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June 20, 2012
At THATCamp CHNM this year, Mark Sample proposed a session on "Building a Better Blogging Assignment". Those present shared their experiences from assigning blogs in past courses and also exchanged models and ideas for assignments that best fit their course objectives. Some use blogs in seven week online courses, while others have incorporated blogs into the semester-long physical classroom or hybrid courses. While you can draw your own conclusions by examining the collaborative notes started by Trevor Owens, the guide below presents my own summary on how to design and implement a blog assignment for your own course.
May 2, 2012
I'm not sure if this Grad Student phenomenon has a name yet, but I'll give it one - "The mid-degree crisis". You are about two years into your degree, but still two (or more) years away from finishing. Most of your structured requirements are finished, but you've done less than half the work that you'll need to do for your degree. And one day… you can’t remember why you pursued your PhD to begin with.
April 1, 2012
On the weekend of June 15th, I will be attending the fifth THATCamp Prime. What is THATCamp? Founded by graduate students at the history department at George Mason University in 2008, THAT stands for 'the humanities and technology'.  It is an 'unconference' in that the structure and agenda is decided on-site on the first day of the conference itself. No papers. No panels. This model facilitatesTHATCamp's strengths: productive results, networking, and knowledge sharing.
March 26, 2012
I'm about to write a 900 word blog post about guilt, and I feel guilty about it. Why? Because I could be spending this time working on my dissertation. In fact, this is how I feel about most things that aren't my dissertation. I feel guilty when I'm hanging out with my friends, out to dinner with my fiancé, doing laundry, watching March Madness, or reading...*gasp*…a book for fun. It's not a particularly healthy way to go through life, and it places a great deal of stress on every moment of the day, since even when I'm trying to relax, I know I could be working.
March 22, 2012
Whether you’re into bread, pastries, cookies, soups, sauces, casseroles, or other delightful, delectable, and preferably time-consuming sundries, elaborate cooking projects can be a welcome distraction from those towers of books scattered and stacked precariously around your living quarters. It’s true that, at this stage of the game, each of us has our own arsenal of finely-tuned “productive” procrastination techniques to help us avoid the real work of reading, writing, and grading, and far be it from me to pass judgment on anyone’s time-tested methods. But while baking started out as an avoidance strategy for me, it has evolved into a tool for invention.
March 20, 2012
The semester started off so well. As a newly minted Ph.D candidate, I couldn’t wait to start my dissertation research. I enthusiastically wrote an email and survey soliciting study participants, triumphantly clicked send, and sat back and waited for the volunteers to roll in.
March 20, 2012
Whether you have true writer's block or struggle with perfectionism, hitting that delete button can be both terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.  As someone who is never quite happy with the work I produce, I've found that I tend to over-analyze details.  This leads to a lot of hours of quality time between me and my computer.  Between that and my tendency to push through things (even when I really shouldn't), I find myself sometimes stressing out over things that just need to be deleted.
March 18, 2012
One sees signs across many campuses encouraging people to “say something” if they “see something,” but what does that mean for graduate students?  Many graduate students experience some form of abuse, but we often feel helpless to do anything about it.  We sense that something is wrong with us rather than the institutionalized patterns of derision, infantilization, neglect, and exploitation.  To make matters worse, a blanket of silence shrouds this abuse.  Those who are brave enough to address the issue are often suppressed or dismissed.  Until we can bring about structural change as the next generation of scholars, we need to focus on supporting each other, finding individual solutions, and pushing our universities to provide greater protection.
March 15, 2012
On Monday morning, I checked my Inside Higher Ed email and was reminded of the website "100 Reasons NOT to go to Grad School." I've been following 100 Reasons for a while now, as I am the type of person who can't help but click on any and all links promising information about what has been dubbed "The Higher Ed Apocalypse." As I understand the HEA, it is basically the idea that institutions are vastly overproducing Phds for fewer and fewer tenure-track (and even alternative-academic) jobs. Other hallmarks of the genre include the idea that academia is really not the best place to work anyway (see College Misery).  But mostly, I read the ones that tell me my choice to pursue a terminal degree is foolish, the jobs are impossible to get, and, if I am of the lucky few to land one, I will hate it. So here's the truth: I have no idea how to assess the actual hiring situation for people like me who are coming out of Phd programs.
March 13, 2012
We've all been here: A deadline for a dissertation chapter, conference abstract, or presentation looms ever largely on the horizon. At first, work sessions proceed in a regular fashion. Progress is being made, and stress levels are low. Then, at some point, panic sets in because it seems like the task at hand can't be completed--at least in the desired fashion. If only there was more time!  

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