We had a great time with the triangle kids on achieve today. Simply fabulous. Truly an amazing experience. I can’t wait to see what they produce….
I did some good work on the Martin Luther section of bingen. Now I have a Martin Luther bot, who responds to keywords, which are triggered by room noises, that represents Charles V, his advisers, and a series of cardinals. And they all ask him about his theological stance, and he answers them. Example:
A red-robed cardinal points at Luther and says, “You have been rumoured to deny the use of works. Do you really believe that bad men will be redeemed in Christ? Men without charity, men without compassion?”
Martin Luther says, “Good works do not make a good Christian, but a good Christian does good works. The soul is justified by faith alone, not by any works.”
One of the clerks shouts, “What are you trying to accomplish, Dr. Luther? Do you want to be branded a heretic and excommunicated?”
Martin Luther says, “I want to see reform, sir. I want to see the church return to its early purity. I love the church, sir, I love God and I love Germany. I want to see us all follow the precepts laid down by Jesus to us. I want us to be saved.”
One of the cardinals asks, “Meaningless? Confirmation is meaningless?”
Martin Luther says, “If confirmation brings our youth closer to the church and closer to God, we may certainly continue to use it as a means to an end, but it does not figure in the Bible, and therefore is not a sacrament.”
The crowd roars with surprise and enthusiasm.
One of the bishops shouts, “Are you calling the Pope the AntiChrist?”
Martin Luther says, “I say what I am prompted to by what I have learned in studying the Bible. I will say no more than that.”
The Emperor Charles the V, with a thick Spanish accent, notes, “So, Dr. Luther. You agree that infants require baptism for salvation?”
Martin Luther [to Hildegarde]: Yes, your Honour, I do accept that babes should feel the blessed waters of baptism.
One of the Emperor’s aides, asks, “What about confirmation? Do you believe in this sacrament?”
Martin Luther says, “Yet another meaningless ritual.”
Someone from the crowd shouts, “What about the saints? Do you deny them too?”
Martin Luther [to Hildegarde]: The saints were good people, and we should try to emulate their goodness when we can, but saints cannot intercede for us on behalf of God. We must pray to God alone.
Someone in the crowd jostles you.
I’m unclear why Luther insists on responding to the chair in the room instead of just generally. But it still works. And now to bed!
I’ve been pulling apart and reconstructing bots today at achieve, with Brin’s help. So the place should be ready for the students tomorrow. Bots take forever to put together, but I think have a couple of successful ones. Now at least they respond properly to the plague messages. My other goal today was to move Martin Luther out of the church and put him into a disputation with the Catholic hierarchy instead. A little more dramatic and interesting. I haven’t started on that yet, but I guess now’s as good a time as any.
I had a fabulous time at Jason’s party….along with being social and eating strange and exotic foods, I got to talk shop with Jason, Emma and salmon, concurrently and consecutively. Emma had a great idea: she says that I should carry a moo concept book around with me…I seem to be getting a reputation for being a random idea generator, and I should probably write some of this stuff down so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
The Technology of the Book
Something I was thinking about on the walk from the subway to home: the advantages of the techonology of the book. What are they? The historical monograph, for example, as an option, rather than a requirement. What are the perks? They’re relatively cheap, they can be both text-based and graphical. They are portable, and you can stop and start accessing the content at your ease. You can write your own notes and questions in the margins, making it your version of the technology. Though, granted, most people reading historical monographs have them on loan from a library, making the comments option slightly more problematic. Other elements of the book as technology: linear progression of ideas (from page 1 to page 356), though these ideas are usually subheaded and are browsable; traditional interface is familiar to the user and needs no introduction. Usability based primarily on the programmer’s ability to sub-divide and clearly mark content, as well as good content writing. The historical monograph is best defined as an argument, addressing the arguments of those before, but primarily a monologue defending the validity of a particular thesis.
How can my historical presentation fulfill these functions, and be still more?
Sometimes, you just have to call Iowa.
“People can say what they want about queers and homos and whatnot, but I’ve never ever been woken up on a Saturday morning with a group of homos knocking on my door, asking me to join their church.”
–a viewer letter, cited on QTonline
I don’t think I fell asleep before 5am. In fact, I think it was closer to 6am or 7am, because I remember seeing the sun coming up. I was working on the moo until 4am, building new spots that I needed and programming some verbs that I wanted. I should have kept going, I couldn’t sleep when I decided to try anyway. My productivity seems to have returned in spades. I build a shrine, and made a verb to light a candle in front of it. Then I wrote a slap verb for my innkeeper, because he’s cheeky and needs to be slapped pretty often. I made my physician tell you what your character should be like based on what month you were born. And then I took a break and tweaked the blog some more…more vegetables. (Scroll down and see the cute little bok choy at the bottom as a ‘home’ link.) At some point there I decided that I should just do a random search for nice icons to be used later. God knows why. But I do like the vegetables. Vegetables are beautiful.
And then this morning I fixed up my scavenger hunt, and made a series of objects for the triangle kids. salmon had some nice things to say about my work, and I’m terribly pleased. I do so enjoy working with her. I’m really looking forward to this triangle thing. I can’t wait to see how the kids respond to the work I’ve done, too.
Off to wash some dishes for a change. I’m scared to eat anything from my kitchen at this point. I must tidy up.
What a day. I mean, really. And I hardly got out of bed. I woke up this morning and got to work on a scavenger hunt for the triangle project. That took forever, mostly because I had to sort through a lot of the stuff on achieve to find as many elements of the place to show off, and to find ways to have students learn how to use some of the basic commands to manage in the place. Of course this meant I tweaked my own project some as well. I fixed up some bits that had been bothering me. Some I just simplified, because I had started to do too much. And at the same time Jason decided it was time I got a second character on achieve for testing purposes. I’m thrilled.
I’ve always wanted a second identity. 🙂 I’ve baptized her Rapunzel, and this is what she looks like. I love these images, I had a whole book on these flower fairies when I was a kid. There’s something about them that I find very appealing. I wish I could post them all.
My sister called to tell me that she bought my bridesmaid dress for me. It’s blue, with, of course, spaghetti straps. (What else would it have?) I’m glad that’s taken care of. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
Fun and Funded
Well…so on the way out to my meeting with Adrienne Hood (the historian with a clue about the internet and thing technical), I checked my mail. There, next to my rejection from SSHRC (Social Studies and Humanities Research Council, the national government’s answer to funding wacko academics like me, but not me in particular) was a slim letter from the Ontario government. I assumed this was my rejection from them. I was wrong. They’re offering me 15 grand for next year. I fell down. External funding means I get to leave the history department if it comes to that. Probably means I have a better chance of getting a SSHRC later on. Wicked. This means I worry about nothing next year….I can’t believe I’m that happy about 15 grand. I could make more working at mcdonald’s, but it does solve a lot of problems. No loan for me. Yay! Thank, Mike Harris. Bah.
Well, so I had this meeting with Adrienne Hood, and it went swimmingly. She told me lots about the politics of what I’m proposing, and who I should tread gently on. Since she doesn’t know me from Eve, I’m terribly impressed with her openness and kindness. Wonderful.
And then I met up with salmon for dinner, and we worked on some planning for the triangle project. We’re going to be helping a group of students through a 3-week workshop that involves developing projects on achieve. Honestly I think I still only half understand what they’re doing. I mean, I love achieve, and I can I think of lots of good ways to do projects and evaluation in moo, but I’m not sure why these students are there. I think there are lots of good reasons for students to be there, but I’m not sure I’ve figured out why these ones are. We do moo tutorial for a while, and then the start an online research project that they build on the moo. I’m curious to see how this will go. I’m looking forward to it. And it’s always fun to work with salmon in any context. And she’s really on right now, after the conference. Her brain has yet to stop buzzing. I could hear it at the dinner table.
Onward and upward….I can’t remember what I have to do tomorrow. All I know is that Contact is on at 8pm. Why do I remember only the really important details?
I was checking out the student-made websites for Adrienne Hood’s material culture class. There were many that were interesting, including one about bras which got my attention. The liberal use of flash makes for very pretty pages, but they have some content, too. I guess I’ll have to learn to use flash. Off to a meeting…
[+][beam] Hildegarde says, “Some cultures are defined by their relationship to cheese.”
[+][beam] Brin says, “Cheese is god.”
[+][beam] Brin says, “Good, even.”
[+][beam] Hildegarde falls apart laughing.
[+][beam] salmon says, “no no, the first was right”
Blogging late at night again….
Well, so I was hanging out with the bridal party today. What a complete blast. I had such a great time, who knew? We tried on 500 dresses, and I discovered that I *am* an actual size 14 (my mother didn’t entirely believe it), and I got lots of nice comments about how ‘curvy’ I am. I have this hidden waist that no one ever sees, because I think I look like a busty whore with massive hips. Apparently this is otherwise known as an hourglass figure. So, if you can believe it, shopping for a bridesmaid dress actually ended up being an ego-boosted event. Who knew?
Anyway, a great great great time was had by all. We head to Blake’s house afterwards (another bridesmaid), and drank wine and kept talking. It was productive and fun. It was good to meet these people again…they were all a year ahead of me in school, so I know them but not really…we all really connected. I hope we get together again. But now I’m exhausted and that means I’m going to be behind in my email correspondence. I thought of another 1500 things I want to talk to Kyle about, but I don’t have the energy yet to write the email. Isn’t it amazing how fast you can come to really look forward to hearing what someone thinks….
I wrote a very long update about all the details of yesterday when I got home (late) last night, but somehow the whole thing was lost. Frustrating. So I’ll try to rewrite the key points.
1) I had a meeting with Prof. Terpstra today. We went over everything; me and school, me and the department, me and comps, me and my family, my medical issues, everything. And he had some pretty insightful things to say. He’s a great, great man and I’m glad I went to him. I know it’s odd that I went to him *first* though, I didn’t exactly mean to do that. But he thinks the problem with this year, and why I want to move departments, is because the work I’m doing in history right now is boring and not very creative. I’m just reading and not writing, I’m not feeling very cutting edge. He thinks the reason I’m glomming on to this tech stuff (my words, not him) is because it’s creative, and it gets me the rush of doing something really avant garde, and that’s really doing something and going somewhere. I think he’s on to something. I have always sort of followed along with whoever seemed to be doing something interesting, whoever was pushing the envelope. But anyway, he doesn’t think I’d have a hope in hell of ever getting a job in a history department if I were to switch, no matter what. Everyone has a different take on that issue. Interesting. We’re thinking that a joint degree would be best. So that’s got to be my next project. I have some people to call and such.
2) After that, I had a good cry (tough, tough conversations to have, even though prof. Terpstra was really very wonderful to me), and I went up to see Jason and Emma, who were presenting VASE to…well, someone. There were various displays of technologies up in Robarts, I think they all shared the same funding. So I tried to be helpful there. That was very long and very intense. And while I was there I ran into Adrienne Hood, and we had a good conversation. She says she’s been trying to bring technology into the history department, and has had NO positive response. She says this year her request was met with ‘There’s no place for history in that,’ and ‘there’s no student interest’. So in a way this is the best and the worst time for me to bring this up. So that was interesting.
3) After that…we went and helped emma pick out a GUITAR! And it’s BLUE! How beautiful! We made sure she had a decent capo and a bunch of picks, though she swears she doesn’t want to strum. And she’s already making good use of the internet to learn songs and chords. We’re starting a band, we’ll call it: Emma and the Conquistadors.
4) And THEN, Jason and Yuka took us for dinner at a Mexican place. We had fajitas. 🙂 And emma and yuka made bunny faces at each other. And after that we went back to jason and yuka’s and played guitar until jason kicked us out. Ever so fun. Emma’s fingers hurt when she types today. What a star.
So, there you have it. The complete update after all. And today: handing in my application to OISE. Yay!
Well, I’ve continued to have a fascinating conversation with Kyle about gender and trans issues. He is truly a gifted human being, and I’m endlessly grateful that he bothered to answer my email. (Just one more adoring fan, and all that. ) He has said lots of incredibly fascinating things, but I think it would be rude to start sticking bits of my email up here. But let it not be said that I’m not tempted…talk about turning gender arguments upside down. I think the key point is that trans issues are a kind of gender crossroads, it’s what happens when feminism and queer theory hit the pavement, it’s the point when you finally try on the sweater you’ve been knitting for years and discover that it doesn’t fit at all. Like, as if you didn’t leave room for one of your arms, *that* sort of “doesn’t fit”.
Hildegarde sings, o/~ I missed ten thousand miles of road I should’ve seen..o/~
Much fun had at tonight at salmon’s. And, what was the main course for the evening? Can you guess? Salmon! How cannibalistic! And, a first for me. I was determined to be brave about it, though when it came out with the skin on it and stuff it kind of freaked me out. Good thing I’d had a beer and a couple of glasses of wine by then. And, verdict is…it was pretty good. It might take me a while to get over the consistency, though. I don’t think I’m over my fear of fish by a longshot, but I did take an important step tonight. And I met all kinds of really nice people. But I think I initiated/prolonged some strange conversations, so I’m not sure I’ll get invited back. Oh dear. 🙂
And I think I’m going with emma to buy a guitar tomorrow. What fun! I figure Steve’s on Queen st. is the place to go. Seeing that I’ve been to all of two music stores in Toronto, and only into each one once. (Once to get a new capo and some strings, and once to get some picks. That was on Saturday.) For some reason people assume that if you can play a guitar you must know how to buy one too. (My mother bought me mine. I’ve never bought one.) But this should be interesting. And emma’s always a hoot. I haven’t spent enough time with her of late.
Also: I was watching QT last night, and saw its host, Irshad, refer to some viewer comments about transexual issues, and to their FTM correspondent’s response. Well, since I’ve been trying to talk about gender for weeks now, I decided to email their correspondent, Kyle, about what he had written. And that has evolved into a rather interesting email conversation about the nature of trans issues generally, and has given me a lot to think about. I knew there was someone who would give me a real criticism of my gender essentialism…but I’m still pushing Kyle on some issues. He’s giving me a whole new spin, which I enjoy. I really need to go back to school, don’t I. It’s pretty sad.
Welll, this is interesting: a gender test. The moral of this story: gender infuses everything you do. What a surprise. It was right about me, though. Is it right about you?
I introduced Brandi to blogging tonight! Yes, everyone must blog, it’s a new law. And now, I’m exhausted, good night good night!
My sister is in town, and I went with her to pick up her wedding dress. It’s quite nice. I said it was cute, and I got scolded for that. We meandered through the A.G.O. and some some interesting pieces of art. I insisted on seeing the ‘Europe from 1100-1800’ section, but we saw the group of seven and the modern art sections too. Good fun. I saw one exhibit that interested me…it kind of reminded me of MOOspace, oddly enough. It consisted of a film projector showing a loop of a girl in a red dress dancing, and a room filled with speakers on poles, and the artist reading loops of text. It was at that point that I started to wonder if I couldn’t convince my sister to consider MOOspace as artistic space. She was talking about making her usually static dolls move and do things….she sounded like me getting frustrated with my static MOO project and wanting to make it interact and engage the reader. My sister is mostly terrified of technology, so that may or may not go very far.
On the topic of my own project: my first verb! I brought the plague to Bingen! When you visit the Butcher’s living quarters, and touch the fuzzy little animal there (actually a rat), you begin a 15 minute sequence of messages that simulates the symptoms of the plague. What pleases me most is that it keeps affecting the reader even when they leave the room and walk around. Some of the gruesome details:
You feel an uncomfortable heat in your armpits, neck, and groin and you lean over to throw up more blood.
You reach up and touch your neck. You feel large, hard, bulging nodes that seem to be causing the pain you’ve been feeling.
The swelling under your arms hurts you terribly, and then suddenly, the glands burst. You find yourself a mess of pus and blood.
15 minutes of it, yes. Oh, I’m so proud. Jason has yet to get the plague. It’s a goal for me. Having a terrible craving for guacomole. Must go satisfy it.
We started a conversation some days ago on baymoo about the nature of the ‘true artist’. It began with a comment about the ‘true artist’ never questioning the pursuit of art. I said it sounds like a rich white man’s definition of a nice life. So 19th century. Anyway, we had a fun time arguing with that statement, and today, this:
Message 9154 on *Chatter (#3100):
Date: Fri Apr 13 17:51:19 2001 PDT
From: Alan (#22860)
To: *Chatter (#3100)
Subject: Just had to share
‘The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot,
his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at
anything but his art.’
George Bernard Shaw put that into his play “Man and Superman” back in
1903. Here was somebody who truly believed in Art. And in the ability of
Man to create it.
Hildegarde rolls on the floor, laughing until her stomach aches.
I wrote my first MOO verb today! Many thanks to Brin for telling me how to do this. Then after that I promptly broke my first verb. Welcome to my productive day. More detail once it’s working.
What a great night. I had no idea I stuck around for so long, though…look at the time. I thought it was about 12:30am, I didn’t realize I would be pushing 3:30am when I stumbled home. I guess that’s what happens when you start talking and find there’s just no end to what you have to say…I thoroughly enjoy my time with salmon, we can move from the profoundly personal to the entirely theoretical in three steps or less.
We spent some time talking about the ‘essential self’, which was very interesting, and something I need to think about some more…it makes me think about Caroline’s definition of where the essential self is located….some people think about their ‘self’ being in their head, or in the heart. Caroline was quite sure her self was in her belly. She would touch her belly when she said ‘me’. And tonight I completely, fully understand what she means. Tonight I have the feeling, from my gut, that I am so happy with the choices I’ve made in my life. I’m happy with where I am, the skills I have, the knowledge I’ve gathered. I have been unsure in the past 3 years that I was really equipped with the skills and strength required to exist in healthy relationships with people. I don’t think I realized what a toll that uncertainly took on me. Now I am sure that I am actually stronger than I accounted for, and I’m certainly stronger than the people around me thought I could be And I’m proud of who I have become, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. It’s amazing to wander through the city feeling like this. A profoundly peaceful feeling, and a profoundly exciting one.
salmon and I spent the evening talking and thinking and brainstorming and finally even coming up with some solutions to problems, theoretical or practical. I know I’ve been thought of as the random idea generator at Achieve, and I think that’s actually happening because I haven’t had a real outlet to do that for some time. The last time I felt this excited about anything was in the spring of 1999 when I was taking Katy Park’s Evidence of Experience class. There was a real sense there that we were cutting edge, that we were figuring out ways to think about historical problems and issues that had just not been thought about before. There were times when we would come up with ideas in that seminar and we would all just kind of fall silent thinking about the implications of what we’d just said. That was so wonderful. I would get so excited about the ideas we were generating and debating, the kind of fine line we were walking, that it was actually difficult to just sit still. What a wonderful feeling. I’m so glad to have rediscovered that. And I feel so happy. Maybe this is partly due to the fact that I am no longer ODing on estrogen, and that I’ve started to take those happy psych drugs (though those aren’t supposed to take effect for another week and a half at least). Or just the happy circumstances of last week are finally sinking in. In many ways I feel like I’ve found a niche for myself, and I’m challenged by the fact that I’m not entirely qualified to fulfill that niche. Is there anything more engaging, more exciting, than being on the brink of understanding something? I know my new goals are not to stop being a random idea generator, but to start being an solution producer at the same time. Again, part of the joy of the process is not being entirely certain that I’m up for the task.
And, at the same time, it’s starting to sink in that not only is this move to OISE (should it happen!) good for me socially/emotionally, but it looks as though it will be good academically and professionally as well. I’m feeling more and more positive about my ability to be a good historian who is also versed in pedagogy and techonology, and the possibilities of getting gainful employment that way. Oh, I should bottle this feeling. I could make a fortune.
Oh, one more thing: salmon introduced me to the joys of guacamole tonight. What a wonderful thing to put in one’s mouth. I had no idea.
Blogger is having some growing pains…I haven’t been able to post since last night. I’m glad to have been able to this afternoon, but it’s still random whether or not it’s going to work….
But, I wanted to mention that I had a *great* time with my French friend, Anne-Helene. She is truly a sweet and funny girl. And a good cook, to boot. 🙂 She lives in the world’s most ornate house. Her landlady, unbeknownst to her when she agreed to live there, is a francophile. So everything (*everything*) is French. There is actually a poster of a view of her school in Paris hanging in her bedroom, and she didn’t bring it with her. It got funnier and funnier as the evening went on. (“Oh, look at that…a poster of ‘les confitures’ and ‘le vin'”) It was like walking through a dictionary.
I’ve been having strange dreams. So now of course I’m compelled to tell you what I’m dreaming, too. Last night I went to Latin America. I think I won some kind of trip. I don’t know what city I was in, but I got a tour from a nice, hefty, strong man who took me into a boat. It was like any old-style city, except that the narrow streets were filled with water. And I noticed I was taken on the tour that at every corner there was a pole sticking out of the water with a red scrap of fabric on the top. And if you looked under the water, you could see that there were dead black men shoved into the foundation of the street with those poles jabbed into their chests. They were gory, too, still bloody and stuff. It was horrific. There was more, something about trying to find a place to stay, and I was scared, because there was this impending sense of violence. It’s quite an image to have in your head, let me tell you. Now you can share it with me. 🙂
Off to salmon’s tonight….yay!!
Why I Want to Live in London, Ontario
Well. I was helping Janine look for an apartment in London, and wasn’t that a mistake. She found herself a bachelor in London. This place is in a building overlooking a woodsy area, with a pool, free membership to a gym, it’s near downtown and on a bus route, free parking, and it’s $459 a month inclusive. Remind me, why am I living in a tiny little box in the sky with no nice amenities and a view of 1500 dirty balconies with peeling paint and paying $630 a month for it? Oh yeah, I forgot. For the priviledge of living in Mike Harris’ no-rent-control downtown Toronto. Lucky us. Sheeeeesh. Maybe I should have looked at a program in UWO or McGill….think of how well I could be living! Argh!
Well, Janine got offered an internship in London, beginning in May. I’m thrilled for her, but I’m really going to miss her. She’s such an important person in my life. Luckily, she’s going to have a car, so she says she’ll be here in Toronto a lot, even for work. So I guess I’ll still see her some, at least. We’d better fit in lots of fun time before she leaves. She’s a little sad because her friend didn’t get hired by this company in London, and really really wanted to be. The guilt of success…no doubt her friend will get a good internship shortly. And last night I got two meeting proposals…one with my second reader, Prof. Terpstra, and the other with the tech historian, Prof. Hood. So I’m going to be meeting-hopping for a while. And I got an invite to go have dinner tonight with a very sweet French girl I met at work (I still have to work out how to get to her house…me and my amazing sense of urban direction), and I’m off to salmon’s tomorrow night for html and project bonding. I’ll bring the breakable bottle of wine. (salmon has this incredible knack for breaking a full bottle of wine at parties.) I’m having a tremendous craving for a cinnabon. And a frappucino. (Where is the nearest starbucks? Every 2 blocks, lucky me!)
I went to meet with Jason and salmon at the faculty club tonight. What fun. Fish&Nun enterprises begins! While there I accidentally ran into Barbara Todd and Jennifer Morey (the imfamous pair!), and I unloaded a bit about some of the stuff I’m considering vis-a-vis school. First off, she thinks I’m writing off the department too fast. She might be right. She was very supportive of the ideas i have, though, and thinks I’m actually thinking in the right direction for getting a job in the future. She’s thinking rather differently than Mark is, Mark being one of the few colleagues I have in the department. She thinks the admin would be more favourable to this kind of tech project than we might think. She offered to sit in with me in a meeting with the head of the department. So that’s just great. She’s also very supportive of my thought to move over into OISE…she agreed that they would accept this project point blank, where the department would require more teasing. I mentioned that to me the ideal situation would be to do the degree jointly, and she seemed to think there might be room to try something like that. She says she’s going to start pushing the department to hire someone who’s got the word ‘pedagogy’ in her/his job description. She thinks most departments in the country are going to have to start thinking that way shortly, so it looks like I’m actually well placed to be taking a step like this. Now it seems just a matter of figuring out how to bring some historians over to help me with my project and keep them on the committee…doesn’t *sound* like too big a deal. Thank god for Barbara Todd. What a great day.
Well, today I managed to get my *new* doctoral application mostly together….now it’s just a matter of waiting for letters and transcripts to trickle in. But I put together a writing sample and something one might roughly call a letter of intent, if one were so inclined. I would post it, but I’m still feeling a little funny about it as a letter. It reads more like an apology than anything else. Though I’m really looking forward to next year. For a change I really feel like I have a lot to learn, and I feel like I have a lot of people to rub shoulders with. So that’s a really nice feeling.
I spent the afternoon with my friends Rhonda and Alana down by Winchester park. They are sweet, sweet people who just can’t stop trying to feed me or hand me drinks. I should be back there now, but it seems a bit late and I don’t want to impose anymore than I already have….they’re babysitting a (gasp) 9 week old beagle girl, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. She reminds me so much of my little munchin at that age.
So I spent the afternoon speaking beagle and pulling [insert name of random object/piece of garbage here] out of this little girl’s mouth. What a funny duckling. Beautiful day. Oh, the feeling of warm wind on my bare arms….it’s so beautiful it’s almost unbearable. I can’t wait for the summer. Oh, and it seems that my dear friend blue has decided to come for a visit from Iowa this summer….what fun that will be! I’ll have to start making fun plans now, she strikes me as a fun kind of girl.
Still marvelling at the nice weather….[raises a glass] here’s to it continuing into the week….we need this. We really need it. This winter of my discontent has rolled along way too long….
Wow, thanks to Evan for listing me on the splash page…I’ve learned quite a lot about how people are managing or thinking of managing their blogs for class. One fine example is a film studies seminar in Australia where the instructor and three students all maintain blogs. I think that’s a great advantage in a seminar, and certainly it must bring students closer into conversation. I hadn’t thought about how blogging would helpful for a small class like that…I had only been thinking about undergrads who often don’t get heard or don’t often get asked what they’re thinking. But I think this is a really nice example of how the intensity of a good seminar can make in onto the web.
Then there is the group blog, the class after class discussion board. Bernie Dodge at San Diego State emailed me about his class on educational games, which seems to have worked nicely. One of his students said this about blogging, which struck me as interesting:
“I figure since this is my last blog, I should comment on my opinioins about this whole blogging thing. When it first started, I wasn’t sure about the whole thing because I figured others weren’t really reading my blogs. After a week or so I was getting some interesting feedback from other students, and I saw myself quickly starting to enjoy this whole blogging experience a little more. I think though, these blogs are only effective if they are being closely monitored as Bernie has done so well over the past couple of months. Without communication between students and the transfer of feedback, students will quickly find themselves blogging because they have to. All in all, I must say that this was a nice addition to the class, good job Bernie!”
And I think he really hit the nail on the head; feedback is critical, not only instructor feedback but student feedback as well. Certainly deciding to insist that students keep blogs for a large class means work for the instructor. I suggest that would be work worth doing. How to manage a large class seems like an administrative hurdle more than a significant barrier. But again, I’m just thinking outloud.
Thanks to everyone for telling me about their class blogs. It’s been just fascinating to see how these ideas are working around the world.