Posted: January 10th, 2013 | Author: Ian | Filed under: Academy, Technology | 1 Comment »
It feels appropriate that as I return to the classroom in my capacity as an instructor, I should also embark on a new educational endeavor as a student. I am setting the spring 2013 semester as my MOOCmester.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or you simply don’t read the CHE as frequently as I), MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and the concept has been largely talked to death over the past few months.
While I am wary of the next-big-thing in education, I think I’d better give it a shot, so I’m jumping in with both feet. (And going crazy with cliché.)
Over the next four months, I will attempt to complete four courses through Coursera and two through edX. If you care to join me, here’s the list of the courses I will attempt and links where you can sign up too.
As you can probably tell, many of these courses overlap and some are more for fun than professional advancement. For me, all the repetition w/r/t computer programming is helpful and fun is fun. Additionally, I want to be able to compare the different services and see which better fit me as a student.
I plan to provide updates as the courses progress covering my progress in the courses, the structure of the different MOOCs, and thoughts on massive online education.
Wish me luck.
Image by Flickr user heloukee used under Creative Commons licensing.
Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: Ian | Filed under: Culture | Tags: accents | 2 Comments »
Since moving back to the South I have worked to not give in to a southern accent. I rather enjoy my bland central Ohio accent and I plan to keep it. That being said, sometimes I feel left out when it comes to accents. I’ve never been able to affect accents not my own, but I find them fascinating. After a friend posted a vlog (incidentally my least favorite online portmanteau) cataloging her accent, I decided I should do the same.
The task is to pronounce a list of words and answer a few questions. Here’s the prompt:
Say the following words:
Aunt, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught.
And answer the following questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that curls into a ball when you touch it?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?
And here’s the video:
My Accent from Ian Thomas on Vimeo.
I’m sure that the lag is video/audio sync is the fault of my janky computer. Feel free to make fun of me in the comments.
Posted: August 8th, 2012 | Author: Ian | Filed under: Literature | Tags: tbr | No Comments »
Though I haven’t yet finished it, Mark Leyner’s The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is worth the effort of reading if for nothing but this academic book title:
The Jade(d) G(l)aze: Twelfth-Century Goryeo Celadon Pottery and Ceramics by Trevor Donovan—Abercrombie & Fitch model and 90210 star.
Posted: July 2nd, 2012 | Author: Ian | Filed under: Academy, Scholarship | 1 Comment »
On June 29th, Academic Ronin announced that July would be Summer Academic Writing Month. Throughout July, folks from across the globe will be keeping track of each other’s writing progress with the goal of getting things finished and out the door. I think it’s a marvelous tool because I certainly need additional motivating factors to get writing done–especially in the summer.
For my part, I have the goal of writing a book review and a chapter proposal abstract.
I have been asked to review The Southern Political Tradition by Michael Perman for the journal Southern Studies. I have a feeling that this review will be particularly difficult because it deals with political science and history and I am not trained in either field. However, like the historic Japanese rōnin, I enjoy the freedom to follow academic whims from time to time.
While working on the book review I am also putting together an abstract for a potential chapter in a book about David Foster Wallace. Here’s the call for proposals. I plan to explore Wallace’s place among his contemporary authors and his influence on more recent authors.
I had a mostly lazy June but here’s hoping that I am able to buckle down a bit in July. Feel free to follow Academic Ronin’s blog to see our progress throughout the month.
Posted: February 4th, 2012 | Author: Ian | Filed under: Academy, Education, Scholarship, Technology | Tags: failure, Prof. Hacker, Storify | No Comments »
About to blog on failure. I hope I don't mess this up!
Mere minutes after composing the above tweet, I gave up writing the post and headed home for the weekend. There are a half-dozen barely begun posts in my blog queue that will likely never be written. This post almost met a similar fate, but I cannot let this one fail; the title begs to be finished.
One of my biggest failures (among many) as a composition instructor is not inspiring enough intellectual intrigue in my writing students. On the whole, I have exceptionally bright students but their writing topics don’t always reflect their abilities. While grading their last papers in December I realized that I had failed to encourage more creative work from them. During our semester together, I never told them that it was okay to try something ambitious. Instead of pushing for their best work, I subtly encouraged safe work by not modeling failure. To borrow a phrase from Brian Croxall, I need “stop worry1ng and <3 teh fail!!1!” That statement comes from the title he delivered during an 2011 MLA session called “Hacking the Profession: Academic Self-Help in an Age of Crisis,” where several Profs. Hacker discussed the problems of academia and dealing with failure. Croxall’s talk highlighted examples of failure being used productively to inspire success and I intend to do just that.
One of my biggest pedagogical failures in the fall semester was the second major writing assignment in Comp. 1. Our broad course theme was food and the assignment was so construct an informative essay related somehow to food using Storify as the platform for the essay. Despite my enthusiasm and good intentions for the assignment, it did not go over well. For one, people–not just students–are resistant to new things and adding a brand new technology on top of first year writing seemed like too much for some people. After initially modeling Storify for my classes, my patience for technology instruction ran dry. I was not as receptive to tech questions as I should have been and I left many students to figure it out on their own. Though there’s nothing wrong with leaving learning as the responsibility of students, my poor attitude got in the was of more productive teaching. While most of the Storify essays were quite good, I still failed in my pedagogical goals.
I intended to use this assignment as a means to spark creativity and move student writing outside the walls of the classroom, but I never communicated that to my students. Many were so afraid of the technology (and failure) that they felt creatively stifled. I can and will do better.
In my Comp. I classes this semester I am, again, assigning an essay written in Storify. This time, though, I plan to have fun with it. I have already told my classes on several occasions that I welcome adventurous work and all-but-promised that boundary-pushing work will be rewarded despite whatever initial setbacks they may encounter.
When has failure been a springboard for your future success?