When I was at Harvard this summer, I was introduced to a slew of social networking tools. I joined Facebook a couple weeks before the session started and have come to use it on a daily basis to keep up with my SDP and other academic contacts. Now that applications have been added, I can also have my blog, my Flickr page, my account, and my Dopplr account all feed into my profile.


If you’re not familiar with Dopplr, it is an invitation-only travel schedule site, so you can organize your trips as well as “share your future travel plans with a group of trusted fellow travellers that you have chosen. It also reminds you of friends and colleagues who live in the cities you’re planning to visit.” I know some folks have privacy issues and do not necessarily want to publish all the places they are going, but so far I like it, especially since I have friends all over the place!

You can read more about it on the Dopplr blog, but my absolute favorite thing about it is this:

When I type in New Orleans, it tells me, “We know about just one place in the world that matches what you’ve typed: New Orleans, LA, United States.” However, when I type in Tampa, it hesitates: “We think you mean Tampa, FL, United States. However, there are 2 places that could match what you’ve typed.”

More reinforcement that NOLA is my one and only! 🙂

P.S. If you want an invite, leave me a comment or email me.


Oh Snap!

I just found out, funnily enough, that I added Snapshots to my blog two days after Jill/txt disabled it on hers! I added it this morning after seeing that my husband’s new blog automatically had the plug-in. While I’ve had some issues with it today–sometimes the snapshots show up, other times they don’t–I do like seeing images of the pages linked.

Jill’s reason for taking it off is because it added advertisements, but, upon closer inspection, it also lets you choose to advertise a charity, so I chose Habitat for Humanity.

If it becomes too bothersome, let me know!


thankful for the job search???

It’s been a wonderful couple of days, with a trip to New Orleans for a conference last weekend [a post on that is already in the works], and then coming back to Tampa for Thanksgiving break and the end of the semester in sight. Only two more weeks of teaching and grading, and I couldn’t be happier. Next semester I am only teaching one class, online, so I will have all the time to dedicate to my dissertation. This semester, as you know, has been crazy with writing job letters, teaching 3 classes, and writing, writing, writing. But I do have to say that I am thankful for the experience.

Strangely, I find that the academic job search has been the best boost for me. Not only can I dream about my life in places all over the country–dreams that last minutes long before I run the search again and read the next job ad [:)] –the requirement of composing documents that ask me to express my teaching philosophy and research interests have challenged me in ways that no one in my program has challenged me before. I’ve had to reflect and reevaluate why it is that I want to devote my career to academia and to consider ways of designing/teaching new courses, something that our department doesn’t offer us the chance to do very much due to a standardized FYC curriculum. [I’m not complaining about this, BTW; I recognize the need for adhering to Gen Ed themes at such a large school and I do find having a standardized approach helps new TAs and adjuncts]. Still, if there was something that stuck out at the recent LACC conference I attended, it was how innovative teachers at smaller schools can be, and I remember fondly my own teaching experiences at Xavier University being that way.

There are lots of job search assistance sites out there, but the upcoming December issue of the Journal of English Linguistics has an essay entitled “Perspectives on the Academic Job Search,” in which the authors numerate 3 key principles:

1. Remember that you are applying to become a colleague
2. Do not apply for a job that you don’t want, nor should you forego applying for jobs that someone else thinks you should not have
3. Keep in mind options outside of academia

These are principles that may seem obvious to some, but they have reminded me of what to think about as I keep writing letters and checking the wiki. I think the most important of these principles has been the first one because in such a large department you can easily get lost in the shuffle unless you are your own advocate. Attending meetings, dissertation defenses, and events and asking to teach different courses moves you out of the student mindset and into the colleague one, and as I said before, writing up my job materials with specific outside audiences in mind has really pushed me to be able to articulate what it is I’ve spent the last 4 and a half years doing.

With that said, I’m looking forward to MLA and the months following. If I don’t get a job, I’ll spend more time writing and individualizing my syllabi. While I haven’t applied to any schools in Louisiana, I’m always thinking about ways my skills can help those in New Orleans too, so I’m keeping my options open.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!


Give One Get One

I’ve been going back and forth about participating in this program–not because I don’t believe in the OLPC initiative, but because I felt that I’d only be purchasing it for novelty sake. Do I really need another computer?

Still, its size and “cute” factor are part of its charm, and it was brilliant for the creators to offer this chance to the public in the US and Canada to own one as well as donating one now that the machine is being mass-produced. It helps, too, that I did fall in love with it when I visited the OLPC offices this summer. 🙂


I also held back making my donation/purchase til now because I felt I’d still travel with my Powerbook anyway because I intuitively know all the folders and documents I reference when working on my dissertation. However, when I found out about the year of free T-mobile hotspot access, I realized I could save all my writing as Google documents and work from the wifi XO computer. But I didn’t reach for my wallet until today when I read this part of the Terms and Conditions:

Neither OLPC Foundation nor One Laptop per Child, Inc. has service facilities, a help desk or maintenance personnel in the United States or Canada. Although we believe you will love your XO laptop, you should understand that it is not a commercially available product and, if you want help using it, you will have to seek it from friends, family, and bloggers. One goal of the G1G1 initiative is to create an informal network of XO laptop users in the developed world, who will provide feedback about the utility of the XO laptop as an educational tool for children, participate in the worldwide effort to create open-source educational applications for the XO laptop, and serve as a resource for those in the developing world who seek to optimize the value of the XO laptop as an educational tool. A fee based tech support service will be available to all who desire it. We urge participants in the G1G1 initiative to think of themselves as members of an international educational movement rather than as “customers.”

I find that language fantastic and if there is anything I want to do in life, it’s to be part of a movement that advocates using technology in education and increasing access world-wide. If someone sees me with the laptop, they will surely ask about it and I can tell them all about Nicholas Negroponte’s mission. Even when I briefly mentioned this project in my Expository Writing class a couple of weeks ago, several students emailed me after to find out more about it and some have gone on to research open access user software for their final projects.

So I am off to place my order!


Writer's Strike

I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Writer’s Strike and what exactly the issues/terms/wants are and was just pointed to this blog by one of my students. It’s a frequently updated overview of what the impact of new media is upon the writers’ lives and an explanation as to why, in their words, they feel “a work stoppage lets the companies know how serious we are about getting a fair deal.”

Also, check out this short video to learn what it is the writers want and I think you’ll find that they aren’t asking for much!