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Mary Roth
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I have been a long-time user of mind maps — a way of visually organizing information. Using mind maps as a thinking, planning, brainstorming tool was popularized by Tony Buzan in his book The Mind Map Book but the basic concept has been around for centuries. For more than 20... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2018 at Designing a Teaching Life
A few years back, my husband built me a large whiteboard following plans provided in Doorley and Witthotf’s book Make Space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration. The board was a prototype for boards that I use in some of the classes I teach, but the whiteboard he... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2018 at Designing a Teaching Life
I've been in higher education for nearly 30 years. My path to this point includes both teaching and being in multiple administrative positions. A few years back, I returned to being a full-time teacher and I have found that I am energized by my own learning about ways to incorporate... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2018 at Designing a Teaching Life
I spent last week as a mentor and facilitator for Project Kaleidoscope's STEM Leadership Institute. Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) is "AAC&U’s STEM higher education reform center dedicated to empowering STEM faculty, including those from underrepresented groups, to graduate more students in STEM fields who are competitively trained and liberally educated." The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
This post was previously published on my blog at I'm posting it here because in the courses I teach, I ask students to do a lot of reflection and I've found that most of them have little experience with the practice. I've pointed students and colleagues to this post... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
The first designed object I ask students in my class to consider closely is a chair. Chairs have simple design features, they are ubiquitous on college campuses, and they provide a wonderful subject for conversations about the definition of good design. In the past when I have introduced students to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
I've taught my course using sketching to help students learn about design three times and the benefits of the approach are easy for me to see -- so why do I find it so challenging to maintain a habit of sketching? When I'm actually teaching the course, the habit is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
I wanted students to sketch in my class because I wanted them to slow down and observe the objects and spaces around them. We spend so much of our days on autopilot and college students spend their days going to class, studying, exercising, and socializing but, like the rest of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
A selection of some of my first sketches as I started to prepare to teach the course for the first time... (You can see some evidence that I was trying to follow Betty's suggestions here!) Some of my sketches from the first time I taught the course... And some of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
If I was going to use sketching to help students learn about design, I first needed to learn to sketch. Since I teach at a college, I had the benefit of having colleagues who taught sketching so I went to them. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take a class,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
When my "internship" with the engineering firm ended, I continued to reflect on how the simple act of sketching is a tool for developing better understanding of whatever you are observing. And while I saw the potential value of integrating sketching in my engineering courses, I was struck by the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
I confess, I struggle with sketching. I'm sure as a child I drew pictures, but to be honest, I have few memories of drawing as a child -- I remember reading a lot of books and learning to play more than one musical instrument, but I don't recall any attempts... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
When I started teaching my course, one goal I had was to keep the tools my students and I used for drawing simple. I wanted my students to focus on the objects they were drawing and not on the tools they were using to create the drawings. I provide each... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
A few years ago, my daughter took a class in geology. Instead of traditional lectures and laboratory sessions, each week the instructor took the students to a new location near the campus and asked them to look at the shape of the land and the rocks outcrops and to make... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
For the past three years, I've been teaching a course for first-year students where the students and I use observational drawing and reflection to study the designs of objects and spaces we use everyday. I started this blog so that I can share what I've learned by teaching this course... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at Sketching for Understanding
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Jan 9, 2018