We didn’t start THOSE fires! Maybe a boat getting stuck wasn’t too bad.

Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, putting out fires.

On my current bent of looking at education from a 30,000 foot view I was thinking about how our students will handle future crises, and what skills I would hope they have. The world may (read: will) always have fires, but preparing people mentally, emotionally, and physically for them can keep certain fires from getting out of hand.

Prepping for fires

I know, when you only have a subsection of curriculum to teach, how do you address these? Like DEI, it shouldn’t be something that you address in one particular lecture, but spread throughout the course.

How can you relate your content to broader skills they may need? How can math instill resilience? How can art instill self-efficacy? How can kinesiology get you TOTALLY SWOLE!

Need something more concrete?

With all this theorizing I don’t want to leave out the tangible skills for you to use.

Of course, the Center for Teaching and Learning has gobs of useful resources for you.

Also, keep an eye out for the “Timely Teaching Tips” in the “OSU Today” news letter.

Also, Also, don’t forget about our own Teaching Excellence repository of resources (I’m particularly a fan of the self-evaluations at the end).

Latest Billy Joel GIFs | Gfycat

Have you heard of the “marshmallow test”? No, this isn’t that game you play with a bunch of them in your mouth as you try to yell out “Chsuggy gunnny!!”

As any phycologist can tell you, the classic marshmallow test was used to correlate children’s impulse control with later success. Basically, being offered one marshmallow “right now”, or two of them if they wait a little bit. Those children willing to wait for a greater reward were more likely to go to college. (I could go look up the exact details for that, but I’d rather rely on my faulty memory)

Self-control and Self-efficacy

Two aspects of a successful person, right? Well, with most things, it’s all gray. Everyone has differing levels of each. But how much “bang for our buck” do we get out of these? Specifically, how much do these variables dictate our student’s success?

A recent newsletter from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) referred to a study [Travis and Bunde (2020)] that found “…1) Students who reported higher self-efficacy, lower stress ratings, and higher need satisfaction had higher GPA scores, more satisfaction with school, decreased intention to transfer, and fewer hours withdrawn. 2) When students felt their needs were being met, they had greater intent to persist beyond the effects of high stress or low academic self-efficacy.”

The author continues, “This research highlights the role of self-regulation skills in student outcomes and perceptions in college. This indicates not only the connection between self-regulation support and academic success, but the vitality of including self-regulation in educational policy and school design/research. Specifically, this study suggests that the identification and removal of certain stressors may improve academic performance and socioemotional outcomes. The findings also indicate the need to be mindful of basic human needs when creating and implementing achievable academic challenges.”

Did I answer my question about the relationship between this and academic success? No. Did I give you some great info to use in your classes? Kinda. Did I post an amazingly strange and catchy song at the end of this? You be the judge!

Stop it now!

And this is how Youtube rabbit holes start.

Steve ‘n’ Seagulls?


This right here. I expect a full recitation at the end of the day.

…Why did I have to memorize glycolysis… in undergrad, masters, and again in my doctoral program? I still don’t know it by heart after teaching it multiple times a year, and it took up so much mental energy!

Facts are important, but as humans, we have created some pretty awesome tools for storing those facts. So awesome that we also store all the things that are incorrect as well, you know, just in case.

Here, memorize this book

Yes, we used to do this. Before books, uh, had copies, if you got your hands on a book and wanted to “read it later” you needed to memorize the entire thing. It wasn’t until the library of Alexandria that we started copying books regularly (they would get the books from merchants and the like, copy them, AND GIVE BACK THE COPY, keeping the original for themselves).

But I digress… I know your 3rd grade teacher told you “you won’t have a calculator with you wherever you go”, but they were wrong (particularly for those kids that had the calculator watches. All the rage in 90’s nerd fashion). You now have the whole worlds knowledge in your pocket. And if you don’t, you either lost your phone, or are in a world with a whole host of additional “mad max” like problems that your phone won’t help with.

So why memorize?

There are definitely cases where you need to memorize things. First that come to mind are anatomy and coding (or any language for that matter). Not to discount any other areas; there are always SOME things that need to be committed to long term memory.

The reasons to memorize something: You will never see the info again, it is convenient to not look something up every time, …and strange party tricks?

So think about what content you have your students memorize. Is it a good idea to have them spend their precious thoughts on knowing the intermediate enzymes and substrates in the Krebs cycle? Can you show them where to find the exact information, but then spend their thoughts on understanding how that information fits in with the rest of the field?

Think of it as “functional knowledge”. How are they going to use it in “the real world”, and how can you help them with that skill.

And if you need to have them memorize some monstrosity, try teaching them about using a memory palace first.

Fun fact! That voice actor can STILL do that song, and has even added the countries that didn’t make it into the original. Updated in 2017

Best Yakko GIFs | Gfycat

Last week I gave a lecture on research ethics. I have a love/hate relationship with teaching research ethics.

To drive home the importance of why we have an IRB and IACUC, I point out some of the atrocities that have happened in the name of science… and it’s heavy; hard to digest.

But this brings to light very specific reasons why we have historically treated each other poorly. Treating others as “less than”. Less than my color. Less than my origin. Less than my race. Less than my species. This devalues, and puts the other group in a separate compartment that: doesn’t need, doesn’t deserve, doesn’t want… doesn’t feel.

We are all only human.

My only “tip” for this week is to think about your students. We are in such a unique position to evaluate so much more about a student than the major area skills.

Are you making them feel heard, valued, human? You may be the first to recognize behavior patterns that indicate something else going on. And you don’t need to sacrifice academic rigor to be a kind person.

Now go enjoy your week fellow human!

Humanlike Robots and Your Brain Creepy Feeling

I sure did!

I was going to start this week with “too legit to quit”, but the classic just couldn’t be passed up. Make sure to watch the Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby” to see some sweet 90’s drama!

Anyway… Just two things.

-Reminder to think about “Keep, Start, Stop”! It’s a great way to to get some honest feedback from your students. Hopefully by now they have an assignment or quiz completed so they have a little bit of footing in your class. This gives you a chance to see what is/isn’t working this term.

It’s pretty easy to set up an anonymous quiz for extra credit points through Canvas. You just have to download the report afterwards to get the responses. These also look great on an annual review! Let me know if you want/need more direction for this.

-Lastly, CTL is putting on a short session through Information Services on how to put quizzes in your videos. Just in case you were worried if they were paying attention or not, or, you know, reward students who ARE actually paying attention.

The sessions are Wed, April 28th from 2-3pm or Thurs, April 29th from 10-11am.

I hope you glide through this week like MC Hammer glides across the stage. (…short little crab-like steps?)

Mc Hammer GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

-Tim Burnett

Instructor of Kinesiology