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April 10, 2010 - 5:55pm
One of the best things that emerged from my sojourn in Dublin was snagging a copy of Ian McEwan’s extraordinary new novel Solar, a tale of sex, ambition, murder, and, of all things, physics and the environment. Michael Beard is short, fat, and clever, and his fifth marriage is ending as he confronts the dying embers of a brilliant career, only to be saved by a series of fortuitous events that lead him to become a hero to the environmental movement.
April 8, 2010 - 9:55pm
An alert reader sent me this story from Time. Apparently, Lansing Community College (MI) is guaranteeing students in certain pre-career certificate programs that they'll get jobs within a year of graduation, or they'll get their tuition back.Gotta admit, I never thought of that. Of course, there's a reason for that.
April 8, 2010 - 9:47pm
The Question:Should learning design duties be added to traditional subject librarian tasks?The Role:A learning designer, in the context that I am thinking about the role, most resembles a course project manager. The learning designer works directly in the learning management system (LMS) to develop the course skeleton to which the faculty member adds the flesh of content and assignments. The course skeleton includes course modules, with areas for learning outcomes, deliverables, discussions etc.
April 8, 2010 - 8:17pm
I have written before about my philosophy of learning math. I tell my students that one needs to do math wrong first, before one can figure out how to do it right. This, after all, is the logic of doing homework. Homework gives students a chance to mull over problems and possibly go down blind alleys, only to eventually learn how to solve a problem in a way that works. I have also seen such a theory applied to many areas in life. It is often the case that we need to make our own mistakes so as to learn how not to make those same mistakes again.
April 8, 2010 - 3:34pm
There's an old saying among good managers: "Be careful what you measure, because that's what's going to improve." Which is not to say that any form of "improvement" is necessarily a bad thing, but rather that what we measure is both a result of and a continuing input to how we (and those to whom we communicate) see any problem.
April 8, 2010 - 4:34am
Geez. There ain’t no denying it. Forty-five is middle-aged. Actually it’s beyond middle-aged. I’ll be darn lucky to make it to ninety (or to pay off my mortgages by then). Still, I count my blessings for making it this far, and I bought tickets to an appropriate birthday play as a reward.
April 7, 2010 - 9:12pm
I have to admit getting a good laugh from this.Apparently, there's a company that employs people in India with graduate degrees to grade papers for American professors. For twelve bucks a paper, they'll give not just a letter grade, but comments. The idea is to free up faculty to focus on instruction (or, more accurately, research), rather than grading. It also saves the university money, since outsourcing the grading allows you to run classes at much larger sizes.
April 7, 2010 - 8:12pm
Great discussion around the "Eroding Library Role?" article from 4/7.One area that I'd like to engage the library community is around librarians and course development.Do you see a future where librarians partner with faculty to design Web-enabled (hybrid/online) courses?I ask this question for 3 reasons:
April 7, 2010 - 8:53am
Recently a friend of mine, a fellow PhD/stay-at-home mom, told me that she’d taken the day off. I was puzzled since I was sure she was no longer taking on research contracts. What did she mean, she’d taken the day off? It took me a second to get it. She meant, of course, that she’d not done errands, laundry, volunteer work, writing, editing, shuttling kids, or any of the myriad chores she needed to do. In those precious hours while her children were in school she read a novel, just for fun and just to give herself a break. I was impressed.


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