Thursday, March 6, 2014

Class project

Anonymous Academic Adjunct posted some vocabulary that translate the bullshit we hear at faculty meetings and professional development workshops into actual real words.

I like that idea.  I like it so much that I want everybody to pitch in to create:

The AWC Big Book of Bullshit

Think of a word or phrase that you hear at work then explain what it really means.  Write it in the comments or send it to me.  I'll create a separate page for the blog with all of our entries.  Kinda like the old CM glossary but with words that faculty and staff hear at work.

Multiple entries allowed.  I'll link to your comment so you get credit (I know you put this stuff in your T&P application).

This will be an ongoing project that may never end, like the typical faculty meeting where we hear these words.


29 comments:

  1. Empowerment: you take the initiative, because administration couldn't be bothered. If it goes wrong, the you-know-what lands on *your* desk. If it goes right, your masters take the credit for their wise leadership.

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    Replies
    1. Empowerment: the ability to be blamed rather than heard.

      Delete
  2. Engagement: a measure of the proportion of class time students spend looking, silent and apparently puzzled, at a professor who has just asked a question rather than at their devices. If the class employs group work, may also apply to the time students spend determining whether any of the other members of the group paid attention to the directions before beginning to discuss their plans for the weekend.

    Engaging: word used at least once in approximately 99% of the advertising emails for curricular materials that land in a professor's inbox.

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    1. ... the time students spend determining whether any of the other members of the group paid attention to the directions before beginning to discuss their plans for the weekend.

      This!

      Delete
  3. Are-You-Suggesting: opening phrased used when one is about to call someone else out on bullshit. Example, "Are you suggesting that math isn't a basic skill?"

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  4. When you hear: it means...

    Student-centered: you're about to hear about a massive curricular change or pedagogical initiative that would require a great amount of time but yield no measurable improvement in student learning

    Facilitate: this presentation will contain a lot of talk about student-centered stuff.

    Collaboration: you will sit through several more meetings to discuss how to facilitate adoption of more student-centered modalities.

    Milestones: you will hear vague references to target dates and requirements; the real information will be emailed at 7PM the evening before your response is due.

    Incentivize: one of your bosses is pocketing all your department's raises this year.

    Accountability: one of your bosses is about to incentivize some collaboration to meet some milestones.

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  5. Benchmarks and Best Practices: Find a couple of other places that are doing the same stuff and copy their assessment tools. Then gin up our numbers to look as good or a little better than their numbers. There's an Associate Dean with an MBA looking over our shoulder, or a Trustees committee looking for something to fix.

    - Old Fart Prof

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  6. MOOC: an amorphous entity that is not a threat to your collegiate programming but is used by the administration the change everything that is working.

    Second-connect: the real reason students go to college; anything the student wants to do for fun that the college offers, as long as it is not academic in nature.

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  7. Flipped classrooms: making it possible for students to sleep through lectures without getting out of bed.

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  8. QEP: A way of vaguely quantifying the (largely in vain) attempts of humanities professors to explain why you need to take my class.

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  9. Educational Design Committee: A group invested with the power to reject the outline of a long-standing course because each topic starts with a number instead of a dash. Numbers are SO four years ago.

    Well, I just think that . . .: Prelude to an obvious but irrelevant statement at a meeting. Also a reprise.

    Congratulations!: means of breaking the news to one of lower rank that he or she has been assigned to a thankless and uncompensated additional role on campus.

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  10. Bloom's taxonomy: a belabored statement and restatement of the obvious observation that creative synthesis and other high-order thinking is different from memorization. Used as an excuse to do no memorization at all, the result of which will be no high-order thinking.

    Socratic method: teaching by asking questions. Often unexamedly assumed to be a universal good, never mind that the Athenians poisoned Socrates.

    Learning styles: a dodge to avoid doing any learning of any kind whatsoever, since "I'm not that learning style," inevitably.

    Pedagogy: something that sounds like what perverts do.

    Bingo: an excellent game to play when the buzzwords are flying in thick and fast.

    Buzzwords: utterances used to avoid having to use one's brain, or to conceal that the emperor is wearing no clothes at all.

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    1. Socratic method: one way a prof or instructor find they're talking to themselves as the questions asked usually go into a student's ear and out the other without hitting anything in between.

      Buzzwords: utterances used to fool people into believing the speaker is party to some secret knowledge, thereby elevating their social status. Also known as malarkey, hogwash, and piffle.

      Closing the loop: sounds as if someone is making a hangman's noose

      Closure: what most administrative mouths lack while spewing biz-speak edu-babble

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Syntax: what I recognize the presenter is using, while also recognizing that it is correct for a language I can understand; however, I am also reminded that syntax and meaning are not the same thing.

      Re BINGO, the idea has been mentioned in a comment on this post. I think it is an excellent defense against buzzwordy presentations.

      Delete
  11. Core competencies: what we should have been doing all along before we added all those touchy-feelie courses

    Key Performance Indicators: numbers which one's department or institution must attain in order to make the applicable administrators look good, attract more applicants, and receive more government funding

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  12. Right-brained learning: no-brained learning. See IQ.

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  13. Student evaluation: (1) a collection of slander, lies, and outright poppycock written by people completely devoid of responsibility, talent, or ambition.
    (2) a convenient tool used by administrators to harass and torment selected teaching staff, based on content of definition (1).

    Customer feedback: see definition (1) of student evaluation.

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  14. Classroom evaluation: A chance for your colleagues to stab you in the back while lauding their own teaching methodologies.

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  15. Group Presentation: time for one student to do all the work and all the others to mumble their way through her PowerPoint.

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    Replies
    1. I see you've been to my committee meetings.

      Fill a spot on your BINGO card when the presenters point with their fingers to the monitor in front of them, which only they can see, while they read the slides verbatim. At least one of the presentations will confuse "effect" and "affect" and make you want punch things.

      (Whoa, I think the captcha was in Swedish.)

      Delete
  16. Team-building: a managerial technique for determining which staff think independently, thereby making them eligible for subsequent "training" (sometimes referred to as "Room 101")

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  17. "Thinking outside the box": the exact opposite of team building, not that this will occur to any advocate of it.

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  18. Active Learning: The physical activity of open mouth breathing associated with slack jawed students.
    (...Inhale...Exhale.....that's it......feel the burn....)

    ReplyDelete