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January 30, 2011
Please tune in here, this Wednesday through Saturday, to click-and-listen to two-dozen free podcasts by big-time poets, writers, and editors.
January 28, 2011
For years, we've heard a log about "reduce, reuse, recycle". Actually, we've heard a lot about "recycle", and a bit about the other two. At least on a cultural level, reducing and reusing seem a bit unAmerican, or at least unMiddleClassAmerican.Which is why, in conversations with students, I've started emphasizing a larger set of R's. Six, to be precise. The familiar three are still in place, and we talk about them in order of importance:
January 27, 2011
One of my far-flung correspondents (well, not that far-flung; he lives in the Fargo-Moorhead area) sent me an intriguing job announcement today, with editorial comments. The position was at a good university where the librarians are certifiably brilliant, but it's an interesting commentary on collection development today.
January 27, 2011
I’m just looking for a sense of the lay of the land. Readers from all sorts of institutions are invited to answer.How does your college handle grade appeals by students?Can appeals address judgments, or only errors of calculation? Can grades be changed if the professor objects? Who gets to make the call? Does the system seem to work?If you’d rather answer privately than comment publicly, I’m at deandad (at) gmail (dot) com.Thanks!
January 27, 2011
Yesterday, I had one of those moments that made me feel all warm inside. I was speaking with a group of students about efforts to make Greenback U. more sustainable, and several of them called me out."Do you really think hybrid cars are a good solution?""Isn't ethanol problematic?""Don't you understand that US demand for soybeans is changing agricultural patterns and creating hunger in South America?""What's the chance that the world can avoid massive social problems resulting from massive poverty in an increasingly hostile climate?"
January 27, 2011
One of my students plagiarized this semester. Not once, but twice. I graded both papers in a week’s time, so the severity of the offense seemed even worse. Instructors who have encountered plagiarism will remember that brief moment of hesitation, the slow passing of time as you wait for Google (or Turnitin) to bring up the results, the quick beating of your heart as you see the lifted passages appear on your screen, the determined swish of the cursor to “Print.” Now imagine that twice in one week. It was unnerving but also sad.
January 27, 2011
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean2 Reasons to Read The Disappearing Spoon:
January 27, 2011
When graphing points on a number line, one can graph all points up to and including a point by using a line that ends with a closed circle, but can indicate all points up to, but not including that point by instead ending with an open circle. In the later case, one can get as close to the end point as possible without hitting that point, making the difference between the point and any chosen point infinitesimally small. I thought of this concept this past week when I heard of a proposal about grading parents of students that was proposed by a legislator from Florida.
January 26, 2011
I’ve seen some very intelligent professors crash and burn as deans. This article reminded me of a phrase I’ve heard to describe them: as deans, they were just professors in suits.

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