Teaching Profile: John McMahon and Creating a Class Blog

PurpleTieVest2015-cropThis is the first of a series of blog posts in which we talk with CUNY grad students, and hear what they’ve been up to in their own classrooms.

John McMahon, who teaches political theory and American government at Hunter College, requires students to contribute to a course blog. He spoke this semester to students in the Political Science department about how he’s incorporated blogging into his courses.


The Blog

John’s course blog makes use of a classic “just-in-time” assignment: reading responses that are due shortly before the class meets. Every week, John’s students each write one 250-300 word response to the readings assigned for a specific class date, and then share their responses by posting them on the course blog. For night classes, posts are due by 7 a.m the morning of class (students all respond to the same readings for classes that meet once/week; for classes that meet twice/week, students can choose to submit responses the morning before either of the two class meetings).

  • Immediately after the fist day of class, John sends each student an email invite to view and post on the course blog. Students can click on the link provided to sign


Alumni Profile: Taylor Cassidy, Analyst at the U.S. Army Research Lab (Linguistics PhD, 2014)

taylorDeciding to pursue a career outside of a traditional academic setting doesn’t mean you have to abandon the type of research you’ve learned to do in grad school. Recent GC Linguistics alum Taylor Cassidy, for instance, is now an analyst at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and his work there is closely related to his academic interests and expertise. Taylor recently sat down with us and spoke about his post-Grad Center career.

Taylor’s dissertation was on natural language processing and computational linguistics, and he now conducts similar research by using computers to analyze language. Taylor said that at his new job, he’s been able to apply many of the skills that he gained at the Graduate Center, including his computer programming skills and the ability to conceptualize research questions. He’s also picking up new skills (he now gets to work with robots!).

Watch the full interview here.