Teaching Resources

Self-grading as a Strategy for Improved Student Learning.

In recent years, I've started implementing a self-grading system in all of my classes and during 2021-2022 I conducted a formal research project on this methodology as one of Mount Holyoke's Distinguished Faculty Teaching Fellows. I am still in the process of collecting data for this project. This page collects resources for anyone interested in this system.

Teaching Students to Write Clearly in the Philosophy Classroom.

This document gathers together my strategies for teaching students to write clearly. If you are interested in this aspect of teaching philosophy, please reach out. I’m planning a future research project on this topic.

Facilitating Classroom Discussion of Sensitive Topics.

In several of my classes I use a simple imaginative exercise to encourage respectful and constructive discussion of politically or emotionally charged topics. This document describes this process.

How to Get an A on Your Philosophy Paper.

These are the detailed guidelines that I give to students for writing an undergraduate philosophy paper.

Philosophical Primer: Arguments.

What is a philosophical argument? What does it mean to reconstruct an argument? What makes for a good argument? This is primer for students taking their first philosophy course (or needing a refresher).

Philosophical Primer: Technical Terms.

What is a technical terms? How do you identify them and figure out how they should be defined? This is a primer for students taking their first philosophy course (or needing a refresher).

Making and Breaking Arguments

Part 1 and Part 2. In these two short videos, designed for first year seminar students at Mount Holyoke, Katia Vavova and I lay out the basics of identifying, reconstructing and evaluating arguments.

Sample Writing Workshop Handout.

I conduct peer writing workshops before the first paper in all of my classes, and sometimes before every paper if I feel the class needs it. The writing workshop takes place 5-7 days before the paper is due. (A significant portion of the value of the exercise is forcing students to write a full draft early.) Students are required to bring two printed copies of their draft to class and complete this handout twice, with two different partners.

Sample In-class Debate Handout.

I sometimes conduct an in-class debate toward the end of a unit in my upper level classes, when I want to make sure students understand the range of positions that we have discussed and how they relate to one another. This example handout is designed to be used in a 1.5 hour class.

Sample Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Handout.

I also sometimes use a choose-your-own-adventure-style activity to make sure students understand the relations between the various positions we've been talking about. This example is from a unit on composition and colocation in an upper-level undergraduate metaphysics course.