Graduation Ceremony tips for professors.

Mortar board for graduation ceremoniesIt’s that time again, so here are a few tips to make this ‘glorious’ event even more glorious…er.

  1. When you’re sitting on stage, remember that the ceremony is being recorded; and so are you.
  2. For women, don’t wear seven inch stiletto heels. If you trip and fall, it will most likely ‘go viral’ on Youtube.
  3. Don’t drink lots of coffee, tea, or water before the ceremony; you can’t get up, walk off the stage, go to the bathroom, come back, and sit back down (you’re not in a movie theatre!).
  4. When walking up to the stage, periodically wave and give a lot of ‘thumbs-up’ gestures towards the audience; it will make you look popular.
  5. Don’t eat ‘gassy’ foods before the ceremony; enough said. [Read more…]

Share this article

What today’s students can learn from listening to ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.

I learned more about the refraction of light by staring at the album cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, than I did from my public school teacher. If he was cool, he would have played the album while we were learning about it; at least, that’s what I would have done.” –Phil Jones, Professor

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.  There’s a lot of life’s lessons embedded in that 1973 gem that are still relevant today and can be taught to students 40 years after its release.

I remember when I was teaching a class about time management strategies last semester and I played a sound bite from a song on the album called ‘Time’. To my surprise, when I asked students if they knew the name of the group or the name of the song, most didn’t. Those that did know, told me that their ‘baby boomer’ parents played it all the time (most of those students were big fans too).  From there, I encouraged the non-listeners to put aside 45 minutes of listening to their over-commercialized, top 40 music, or as I call it, ‘ear vomit in the auditory cortex’, and instead listen to this classic album. “Is it on YouTube sir?” asked one girl. “Is that Pink’s (female singer) real last name?” asked another. Sigh. [Read more…]

Share this article

Three ways to stream students through a program.

streaming students for retention

Streaming students to success.

So, how can a college think of different ways of streaming its students? Why not look at nature and use an analogy of how streams actually flow? Isn’t each program like an island in the stream? Let’s start by listing the three different stream channels: straight, meandering, and braided. On a side note, regardless of the different stream flow types listed below, I think all students should have the option of taking any course either as an ‘online only’ format, a ‘hybrid’ format, or an ‘in-class’ only format. The concepts discussed here may even help with retention. If a students ideal stream could [Read more…]

Share this article

How to stop students from f***ing swearing in your class.

“When your brain fertilizer fails to rid of the weeds in your neurons, you swear them out. The more you swear, the more weeds you must have in your brain.”

–Phil Jones, Professor

Dropping the F-bomb

Alternatives for the ‘F-word’? Friggin’, Frickin’, ‘Freakin’,’Flippin’ ‘Fudge’, ‘Fiddlesticks’, ‘F’!

“Thanks for a great class sir…it was really f***ing interesting!” Yes, a student actually came up to me at the end of a class and said those exact words; all with the nonchalance of a siamese cat after it has scratched the crap out of one of your favourite chairs.

Throughout the years, I have heard ‘S’ bombs, ‘F’ bombs, and all the other ‘Consonant’ bombs spew out of the mouths of students while in the classroom. One student actually swore during his presentation, and unfortunately for him, an ‘F’ bomb meant an ‘F’ grade. So, why have swear words seem to have become so rampant these days, and how can you ‘nip it’ if you [Read more…]

Share this article

Student Retention Forumla: P + P = R

railroad track

Retention is about helping each student stay on track.

In the retail industry, it’s all about location, location, location. In the higher education industry, it’s all about retention, retention, retention.  To be clear at the start, maximizing student retention numbers is not about reducing the quality of education in order to pass students (with questionable academic achievement) just to keep them ‘in the loop’. Let’s face it, we all know that some students just aren’t ready for college, and perhaps, may never  [Read more…]

Share this article

Famous quotes: ‘Facebook’

“If students spent as much time with their face IN a book, instead of ON Facebook, they’d all be geniuses.” –Professor Phil Jones

Share this article

The Graduate Reunion.

Graduate Reunion

Can you hear the ‘D’?

It’s always great when a former student drops in to say “hi”, years after they have graduated. As I was thinking about the recent grad ceremonies, I vaguely recall a ‘Graduate Reunion’ that occurred several years ago (‘vaguely’, because I went to a lot of rock concerts in the 70’s – remember sneaking in those wine skins full of ‘Baby Duck’?). As you read to the end of this post, this particular reunion may bring a smile to your face, as I’m pretty sure we’ve all done or seen a similar thing, especially for anyone that has ever worked [Read more…]

Share this article

iPads are the new Slate Boards.

From Slate Boards to Tablets

The more things change…

Old is new. It’s a concept that can be seen throughout history. I never paid much attention to this concept back in school, or even bothered to take the time to learn about history because, like many Baby Boomers back in the 60’s and 70’s, history class during those school years was most likely one of the most boring classes that we all were forced to sit through. If only we had iPads back then. [Read more…]

Share this article

Become a billionaire…drop out of college?

Sir Richard and I just 'standing around' at Madame Tussauds in London.

An article that caught my attention was about Paul Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. It wasn’t about investing millions into a new start-up venture, but was about his ‘fellowship’ program. The idea? Give 20 students under the age of 20, $100,000 to drop out of school to start a business. A core criteria for eligibility is that the students must not be enrolled in college. What? But you have to go to college to be successful, right? So, I started looking into successful people that didn’t go to college or dropped out of college (of course, I wasn’t going to find very many), and discovered a ‘who’s who’ list of famous people. As always, in any field, there are people that will be successful with or without a college diploma, and I think the majority of students realize that they probably should stay in college (just in case they aren’t the [Read more…]

Share this article

Quick Tip: Read these paragraphs about the future of education, according to Jobs and Gates.

There are two specific sections that you may want to read in Walter Isaacson’s latest book, ‘Steve Jobs’:

Steve Jobs last meeting with Barack Obama and what he says to the President regarding education: Page 544, last paragraph.

Steve Jobs last meeting with Bill Gates and what Gates says to Jobs regarding the future of education: Page 553, last paragraph.



Share this article