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  • Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

Friday Fragments
March 8, 2012 - 9:52pm

You’d think I would have learned to expect it by now, but I’m still surprised by the volume of email and delayed meetings that backs up while I’m traveling.  Yesterday was a dig-out-from-the-avalanche day, and today features seven scheduled meetings. This is why I don’t travel much.

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I don’t get the Netflix thing.  Why can’t they stream the same movies they send out on DVD?  If I watch, say, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo on a DVD, and then watch it again via streaming, I notice two things.  First, my will to live is shot.  And second, it’s the same movie.  I don’t know why it matters how the pixels get to my tv.  They’re the same pixels.  If they could stream all the movies they have on DVD, I’d happily sign back up.  As it is, though, no.

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The joys of disaggregating data: at my college, we used to get course completion rates broken out by race, and again by gender, but not by both.  This year we’ve started getting each race broken out by gender, and the extra dimension is revealing.  Last Fall, women in the “Latino” category (Latina?) outperformed the white guys in developmental math classes.  Within each racial group, women outperformed men by about seven points.  What used to look like a racial disparity is starting to look more like a race-and-gender issue.

If nothing else, the data may help fine-tune some interventions.  And maybe dispel a few myths.

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Podcasts are what radio should have been.  Discuss.

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Genes are stubborn.  I don’t recall ever seeing my grandparents swim, or even hearing them mention it.  My Mom wanted -- and still wants -- nothing to do with water.  I never enjoyed actual swimming -- as opposed to just messing around in a pool on a hot day --  and dreaded lessons.  Now The Girl is complaining about her swim lessons.

The “landlubber” gene is tenacious.  That can’t be an entirely bad thing.

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If this whole focus on graduation rates continues, I foresee a major grade inflation scandal in the next five years.  You heard it here first.

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Okay, I have to admit the ipad is getting pretty tempting.  But the combination of “faster connectivity” and “sharper resolution” with “data caps” strikes me as a time bomb.  I don’t want an episode of The Daily Show on Hulu to run me a couple hundred bucks in overage fees.  And there’s still that “getting it back from the kids” problem...

 

 

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