to insert new words into our lexicon. For educators in the era of coronavirus, one such term is “continuity.” It’s become both a strategy and a rallying cry as classrooms darken and instruction shifts online.

Except—striving for continuity may be a bit delusional right now. Or it may be an effort that betrays misplaced priorities. That’s the view of Jesse Stommel, a digital learning fellow and senior lecturer at the University of Mary Washington.

“I don’t want there to be ‘continuity.’ I want my students to deal with their lives,” he says. “I don’t have any expectations of continuity in my course. I let go of that the instant this started to happen.”

Like Stommel, some faculty and administrators are wondering whether the pandemic demands they shed traditional practices, at least temporarily, rather than sustain them at all costs. One custom they’re reconsidering? Grading. Read more.

Stommel Mentioned Chronicle of Higher Education

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer of digital studies, was mentioned in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled, “How Can You Find Time to Connect with Students – When There’s Never Enough Time?” The article lists several professors to follow on Twitter who can provide useful insight on this topic, including Stommel, “[who] explains his discomfort with the idea of ‘scaffolding,’ which he argues breaks learning into neat chunks without being responsive to students, in an essay for the American Association of University Professors. Read more.

Stommel Comments on EdTech Apps

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer of digital learning, commented on the ubiquity of edtech apps and tools and the dangers they poise to student privacy on an education blog.

“The onus has to be on the tech companies themselves to educate the users about data security and data monetization … say ‘here’s why I’m collecting it, here’s what I hope to do with it, here’s why it should matter to you’,” Stommel said. He also shared concerns about colleges and universities adopting these technologies widely on campuses. “When certain companies become universal, staff and students don’t have a way to say ‘I won’t use it because I don’t want them to have my data’,” he said.  Read more. 

 

Stommel Quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer of digital studies, was recently quoted in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “A Teacher’s New Year’s Resolution: Stop Fixating on the Data,” which encourages teachers to lessen the focus on objective measures, rather than learning itself.

Stommel discusses scaffolding, which the author defines as “a popular teaching practice in which faculty members provide support and assistance for students as they initially try to carry out a task or activity, and then gradually reduce that assistance.” The author then shares a recent tweet by Stommel, who said, “We’ve taken for granted that scaffolding is necessarily good. Any pedagogical approach should be looked at with one eyebrow raised. Especially one as widely accepted as instructional scaffolding. Scaffolding should be done with students, not before they’ve arrived on the scene.” Read more. 

Stommel Interviewed by Chronicle of Higher Ed on his ‘Start by Trusting Students’ Philosophy

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer in digital studies, was interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “Forget Grades and Turnitin. Start Trusting Students.” In it, he talks about his #4wordpedagogy, “Start by trusting students.”

“There’s a lot of talk in faculty development about best practices. But every teacher teaches at a different institution, they teach different students, they’re a different body in the classroom, and so the idea of best practices seems flawed to me,” Stommel said to the Chronicle. “Instead I think about best philosophies. That’s really where ‘start by trusting students’ came from. That looks different for different teachers in different classrooms, but it is a place to put your foot as you enter a classroom.” Read more. 

Forget Grades and Turnitin. Start Trusting Students. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Stommel Interviewed by PBS on How Students Should Communicate with Professors

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, senior lecturer in digital studies, was quoted in an article on PBS.com entitled, “Don’t email like you text, and other tips for writing to a professor.” Stommel cautioned against using a one-size-fits-all approach for teacher-student communication. “Stommel … warned against advocating broadly ‘for one specific way students should address teachers.’ The relationships between teachers and students are ‘idiosyncratic and influenced by the pedagogical approach of individual teachers, the institutions where they work and the specific courses they teach,’ he said. ‘And teachers from marginalized communities have different challenges than those with more privilege. There is no one and no easy solution.'” Read more. 

 

Don’t email like you text, and other tips for writing to a professor (PBS.com)

Stommel Quoted in Chronicle of Higher Education Article

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning

Jesse Stommel, Senior Lecturer of Digital Studies

Senior Lecturer of Digital Studies Jesse Stommel was interviewed for a Chronicle of Higher Education article on a company called RaiseMe that is offering students “microscholarships,” small credits towards their bill in exchange for completing tasks such as meeting with academic advisors or getting involved on campus. The article said while some colleges and universities are embracing the program, some faculty members like Stommel are a little more skeptical.

“Stommel likes that RaiseMe gives students ‘very visible and clear goalposts’ for what they should do, he said. But he worries that solutions like microscholarships can obscure the bigger student-success problems for colleges: The financial-aid system is broken, Stommel said, and students need a lot more high-touch, human support. ‘It feels a little like ‘There’s an app for that,'” he said. ‘There’s an app for retaining students — and it’s more complicated than that.'” Read more.