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Showing posts from August, 2020

Review: Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters

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Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters by Aph Ko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pulling together posts they have published over the years on Black Vegans Rock, Sisters, Aph and Syl Ko offer up a compelling argument for veganism people of color and other marginalized groups. The crux of their argument is that the willingness for humans to arbitrarily decide who gets human treatment and who gets animal treatment (who is a free being and who is an enslave mass for labor, slaughter, and consumption) means that marginalized groups will always be vulnerable to being "dehumanized" and thus subjected to inhumane treatment. Until people reconsider their relationship with all animals, humans will continue to leave the door open to doing horrific harm to one another. What's powerful about their argument is that they do not just put this in simple terms of veganism--rather they deeply ground their argument in the theoretical and conceptual discourse a…

Recent Letter to the Editor

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Estimated Reading Time: minutes
Recently, I had another Letter to the Editor published.  It was largely a rebuttal to this letter that upon reading, I felt compelled to respond to.  Here's the start and the rest you can read on the Salem News website:
"Why is the “flat earth” and Columbus still something believed by people like Beatrice Heinze (”Don’t shun Columbus,” Aug. 3)? People knew the world was round; it was a question of the size and scale of the ocean between Europe and China. Research, not fealty to myths, shows Washington Irving told the “flat earth” story in his 1828 biography of Columbus shortly after the country’s 50th anniversary."
Read the rest of the letter to the editor.
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Review: The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick

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The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O'Meara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Discovering the history and background of Milicent Patrick, the only woman designer behind one of the classic Universal Studios classic monsters (Creature from the Black Lagoon) has all the elements of an intriguing history that both sheds light on the hyper-sexism of Hollywood and reveals a curious and fascinating portrait of Patrick; though one that readers will still feel distanced from. O'Meara shows the lengths to which she will go to find research on Patrick but in doing so, the book diverts attention from Patrick onto O'Meara, robbing the spotlight to which O'Meara is trying to argue that she deserves. It attempts to be too much: a narrative of O'Meara's quest, Patrick's life, and an argument about the inherent and eternal sexism of the film industry. Those three things can go together but it often feels like there wasn&…

Hybrid Flexible Learning in the Age of COVID-19

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Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Recently, I had the opportunity to deliver a 3-session workshop on designing and teaching hybrid-flexible courses.  Hybrid-flexible course design has become immensely popular in the last few months as much of higher education is scrambling to come up with a plan for navigating fast changes in uncertain times.  
There are various definitions and other valuable voices on the topic but by and large, for me, I've always defined hybrid flexible learning as:  "A learning experience designed to empower students to determine where and how they learn best. Hybrid means mixing face to face (F2F) with online learning. Flexible means students choose their conditions (online vs. F2F) which may impact which learning materials, activities, and assessments they may end up using or engaging."
The idea came to me while I was teaching a once-a-week course--one of the worse structures for learning where convenience outranks what we know about learning.  That…

Co-Writing an Article & Yay! It's Published!

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Two years ago, I participated in a program called ID2ID. It was a program that started at Penn State University and eventually became a collaboration between PSU and Educause.  It's a fun program that I hope they will continue to do (it looks like it is on hiatus this year and I would imagine that has much to do with COVID-19 and the significant demand on instructional designers everywhere).  
The purpose of the program was to create more connections among instructional designers like myself.  You could sign up to find a new colleague to do a project with or to be mentor/be mentored by someone.  I had the great fortune to be paired with Alex Rockey, a fellow doctoral student (although she is now Dr. Rockey!).  We had some great initial conversations learning about one another and circling in on a project we could work on together.  We both had strong interests in constructivism as part of the learning experience and a deep appreciation for community…

Review: How to Be an Antiracist

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How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kendi follows up his powerhouse book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America with this memoir and manifesto that works as a perfect pairing. While Stamped From the Beginning traces the lineage of racist, assimilationist, and anti-racist ideas from the 1600s to the present, Kendi's new book traces Kendi's intellectual history from childhood to 2018, intertwined with larger historical context and coupled with smartly contextual explanations of the types of racism he was not only encountering but perpetuating. That is the most powerful and humbling part of Kendi's work is that it is highly personal and critical of his past self as he continues to expand upon and understand how racism as part of the American legacy operates as a vile cancer spreading in nuance and explicit ways. Thus, each chapter first defines a different type of racist/anti-racist idea (body, gender, space,…

Review: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

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Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Noah does what he does best in this memoir. He's earnest, reflective, insightful, and, oftentimes, hilarious (see both his poop story and his Hitler story). The memoir largely covers his life growing up in apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa as a child and young man as he navigated life as the product of a black mother and white father (hence the title, "Born a Crime" since such things were actually illegal) and the ways that both privileged and challenged him. Beyond that, he shares deep and intimate as well as ridiculous and embarrassing moments of his upbringing. With each moment shared, Noah mixes rich detail, poignant reflection, and intriguing commentary that make each story a gem. And while his side commentary, impressions (if listening to the audiobook), and more humorous tales will keep you laughing, it's his more tender and vulnerable moments (such as establishin…