Incurrible Disease for Writing
College and Finance
Diary of a Mad Editor
Friday, August 28, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
- Comma Splice. If you ask a group of student what a fragment or a run-on sentence is, there's a good chance they can describe one to you, but ask 'em about a comma splice, and there's a universal blank that sweeps across their faces. So what's a comma splice? It's basically a run-on sentence with a comma seperating the two main clauses that run together. I guess they're hard to identify because there are so many reasons to use a comma, so there's not an obvious test to check for them during the editing process.
- Which versus That. Another area of contentions in student writing is the use of that verses which. I have found that most students use that correctly when they use it, but that it is not uncommon to mistake which for what should be that. Grammar Girl does a wonderful job explaining the difference by defining the restrictive that modifier, which is needed for the sentence to make sense, and the nonrestrictive which modifier, which can be left out and have the sentence still make sense. Another issue in the that/which debacle is punctuation. Just remember punctuation isn't necessary with restrictive modifiers (that), but is necessary with nonrestrictive modifiers (which), which can be left out of the sentence.
- Active Voice versus Passive Voice. Okay, so this isn't a common-error issue; however, I would be remiss if I ignored students' tendency to be overly wordy by using passive voice in their writing. To create clear and direct sentences, instructors typically prefer active voice in academic writing.
- How to Use Parallel Construction Correctly. Understanding parallel structure comes in handy in writing. It helps clarify your statements and has a pleasing rhetorical effect on the reader.
- Top Ten Grammar Myths. This podcasts debunks common myths about the use of language. Do you think that a run-on sentence is a really long sentence? Have you ever been told not to start a sentence with the word however? Do you use the word irregardless? These and many other questions will be answered in this podcast.
Friday, July 24, 2009
- I can take a look at all the items I share with others (including notes if I made any) by clicking on "Notes" in the upper left region of the page.
- People can follow my reader and I can follow theirs. When we do this, the items we click on to share become accessible to everyone on our share list.
- There are additional share functions found under "Share Settings." I can choose to share a link to my Google profile, customize my reader URL, and find people sharing in Reader.
- That there's WAY more to Google Reader than I could even imagine and that I need to spend more time exploring and create a Google Reader 102 post later.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I must give credit where credit is due. I was reading a post in my reader from the Free Technology for Teachers site, and I came across this post that included one AWESOME web tool that you don't want to go without: Aviary.com.
http://mamabusypants.blogspot.com is my URL.aviary.com/http://mamabusypants.blogspot.com is the URL that led me to a screenshot to my blog.
A Very Simple Way to Make Screen Captures
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Here is the process.
1. Read a blog
2. Post a comment that is insightful and constructive.
3. Tweet a link to the blog and your comment. Use the hash tag #OneComment
EXAMPLE: I just read a great piece on iTeach blog, check it out! #OneComment
4. Bookmark the blog and return to it another time.
It is just that easy! This Project will help create a positive forum for all who blog and comment. There are so many good educational blogs out there and I look forward to hearing your feedback and engaging in your comments!
The second phase of this project will be a featured blog a week project. This forum will review and promote one educational blog per week. It will also try and introduce new edu-blogs into the learning community. I will be setting up a Ning for this venture. The sole purpose of both ventures is to promote learning and create an engaging dialogue between so many great academic minds. The twitter hash tag for this will be #1Newblog
Please send me your thoughts, suggestions and feedback on both new ventures!I would also like to put together a small team to help with this venture due to the time consuming nature of the project. If you would like to help your fellow bloggers and be an integral part of this venture, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have also set up a separate twitter account for this second phase. It will be @1commentproject. Please follow it for blog updates and blog promotions. When we spread the word about great blogs, we all shine!
I would be looking for help with the following:
1. Finding new blogs
2. Posting Reviews of Blogs
3. Archiving a Blog roll on the Ning
4. Monitoring the Ning
I am very passionate about this project and am putting a lot of time and energy behind it. My belief is that we can all learn from each other and have endless technologies to help us collaborate! I really hope to see my PLN jump on board with me and help promote the edu-blogging community!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Wow! Is it really week 6? It seems like just yesterday I was lamenting over week 3. So why haven't you hear from me since week 3? That's easy: I'm stinking busy!
The past three weeks have been a balancing act and in some respects, I seem to be on the losing end. I have 20 students between two sections for College 3 and it seems as if the workload is heavier than it was last time I had 20 students. The grading for this class is extremely time consuming and at times, tedious. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do for this class. It's just that when I'm in a time crunch, it's hard to enjoy the process.
Meanwhile, only about half of my English 1102 class is on board. This keeps grading at a minimum, but it almost seems harder to work with fewer students. I put so much mental energy into re-orienting myself to what's going on in the class, only to have a few assignments to grade.
There's been quite a learning curve here, even though I've been teaching online for five years at other colleges. The actual course I'm using was laid out differently than how I typically put classes together, which perhaps makes a difference in how students approach the class.
For example, typically I organize the class by week; whereas, this class is arranged by projects. It seems like a no-brainer to enter each project and complete the steps, and yet, it isn't happening. I think some of this may be because if a student gets behind, he or she gets lost. I thought I headed this off with an "Assignments" tab that lists all the assignments that need to be complete, but since I'm not seeing the results I'm expecting, I have to take into account that students might not be getting it.
Another thing I'm considering is that at College 1, online classes are a way of life and students tend to take them every term, so they have more experience. At College 3, I'm working with masters-level students, so they're just more academically mature.
At College 2, however, it seems like most of my students do not have experience with classes that are exclusively online. Couple this with the fact that most are transfer students trying to get the class "out of the way at the local community college," and that pretty much equals: Care about this class? Not so much!
I sent out an email last week expressing my concerns about the lack of work I was receiving and magically those blessed green boxes started to appear in the grade book, so it's becoming apparent who is serious about the class and who is wasting tuition money.
Summer school is tough.
Shortened classes are tough.
Online classes are tough.
Combine the three: crazy/tough.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Well, we're a third of the way through the class already. Summer is sure flying by. I'm used to teaching in 10- or 12-week chunks, but 8 is pretty crazy.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Need a Documentary? You can choose from 700 documentaries available free through SnagFilms. This website both offers full versions of documentaries from new and already-established film makers and makes it easy to "snag" a film and publish it on the web.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Two weeks down, six weeks to go. This week marks the first week that students start researching for an actual writing project. They'll be choosing a statistic, and using that statistic to generate research.
Every week should begin with an announcement that gives students a peak at what will be expected of them not only this week, but next week. Students need the big picture to help them manage their time.
Because some students are still waiting for books to arrive and there are others who are registering late, I am allowing students another week to complete the week 1 assignments. I'm explained that this will not be the norm so that they understand that deadlines do matter.
My announcement includes a checklist of all the assignments they will work on this week. I've also created two, three-minute podcasts to further explain upcoming work. The first podcast explains Project 1, which will be worked on over a three-week period), and the second podcast presents a more in-depth look at the work they'll specifically complete this week.
Because this is a research-based course and students need to generate sources before they complete assignments, I constantly remind them to work ahead.Later in the Week
I emailed students encouraging them to create some Google Alerts for their Project 1 assignment. I also sent emails to the two students who registered late. This is a slow week for me as I've put everything in place and am standing by for students to turn in their assignments. Since work is coming in at a slower rate than I'd like, I sent an email mid-week reminding students of deadlines and when discussion boards will close for good.
One of my students emailed me because he was confused about an assignment. There was a document added to the Blackboard site, but the link was hard to see because it appeared at the top whereas the View/Complete assignment link was at the bottom. Thankfully, I was online and able to get back to him within 30 minutes (rare for a Friday evening.)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Here’s how it works:
- If you don’t already have a Google or Gmail account, you’ll need to set up a Google account. Go to http://www.google.com/.
- Click on ‘Sign In’ at the top right.
- Where it says “Don’t have a Google Account? Create an account now,” click to create an account.
- Once you’ve done this and signed in, go to “My Account” (top right)
- Then click on “Alerts” or if you don’t see that, click on “More” under “Try something new.
From here, you can set up an alert for your research topic. Think of as many ways to search your topic as you can and create an alert for each topic.
For example, I have weekly alerts for all subjects I’m interested in possibly writing about. Here are some of my alerts:
- Art and autism
- Autism awareness
- Online teaching
I’ve set each alert to send me a comprehensive email once a week to my email address. Each week, I get an email for each alert that gives a list of websites, news sites, blogs, etc. that are covering my topics. Sometimes I find some really useful articles/websites through this system.
Check out Google's FAQ page for more information.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I started with an address that mirrored my Yahoo address, then invited my entire address book to start using this new account. Next, I created my email@example.com address. I attach this address to my Blogger account, so whenever someone email me through Blogger, I know exactly where it came from because each subject line came with the mr.busypants email address as a label right before the subject line.
In addition to blogging, I spend a lot of time online teaching writing and literature at three Chicago-area colleges. While I was having tremendous success managing my personal email, it frustrated me to have to check so many other email accounts regularly.
To alleviate this pressure, I created separate Gmail accounts for each college. The naming convention I used was: school initials (dot) my last name @ gmail.com. Next, I went into the settings page on each account, clicked on the Accounts tab, and added the address both to "Send mail as:" and "Get mail from other accounts."
I only use my email account for College 1 for the occasional outgoing messages that need my official email. All email in that account is forwarded directly to my firstname.lastname@example.org account.
College 2 requires me to use my assigned email account, so I give my students the gmail address I created for that school. Then I set "Rules" in the College 2 email account that forward all emails from specified addresses (like the dean's and other important people in my department and others I coorespond with regularly) and specified key phrases (like English 1102, online classes, and Blackboard.) I still check this email pretty regularly, but the important stuff gets through more quickly and is not missed in the endless emails I receive that I delete after reading the subject.
As for College 3, I don't have many students , and it makes sense to use my college-given account. I don't get that much email to that account that I want to check it several times a day, so I have all email from that account forwarded to my Gmail account. That way I know when to check that account and respond accordingly.
Now I essentially have five separate email accounts going into one inbox: one personal, one blog, and three school. Each email I receive from another account has a label specific to that account, so it's easy to scan my inbox for email from each school. Once I've done with an email, I label it, file it, and I'm done with it.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Create a Class Wiki
Looking for a fresh way for students to work collaboratively? Why not create a class wiki. As a writing instructor, I love to bring my own interests into the classroom. One thing I love are movies. Recently I decided I needed a fresh way to write about film in a Freshman composition class. It all started with the use of a typical assignment I'd given over the years: to watch the film Rebel Without a Cause and write a character analysis. Students at College 2 found this assignment challenging as they they didn't have much experience writing an analytical, literary analysis. This came as kind of a surprise to me, as at College 1 dealt with this kind of assignment pretty regularly. As a way to better reach my students with this kind of assignment, I created a Class Wiki project.
After watching and thoroughly discussing Rebel Without a Cause, students were asked to choose their own film along the theme of teen drama--another love of mine. I then created a site on Wetpaint called Writer's Workshop.
The assignment: as a group, create a wiki page highlighting a teen drama. Students were asked to write a brief plot summary, three-five character analyses (depending on how many people were in the group), and a theme analysis. They were responsible for dividing the writing responsibilities, adding visual content (pictures, video clips, music, etc), and editing each other's work.
This assignment is unlike a typical group assignment in that every student is accountable in two ways: 1) they're required to turn in a one-page summary/analysis of their participation in the project, and 2) their work online is tracked on the wiki itself, so the content they add and edit is easily tracked.
After using this assignment for two semesters now, I have heard from many students that this was their favorite project for the course. More than half of my students stated that they were incredibly motivated to participate, enjoyed the process, and learned a lot about group dynamics.
After teaching writing for eight years, I still found it difficult to teach students about revision. Then College 3 introduced me to using Google Docs to teach revision. At College 2, I developed a revision assignment that students worked on weekly for four weeks. Each student created a Google account and uploaded their first paper onto Google Docs. They then shared their document with me so we both had access to it. Each week, I'd give students a new way to revise their papers: for punctuation, for word choice, for sentence structure, etc.
They also wrote a journal at the bottom of the document explaining what changes they either made or contemplated, or why they decided not to make any changes. This gave them an opportunity to reflect on their own writing process. After students made the assigned revisions for the week, I'd give them feedback and specific pointers. By making revision four separate assignments during four different classes, students got a feel for how to revise more extensively, reading their paper differently depending on what they were working on.
If students are already logged in to a Google account, using Google Alerts is easy. With Google alerts they can create a search for a research topic, choose the types of websites they'd like results from, allocate how often they'd like to receive an alert (as they come, daily, weekly, etc), and assign an email address to which alerts will come.
For students doing research, this is a great way to generate ideas and possibly even sources. Links to news sites, websites, blogs, video sites, and groups related to specific searches are sent directly to email.
Making a verbal connection with online students is essential to their success. The more connected students are, the more likely they are to complete their assignments, interact on discussion boards, email the instructor with thoughts, suggestions, and questions, and succeed in an online course.
Podcasting is made easy through Audacity, which provides free, open source software that allows users to record and edit their own podcasts. Then either load podcasts onto Blackboard or find a free podcasting host site the podcast.
When I teach writing a narrative, I like to teach by example. I do this by introducing students to my blog, The Adventures of Mr. Busypants, and providing commentary on my own writing process. This works well because students get to see me not just as a teacher, but as a writer. This especially helps build that personal connection that helps motivate students to care about what they're learning. I also invite students to give me feedback so that I may improve on my own writing.
How do you use the web-based resources to enhance the classroom experience?
Week 2 for English 1102 on Blackboard
Teaching Online Blog is a Good Read for Online Instructors
Might as Well Face it I'm Addicted to Podcasting
Need a Documentary Now? Search from over 700 Documentaries Available Free at SnagFilms
Saturday, June 13, 2009
This article brings up some great points about an overall student sense of entitlement. One of the three colleges I teach at has a huge problem with student entitlement. Check out the below links to read more about my encounters with student entitlement.
Miss Pre-Med at TV Commercial University
I Quess I'll Have to Repeated the Course
Book-Ended by Bull--it
End-of-the-Semester Excuse Makers Strike Again
Friday, June 12, 2009
I posted an announcement, which I also emailed students over the weekend, inviting them to check out the course. I will also post weekly announcements reminding them about what's coming up.
I made the course inviting by posting my picture under staff information. It's the same one I use for my blog. Hopefully they'll see that I am human and that English doesn't have to be that scary or painful. Since I'm adjunct and I pretty much never check my voicemail, I included a cell phone number. We'll see how this goes. I tried this with College 3 and so far, the privilege has not been abused.
To mix things up, I added two teaching assistants to my staff list: my six-year-old son and his two-year-old sister. I added fun notes from each of them, which I hope fill add personality to the course. I want my students to see me not only as an expert in writing, but also as a person who cares about theirs. What better way to do this then to add some fun features that distinguish my online course from another?
My son Alex, aka Mr. Busypants "writes": My desk is situated right next to my mom's in our office. I work with her constantly and interrupt her whenever necessary. You can read about me at The Adventures of Mr. Busypants. I post my best artwork on Mondays. Click on the slideshow on the right to see examples of why I'm called Mr. Busypants.
As for my daughter, Jorie, aka Miss Chattyshoes, she "writes": If my mom isn't answering your emails, I am probably the reason. I demand attention all day long and if I even think I might not get it, I will throw myself on the floor and scream. You can read about me on The Adventures of Mr. Busypants every Tuesday in my supposed-to-be-weekly column Tuesdays with Jorie.
The primary work of week 1 was to participate on the discussion boards. The first board asked students to introduce themselves. I made sure I had a post as well and checked in several times a day to see who accessed the course. I also tried to respond to each student with some kind of connection, whether it be to the town they live in or a personal interest of theirs--I looked to make a connection.
The rest of the discussions assigned for that week had to do with completing exercises for the reading. Mid-week I noticed no one had yet tackled the first exercise, so I did the exercise myself and posted my thoughts and additional encouragement and pointers. As students started to post their assignments, I again looked for ways to acknowledge or encourage them. I didn't reply to every response, but I made an effort to respond once to each student.
Now I must admit, I'm addicted to podcasting. It's so fun! So far for the course, I've recorded three podcasts: the first went step-by-step through my Blackboard site; it was about twelve minutes long. The second went through the course introduction, which included an explanation of all the week 1 assignments, and was three minutes long. The latest podcast, also three minutes, discussed the first project, which will span over weeks 2, 3 and 4.
In my podcasts, I made sure I encouraged students to manage their time against their work, school and social schedule and to look ahead to the next project so that no assignment sneaks up on them. There are weeks where projects overlap (for example, I told them to look at project 1 this week so they could start thinking about a research topic), so I want to make sure they're aware of this. There will also be portions of the second project that may take time to execute (like scheduling an interview with an expert), so I don't want that part of the assignment to catch them by surprise.
Not only do I plan on posting a podcast for each project, but I also plan on posting weekly check-in podcasts to stay in touch. I have a tab called Podcasts on Blackboard and I also post each podcast on the Announcements page with a link, which is also emailed to each student.
Late Log Ons
By Thursday of week 1, I noticed that one student still had not logged on (you can check a student's last access through the grade book on Blackboard.) I emailed that student to find out what the problem was and encourage him to drop the course if he wasn't going to pursue it. I heard back from him within 24 hours. He was trying to access Blackboard through his old school account. Since the school recently switched over to a new system, his Blackboard account with his live classes came from a different log in. I am happy we resolved this issue so quickly and it was in part because of that personal connection.
One thing that I find to be difficult with working at several different colleges is email. It's time consuming to have to regularly check several accounts, several times a day.
To help with this, I created personal gmail accounts for each college, and forwarded those accounts to my primary email. In my primary email box, each email I receive is labeled with the address it is sent to, so it's really easy to see what emails come from which college.
For College 2, I went into my school email address and set up "rules" for forwarding certain email. For example, all email from important people in my department (like the dean, her assistants, key people from the library and other areas in the college) and with specific subjects (like English 1102), to my Gmail. That way, if something important pops up in that email account, I get it a little more quickly than I would otherwise.
Well, that's about it for Week 1. I'm looking forward to an excellent semester and will keep you posted on the ups and downs of English 1102 online.
Teaching Online Blog is a Good Read for Online Instructors
Might As Well Face It I'm Addicted to Podcasting
Using Google Alerts to Enhance Research
My Journey with Gmail
5 Great Web Resources to Enhance Learning
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
As for this week's Highs and Lows:
- My first online class at College 2 launched on Monday. I got just enough students to be paid the full three-credit hours, and 10 out of 13 students have checked in. Not bad for the end of day 2.
- College 3 just scheduled me for two additional classes starting at the end of June. I'm able to afford a babysitter for the two monkeys for 2 days a week so I can get all my work done and enjoy the other 3 days during the week with them. The alternative: stressing all week and being a Nap Nazi, i.e. making sure we're home by 12:30 to put Miss Chattyshoes down so I can work.
- College 1 online class is at its halfway point. So far, no major problems, which I'm thankful for since last term was such a nightmare.
Absolutely none. I'm having a great teaching week.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
- The college changed my 8-week, June 8 start to a 5-week start with six days notice, so not only is my class not published in the catalog, it wasn't available for all that long.
- Students had to pay for the class as soon as they register, so I was left wondering if some would register at the last minute for financial reasons.
- The link in the School Online section for my class was developed by another instructor, so my teaching-style was not reflected in a place where students go to make decisions.
Nonetheless, I worked like a crazy woman to get the class ready on the off chance that it would be a go. I only needed five students, but it wasn't meant to be.
I'm pretty proud of the class. It's organized, intuitive, and since I had to re-create an 8-week curriculum into 5-weeks, I decided to use my own assignments rather than the ready-made course I was given.
During all the training I've received to get started at this college (College 1 isn't as advanced in it's Blackboard capabilities, so I'm learning a lot), I discovered Podcasting.
The first thing I did was download free software for recording and sound edting at Audacity. It was a quick and easy process.
Then I just hit record and started talking. For some of my podcasts (I recorded five) I wrote scripts so there wouldn't be long pauses as I reviewed my lessons. For others, like the ones where I simply tell the students what they're going to be working on in the current unit, I just talked.
They take an eternity to upload onto Blackboard, but since I record and upload on my laptop, I can move over to my desktop to continue to work.
Now I also blog at The Adventures of Mr. Busypants, and with all these newly acquired podcasting capabilities, I decided to have a little fun. When Mr. Busypants came home from school, I pulled up all my blogposts that had his artwork and interviewed him about it. Some of his artwork included books he wrote that I scanned in, so I had him narrate.
He totally got into it, and like his mother, he couldn't stop podcasting.
Now we both have our mark on the world of podcasting. Every time I play one of his, he grins from ear to ear and listens to himself intently.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Say It Forward, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom, is a new weekly carnival at 5 Minutes for Mom.com where bloggers feature their loyal commenters!
I can't say enough about my blogger buddy Beth Gainer. She's my #1 fan. She dutifully comments on both The Writer in Me and my main blog, The Adventures of Mr. Busypants. She's the one who got me blogging again, so it's totally appropriate (and an honor) to name her as my first loyal commenter.
She writes about medical advocacy at Calling the Shots. My all-time favorite post of hers is A Train Car Named Quagmire, which is a narrative about her advocating for herself on her cell phone while the entire train listened in. I cried, and considering the amount of crazy/meds I'm on, that's quite a feat.
She also edits a blog written by her cat, Hemi, called Hemi'sphere. It's hilarious--and I'm totally not a cat person, nor did I ever think I'd ever enjoy such a blog.
Beth is a breast cancer survivor and advocate, teaches writing and literature full time at a Chicago-area college, and is in the process of adopting a little girl from China.
Check her out!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Miss Quess: "I was wonder was my grade that i receive was correct for last semester. This was the only class that its showing didnt pass to get my diploma."
Me: "Your grade is accurate."
Miss Quess: "Ok i quess i got to repeated the course in order to graduate."
Me: "Yes, you got to repeted the course in order to graduate. But I quess there are colleges out there that will give you a diploma in spite of your atrocious spelling."
Email with commentary in italics
Hello how are you doing? Not so great. I'm being cyber-stalked by students scrambling for a passing grade that they spent ten weeks not earning.
I have a really quick question regarding my last quarter and my grade. Make it quick. I'm feeling impatient.
Friday, May 8, 2009
1. Mention who tagged you.
2. List six unimportant things that make you happy.
3. Tag six more blogs, then go and comment on their blogs. Let them know that they have been challenged, and invite them to play along.
My six favorite things . . .
- Spending the day alone. Even if it's just to do laundry, clean the house, and catch up on work stuff while intermittenly surfing the Internet, of course, having the freedom to hang out and get things done uninterrupted is time I have always cherished--even before kids.
- Vacation. I love to travel and have been blessed to be able to do so often. We take the kids to Disney every November, which I love. I've enjoyed a Cruise to Alaska, two trips to Hawaii (Oahu, The Big Island, and Maui), and my first major trip after getting married was to Paris and Madrid.
- Walking in the rain or on the beach: I love hot rain falling down on me in the summer, especially while wearing shorts and a windbreaker and walking barefoot through the grass. Walking along the coast on a beach with barefeet and the wind blowing through my hair is pretty excellent as well.
- A weekend at Lake Point Towers in Chicago. Hanging out with Scott and the kids across the street from Navy Pier is so much fun. We've planned this several times around the autism walk, borrowing a condo owned by my husband's boss. Gotta love that!
- Sleeping in a freezing cold room under enormous blankets. Need I say more?
- Going through my mom and grandmother's things. It reminds me of my childhood and the things I held close from those times.
Beth at Calling the Shots and Hemi'Sphere
Alicia at Welcome to my Planet
Jill at Scary Mommy
Alisha at Confessions of a Moody Mommy
Susan, author of the hilarious memoir Angry Conversations with God at Gray Matter
If I’ve tagged you, please come back and comment.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The spring semester just ended and I'm already starting summer courses. Friday ends one term and the next begins Monday. The result is in the same week I get the "I'm not happy with my grade" whining and the "I missed the mandatory orientation but please let me in your class" requests.
As a result, my terms are bookeneded with bull--it.
On the one hand, there's Miss GPA, who coincidentally missed the orientation but ended up staying in the class anyway. She's a prime example of why I try to stick with the college's policy of enrollment being contingent on attending an orientation. The students at this college simply can't handle it otherwise.
Here's an email I received today from one of my students from last term:
I saw that I got a B as my final grade. A great majority of my assignments are A's and A+'s, except for week 2 when I lost access to Blackboard. I really need an A to keep my honors for graduation and I am hoping you would consider my request to adjust my final grade to an A. I already spoke with my advisor, Ms. T regarding this issue and was told to ask you first. Thank you so much.Huh? This is so insulting to me. I would have loved to have graduated with honors, but I didn't earn 'em so I didn't get 'em. I reflect fondly on the hardest grade I ever earned: a C in Economics, which I studied for day and night one semester when I was at ISU. I am convinced that the C the instructor gave me was a gift because I'd been in his office for help on a weekly basis. So someone please tell me why I could give a rip about a student's GPA. She missed a test for crying out loud.
And now for the excuse of all excuses as to why Speedy Student missed this term's orientation.
I was suppose to be in class on Saturday but on Thursday I had a problem with the local police in which they informed me that my license was suspended and if I was seen driving in the suburb I would be going to jail. On Friday I went to the DMV and found out I needed to pay a fine which I did and my license would be valid on Monday so out of fear I didn't come to the meeting. Is there some way I can meet with you to receive the information that I need to start the class.I conclude with this: PRICELESS. What more can I say?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I'm a newbie on Twitter and so far, I'm undecided. It's a great way to network with people in your fields of interest but it's also a great way to network with an overwhelming amount of useless information.
I got started when I found a list (somewhere in my Reader) of Tweeters in Christian publishing: publishers, editors, authors, bloggers, and literary agents. It seemed like a great way to start connecting with those in the field, so I started an account.
My first week went great. I followed a handful of people, and they were all in related niches; it was manageable. I'd tweet comments of encouragement and see occasional tweets back.
But then I started seeing some of the same faces over and over again, sometimes with seven or eight Tweets in a row to share useless information and spam-like URLs, one after another and of various kinds. I quickly grew to loathe seeing tweets from certain people because I didn't care if they were going to bed or that their poop was green today.
I was on Twitter overload.
I took a break (after about seven days) and decided to only Twit (or is it Tweet) when I posted a blog. After all, the masses needed to be supplied with a link to my site (note the opportunity for a link) because my posts are hilarious and contain useful information and fun artwork.
Of course, I soon realized that self-tweeting can be selfish tweeting. So now what did I do?
- I write about the Adventures of Mr. Busypants, my 6 year old with autism and I’d like to publish a collection of quirky, funny essays that celebrates in a if-ya-don’t-laugh-you’ll-cry kind of way the busy antics of my son. I use Twitter to find websites of people that have similar interests to mine (i.e. autism, publishing, Christians, teachers, writers) and make good candidates for effective networking.
- I'm slowing the pace. I can't develop connections with everybody, so it's easy to feel like a twUtter failure. For now, I've designated one day a week (maybe two) to spend an hour connecting with 10 or more people I'm following by visiting their websites and commenting or by direct messaging them from Twitter.
- I don't follow someone without first checking out their website. If I like their site enough, I'll subscribe to it in Google Reader so updates are sent to one central location. So if I'm only following someone on Twitter, it's to bookmark them for future reference and occasional communication. If I subscribe to someone through Reader, there's a more authentic connection being made, and I'm not merely pretending to follow this person on Twitter.
- I make an effort to post comments on sites that I read to establish a connection. If the site's material doesn't resonate with me after a while or if that author doesn't reciprocate and they're not interesting enough for a one-sided relationship, I simply unsubscribe so my Reader stays manageable.
- As far as those "I just ate a cookie" and "oh, now, I just ate another one" people who clog my Twitter page with their smiling faces and useless information, I stop following. That's just TIM! Life is too short and nap time is only so long.
- I also don't follow everyone who follows me. If I'm not interested in a follower's niche, I would rather use my time to develop connections with those with shared interest. It's not personal. It's Twitterness.
Monday, March 30, 2009
One of her latest podcasts discusses how to write a great blog comment. Check it out; it's worth a listen.
If you haven't subscirbed to Grammar Girl in your reader, do it right now.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
So here I am.