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A comment thread on a recent question went as follows (saving for posterity):

Excellent question. IMHO, we don't have enough questions about pedagogy on this site. This is a great "how can I ensure my students are learning as much as possible?" question. – eykanal ♦ Feb 6 at 14:16

@eykanal “we don't have enough questions about pedagogy on this site” — Honestly, at the moment I see this as a good thing because the answers on those other questions are very bad. The visitors on this site aren’t professional educators, and most clearly know nothing about actual research on learning, instead sticking to old and wrong stereotypes. This leads to (sometimes highly upvoted!) advice that’s plain terrible and often has the exact opposite effect of what’s intended. I advise against seeking and giving teaching advice here. – Konrad Rudolph 54 mins ago

Unfortunately, his comment is entirely correct... people here are academics who happen to teach, not teachers who are also academics, and we all suffer for it.

To that extent, I wanted to propose a...

Teaching Challenge Month

The idea—in my mind, at least—would be a month where people are encouraged to (1) ask questions about university-level teaching and (2) post answers with citations that answer these questions.

The contest aspect would be two posts on Meta—one for questions, one for answers—where people could nominate their favorite question and favorite answer. The one with the highest vote would win reputation; I imagine I would simply open and immediately award a bounty of 500 points (the maximum bounty allowed) to the winner.

We would draw attention to the contest via a featured meta post (i.e., visible from the main Academia.SE page).


So, all that said... thoughts?

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I like your idea, what you've proposed seems like a good starting point to launch some discussion about the best way to address the sentiment portrayed in your proposal, and, overall, I think it would be useful to try to make this site more teaching-friendly (after all, some of us take our teaching responsibilities as seriously as our research).

Perhaps in parallel to your idea for generating new questions focused on pedagogy, we could attempt to draw some much-needed attention to previously-asked questions with a pedagogical leaning. Here, I'm thinking of questions which haven't received a lot of attention, have existing answers which could be expanded on or improved, etc.

How to best proceed on my idea above is not clear to me. I'd welcome any discussion or suggestions.

  • The way these are typically done is via bounties. I imagine that this could work by a meta-coordinated search through old questions where people post links to ones they'd like to see expanded, and then some gracious high-rep users volunteer to donate their rep to the cause. – eykanal Feb 10 '17 at 18:55

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