September 2007

If you knew Persian, you could read what Iranian bloggers are saying about President Ahmadinijad’s appearance at Columbia University last week.

The range of views is impressive.

Ahmadinijad’s actual comments were published by The Washington Post.

The challenges from Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger were made known in advance via a Columbia News Statement some days prior to the event.

Video of the event and a news report are available from CNN.


Imagine the autobiographies you are creating for yourselves, now.  This story from the front page of the New York Times (online version) today:  Don’t Worry, Be Students.  Recent college graduates share

the perspective that comes from having got a taste of the real world but with memories of freshman and sophomore years still relatively intact — and enough moments spill out to begin to tell a story.

What kinds of moments do you want to create for yourself here-and-now, in the thick of your first semester?  What topic can you select for a major research paper that has to generate a story or three that you want to remember?

Acronyms!  I wonder how this one sounds.

Was getting some info on James’ and my article due soon in Radical Pedagogy (!) and came across The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.

Looks right up my alley.  🙂

Brain got us “Tech Fellows” all hooked up to each other’s blogs.


NOW we can have some FUN! 😉

A primer on semiotics (the study of signs) and media: “The MCS (pronounced ‘mix’) site is an award-winning portal or ‘meta-index’ to internet-based resources useful in the academic study of media and communication.”

I have received my evaluations from last semester’s class. Before looking at them, our Professor (for the Practicum on Alternative Classroom Practices) suggested each of us might want to write up our own sense of ourselves as a teacher: what kind of a teacher do I think I am? (What kind was I last semester?) How do I think my students perceived me?

I constantly try new activities and different intellectual stimuli while teaching. Sometimes they work as I anticipate and students are jazzed; other times the ideas I try to implement do not pan out as I expect – again, sometimes they still work well (just not in the ways I expected), other times, the error in judgment is large enough to drive a bus through! Once in awhile, I manage to hit a string of unfortunate ideas. Last semester, most of my ideas worked well, but the first one did not, and this affected the energy and motivation levels of the class for most of the course. Generally, the passion I feel for learning engages students no matter the subject. I think students sensed this, even though they could not shake the effects of early (lack of) momentum.

I always expect students to think hard. This elicits various reactions, ranging roughly from excitement to frustration. Sometimes I myself am frustrated – and occasionally my emotions show. I want to believe that my rough edges are getting smoother, but – sometimes I think my disappointment still leaks out. I know and understand that students’ energy (interests, commitments) may lie elsewhere, but for the time that we are in-class, I want them to bring all parts of themselves to class! And, I do expect that – one way or another – they have found a way to attend to the homework and are therefore prepared for what the day’s activities entail.

The thing is, I don’t want students just doing the homework for the sake of doing the homework: this is why my instructions may lean toward vagueness instead of explicit step-by-step directions. Writing has no simple formula, and I know these students’ minds are capable of more than cruise control! Last spring, most of the students improved a considerable amount in their writing skills; even if their overall classroom experience was ambivalent, I imagine they will indicate that they did, in fact, learn.

jimgetz and wezlo discuss how technology is not easier unless/until you learn the tool. I don’t know what jabber is, but wezlo’s comment, “properly setting up a jabber server with access only given to people university accounts,” brings up all the complicated issues of the private and public. Why is public education such a limited resource? Why not – with those who are willing and able to learn the tools – open up and enliven the learning process by making it more accessible?

I’m disturbed that the most basic human activity ~ learning ~ has become such an intensely private and solitary affair.

Meanwhile, jimgetz linked to an article on Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs! Oh, My! What is a Faculty Member Supposed to Do?

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