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February 4, 2010 - 9:54pm
Several alert readers sent me links to this article from the New York Times. It's a weirdly chipper "pick up some money in your spare time by adjuncting!" piece, written for (and apparently by) people who aren't terribly conversant in higher ed. Depending on your angle to the universe, it could be read as refreshing, bizarre, or deeply offensive. (I fall into the 'bizarre' camp, with sympathies for the 'deeply offensive.')
February 4, 2010 - 9:44pm
One good thing that I hope emerges from our whole discussion on curricular video and copyright is an extension of this conversation to include video projects.The real pedagogical action around video is not viewing, but creating.
February 4, 2010 - 8:52pm
The last time I did algebra in these pages, I crashed and burned. But the compulsion, triggered by President Obama's latest proposal that your dollars and mine be invested in making "clean coal" a reality, is just too strong. Plus, I'm a slow learner.So let's start with some basic facts:In the USA, coal is burned almost exclusively for the purpose of generating electricity; it puts about 1950 million metric tons of CO2 (or 520 mmt of carbon) into the atmosphere every year.
February 4, 2010 - 7:20pm
I thought I was hanging on, but midway through today’s lecture I realized I was deluding myself. As PTJ began to do some formulae, I found myself slipping away. By the lecture’s end, he might as well have been using Ukrainian as his language of instruction.
February 4, 2010 - 12:44pm
We received our fall semester course evaluations on the first day of the spring semester. The timing seems akin to going to therapy with your ex-boyfriend immediately before setting out on a blind date with a potential new one. A strange analogy, but you get my point.
February 3, 2010 - 10:05pm
A few years ago I mentioned my bewilderment at why the failure of the push to adopt the metric system in the United States in the 70's hasn't received more scholarly attention. I remember teachers earnestly walking us through the various units -- centimeters, kilograms, celsius degrees, etc. -- to prepare us for the Big Change. Obviously, with a few isolated exceptions, it didn't happen.
February 3, 2010 - 10:02pm
Today, I got lucky.It's usually better to be lucky than good (a poker player told me that one). It's always better to be lucky than smart (pure intelligence, if there is such a thing, doesn't correlate particularly well with good outcomes -- luck, if there is such a thing, does). So today must be one of my better days.
February 3, 2010 - 9:20pm
Is the debate we are having about copyright and online streaming of course video (behind a password through the LMS) lagging behind new methods of teaching? How do we situate the discussion within the context of wanting our students to have full, unrestricted access to the assigned class videos source files so that they can create their own new works of scholarship via a mashup?
February 3, 2010 - 8:54am
When I was pregnant with my daughter and unsure what was going to happen to my academic career, a woman I admire, a full-time mom/scientist, told me that she thought of her life in terms of five-year blocks. These blocks corresponded loosely with her children’s developmental stages, and with each subsequent phase she was able to take on different projects or increase the amount of time she devoted to her own interests.
February 2, 2010 - 9:48pm
Too many of the arguments I've read and heard for hiring more full-time faculty rely on moralistic appeals. The idea seems to boil down to a simpleminded equation of "market" with "bad" and "tradition" with "good." Moralistic arguments don't work because they solve the wrong problem. But there's a perfectly reasonable market-based argument for hiring full-time faculty right now: buy low, sell high. Great people have never been as undervalued as they are now; this is an unprecedented hiring opportunity.


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