Big Bird was almost executed in the last election, and his stay of execution was a relief to progressives and liberals. An email exchange with a colleague reminded me about using Sesame Street in a class activity for teaching about the “death of the humanities.” Introduction to Humanities that semester focused on public humanities and the democratization of the humanities through new technology. New technology meant writing, the printing press, up to the internet, of course. Maybe students would feel empowered if they could connect “great art” or “high art” to DIY art [we watched performing arts fundraiser Ben Cameron’s Ted Talk for this]. ByRead More →

Charter schools. They are a bad business model for education. Let’s pretend for a minute that I have no ideological, ethical, or professional investment in keeping education free from the marketplace paradigm. It’s an awfully big suspension of disbelief, true. Let’s pretend that the nation is on the same page about getting our kids an education, and we are deeply honest about looking for solutions to a broken system. In true problem-solving mode, then, everything should go on the table for exploration. That includes evaluating charter schools openly from within its own framework. The argument supporting charter schools depends on the analogy that education isRead More →

Why I haet Blackboard Learn: 1. There is no mass edit. 2. It’s sticky as all hell. When you create something new (an announcement, test, file, module, -anything-), you get a dashboard with a box for a title and then a box for the text. Sometimes, you try to type in one of the boxes and you simply can’t. It hangs. The only way to work with this is to click in whatever is the opposite box until it un-sticks. So if you’re in the title box, click on the text area and wait for the page to unstick. What utter effing b.s. 3. ItRead More →

The debilitating debt of graduate school includes hidden costs that most people don’t consider even later in life after graduation. Many academics have a deep sense of nostalgia for their days of TA poverty, where living on ramen and cheap beer shared in the company of good friends in the same boat got us through until the next measly paycheck. We have an equally deep resentment for the huge bite that loan repayments take from our well-deserved and much-delayed faculty salaries. But the unacknowledged costs of graduate school add up to a substantial amount of cash, yet no one ever includes these costs in any ROI. When youRead More →

1. Our avatars, our projected selves — A Jezebel bit about how men respond to female avatars, and a discussion of racism and sexism in Second Life. Rather predictable, but still something to talk about. One blogger inaccurately cites another writer’s claim that 40 percent of the folks come to SL looking for sexual activity. The writer corrects the mistake; a more accurate number would be closer to 15 percent.  Sorry, I call BS on that. If you have to purchase genitals for your avatar, you can bet there’s lots of

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* I can’t remember the last time I heard a busy signal. Busy signals disappeared due to voice mail and call waiting, a phenomenon that happened in the 90s. This is an early step in the direction of 24/7 accessibility and connection via new communication technologies. Although, looking backward,  we can say the same thing for the invention of the telephone, telegraph, printing press, and even writing itself. Still, the loss of the busy signal bespeaks a “jacked-in-ness” unmatched in older information technologies. * The Guiding Light has gone off the air after 72 years. I watched that show with my grandmother when I wasRead More →

In football, according to my husband, a counter trey “is when ….. ” Some things happened I didn’t get, and I stopped listening. The context of this explanation was my dissertation on feminist rhetoric and women speakers. He did actually read parts of it, and givie me some feedback. His main response was that my dissertation sounded like a “counter trey.” He drew the play with the standard little circles and arrows to illustrate. I found that same scribbled drawing today while cleaning up. Although I don’t really remember what he said in detail, I did get the gist. To explain for me, here isRead More →

An article about contemporary students’ sense of entitlement is all over the Canadian papers today. It cites a UC Irvine study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The article discusses how entitled today’s students feel. Here are some stats from the article: The study asked approximately 400 undergraduates aged 18 to 25 whether they agreed with these statements: If I have explained to my professor that I am trying hard, I think he/she should give me some consideration with respect to my course grade – 66.2 per cent agree If I have completed most of the reading for a class, I deserve aRead More →

We don’t read on line, we skim. According to Michael Agger’s article in Slate, that’s how we read on the web, and he bases the claim on some interesting research. He gives guidelines about making your website appealing to audiences who don’t read, but skim. I don’t follow any of those guidelines, which explains my low readership. But then, I’m journaling, not blogging. Also, this month’s the Atlantic Monthly asks Is Google Making Us Stupid?, which takes a media ecology approach to the web, citing the Phaedrus, McLuhan, and Mumford, among others. The article was a long column, which I had to scroll over, andRead More →