Since my last post, I came down with an awful sinus infection and basically slept from Feb 28-March 5. Seriously! The antibiotics helped a bit but it really wasn’t until March 7th or so that I could work out again, answer emails in a coherent manner, and grade papers. My teaching was evaluated on March 8th, so that worked out, huh?
I’ve still got a ton of papers to grade and I could’ve caught up on those over Spring Break, but this is the first time in 5 years that my husband’s and my Spring Break vacations lined up. Within minutes of discovering that, I booked tickets to NYC to visit friends. And boy was it worth it! I put up my “out of office” email message on the 9th and totally removed myself from any academic thoughts, except from when we went to see Seminar.
What’s Seminar, you ask? Here’s the synopsis from the official website:
In SEMINAR, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (Alan Rickman), an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting new comedy.
It was a great play, but I’d be lying if I said that Alan Rickman starring in it wasn’t the reason it came on my radar. In fact, it was my freshman composition teacher’s posts on Facebook that brought it to my attention. Ahh writing geekiness and fangirl social media-ness.
Here’s me & hubby after the show waiting to meet Snape, err, I mean Mr. Rickman:
And there he is!
Special thanks go to my BFF Eric who was my personal paparazzo on this trip, but I have to say my iphone got some good snaps of Snape too [sorry, couldn't resist]:
Here’s one final pic from our matinee experience; notice the fully autographed Playbill:
After the show we went to our fav NOLA-themed restaurant, Delta Grill and then had some drinks at Industry where a nice fella from Mississippi took this fantastic group photo of hubby, me, Eric and Nick:
Ack, I have got to get to grading, so let me finish up this post with some touristy pics, especially since this was hubby’s first trip to NYC:
At the museum The Butterfly Conservatory was open so we walked through a room with hundreds of them flying around! Here’s a gorgeous one posing for us:
Two more pics, I promise!
Upon our exit of the museum…
and later that night in Queens…
Amidst all of the stress I just mentioned, these videos have brought me down off the email ledge & made me smile this week:
I’ve been a MIKA fan since 2007 and cannot wait for his new album!
Here’s another favorite so you can actually see him:
Oh, and very appropriate for this post, a new video for “Relax, Take it Easy”
And now for the best academic + 80s thing I’ve ever seen EVER:
Take the 10 minutes and go watch it NOW.
When the emails started taking over my life 2 weeks before the Spring semester started, I knew this one was going to be a doozy.
I’m teaching 2 online sections of ENGL 102, 2 sections of ENGL 371 [a rhetoric course to the Tech Comm majors], and 1 online graduate course in Rhetorical Theory, also online. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I’m directing two thesis projects.
I’m sure there are people who will read this and think that it’s a piece of cake to only have 1 face-to-face class that meets twice a week, but the reality is the more online students you have, the more prep work you have to do and the more emails you get.
But this post really isn’t about teaching. I’m doing a good job replying to discussion board posts and blog posts and grading papers in a timely manner, but I wish I had more time to focus on my teaching, not to mention my research.
The service component of this tenure track job is eating into my time more than I would like. I’m on the department Hiring Committee, chair of the Advanced Writing Committee, member of the Race, Ethnic Studies, & Global Perspectives committee as well as one of two consultants from this committee who helps approves new course proposals regarding our criteria, member of the Program Review Committee, and on the editorial board of two journals. I also have weekly meetings with the Tech Comm program faculty to discuss our growing number of undergrad majors and graduate students who are nearing the end of their program & need thesis or field project directors.
As I write this, I know that I enjoy doing all of these things, due mostly in part to liking everyone I work with, but given that I was passed over for promotion this year, I worry that I need to do even more when I’m pretty much at my breaking point!
And for some reason what causes me the most anxiety is email. Seeing the number of messages coming in every day gets my heart racing, and not in the good way. Because so many of our online students are working professionals with families, I can’t simply turn off my email at the end of the traditional business day. That’s when they are working on their course work–evenings and weekends. Well, I can turn it off but I feel bad doing so.
But when I was so exhausted on Monday afternoon that I couldn’t even make it out of bed to go to my beloved Zumba & Turbokick classes, I knew I HAD to step away from the laptop, iphone, and ipad. [I'm on my desktop writing this.]
I have a policy in all of my syllabi stating students need to reply to my emails within 48 hours so starting March 1, that’s what I’ll adhere to as well. So that’s that.
Now let me go email all of my students to tell them this…
I know the Superbowl was nearly a week ago, but after much consideration and consulting of the AdBlitz channel on YouTube, I can now announce my favorite commercial to be…
I think it’s the “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah” that gets me! Also, is that Bebe Neuwirth voicing the brown M&M?
My other LMFAO-related point here is that while I didn’t feel they served much of a purpose during Madonna’s halftime show, their remix of her new song is fun!
My latest post on the Rhetorical Theory Course Blog:
You will hear more about Aristotle’s appeals in future chapters, but if you notice I’ve uploaded a document in D2L that outlines the three nicely. Regarding pathos, or the appeal to our emotions, it states,
Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument. Indeed, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’–to feel pain imaginatively….Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the reader. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action.
An example that comes to mind immediately is from Mad Men. I shared the link to this video in my comment to Jodee’s post, but wanted to create a separate space for it just in case you miss it there: http://youtu.be/suRDUFpsHus
Don’s entire presentation relies on pathos, beginning with his narrative about working for Teddy and his defining of nostalgia as “the pain from an old wound,” all the while showing slides of his own family and the memories they can now relive via the Kodak Carousel. Rather than distancing himself from a product, he’s thrown his heart into it and it works!
I’ve created a new category called “advertising” since we’re bound to make a number of references to commercials, print, and online ads this semester!
This week, between workouts and the return to teaching, I have been drafting a post about my newly founded obsession with tumblr. I should get to publish that later this evening, but I wanted to quickly point out the site inspired me to create my tumblr account in the first place: Downton Abbeyoncé.
I’ve been a Downton Fan since last March when I first watched the series on my iPhone and while I might not know everything about Beyonce, I know enough to say the combo of these two are brilliant, fabulous and hilarious.
Here are my favorite creations:
If you do go subscribe to this tumblr, be warned that some images may contain Season 2 spoilers, but you can quickly remedy that by tuning in to Downton on PBS every Sunday night!
Cross-posted at the grad student course blog: http://745techprofcomm.wordpress.com/
In Laura Gurak’s 2001 book Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with Awareness, she defines “cyberliteracy” as inherent of four traits:
- SPEED: the Internet inspires speediness; it is one of the key features of Internet communication. And this speed inspires certain behaviors and qualities.
- REACH: partner of speed and one of the axioms of communication technology. Digitized discourse travels quickly and it also travels widely to reach thousands, even millions, quickly!
- ANONYMITY: sometimes you really never know who is at the other end of an electronic text. In cyberspace, the identity behind what you see floating on the screen is not always what you imagine.
- INTERACTIVITY: online communications technologies allow you to talk back. Interactivity inspires us to consider—access to the inner circle [everyone can be part of the discussion and step through the screen], capacity to talk back [form communities of common interest], a two-way presence online [the lure of an audience of millions], ecommerce and connections to the customer [ways for customers to interact with each other and with customer service], privacy [more interactive a site, the greater the potential for privacy problems]
I mention this tonight to call attention to the first two traits. The speed with which news of Steve Jobs death has spread across Twitter and Facebook is astounding. And many of the “RIP” messages and memorials exemplify the reach he and Apple products have had over the years.
Apple.com now looks like this:
with the following call on http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/: “If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please email email@example.com.”
Google and Wired already have tributes up as well, but I’m most interested in seeing what Apple does with the emails it receives. Online memorials & crisis communications are very interesting to me…I’ll write more on this as the news emerges.
I’m in London right now and that’s me at the Sherlock Holmes museum.
I’m glad I took the time to do that yesterday because I won’t have much free time to run around today. Why? Because I’m STILL formatting my paper for the Oxford Internet Institute. [That's why I'm in the UK and I can't wait for the conference to start on Wednesday. Fellow SDP 2007 alums and I present on a panel called "Early Career Scholars and Web 2.0."]
Let me clarify. The paper has been written for some time now, but with all of the electronic sources, e.g. blog posts, blog comments, wiki edits, listserv messages, emails, I’m pulling my hair out. Of course, I did this all already for my dissertation, but I’ve had to switch to the Harvard Reference System. That’s ok, I know we all need to adapt to different style guides from time to time, but it’s especially frustrating when articles actually published in the journal are different from what the “Instructions for Authors” document says. This site has helped me most.
Sigh. Blame it on the jetlag.
It’ll be finished and uploaded to the Social Science Research Network in an hour or so, but I needed to vent.
P.S. Don’t get me started on how, as an autoethnographic research study, I will prepare the version that removes “all information identifying the author.”
I <3 the internet.
What is Kickstarter? Here’s how their FAQ describes how they fund creative projects:
We believe that:
• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
This will be my first kickstarter pledge, and I know it won’t be my last!
While reading Kyle’s informative post on “What Beethoven Means for The King’s Speech,” I was reminded of the beautiful montage the Academy created of the Best Picture nominees:
More on this, and my beloved Colin Firth, when the DVD comes out in a couple weeks, but I wanted to post this while I still could find it on YouTube.
Ever since I was 4 years old, I’ve had a white cat in my midst. The first was Max, who was deaf. Then came Duchess. Then the queen of them all, Trina, who after 13 long years of living in NOLA sadly didn’t survive Hurricane Katrina.
After Trina died, it took me awhile to adopt one of my own, but when I took a chance [and a long drive] to the Tampa SPCA [which isn't in Tampa at all but Largo, FL] and saw Sweetness, I knew I had to have her. Sweetness is a diva, and I love her. I’ve even made her into a LOLcat:
She’s a much better traveller than Trina. My parents took her to Mississippi for the summer of 2007 while Andy and I eloped/honeymooned in Australia, and when we moved to Wisconsin, she flew on the plane with me. Airport security was interesting to say the least.
Now that we have a house of our own, we have more space to share. And while it didn’t make Sweetness happy at all, after browsing the E.C. Humane Society webpage, we couldn’t resist adopting Vito [the grey] in February of 2009 and then Tommy [another all white] in September of that same year. You can see all three in this video. Not sure why YouTube uploaded without audio, but oh well. The point is you see how athletic my Tommy was:
He was only 5 years old, so you can imagine our surprise on Saturday night, after a full morning of running around and afternoon napping, we found him unresponsive on the couch. Poor darling. We still don’t know what exactly happened, but when we took his body to the vet on Sunday morning, she said that he in no way suffered. He went in his sleep, and as my friend told me, “Tommy is gone to kitty heaven, he has many friends there, he is watching you via telescope and hoping you are not too sad.”
As you know from previous blog posts this year, we have little Dexter now who is still a goofy kitten who chases his tail, and that has offered us much needed joy during this sad time. It’s weird to say, but the house feels empty now with only 3 cats in it, probably because Tommy was the most curious of them all and followed us everywhere. We miss him so much and finally today I think the other cats started to notice, which breaks my heart even more. But I will always remember his silly bathing poses and love of his brothers.
Naturally, Sweetness wanted nothing to do with him…her loss!
Let’s try this blogging during the semester again…
This Spring I’m teaching 4 online courses and 1 hybrid, which meets twice a week but video of those meetings is “captured” so I can send a link to the online students. It’s my third time with this system and I think I’m getting it down.
Instead of assuming student behaviors when finding and viewing the links, I’ve made it clear from the get go that I’m aware my practices might differ from others in the department [many of these students have taken classes that utilize the ECHO captures for a number of semesters]. So in addition to posting the link to the captures under the LINKS tab in D2L, I email them with it as well, offering context for what was covered and what to pay attention to for next time. What’s most important is that they don’t delete these emails! I know it can be annoying to have to look outside of the course management system for stuff, but email isn’t going away as far as I’m concerned, and the more literate one becomes by creating folders, using filters, and flagging “to do” items, the better!
My confidence with teaching this seemingly “split” course has also grown as a result of my Directed Study student’s research project on student and teacher perceptions of the system. Indeed, I’m hyperaware of its ins and outs these days. I have to review and send over his IRB paperwork today too, so let me hurry up with this blog post.
The theme I’ve chosen for this hybrid course, which I neglected to mention earlier is an undergraduate course in Rhetoric/Style/Argument, is truth. As I did last year, I started with showing the SNL clip of John McCain approving ads to get students seeing why so many people define rhetoric in a negative way, as lying, manipulation, etc. But this time I also showed this interview between Stephen Colbert and Sherry Turkle to see if my students could identify the argument(s) AND if they believed there was a clear winner:
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
I’ve purchased Turkle’s book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other to be able to review her data and thus assess her longer argument, so I’ll try to post a review of that in a few weeks. While I know she was dealing with the character of Colbert, the first time I watched their interview I felt like he won. What do you think?
And will you leave a comment here, via Facebook, or Twitter rather than come tell me your answer in person?
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
After the PBS showing of Stephen Sondheim’s birthday concert I began composing an “open letter” to this great man, brilliant lyricist, and musical genius. I’m still writing that and will share soon, but until then, enjoy this interview with him on the Colbert Report!