Category Archives: miscellaneous ideas

Teaching statistical literacy

I produced this sketch of a course to stimulate discussion of how to address the challenge for professional or interdisciplinary doctoral programs, which always require statistics and or quantitative methods courses, in teaching those subjects in a way that accommodates the range of prior preparation that students bring into their programs  (See previous post). Comments welcome, including “must cover” topics. Continue reading


Intersecting processes in political economy

These excerpts from a Damage, a book review by George Scialabba affirm my sense that discussions of Big Ideas, such as the “free market” are a diversion from examining the intersecting processes in political economy. Continue reading

A theorem invoked by the lazy and uncurious?

On the fairness of actual voting systems it always strikes me as lazy and uncurious when people invoke Arrow’s theorem (New Scientist, Last Word, 26 July 2014). Continue reading

Half-time lectureship in Critical & Creative Thinking–Please spread the word

Puzzle—Create Change—Reflect

Please spread the word about a half-time lectureship in Critical & Creative Thinking (CCT) graduate program and the Science in a Changing World track for a person with ability to teach online and blended courses that span psychology, conceptual development in math and science, and research and writing for mid-career professionals around reflective practice and CCT in general.  More details:

The position could increase to full-time with additional teaching options if a proposed doctoral program in Creative and Transformative Education gets approved or if CCT student numbers increase.  This possibility, of course, can’t be committed to in the position description or initial appointment.


Full description

The College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) at the University of Massachusetts Boston seeks applicants for a half-time, non-tenure track, Lecturer in the graduate program in Critical & Creative Thinking (CCT) and the Science in a Changing World track, to…

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One-on-one consultations within a group that meets over an extended period

One-on-one consultations within a group that meets over an extended period (aka Workshop “Office Hours”)—an alternative to the ad hoc, and clique-prone discussions that often happen between the sessions at conferences and workshops

This activity can be slotted into a meeting or workshop when there is 45-60 minutes to spare. It may be repeated with a new sign up sheet for each time.

• Provides opportunities to solicit advice one on one.
• It can be enlightening to see who asks you for advice and what you find yourself able to say.

Instructions about Signing Up
(Before circulating this sign-up sheet, the coordinator of this activity fills in the left-hand column with everyone’s names.)
• You can sign up to consult with other people by putting your name on their line for a time slot that is empty for both of you. Then put a cross on your own line for that time slot (which prevents someone signing up to consult with you at the same time).
• Give everyone a chance to sign up once before you sign up for a second or third consult.
• If you want to sign up to consult with a person who is already signed up to consult with you, sign up in a separate time slot for a consult with them. (That is, don’t assume that you can split the original time with them.)

Person to be consulted (below) Time Slot 1 Time Slot 2 Time Slot 3

More Logistics/Guidelines
• If two people do not have a consultation for any time slot, the office-hours coordinator will pair them up and they will split the time in mutual support. Suggested “supportive listening” guidelines can be provided before the office hours start.

• There will be N/2 “stations” consisting of a pair of chairs. (These stations will be spaced widely to minimize distractions from other conversations). At the start of the time slot, find the person you signed up to consult with and move to a vacant station. Then start consulting!

extracted from Taking Yourself Seriously: A Fieldbook of Processes of Research and Engagement


Creating a book index using a “pseudo-book”

Mechanics for indexing using a “pseudo-book”

# Much quicker than using index cards.
# In edited volumes, the work can be distributed among the contributing authors.
# No rush when you get the proofs, because most of the work will have been done.
# All of the above allows the indexer(s) more time to step back, adjust the entries, so as to make best use of this last opportunity to influence how people read the book.
(See useful advice about indexing)

For editor, skip to step 4 after sending instructions up to step 5 to the contributing authors.

The process begins after the author(s) check their copy-edited manuscripts. They should make a xerox copy before returning the manuscript to the Press.

0. Read and digest the indexing guidelines from the Press.

1. While reading through a xerox copy of the copy-edited manuscript underline in pencil possible terms to be indexed and add in the margin any additional terms not in the text. If some terms apply continuously to a run of pages please indicate by tracing a line up to the exact point the term stops applying. (If indexing begins after the proofs are available, mark up a xerox copy of the proofs.)

2. Erase or add more entries to match a target total of about 1-2 times the number of pages in your manuscript.

3. Type into a new file the index terms that correspond to each underlined term, one to a line, in order of their appearance in the text, repeated whenever they occur anew. Insert NP on a line to itself for each new page of the copyedited text, even if there are no entries for that page. (If indexing begins after the proofs are available, instead of inserting NP on a line to itself for each new page, insert a page break.) For a term that runs continuously over a number of pages, repeat it for each of the pages. The terms you type into this list should follow the guidelines from the Press.

For single author, skip to step 7.

4. Email this list to the book’s editor. Based on terms that other contributors are indexing, the book’s editor may suggest additions or changes, which you should both underline in the manuscript and insert in the right place in your list.

5. When you and the editor have agreed on a final list for your essay, email the list of index terms as an attachment, and (if requested by the editor — this is not strictly necesssary) send the book’s editor the xerox of the manuscript (or proofs) with underlining. Each contributor’s job is then over.

6. The editor then combines the different lists of index entries into one long list (in the same order as the essays appear in the book).

Instructions to follow apply only to the editor or single author
7. Revise the entries in the list until satisfied with the terms used, cross-references, etc. (To help in detecting inconsistencies, a version of the list in alphabetical order can be generated using the sort option available in most wordprocessors.)

8. When proofs arrive, add page breaks at the appropriate points in the list (either by referring between the marked up manuscripts and the page breaks of the page proofs, or by directly refering to the proofs). Then strip out the NP lines. (If indexing begins after the proofs are available, this step can be skipped.)
The result is the pseudo-book. This contains on page 1 the index terms for page 1 of the actual book; on page 2 the index terms for page 2 of the actual book, etc.

9. Mark each line as an index term in your wordprocessing program. (It is possible to do this automatically in Word if you create and use the markindex Macro below.) Then use your wordprocessor to generate the index. This index can then be smoothed out in the wordprocessor to generate the final index.

Sub markindex()

‘ markindex Macro
‘ Macro recorded 6/17/04 by peter taylor
‘ You will need to change the new page breaks to NP lines before using the macro,
‘ then change them back after using the macro.
‘ Index entries must be less than 255 characters long.
‘ Convert your file to a small font and landscape mode to ensure that
‘ no line wraps around.

Do While k = 0
Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdLine, Extend:=wdExtend
Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowAll = True
ActiveDocument.Indexes.MarkEntry Range:=Selection.Range, Entry:=Selection, CrossReferenceAutoText:=””, BookmarkName:=””, Bold:=False, Italic:= _
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdLine
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdLine, Count:=1
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdLine, Extend:=wdExtend

End Sub



June ’97, slightly revised Nov. ’02 & June ’04, with macro for Word added in June ’04