SSCA 2018, Nashville

Attending regional conferences is one of the most exciting parts of my job. I always leave with so much inspiration from the work of the many amazing scholars across the country. This year, the Southern States Communication Association conference was held in Nashville from April 5th through April 8th, so I didn’t even have to leave the state! One of my favorite things about the SSCA conferences is its relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to engage with so many welcoming people.

Skunkworks!: Using unconventional paper airplanes to teach the communication of technical information and procedural instructions

A class activity where students design an unusual paper airplane, then create a set of instructions for another student to replicate the design. Students test-fly the completed models.

Writing Professional Emails

Engaging in professional communication with your professor is a good habit and it helps ensure that they have a good impression of you. Many students have difficulty using email effectively. If you are having trouble figuring out how to put together an email to your professor, you can’t go wrong with the template below. Whether you are in my class or any other class at the college, this template should work well.

Brainstorming Topics for Presentations

The larger the set of topics you consider, the stronger the strongest topic will tend to be. You need to consider a large number of topics for your presentation. I generally recommend that my students consider around 100 topics for each presentation they give in my classes. Coming up with 100 topics might seem difficult at first, but going in with a plan makes it much easier. Here are some tips to help you come up with that initial list of 100 topics:

End-of-Semester Lessons - 2015F

At the end of every semester I find that there are several things that I want to file away as important lessons for the future. I don’t know that I’ll use a categorical breakdown in the future, but I have broken down my list this semester into general lessons, lessons about teaching, and lessons about writing. They are, for lack of any better scheme, in alphabetical order. Here is my list for this semester:

I Built a Duration Calculator

I get very frustrated when I have to add up durations of time to figure out a total amount of time. The basic communication class at Purdue (COM 114, a presentational speaking class) is being revamped this year. As part of that revamping, the class has gained an “Asynchronous Presentation.” I am a big supporter of this presentation, which amounts to a recorded narration over a PowerPoint-style visual aid, because it uses a lot of important skills for types of presentations that are not taught as well as they could be.

Students, Stop Telling me you Won't be in Class

Every semester I get emails from students that bother me. Every teacher has different preferences. I don’t expect students to have mine memorized. Even so, I still find some especially annoying. The one that has been bothering me this week is the “hey, I won’t be in class, just so you know” email. I get it, I just don’t care—unless you make it my problem too. I Get It I was an undergraduate student too.