Saturday, January 31, 2004

Map of Places I've Been

Via and her link to Eric Carlson.

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Sunday, January 25, 2004

The heart and soul of teaching

From Karen:

Was thinking about how teaching is kind of like being an alchemist. We take a bunch of ingredients...a variety of students and all the variables they bring with them, a teacher and all the variables s/he brings, and a particular content...and attempt to transform the learning experience from something common into something special. If the analogy of teaching and alchemy holds true, then less experienced teachers would produce one result with a particular set of ingredients and more experienced teachers would produce a superior result with the same set of ingredients. But that isn't always the case. The Soul Food Cafe prompt also says:

Like the alchemist, it takes trial and error to achieve transformation and find gold.

Each class, each semester, provides a different set of ingredients and the interaction of those ingredients, even for experienced teachers, is never the same. The advantage of being an experienced teacher then is not that one will produce a superior result because of their experience. It is that one is more experienced at trial and error and has more experiences upon which to base their decisions, thus making trial and error less random than it might appear. It is only through trial and error that transformation, the changing the common into something special, can actually occur. Without it, the classroom experience for both the teacher and the students is simply something common.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

The Cranky Professor

The Cranky Professor: "Italian Professor Objects to Doing Here What *We* Have to do in Italy
The New York Times reports a whiny european philosophy professor is not showing up for his guest stint at NYU because of repressive fingerprint measures.
In order to stay in Italy (or anywhere in the EU) longer than the 90 day tourist visa one must have not only a visa but leave fingerprints. One has always, even before the recent measures, needed a Permesso di soggiorno to be in Italy for more than 2 weeks (not than anyone ever did it). Italian federal police keep track (well, try to keep track) of all resident foreigners in a way that is utterly alien to Anglo-Saxon societies but utterly normal for Continental ones -- you know, sudden shouts of 'Your papers!' at railway barriers, submachine guns carried around all the time, etc.
NYU is better off without him."

Easily Distracted

Easily Distracted: "Her correspondent is an asshole, and whomever he or she is, I'm kind of glad their academic career ended at the 1998 AHA. This is a person who walked into an interview, told the interviewers that they were unprofessional in scheduling interviews too closely together, snottily rebuffed one of the interviewers who had insufficient appreciation for the candidate's publication record, regarded the substance of the interview as 'insipid banter', and then went on to remind the interviewers that they were unprofessional before leaving.
Ok. Let's go over this one a little, shall we? If ever there was a poster child for the ugliness of academic entitlement, and evidence that one of the worst things we do to doctoral students is convince them that they're owed a job because of their brilliance or whatever, it's this person. "

Easily Distracted

Easily Distracted: "If the compensation of publishing in journals or doing peer review is reputation capital, then academics are incredibly ill-served by relying on publishers who restrict the availability and circulation of journal publications. If you publish a journal article, you want it assigned in classes, you want it available for viewing by anyone and everyone at every hour of every day on any computer, you want it to be searchable. You don't want somebody to have to pay directly or indirectly through a library to get your article. The only restraint on circulation you want is that anyone using your work should have to acknowledge it, but there is no difference on this issue between electronic and print publication."

Sunday, January 18, 2004

ScrappleFace: NASA Uses Airline Records to Spam Terrorists

ScrappleFace: NASA Uses Airline Records to Spam Terrorists: "January 18, 2004
NASA Uses Airline Records to Spam Terrorists
(2004-01-18) -- A top-secret NASA homeland security project will use airline passenger records to spam and telemarket potential terrorists.
Word of the project leaked out after Northwest Airlines acknowledged it had given millions of passenger records to NASA after September 11, 2001.
'We're going to keep the terror cells tied up by clogging their inboxes and ringing their phones day and night,' said an unnamed NASA spokesman. 'They won't have time to plot death and destruction, because they'll be dealing with offers for herbal remedies, weight-loss and hair-loss products, credit cards and lots of telephone requests to support local police and fire-fighting departments.'
Northwest Airlines, which initially denied providing passenger records to NASA, now claims it carefully protects passenger privacy.
'We want our customers to feel comfortable flying Northwest,' said an unnamed airline spokesman. 'And we can assure them their personal information is safe with us, unless they have some kind of weird, foreign-sounding name. But that's very rare.'
Posted by Scott Ott | Donate via PayPal | Comments (20) | More News Satire | x "

Saturday, January 03, 2004

ScrappleFace: BCS Computer 'Changes Its Mind', USC No. 1

ScrappleFace: BCS Computer 'Changes Its Mind', USC No. 1: "BCS Computer 'Changes Its Mind', USC No. 1
(2004-01-02) -- The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) computer yesterday announced that it had 'changed its mind' and would declare the University of Southern California Trojans champions of NCAA Division I-A football. The computer also said it would resign effective January 5, 'to pursue other interests.'"

McGee's Musings

McGee's Musings: " Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Happy New Year
100 Years of Flight: A Lesson about Learning Curves
Kevin Kelly excerpts from Bayles' and Orland's Art and Fear:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the 'quantity' group: fifty pound of pots rated an 'A', forty pounds a 'B', and so on. Those being graded on 'quality', however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an 'A'. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the 'quantity' group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the 'quality' group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Remarkable that the law of learning (experience) curves should appear in art just as it does in semiconductors, and should in space vehicles. Something to keep in mind on this 100th anniversary of practical powered flight: We didn't get to 747s and F-22s by building one - or four- vehicles n 1903 and perpetually refitting them. Thousands of early experimental aircraft were built, run, wrecked, obsoleted, scrapped. If we want to have a similar oucome in space one hundred years hence, it's time to get onto the 'quantity' curve. And apparently only the private sector has the stomach for that trip.

Sound advice regardless of what you're working with or learning about. Fail early and fail often.

I had expected to post a bit more than I have over the last few days, but I have limited connectivity and bandwidth. The good news in that is that I do have snow and in the spirit of learning curves I've been adding more miles to my snowboarding experience. I expect to be back to regular posting in a few days.

To all of you, a healthy and happy New Year.

Learning Circuits -- ASTD's Online Magazine All About E-Learning

Learning Circuits -- ASTD's Online Magazine All About E-Learning: "We-Learning:
Social Software and E-Learning
By Eva Kaplan-Leiserson
Early e-learning traded technology for human interaction. Now, the personal element is being added back in. New social software tools borrowed from business and the younger generations combine tech and touch for the best of all possible worlds (including virtual ones).
In their rush to jump on the e-learning bandwagon, many companies created what is derogatively termed by some as shovelware: text-heavy content dumped online without much thought given to its usability or interactivity. Fortunately, that’s changing slowly. More companies are using real-time learning events, virtual classrooms, and interactive simulations to reintroduce the human (or almost human) element into learning technology.
Those intermediary steps are paving the way for innovations being introduced into the e-learning arena from the business world and the younger generations. Like synchronous learning technologies, these new tools, which can be classified loosely as social software, connect people not only to knowledge but also to other people. And they do it in exciting new ways. "

The Morning Sun: Society shelter near completion 01/03/04

The Morning Sun: Society shelter near completion 01/03/04: "Society shelter near completion
Morning Sun Staff Writer
Soon, dogs and cats will have a new home in southeast Kansas because the new animal shelter for the Southeast Kansas Humane Society is getting closer to completion. In addition, a donated quilt is being raffled to help support animals at the shelter."

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Frogs and Ravens

Frogs and Ravens: "A PhD Is Not A Form of Vocational Training
I'm not sure who first wrote that phrase, but it is an interesting one. It comes from the comment thread for Invisible Adjunct's post 'Life Outside the Academic History Box'. I've been reading this discussion with interest, as I am currently in the process of re-tooling that Alexandra Lord and Julie Taddeo's site Beyond Academe (see sidebar) is meant to address (and, indeed, was one of the beta testers of her site).

I have to say I agree both with Timothy Burke and Lexi Lord, the main debaters, who I think are arguing from different sides of the problem: the phrase 'a PhD is not a form of vocational training' sums it up perfectly, I believe."

Frogs and Ravens

Frogs and Ravens: "Academia vs. Survivor
I'm not a long-term die-hard fan of Survivor but this season D. and I found ourselves caught up in the drama taking place in the Pearl Islands. At the end I was sufficiently curious to track down a description of the application process for would-be Survivors.

Ya know what? It doesn't look much worse than the academic job market! Doing a 3-minute video seems easy-peasy compared to a one-hour teaching video. Explaining which Survivor one is most like is not that far from answering the question, 'Which theorists have influenced your work?' Going in for a mental and physical evaluation if invited to the interview couldn't be much worse than interviewing at the AHA. Willingness to be flown in to an unknown location where you will find yourself interacting with total strangers under tense, intimate conditions? Gee, sounds like being prepared to move to a college in a small rural town in a part of the country you'd normally avoid.

Here's the kicker, though: the odds of success are probably about the same, and while both can in theory lead to national fame and a million dollars, Survivor is over in less than two months and while physically challenging, probably has less long-term impact on one's self-esteem (at least to judge by the people on the show this season).


posted by Rana | 18:25 Permalink --- 4 comments --- "

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