Tag Archives: podcast

Thinking about student attendance. Podcast recommendation: “Talking Learning and Teaching” with Tom Lowe

Now that we are back to (the new?) normal after the pandemic, it seems that something has changed regarding how student physically attend teaching. Why is that? That’s what Kevin L. Merry and Tom Lowe are exploring on the “Talking Learning and Teaching” podcast.

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How to show students that they matter, inspired by episodes of two of my favourite podcasts

Yesterday I went on a lovely after-work walk with one of my favorite podcasts (check them out, all highly recommended!), and I want to mention two podcast episodes Iistened to recently, through the lens (mixing my metaphors here, but you get the idea) of how to show students that they matter to us as teachers. Continue reading

Trauma-aware teaching: Listening to Karen Costa on the “tea for teaching” podcast

Today was the first time in half a year or so that I listened to a podcast (other than the Academic Imperfectionist, where I make sure to not miss an episode, and, occasionally, the Amazing If Squiggly Careers, which I also find super helpful in navigating my own squiggly career), and I will take that as a good sign of slowly adjusting to life in a new country and slowly starting to have the capacity to listen to things on my walks again, instead of just being happy about low-input time (well, except for the wave watching, of course!) to process all the new things around me.

The episode I listened to today was on trauma-aware pedagogy on one of my other favourite podcasts, tea for teaching, with guest Karen Costa, and it has given me so much to think about! (And, I actually just registered for a workshop on Climate Action Pedagogy she’s leading in August because she was just so inspiring and I want more of that!)

The conversation is centred around student disengagement, which many teachers report having noticed since the beginning of the politics, and three main questions around it: Why is it happening, what about other disengagement, and what can we do?

First to the why of student disengagement: It’s basically a survival response to all the stresses of the pandemic (and other stressors that are also present, like for example climate change!): Students focus on getting out of the figurative burning building rather than on whatever teaching we might think they should be engaging with inside that building. And this flight response influences students’ executive functions: their decision making, time management, concentration, … This is just a biological reaction that we need to be aware of, not much we can do about it. Although, yesterday I listened to an Academic Imperfectionist episode where she talks about how we can strap our anxieties into the passenger seat and keep on driving, and just pick dedicated times to actually confront the anxieties, so there are strategies that we, and students, could employ to stay more focussed on what we want to focus on. BUT! Student blaming is not the point, and it leads nicely to the second big theme:

Why do we always talk about student disengagement, not about faculty disengagement, or dean disengagement, or politics disengagement? We are more than two years into this pandemic, where are the strategies from deans, universities, governments to help us all deal with it in a constructive way?

So what can we do?

One super important message in this episode is to, no matter how much good you want to do for your students, not sacrifice yourself. Even though offering more flexibility is a great way to make life easier for students, it still needs to stay manageable and not lead to burnout; that would not serve the students, either. And just because some other teachers might be able to do more to accommodate students does not mean that you have to, too: everybody has different resources at their disposal and lives different lives. Being transparent to students about what you can do and where your boundaries are is really important. And transparency is also important in communicating “upwards”: This is what I would like to do, this is what I can do, this is what I need more resources for. We all do have choices of where we allocate time and money, and if we all communicate what we need, maybe “those up there” can and will take it into consideration more.

The perhaps most thought-provoking prompt in this episode for me was that this pandemic is a symptom of climate change, and we need to be prepared for what is to come: Things are very unlikely to become easier in the future, so how can I best prepare for what will be needed then?

For me personally, a lot of my work is currently focussed on creating environments in which students feel like they belong, and where they can concentrate on learning and are not distracted by stereotype threats, harassment, etc.. I believe that this is super important, but one aspect that I think I should focus on more than I’ve done so far is how those efforts would translate if we had to go back to virtual teaching, possibly on short notice. Would my workshop concepts still work, or can I figure out a virtual or hybrid version in parallel to the in-person ones we are currently planning? And in addition to thinking about obstacles to belonging (like harassment etc), can we strengthen belonging even in virtual settings? Of course there are strategies that I have employed over the last two years that focus on creating community online etc, but one aspect that I hadn’t really thought about was that belonging, in addition to feeling part of a peer group in the subject, also has the component of feeling connected to the content, the discipline, the books etc.. And I have definitely experienced that aspect myself: When I moved out of oceanography research almost 10 years ago, and lost the daily direct access to oceanographers in coffee rooms and at conferences, my #KitchenOceanography and #WaveWatching work became more important to me to keep my identity as oceanographer alive while I moved into academic development work. So I will be thinking more about how both #KitchenOceanography and #WaveWatching can be useful to not only connect disciplinary content to everyday experiences, but also to strengthen a sense of belonging with the discipline and identification with the subject. The often-repeated message of this episode, “small is all”, is a good motto to live by as I take on this new task!

So go, listen to the episode and let me know: what is your next small step?

P.S.: One thing that I’ve never done before and that feels slightly weird is feature specific scientists whose work I find inspiring. But since I wrote about the “tea for teaching” podcast episode just now, and when I wanted to tweet my blog post, came across the Twitter profile @teaforteaching, which, as far as I can see, is not related to the podcast at all, but belongs to Katie Bateman, and her research is the PERFECT continuation of the things I was pondering this morning, so here we go: check her out, her work is inspiring! She recently published on how playdough can help learn spatial skills in geoscience education (which I would put under the wide umbrella of #KitchenOceanography, but check it out: Bateman et al., 2022), and also about what we can learn from this pandemic for future disruptions (It’s not only about how individuals adapt, it’s also about what kind of support network they have / their caring responsibilities / …, stress levels are highest for people on non-permanent positions (surprise!), and different people need different kinds of support in terms of good learning management systems, support from academic developers, … And: the more time people have to prepare, the better. So universities should be as quick as possible, making decisions as early as possible, to give people security for their planning. Read more here: Bateman et al., 2022)


Bateman, K. M., Ham, J., Barshi, N., Tikoff, B., & Shipley, T. F. (2022). Scaffolding geology content and spatial skills with playdough modeling in the field and classroom. Journal of Geoscience Education, 1-15. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epub/10.1080/10899995.2022.2071082

Bateman, K. M., Altermatt, E., Egger, A. E., Iverson, E., Manduca, C., Riggs, E. M., … & Shipley, T. F. (2022). Learning from the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Faculty Experiences Can Prepare Us for Future System-Wide Disruption. GSA Today. https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1170&context=geological_sciences

Podcasts on learning and teaching, career development, and mental health in academia

Over the summer, I’ve really gotten into podcasts, mainly to get new perspectives and ideas on university teaching, and also on life in academia. Here are several that I listen to regularly when I’m going for walks and that I can fully recommend! And by “fully recommend” I mean that I listen to all new episodes that they put out, and browse the archives when I am looking for inspiration… So here is who you should be listening to, too!*

Podcasts on university teaching

Lecture breakers

Barbi Honeycutt’s “Lecture Breakers” is — quite literally — on things that break up a lecture and engage students in active learning, which she talks about from her own experience and with many different guests. This podcast I would highly recommend to people who want to get tons of new, actionable ideas to change things up in their teaching practice, for example great ideas for reflection prompts (My take on this here: “take on a role and write a summary from that perspective“), or creative ways to end the semester, or sooo many more! There are, in fact, so many cool ideas that I am not even going to attempt compiling them here. Check it out!

Teaching in higher ed

Bonni Stachowiak has insightful conversations with different guests, and listening to “teaching in higher ed” is getting kind of expensive because I keep ordering the books recommended on there (like “invisible learning” that I wrote about earlier, where the interview with the author was great and the book even better).

The first episode I ever listened to (on “becoming a minority“) blew me away because it exposed me to a way of thinking about minorities and experiences connected to being in the majority vs the minority that was completely new to me, especially by seeing it through the eyes of someone who grew up in the majority, then moved, and then “became” a minority, so knows both sides of the coin.

The next episode (on “teaching effectively with zoom“) then provided me with great ideas right when I needed them, and the rest is history. I love how different the different episodes are, I usually feel like I have been exposed to completely new ways of thinking. I take so many actionable ideas and tricks away from it that I don’t want to imagine what my online teaching would look like without the input from this podcast!

Tea for teaching

This is a series of informal conversations between a core team and invited experts on different topics. Experts can be researchers in educational sciences, experienced teachers, students, or anyone else with relevant expertise.

My first episode there (and the one that made me subscribe) was on “gender and groups“, a conversation about a recent study that showed that in a setting where women are the minority when planning small group work, spreading them out over as many groups as possible is actually doing them a disservice. For the women, it is better to be the majority in the groups they are in (and then just not represented at all in others). Interestingly, being in the majority is good for the women, being in the minority doesn’t have a harmful effect on the men, so there seems to be no downside to just implement this going forward!

Another memorable episode was on “engaging students“, where students were included in a project to figure out how they actually like being engaged in class, and asked for the advice they would give their teachers. While there wasn’t a big newsflash happening for me, it was still very interesting to be reminded of how important it is to learn student names (or even just call them by their name that you read off of zoom or a name tent — it’s the intent that matters), and similar small-ish hacks.

Another recent episode dealt with the impact that faculty mindsets have on student achievement (an instructor with a growth mindset leads to more learning!), and by what mechanisms the mindset is communicated to students (e.g. by what they say, how they give feedback, what type of assessment they use, …). And there might actually be mindset interventions that we could do on instructors to change their mindsets towards a growth mindset, which would then have an effect on many many students down the line!

Other episodes focus on super courses (meaning courses that deal with fascinating, big questions throughout that students can identify with and want to actually work on), or capstone experiences (“a course with no content” at the end of a study program that “can provide students with a rich learning experience full of analysis and insights”).

And browsing past episodes now, I noticed that I really want to revisit the one on “critical race theory“. Love this podcast, always inspiring!

Dead ideas in teaching and learning

Is literally about “dead ideas”, i.e. beliefs about teaching and learning that have been proven wrong but that keep persisting. For example using a few high-stakes essays: that’s not teaching, that’s assessing.

Coping with all kinds of challenges in academia

The academic imperfectionist

The academic imperfectionist” is a coaching podcast with episodes on topics as awesome as “how to work as efficiently as you procrastinate“. This is the only podcast where I actually went back and listened to ALL available episodes, and it is the first one I catch up on if I didn’t listen to podcasts for a while. You NEED to listen to this yourself!

The agile academic

The agile academic” is a podcast for women in and around higher ed, on their experiences and the strategies that they have developed to cope and strive. I love that I knew some the inspiring women interviewed on this podcast already from different contexts (for example Bonni Stachowiak from her awesome podcast “Teaching in higher ed” (see above), and Susanna Harris from her mental health advocacy work Twitter), and that I get to see them in a new light now that I learn more about them.

The professor is in

The professor is in” is super helpful for a new perspective on “passion” as the driving force in academia that lets us put up with crappy employment situations. If we are really so passionate about our jobs, can we complain? Or, on the other side of that coin, is “passion” really something we should value this much? (Spoiler alert: nope)

Squiggly Careers

This podcast is about non-linear career paths and is SUPER interesting. The episode that got me hooked was on “how to redefine success in a squiggly career“. They are clearly speaking my language when they talk about thinking about what being successful means. The picture they use to describe impact on people beyond ourselves is that of making bigger and bigger ripples that grow wider and wider. So how can we make sure that ripples become as large as possible and reach as far as possible? We could throw a pebble into the sea, make ripples more defined, reach further, or interact with others! Might be just me, but this image (and this approach of thinking in an analogy) really spoke to me.

Another episode, on “how to build a personal board for your career“, very much reminded me of our ESWN “mentoring map”, but in a complementary way.

What they do really really well (and other podcasts do this, too, but I specifically love theirs) are one-page summaries. And I find it super useful that they have transcripts readily available, because as much as I like listening to podcasts, sometimes I just want to skim over the content, and then reading is a lot faster for me!

So this is it, my current list of go-to podcasts. Hope you’ll check some of them out! :)


*Keep in mind, though, that there are many more awesome podcasts on the same topic out there, and that these are my personal favourites. And what makes them my favourite is, for example, how long they are and if they fit well with the typical amount of time I want to spend on a podcast, i.e. the length of a walk or run (all these 10 minute episodes give me way too much opportunity to consider pausing a run, I need a substantial amount of time immerged and not thinking ;-)). I am noticing that they are all the podcasts I list here are hosted or at least co-hosted by women, for example, and it is quite likely that that is a bias I introduced because these just happen to be the podcasts I enjoy listening to, where I relate to the hosts and their stories. So please take this list only as a starting point and find the podcasts that are the best fit for your preferences!

P.S.: In the summer, my blog was mentioned in the newsletters of Teaching in Higher Ed and Lecture Breakers, both on the same day! How cool is it that those people that I pull so much inspiration and so many ideas from are aware of this blog and even think it worth sharing? Makes me feel very proud!

 

My 3 favourite podcasts on university teaching

Thanks to Corona and my minimum of 10k steps a day, I now have a good hour every day that I increasingly often use not to quietly ponder my surroundings or catch up with friends in a phone call, but listen to podcasts. I am very selective about what I want to listen to, but here are three that I can highly recommend to anyone who is interested in university teaching, and that I feel have really given me food for thought and had a positive influence on my teaching practice. Enjoy!

Teaching in higher ed

Teaching in higher ed” was the first podcast I started listening to regularly. And it’s also one that is getting kind of expensive because I keep ordering the books recommended on there (like “invisible learning” that I wrote about earlier, where the interview with the author was great and the book even better). Not that I regret buying any of the books, though!

The first episode I ever listened to (on “becoming a minority“) blew me away because it exposed me to a way of thinking about minorities and experiences connected to being in the majority vs the minority that was completely new to me, especially by seeing it through the eyes of someone who grew up in the majority, then moved, and then “became” a minority, so knows both sides of the coin.

The next episode (on “teaching effectively with zoom“) then provided me with great ideas right when I needed them, and the rest is history. I love how different the different episodes are, I usually feel like I have been exposed to completely new ways of thinking. I take so many actionable ideas and tricks away from it that I don’t want to imagine what my online teaching would look like without the input from this podcast!

The professor is in

The professor is in” is a fairly new find that Steph recommended on Twitter and that I have since been binge-listening. A recurring theme there is that they have a really different view on “passion” as a driving force than I had up to that point. I was socialized in a culture where being passionate is something commendable. You should follow you passion and choose your career accordingly. Passion is what gets you out of bed in the mornings and makes you excited to run to work every day, week days and weekends. Passion is something that I have felt, and looked for and encouraged in my students. But this podcast really gave me something to think about. Because if passion is the ultimate driver, it can overshadow other important considerations. If you work because you are so passionate, it is easy to exploit you. Because how can you possibly care about wages or working hours if you are working on something you are passionate about? Which of course you are, because not being passionate is pretty much the worst that someone can be. But if passion is the driving force and if you are only passionate enough, you will surely succeed, that also makes failure an individual failure rather than maybe an issue within the system or just a case of wrong time wrong place. It builds up the illusion that passion is all you should ever want or need. And apparently it plays a big role in hiring processes and counts very much just to claim to “be passionate”! It gives you the competitive edge and people are excitedly looking forward to working with you (but they do not give you a higher salary). Many of the recent episodes focus or at least touch on this topic (and I haven’t gotten very far back yet to say anything about the older episodes), but definitely check out this podcast if these ideas are intriguing to you!

Tea for teaching

I haven’t listened to “Tea for teaching” as regularly as to the other two, but I think that’s mainly because the lengths of the episodes don’t fit as well with the walking routine as for the other two podcasts. My first episode there (and the one that made me subscribe) was on “gender and groups“, a conversation about a recent study that showed that in a setting where women are the minority when planning small group work, spreading them out over as many groups as possible is actually doing them a disservice. For the women, it is better to be the majority in the groups they are in (and then just not represented at all in others). Interestingly, being in the majority is good for the women, being in the minority doesn’t have a harmful effect on the men, so there seems to be no downside to just implement this going forward!

And then today, I listened to an episode on “engaging students“, where students were included in a project to figure out how they actually like being engaged in class, and asked for the advice they would give their teachers. While there wasn’t a big newsflash happening for me, it was still very interesting to be reminded of how important it is to learn student names (or even just call them by their name that you read off of zoom or a name tent — it’s the intent that matters), and similar small-ish hacks.

So there you have them — my three favourite podcasts on university teaching! Any other related podcasts that you would recommend?

Treibholz Podcast, my first episode in 2020

Check out today’s episode of Treibholz Podcast, where Maxie, Ronja and I talk about the oceanic overturning circulation and #KitchenOceanography (in german), while each of us is doing a similar experiment in her own home. Is podcasting a good format to convey what’s going on with our water, ice and dye? We’ll know soon! :D