ruminators' ilk

faculty development, educational technologies, intellectual curieux, info provocations


Faculty Development News This Week:

Faculty Development

--Web Site Resource
Educators today face many challenges in a changing world. What steps can they take to meet these challenges? Horizon is a site devoted to addressing this question. Check it out at Horizon. A free mailing list is also available.

--"Training Treasure Trove," St. Cloud Technical College
St. Cloud Technical College is offering a series of workshops for teachers and trainers.
Each workshop focuses on a specific topic and offers a variety of tips and techniques that can be immediately incorporated into any lesson plan. The topics include:

Workshop One: Assessment Strategies

Workshop Two: Techniques to Engage Learners

Workshop Three: Brain-compatible Learning

Workshop Four: Tapping the Other 90%.

More information about the seminars is available at St. Cloud Technical College. For those interested, I also have one copy of the "Training Treasure Trove" brochure to share.

--Campus CTL Event
The first campus CTL Faculty Roundtable, hosted by Shannon Marting and Colette Wanless-Sobel, is scheduled for Thursday, October 2, 12:30-1:30,Student Center, conference room B, and features Doug Knapp, philosophy, who will present a brief lecture and then conduct discussion. Doug's talk is on Al-Qaeda and is titled "A Critical Look at the 'No Purpose' and 'Omitted Purpose' Theories for Explaining Al-Qaeda's Motives." Come see faculty scholarship at its best! An abstract of Doug's talk is provided below.

For Explaining Al-Qaeda's Motives

Doug Knapp, Philosophy

Various causal factors have been offered to explain the motives behind the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on 9/11 and at many other times and places throughout the world. Quite often the reasons or purposes are said to include political, economic, religious and ethnic factors. Often historical factors, such as colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as nationalism, poverty, class divisions and modernization, are included. But some scholars and political figures, quite inconsistently at times, assert that there is no discernible purpose or purposes in these attacks. It is argued, for example, that the sheer magnitude of the death and carnage in the 9/11 attacks suggests no rational purpose in the minds of the perpetrators. The implication is that the Al Qaeda attacks are allegedly purely irrational. In contrast, I argue that there are flaws and inconsistencies with this No Purpose Theory, and that oil, moreover, should not be omitted (as it often is) from any plausible broad explanation of the complex mix of causal factors. Needless to say, to suggest that Al-Qaeda had reasons is not to suggest that the reasons are necessarily good or morally justifiable reasons. Then again, among these reasons it is necessary to sort out the goals from the violent tactics so as to discover why, in particular, many Arabs and Muslims sympathize with some of the goals.

This whole issue is important because, among other things, if the No Purpose Theory is assumed to be accurate, it would, at least for the problem at hand, eliminate from serious consideration in one fell swoop literally all of the other possible factors (political, religious, economic, etc.). This would be so in spite of the initial reasonableness of the notion that many of these factors have at least some weight or other. But if, contrary to what the No Purpose Theory says, items such as oil are shown to be actually causally important, and are consequently on the table for more extended and open discussion, then there at least would be a better opportunity for more successfully tackling these and ameliorating the risk of future terrorist attacks. At least so I will argue.

A light buffet luncheon will be served, so please R.S.V.P. ahead of time,so we can make sure there is enough food. R.S.V.P.-ing is as simple as clicking Comment at the top of the screen.

The Blog Grab Bag

--Critical Thinking
Current pedagogy stresses the importance of teaching critical thinking in all disciplines. For a annotated bibliography of the community college-critical thinking literature, click on
Critical Thinking and the Community College. For an article addressing critical thinking in the classroom, click here on Teaching Critical Thinking, which will take you to a pdf. file (20 pages).

An interesting resource for teaching communication skills to non-English / English as a second language speakers: ESL

--Teaching Globalization
Free -market- spread or multiculturalism and democracy? For some classroom ideas,
check out
The Globalist
. This is an interesting Web site.

--Teaching Tips
The National Teaching and Learning Forum addresses FAQs about college teaching and learning. Also available at this site are full-text materials and funding resources for teaching, learning, and education. Subscriptions are $49.00 a year, although you can accesssome free tid-bits of information on the Web site. National Teaching and Learning Forum

--Student-Centered Instruction
Some HOW TO advice, along with pitfalls to watch out for:
Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centered Instruction

--Archiving the Internet

Browse through 30 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago.
This search engine now has the ability to do keyword searches. The new feature, currently in beta, offers the ability to search a portion of the Wayback archive database (about eleven billion pages.) Neat stuff, this!

Until next week!

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