Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Librarian of Congress Adds 25 Films to National Film Registry

Fast Times at Ridgement High really is history now . . .

Librarian of Congress Adds 25 Films to National Film Registry: "The 2005 selections span the years 1906 to 1995, and encompass films ranging from Hollywood classics to lesser-known, but still vital, works. The Librarian chose this year's selections after evaluating nearly 1,000 titles nominated by the public and conducting intensive discussions with the Library's Motion Picture division staff and the distinguished members and alternates of his advisory group, the National Film Preservation Board. The board also advises the Librarian on national film preservation policy.

Congress established the National Film Registry in 1989 and most recently reauthorized the program in April 2005 when it passed the ?Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005? (Public Law 109-9). The Librarian noted: ?This legislation signifies great congressional interest in ensuring that motion pictures survive as an art form and a record of our times.? Among other provisions, this important legislation reauthorized the National Film Preservation Board, increased funding authorizations for the private sector National Film Preservation Foundation and amended Section 108(h) of U.S. Copyright Law, so that for works in their final 20 years of copyright, libraries and archives now may make these works accessible for research and education if the works are not commercially available.

For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress works to ensure that the film is preserved for all time, either through the Library's massive motion picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Library of Congress contains the largest collections of film and television in the world, from the earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture to the latest feature releases. For more information, consult the National Film Preservation Board Web site at

Films Selected to the 2005 National Film Registry

Baby Face (1933)
The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man (1975)
The Cameraman (1928)
Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 (1940)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
The French Connection (1971)
Giant (1956)
H2O (1929)
Hands Up (1926)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
House of Usher (1960)
Imitation of Life (1934)
Jeffries-Johnson World?s Championship Boxing Contest (1910)
Making of an American (1920)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Mom and Dad (1944)
The Music Man (1962)
Power of the Press (1928)
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, April 18, 1906 (1906)
The Sting (1973)
A Time for Burning (1966)
Toy Story (1995)"

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Engaging Students in the Game of Research

This Perspectives article by Theresa Murdoch discusses an interesting approach to teaching research skills. More course information is available here.

Engaging Students in the Game of Research: "Engaging Students in the Game of Research

By Theresa Mudrock

University of Washington students taking History 221 realize soon enough that the class isn't a run-of-the-mill library research methods course?especially when they see that the last assignment is titled 'Your Obituary.' Library research methods classes usually follow a more predictable path, covering the principles of what librarians call information literacy?'the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.' Taught on campuses large and small, some of these courses are generic, others are tied to a discipline; but all often culminate in that most traditional of library-based assignments, the annotated bibliography.1"

The History Cooperative - Recent AHR articles are now free

Given the purposes of the American Historical Association?to disseminate high-quality scholarship as widely as possible?the Council of the AHA decided in early June to make AHR articles available to the public. Access to the reviews will remain a benefit to members and subscribers."

Roy Rosenzwieg advocated this several years ago and it has come to pass - making scholarship available to everyone. This will be especially helpful to undergraduates and graduate students in history.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

cell phones

This is almost as bad as the person on the highway in front of me last night who kept weaving into oncoming traffic because they were hunched over with their cell phone and trying to adjust the rear view mirror with their other hand . . .

Confessions of a Community College Dean: "Boundaries
It's exam week, so the halls are lined with students sitting against the walls, sometimes in silence, sometimes on cell phones.

Yesterday, as I passed a student on a cell phone, I heard her clearly say:

'I can't hear you. Finish peeing and call me back.'


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Recent acquisitions

1. Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Design Demystified
* By Jobe Makar, Ben Winiarczyk.
* Published by Macromedia Press.
* Series: Demystified.

Flash MX 2004 Game Design DemystifiedYour comprehensive guide to creating games using Flash MX 2004. It will take you through the process of creating a game in Flash MX 2004. The first several chapters introduce general processes for creating games, while the second section looks at the important concepts for creating realistic games. Such concepts include math, physics, collision detection, and collision reaction. A third section delves into more creative concepts: tile-based worlds, 3D visualization, artificial intelligence, using graphics, and using sound. Later chapters provide an introduction to multiplayer games, creating a high score list for games, and a selection games for which the authors share the development process, including code. The accompanying CD will provide the code for each function discussed in the book as well as working versions of the games.

2. Creating Pages with iWork: Visual QuickProject Guide
* By David Morris.
* Published by Peachpit Press.
* Series: Visual QuickProject Guide.

With over 40 professionally designed templates, multiple page designs, dozens of fonts, and stunning tables and charts, Pages—Apple's new word processor—makes it easy to create polished documents with a minimum of fuss. Part word processor, part layout program, it lets you place alignment guides to help you position text and graphics precisely on the page while text flows around any kind of graphic, no matter where you put it. (Try doing that with Microsoft Word!) Students can use Pages to create school reports; parents can use it to send out birth announcements; anyone can use it to create an advertising mailer, church newsletter, party invitation, or just a plain old letter.

Here to help is this small, smart, streamlined guide designed to take readers from standing start to stellar finish, no matter what project they're tackling. Rather than cover every last option Pages offers, this book steps readers through several sample Pages projects, showing them the quickest, most effective way to communicate their ideas. Each short lesson builds a component of a basic Pages document, from choosing a template, deciding on a layout, formatting charts and tables, incorporating graphics and color, and adding a bit of polish to a final document. Friendly, step-by-step instructions and large, full-color screen shots make the information instantly accessible.

3. Stylin' with CSS: A Designer's Guide
* By Charles Wyke-Smith.
* Published by New Riders.
* Series: VOICES.

Cascading Style Sheets enable you to rapidly create web designs that can be shared by hundreds of web pages, accelerating development times and centralizing text and layout information for easy editing and updates. Stylin’ with CSS teaches you everything you need to know start using CSS in your web development work, from the basics of markup of your content and styling text, through to creating multi-column page layouts without the use of tables. Learn how to create interface components, such as drop-down menus, navigation links, and animated graphical buttons, using only CSS – no JavaScript required. Discover how to design code that will work on the latest standard-compliant browsers, while working around the quirks of the older browsers. With a mastery of CSS, your web design capabilities will move to a new level, and everything you need to know to get your started and build your skills is right here in this book. You’ll be stylin’ in no time!

4.How to Wow: Photoshop CS2 for the Web
* By Jan Kabili, Colin Smith.
* Published by Peachpit Press.
* Series: How to Wow.

Wouldn't it be great if you could have two of the world's most accomplished Photoshop and Web design experts sitting next to you at your computer as you
navigate the infinite possibilities of Adobe Photoshop and ImageReady? How to Wow: Photoshop CS2 for the Web is the next best thing. Two Photoshop and ImageReady powerhouses--Jan Kabili and Colin Smith--renowned authors, graphic designers, and trainers, have developed an effective way to help you reach your full creative potential. Jan and Colin guide you step by step through real-world projects, with an emphasis on uncompromising quality, last-minute flexibility, and go-home-at-night speed! You'll learn tips and techniques for creating everything from stylish navigation to eye-catching animation using Photoshop CS2 and its companion program, ImageReady CS2. Whether it's speeding up your workflow or making a modular home page for a game site, you're given the tools at every stage of the creative process in order to learn How to Wow!
This book begins with the essentials of Web site navigation, teaching you skills for building, slicing, and optimizing navigation graphics. Then things really get moving with how-tos on creating scene-stealing animations. Next, you'll find out how to automate repetitive tasks and create conditional actions that can distinguish between graphic types. Finally, you¹ll learn how to build eye-popping home pages and sites designed to keep viewers coming back for more.

The How to Wow: Photoshop CS2 for the Web companion CD at the back of this book is packed with everything you need to work through the projects in the book, along with some extra goodies to use as you create your own graphics for the Web.

The CD includes:

All the original designs by award-winning Photoshop guru Colin Smith that are used in the projects in this book. Use these files as you follow along with the lessons to dramatically improve your understanding of the innovative techniques explained in this book. Working along with the authors will stimulate your own design ideas and let you discover how you can apply these techniques to your own work.
Styles, actions, and pattern presets developed to enhance the look of the projects you'll produce in the books lessons.
PLUS extra style presets from the collection of over 1000 presets in Jack Davis' Adobe Photoshop One-Click Wow!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tim Berners-Lee joins the blogosphere

timbl's blog | Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs: "So this is for all the people who have been saying I ought to have a blog."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A little bit of snow

I woke up to a little bit more than a dusting of snow and this makes our second snow this season. It's as if someone is teasing us, however, because it is not enough to totally cover the ground and will likely be gone by the end of the day.

But it does make it feel like winter.

The semester is almost officially over. Grades are due Monday morning. Normally I rush to notify students of grades prior to their official announcement. With the update of the computer system, they are now available as soon as we post them. Since there are a few students who believe they are "A students" without feeling the need to demonstrate same, I'm going to create less stress for myself and wait to post grades until they are do. As mentioned in some recent blog discussions (including comments made on other blogs), grades are earned all semester. What's amazing is students who choose to clearly not follow instructions because "they don't agree with them" and, even when given what is basically "study hall" time, they still do not make corrections. Then, they don't know why they are not awarded an A they feel they so clearly deserve.

My situation is a little bit different from other instructors, though, since most of my students eventually go out into a student teaching situation and will get to much more quickly see what it's like to be on the other side of the desk. And, 14- and 16-year-old minds are often even less rational than those of some of our college students.

But, as other academic bloggers have mentioned, this is the time we feel overwhelmed by the negatives of our jobs and are ready for one of the rare benefits of our jobs, the winter break. Although most of us are working during the break (class prep and/or writing of various kinds that we didn't get to during the regular semester), it is a break from the regular schedule and it gives us more time to focus on the both the non-academic sides of our lives and to more clearly decide our own schedules (or at least let our family do it for us ;-) ).

And, right now, summer is busier than the regular semester because of all of the work that goes with implementing Teaching American History grants. We were able to start a new one last year and were in Year 2 of an existing one. I also participated in the NECC conference in Philly and snuck out to Vegas for my birthday in July. (Note: If you have trouble with heat, don't go to the desert in August. I should have learned that before now . . . .)

Time to walk the dog before the time gets away from me. Then, I'll proceed with cleaning out all of the office shelves so that I can find everything and feel like I know what needs to be done next and still be able to find it. I think we all need to ask for a personal assistant just to keep track of our paperwork (and to do our grading would be especially nice).

Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Kid on the Hallway: Teaching Carnival IV

Here's the latest teaching carnival.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

'Tis the season

You Are Cupid

A total romantic, you're always crushing on a new reindeer.

Why You're Naughty: You've caused so much drama, all the reindeers aren't speaking to each other.

Why You're Nice: You have a knack for playing matchmaker. You even hooked Rudolph up!
Which of Santa's Reindeer Are You?

Finals and Snow - response to Dean Dad

Here's my response to Dean Dad's contemplative post on snow days and finals.

Confessions of a Community College Dean: Snow: "I've always thought that students earn their grades all semester and it's further reinforced by the registrar's demand that we have grades in only two working hours after the last final is given. (Yes, there is a weekend in there and we know what we spend the weekend doing ...).

I have seen too many students blow off assignments thinking they can make it all up on a final and, on the other hand, I've seen students who have earned As and Bs through CONSISTENT WORK all semester blow it because of nerves on the final.

In your situation, I would not make them make it up. I have been teaching online since 2000 and even students who have been in an online class all semester still have trouble with following directions exactly (since computers don't compute 'almost right' on file submission, etc.).

To be fair to other students in different sections of the same class, an instructor could always look and compare to see if their grade would be different without the final for those who did take it and then take into account relevant factors like attendance and consistency of work.

After experiencing my own wreck on the ice (trying to get home BEFORE a storm but not calculating the icy rain), I'm much more understanding of no one risking life and limb just to get to my class for any reason."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Confessions of a Community College Dean: How Do You Know a Good College When You See One?

Another great discussion at CCCD; my comment follows:

Confessions of a Community College Dean: How Do You Know a Good College When You See One?: "As you pointed out, there are a varied number of indicators. Many students and their families chose primarily by cost and, in the case of colleges like yours and mine (regional state university), they are usually pleasantly surprised and only later realize the actual teaching and personal interest given to them as individuals. They weren't merely something that kept someone from researching and/or were not primarily taught by someone other than the 'big names' touted by R1s.

The reputation of our particular program is well-received in the field although students toward the end of the program (as they enter more 'professional practice' related classes) complain that we are expecting way too much. Only later when they themselves graduate do they thank us for preparing them for the real world. And since those evaluations come after the university's official student measurement instrument, the numbers don't correlate with any of this.

There's also a fine line between providing someone with an education and vocational training. Both have value but serious discussions need to take place and revisited to keep the official goals and outcomes as well as the students in mind.
# posted by Kelly : 6:07 AM"

Saturday, December 10, 2005


So, it's the last Saturday morning of the semester. Finals are next week.

I'm ahead of the game as far as Christmas . . . . almost. Most of the Christmas cards are in the mail and my homemade Christmas goodies are delivered (lemon ginger cookies, anise cookies, peanut clusters, cinnamon candy, fruitcake cookies, and white chocolate pretzels rods with sprinkles) - all before the month hit double digits. The Christmas decorations are half done. Last year in an initial effort to declutter the house, I moved the Christmas decorations into storage bins in the garage so that they no longer almost completely filled the guest room drawers and closet. It has worked much better - esp. as I only have to pull out one storage bin at a time. Next year, I will put the Christmas (not holiday!) tree lights on the top instead of the bottom - but that is an easy lesson learned.

I finished a proposal that relates to my almost-approved sabbatical and I need to expand on that. But, first, I need to do course prep for the spring semester AFTER I finish grading for this semester. I'm finding students expect more accommodations and I'm less willing to give it. We all make choices in life and, except for personal emergencies (and that's not sleeping through class), I'm less likely to accommodate. My last sabbatical was more freedom from a sticky political situation on campus that has since resolved itself. We are eligible for sabbatical each seven years but I am jealous of those that are able to do so every five years. I've been so busy with grant work (that has helped us keep our master's program) that it will be nice to be able to have more control of my schedule (something academics prize above all else sometimes) and, thus, be more productive. Having to be on campus for middle of the day meetings that really don't accomplish much drives me absolutely insane - especially when there's nothing wrong with later in the day where your day is not cut in half.

My classes are basically full for next semester - which is a good thing except for those students begging to get in. I feel less sympathy when they are asking 6 weeks after pre-enrollment. Budget cuts mean we can't always offer things as conveniently for them. I'm speaking as a professor with a 12-hour load and can't imagine what it's like for students to "manage" where professors teaching a 3- or 6-hour load each semester and, thus, aren't offering the same classes quite so often.

Last December was much busier and, although I enjoyed the trip to New York City last year that coincides with this upcoming week, I will be glad to be here. There is a little bit of our first snow left but next week the farm will be more enjoyable once I don't have to worry about staying inside to protect myself from deer season (or should I say the irresponsible hunters that shoot at anything that moves - even if it is near a house).

Today I'm going to tackle cleaning the office of clutter. I have several shelves of papers (primarily of things I just had to save off of the internet - I think I quit bookmarking about 3 years ago because my bookmark list was way too long) that I just need to sit and go through. I need full days like a Saturday ahead of me or else I end up misplacing important pieces of papers like bills than then chart late fees even when you pay ahead several times each year. (That credit thing should count both ways, BTW)

I have a short article to finish and others I need to start. Returning to more regularly blogging should also help result in articles to submit. I'm too busy doing and need to take more time to write to get my name out there a bit more. And, when you're not distracted with a million others things you have to do, writing is actually quite fun (note I'm writing this more than a decade after my dissertation was finished). I am also looking forward to some non-rushed work time to prepare spring classes. The summers are just too full with grant workshops to have any real dedicated time since my mind is in gear for preparing materials for teachers.

Shortly after coming to this institution, I wondered "what in the world will I do to keep busy after I go through my first few course preps?" First, I'm constantly tweaking and the advent of Blackboard keeps that tweaking constant in a variety of ways and not just improving lecture notes and updating assignments. Secondly, it seems that the opportunities just keep presenting themselves. So, off I go for the day . . . .

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tenure - Confessions of a Community College Dean

Confessions of a Community College Dean: "Tenure was intended to protect the freedom to do one?s job. It was not intended to protect freedom from one?s job. "
This is a great quote!

Cuts at Tulane

The Chronicle: Daily news: 12/09/2005 -- 01: "Tulane U. to Lay Off 233 Professors and Eliminate 14 Doctoral Programs


Tulane U. to lay off 233 professors and eliminate 14 doctoral programs

Federal panel on higher education appears likely to call for testing of college students

Advisory committee to U.S. Education Dept. penalizes accreditor of conservative colleges

Colleges should look beyond the Internet to recruit students, marketers say

NYU joins Coca-Cola boycott over allegations of union busting and rights violations in Colombia

State Digest: Requests to extend desegregation remedies in Alabama, and other news from the states

Information Technology
Texas Supreme Court endorses college district's technology and activity fees, voiding $12-million judgment

A little more than three months after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, forcing administrators to cancel the fall semester at Tulane University, the storm has dealt another blow to the institution.

On Thursday university officials announced a sweeping restructuring that will slice $60-million from the annual budget and will result in the layoffs of 233 faculty members, the elimination of 14 doctoral programs and 5 undergraduate majors, and the suspension of 8 athletics teams."


This looks like the real world impacting the ivory tower. I wonder if other institutions will use this as a case study to at least gradually cut programs to protect their long-term survival. However, I'm curious if there are any administrative cuts to match the faculty cuts???? Just a thought.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


There's snow on the ground! yeah!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New History Grants Announced

Here we go!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Chronicles of Dr. Crazy

The Chronicles of Dr. Crazy: "
I think that the most important part of how I teach MLA style is how I begin. I begin with explaining why we use specific citation styles. This begins with discussion. I ask them why we can't just cite things any old way. I ask them why it matters that we use a particular style based on the discipline in which we write. I take about 10 minutes just talking about what the point is of citing things. Because the thing is, they know that you have to cite or you can get busted for plagiarism. They understand that it's a rule. What they don't seem to understand is that there are practical reasons for citing things in a particular way - like letting your reader know how to find what you are citing. I know. This is a radical notion. But I realized somewhere along the way that this is the problem that I had with citing when I started college, and once I learned the why of citing I suddenly was able to be detail-oriented enough to do it properly. "


I should think about how to do this with Turabian. . .and how to apply it to my online classes . . . .

Friday, December 02, 2005

Intelligent Design Saga Continues

The Chronicle: Daily news: 12/02/2005 -- 01: "U. of Kansas Professor Pulls Plug on Course Designed to Debunk Intelligent Design


A proposed University of Kansas course on the 'mythology' of intelligent design was canceled on Thursday by the professor who had planned to offer it because he felt the controversy surrounding the issue would make the course impossible to teach.

Paul Mirecki, chairman of the religious-studies department at Kansas, had proposed the course, an upper-level class called 'Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Other Religious Mythologies' (The Chronicle, November 23). The title itself angered intelligent-design proponents, who objected to being lumped in with 'other religious mythologies.'

Then, this week, Mr. Mirecki sent a message to a private e-mail discussion group in which he referred to fundamentalist Christians as 'fundies' and wrote that the class would be 'a nice slap in their big fat face.' The message was leaked."

Intelligent Design Saga Continues

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Confessions of a Community College Dean: The Entrepreneurial Option

Confessions of a Community College Dean: The Entrepreneurial Option: "But is writing only to create new knowledge? What about great knowledge that hasn't been distilled widely? What about those that don't have time to read the great new tomes but have time to question or explore individual ideas.

I also think we're getting at the idea of static (books) vs. dynamic and communication in general is moving more toward the dynamic.

Also, blogging allows those of us without 3 colleagues in 'related areas' to talk to others with like interests.

And, can you imagine 'traditional faculty' talking with 'traditional administrators' the way we're doing right now in this blog? I think not. So, isn't this blog in and of itself creating new knowledge - taking the mystery out of what goes on upstairs and promoting at least a bit more understanding between the 'tiers' or at least helping some of us understand 'the dark side' - at least from Dean Dad's point of view ;-)"

Go to this link to read the original posts and comments made before mine to get the rest of the context for this message . . .

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