King's Corner

It's not just academic….

The best posts from my ‘other’ blog

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I have sadly neglected this blog in the spring term, since most of my writing time went into my non-college blog. However, there’s a lot of stuff I posted there that also fits here. To avoid double-posting, thereby potentially confusing the demigods at Google, I’m linking to them in this post. All of these have something to do with effective speaking or effective communication.

Man, I was busy! I’ll try to link those posts more often.

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May 23rd, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Communication,Speech

Students need to get a jump on social media

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Social Media Trends for 2012
Creative Commons License photo credit:

It’s easy to assume college students have social media all figured out. Experience shows, though, that while many are savvy about Facebook, they may not realize they need to build a social media presence in other avenues before graduation rather than after. Sue Murphy notes in her article Social Media Success Tips for Students two particular areas that seriously need attention while a student is still in school but looking to the outside world.

Many students believe they don’t need to worry about getting their profiles up on LinkedIN until after they graduate. But nothing could be further from the truth. You need to get on there. Now. LinkedIN is one of the best places to connect with the kind of companies and people you want to eventually end up working for. And the only way you’ll be able to find and connect with them is to start building your profile there.

She also builds a case for starting a blog–and she’s not talking about a chatty personal journal you share with the world.

The only thing I wish she had commented on that she didn’t: Twitter. Though Twitter gets a lot of media attention, it still lags in number of users (38.44 million unique visitors in November, vs. 162.85 million for Facebook according to, and of course it is used quite differently. Nevertheless, its public nature (Twitter users can set their streams so that only followers can see it, but that’s very much the exception; otherwise, streams are completely public) and the difficulty of purging posts means that students should consider establishing an identity for the long-term in Twitter as well.

At least one former student has done a good job of doing so, and I think it likely contributed to his snagging a job he really likes. (Although Twitter streams are public, I’m not going to mention his unless he tells me it’s OK to do so. Maybe this post will get updated with his Twitter name later.)

EDIT: Got permission! Will Webb was in my public speaking class a couple of years ago, and even at that time was building a business. He has since moved onto the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is now doing an internship in Delaware that really excites him. His Twitter stream isn’t just business–you get a sense of his personality too, which is good. But I’ve been following Will for some time now, back before he graduated, and I can attest that he didn’t post things he needed to find later and delete. (Some other former students are really going to have to do a lot of that unless they go to work in product testing for Jack Daniels.) It wasn’t the major thing that helped him get the internship or promote his business, but it certainly fit those efforts.

In any case, check out the advice from Suze. Are you a student? What are you doing with social media? Use the comments to, well, comment.

[Note: cross-posted at Donn King’s Corner.]

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January 8th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Advice for business owners helps speakers

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In How to Conquer Your Sales Fears, Entrepreneur magazine offers tips intended for business owners that also provide solid help for speakers who fear aspects of the Speech to Persuade. It offers techniques for overcoming five common fears in such situations. While not every technique can be used by a speaker, most can, and the principle behind the technique can almost certainly be applied in some fashion.

Cross-posted at

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November 16th, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Communication,Speech

Tagged with , ,

Textbook breakdown

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This infographic entitled The College Textbook Shakedown brings together a lot of information in a small space. For whatever it’s worth, we in the speech program have asked this question (“How much does this book cost the student?”) of publishers for years, and they have always answered the question–they just don’t volunteer it unless asked. We switched textbooks a few years ago from one that was co-authored by some of the program faculty partly because of the cost issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 13th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Here’s why we want to get you speaking a lot

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John Zimmer uses a story in A Public Speaking Lesson in a Pot of Clay to make a point that helps explain why we have students do as many speeches as we do here at Pellissippi State. The story tells of a pottery class in which a structure that encourages lots and lots of pottery making led to the development of skill. The post includes several suggestions for ways to crank out even more speaking experiences–including joining Toastmasters.

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November 12th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Education,Speech

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Why current education models don’t work: it’s in our genes

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Peter Gray at Psychology Today has posted a thoughtful blog article entitled Why Children Protest Going to School: More Evolutionary Mismatch. I find it an insightful argument in favor of homeschooling and several other education methods that do not lead to a factory model of schooling.

Among many useful bits:

From a biological perspective, we are all still hunter-gatherers, doing the best that we can to cope with the conditions of life that exist today…. One of the most cherished values of all band hunter-gatherer societies that have ever been studied by anthropologists is freedom. Hunter-gatherers believed that it is wrong to coerce a person to do what the person doesn’t want to do—and they considered children to be people….

The hunting and gathering life required great personal initiative and creativity, and it required trust that people would share and cooperate because they wanted to. Hunting and gathering people seemed to understand that—and they also seemed to understand that children would best grow up to be free, trusting, cooperative, creative adults if they were permitted freedom throughout their childhood, in the context of the moral community and models that the band provided.

I might also point out that extreme freedom was seen as the best way for people to develop a sense of responsibility to the community. To be the most effective human, we need to do the exact opposite of what we are required to do in the compulsory school system.

What do we do about this? Grays says:

We can continue stumbling along with our coercive system of schooling and continue to fight our children’s instincts, using drugs or whatever other means we must to dampen their cries for freedom.  Or, we can adopt what to most people today seems like a radical, even crazy approach to education, but which to hunter-gatherers seemed like common sense.  This radical approach is to let our children educate themselves, while we provide the conditions that make that possible.

This runs counter to current assumptions, but Gray says the evidence is overwhelming that is can and will work, as shown by the success of homeschooling and such initiatives as the Sudbury Valley School.

I can see the effect of this forced system that counters our biology every day. Further, I can’t help but connect it to the research on learned helplessness, as explained here and here. It takes quite a bit of effort to overcome learned helplessness (the behavior that results from being completely unable to affect your circumstances), and the passive, stoic attitudes that result from it absolutely characterize many of those in college classrooms, even though they now have the ability to affect their circumstances.

Sir Ken Robinson supports these ideas in many talks, perhaps best seen in an increasingly popular RSA Animate production.

What do you think? Is it possible to change the paradigm? What has to happen for this to come about?

This post has been cross-posted here.

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November 12th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Multiple intelligence pedagogy may be flawed

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I just posted an article about this on a sister site. Take a look at Intelligence, even multiple intelligence, not real important in learning.

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November 11th, 2011 at 12:15 am

New posts on sister site: conference and “what’s a degree worth”

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I’ve posted a couple of articles on my personal site that might be of interest to readers here:

  1. In Publishing student work via Flipboard I have a short post for pointing to resources mentioned during my presentation at the Innovative Professor Conference at Austin Peay State University.
  2. I also posted What’s a Degree Worth that points to an interesting infographic that shows the relative financial worth of a given degree level (e.g., a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s, etc.).

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November 9th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Tweaking Twitter integration with

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Success! The feed is working as intended. Just one more step to see how posts publish to Flipboard if they go through first. (For those who don’t know, is one of the most common URL shorteners. Blog post URLs can get really long, and that can be a problem on Twitter. To make it easier on Twitter, a URL shortener obviously helps, but some of them don’t allow Flipboard to show the entire post, which sort of defeats the purpose. Hence, this test.)

If all goes well, this will be the last “test message” to be sent out. Thank you for your patience! If doesn’t like the setup, though, I may have to send one or two more.

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November 5th, 2011 at 10:15 am

Posted in Administrivia

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Construction: Integrating Twitter and Flipboard

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I should probably apologize to regular readers for some WordPress experimentation, but I hope it’s for a good cause. On Tuesday I’ll be doing a presentation at Austin Peay’s Innovative Professor Conference (does that establish me as an Innovative Professor?) about publishing student work, and some tools to make it easy or even automatic. The idea is that students write differently (better, we hope) when the audience goes beyond just the professor, but teachers have enough to do without having to become publishers also.

Why the apology? I’m trying to set up one of the tools I’ll be showing, because the blog I had intended to use isn’t feeding correctly, and I don’t want to muck around with that one since it has a lot of readers. I’m assuming anyone following my personal/academic blog will be more forgiving. I hope that’s the case. 🙂

Note: it’s possible you’ll see several tweets or other notifications about “new” posts that aren’t really new as I republish some older posts in order to generate the feed I need. Once I have everything worked out, I’ll share the information from the presentation on this blog as well.

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November 5th, 2011 at 9:54 am