Weekend Reading: Bus Rides in Newark Edition

waiting for spring
You know what? It’s finally spring break on my campus, so I will dispense with the ordinary top-of-the-post pleasantries and disappear into the mad frenzy of catching up on All. The. Things. blissful idylls of the break. (Though, apropos of that little joke, I like to be mindful of Natalie Houston’s post, “How was your winter break?”)

  • Gardner Campbell reflects on how we might trust students to craft internet identities that are “personal, not private”: if we truly desire to protect our learners from themselves, we are failing. They are publishing to the Internet no matter what we say. Human beings typically want to connect with other human beings. Those energies will find an outlet. And my argument here is that we should not be protecting our learners from themselves. We should be trusting them, and aiding them in discovering and using (and teaching us, too) the arts of freedom.
  • Anne Brannen offers eight useful tips for “surviving and thriving in the academic shame culture”: If you love the shame aspect of academia, or if you are convinced of its importance, then by all means continue to pass the shame along.  But if you are not convinced that you and your students are made stronger intellectuals, stronger humans, stronger citizens, by the shame, then you are honor bound to stop it when it gets to you.  So when you disagree with a colleague, do it with respect.  When rumors and backbiting come to your desk, don’t pass them on.  If you’ve been using a tone of contempt in your discourse, either written or oral, stop it.  Just stop. 
  • Terry McGlynn explains what should be obvious, but is in fact in constant need of re-stating: that research exists at teaching institutions: On teaching campuses, faculty aren’t required to do much research, if at all. This doesn’t prevent some us from running serious and productive research labs. We have to do some things differently. We also have the opportunity to do things differently.
  • Lauren Pressley explains the virtues of “translating the potential of new ideas within the context of traditional values”: Online might be threatening and disruptive, but you can design an online environment in which people have extremely high-quality relational interactions. It takes time, but it is doable. And it’s incredibly rewarding. And it’s a way to demonstrate that high tech instruction does not necessarily mean no touch instruction.
  • Dr. Crazy shows how “‘working well’ with others” can be the road to ruin: I’ve worked with a range of folks across my department, college, and university, and some of these folks themselves have reputations as being “difficult to work with,” and some of them have reputations as being “nice to work with.”  It’s worth noting that some people who are “difficult to work with” are actually huge assets when trying to accomplish concrete goals, and some people who are “nice to work with” are a pain in the ass who never pull their weight, and vice versa.  What matters to me is getting the work done, whatever the personalities that are involved.  But apparently, we’re not talking about “work” even though that’s the word being used.

In this week’s video, Simon Winchester discusses the iPad app Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection:

Bonus: “How to Hack Your To-Do List.”

Personal indulgence double-bonus: I’m married to Aimee Pozorski, the president of the Philip Roth Society, who has spent the better part of 15 months organizing an academic conference and birthday party for the novelist. It’s been covered by The New Yorker and The New York Times, but of all the coverage I like the Jewish Daily Forward’s video of the associated bus tours (which she didn’t organize) the best for its affectionate bemusement toward the “100 Roth dorks, news hounds and former Newarkers” who took the bus. (Plus she’s in it, at around the 2.55 point.)

Photo “Waiting for Spring” by Flickr user ZeHawk / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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