Showing posts from February, 2013

What I Learn from My Cats Part #1

Yes, we knew it was going to happen.  At some point, I would blog about my cats.  I'll reserve rambling on about how adorable they are--we all know there are hundreds of pics on my Facebook that illustrate this truth.  Instead, I want to talk about what my cats have showed and taught me over the last 18 months since they first came into my life. To be sure, I haven't had any epiphanies per se, but I've definitely found my perception informed by my interactions and caring for them.

First, let me introduce them.

Pumpkin is a short-hair Persian cat.  I got her in August, 2011.    As you can see from the picture, she as a "smooshed" face.  This can make her look both wonderfully adorable and somewhat perpetually grumpy (which then feeds into her adorableness).  She's a small cat, weighing in at about 7 pounds.  She's also a bit more timid and skitish.  I think this in part comes from her size and her lacking snout.  She doesn't appear to have the ca…

Social Media & Student-Faculty Project Update #3: Final Push!

So Social Media & Student-Faculty Interaction Survey is winding down.  I'm close to the 200 make, and am still hoping to get well over that mark in the ensuing days.  But in a final push, I thought I'd comment on some of the results thus far.

For those who are here for the first time, I would recommend checking out the first post about the survey or even if you haven't, take the survey.

So back in January, I did post some preliminary results to see where things were at.  Since then, there has been an improvement in the number of students, though not great.  The survey still consists of about 45%-55% make up between students and faculty.  But I can live with that.

At this point, I haven't divided the research according to faculty or students.  Thus the two charts below looking almost exactly the same, but I wonder if there will be differences when they are split up according to type faculty and student.

The quantity of faculty and student interaction is also likely t…

Responding to the Value of Popular Culture

So there's this regular letter-to-the-editor writer for the Salem News, Malcolm Miller, who writes these 3-4 sentence quips that seem to largely disregard and condemn popular culture and society in some capacity or another.  Whether it's sports or talk shows, he is dismay with it all and with any who appear to take value in it.  Last month he wrote one called, "A Cultural Question."  Here is my response to said letter.  I originally sent it to the Salem News but they appeared to pass on it.  So here it is:
There is much to read that may not be considered "good.”  I believe Miller would appreciate the quote--though not necessarily the actual writings since they were more common--of  science-fiction writer, Theodore Sturgeon:  "Ninety percent of [science fiction] is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud."
But as one who seems to value the authority of established "cultural assets," you might look to Plato.  He would be more likely…

Obnoxious Tones in the Childfree Debate

This article in the Daily Beast on childfree living that was brought to my attention definitely irked me...a lot.  It had enough condescension and judgment about the nature of childfree living that I got a bit twitchy and proceeded to write.  Many of you know that I have opted for the childfree life and regularly engage in the conversation about the conscious decision not to procreate.  I've read and discussed it here on this blog and most of my friends know--it's one of my soapboxes for sure.  I understand and appreciate why people procreate, I just don't care for it and I get annoyed about the ways in which people decide they know what's best for me and other people making the conscious decision. I get further annoyed when writers attempt to talk about people opting for childfree living deliver articles that still echo of judgment.  Of course, some child-filled folks aren't likely to see the strong bias or underlying misdirects that the authors point out since th…

Recommended Books for my Pop Culture Class

I recently was asked by a student for further readings within a course I teach on Popular Culture.  The last two weeks we were dealing with looking at 2 thematic arcs.  The first was exploring the intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Class with Popular Culture while the second was Gender, Sex, and Sexuality with Popular Culture.  Upon being asked, I figured I would peruse my library and assemble a good substantial reading list for the student (and ultimately the rest of the class as I made it a resource within the course) to enjoy.  Given that I had gone through the length to do so (thanks in large part to the ease of citation thanks to WorldCat), I figured I would also throw it out here on the blog as I'm sure there are others that could benefit from it.  

These are books that focus on those subjects mentioned above that have had a deep impact on how I understand them.  They are not the only books that I have read on the book, but they are the ones that have left me thinking long…

Social Media Project Update#2

So great news on this project front.  I will be presenting at the Massachusetts Community College Teaching, Learning, & Student Development Conference 2013 in April.   The focus is on social media and faculty/student engagement and I plan on bringing this research into the discussion. Below is the title and abstract.

Title:  Where Faculty Fear to Tread:  Role Modeling Civility in a Digital World

The rhetoric of social media boils down to being a miracle of the modern age or a clear sign of society’s self-destructive tendencies.  To this end, faculty and schools often fail in engaging their students through social media in meaningful ways.  So while colleges help equip students for the physical world, they poorly prepare them for the digital world.  This presentation looks at the ways and the whys for faculty and colleges to maintain a strong social media presence to aid and act as a role model for students in the digital world.  Just like faculty role model in students’ physical wo…

1 Month: 33 Books Accomplished

So by about the 15th of January, I put myself to the task of reading a book for every day of the month.  Interestingly enough, I achieved reading 33 books for the month of January.  I wouldn't say that I was inspired, but I was certainly curious after reading different posts about people who managed to read 365 books in a year.  I don't know that I'll be able to keep this up for the rest of the year (especially as classes have now started), but it was a fun and enjoyable experience to devour so many books.

Of course, many will challenge my concept of "reading" given what follows, especially when they realize that of the 33 titles, only 4 are traditionally books that were traditionally "read".    13 "books" were graphic novels which my friend reassures me do not count.  Coming in at about 1-2 hours to read, I may be inclined to agree.  Of course, if I switched these out for some young adult fiction, would that count?  Mayhaps.  But even if I ma…