Google Maps as a Writing Space

This is pretty cool:

Google Maps has rolled out a new feature where you can annotate and do all kinds of cool things with your own maps. Here’s one I made of EMU:

Steve’s version of EMU

Mark Crane posted to techrhet about this and wrote “It is cool and fun, so that may prevent some instructors from
using it, but I thought I would mention it as a possible composing space.” Indeed; could be a fun writing project about where one is from though in a first year comp kinda class though, huh?

Something I'll do different with English 516 next year

I’m teaching the graduate course I teach all the time, Computers and Writing, Theory and Practice, online for the first time, and I think it’s turned out to be a great experience. (It’s been kind of an odd semester on the whole, because I’ve been way over-stretched by doing double-administrator-duty and because I’m not teaching any “face to face” classes this term, a teaching experience I have mixed feelings about, though they’re largely positive. But that’s a tangent and a slightly different story).

The class started a little slow, in part because some of the students were unfamiliar with the online format and the level of participation I was expecting, and in part because I wasn’t as prepared for teaching this class as I should have been. And I’ve been over-committed (see above). But once the ball got rolling, I think this class has been extremely exciting and vibrant, a lot more interactive and participatory than face-to-face versions from the past. I probably won’t do it online next year because the plan has been to alternate between face-to-face versions and online ones. But I’m looking forward to doing it online again.

There are a lot of things I’d do differently of course, and that for the time being brings me to what was to be the original point of this post:

Checking through my blog feed for the first time in a while this morning, I must say that I am constantly impressed by the stuff that is available from the site Open Culture. Podcast after podcast, info and examples of how we’re making the cross-over to video-based podcasts, about searches of wikipedia, a nice little podcasting primer, and podcasts (the old-fashioned kind and video ones) galore.

Just a really great distracting site, and one that I can see figuring into the next version of 516 for sure.

The end is near (hopefully…)

I was thinking the other day “gosh, I haven’t posted anything to this blog in a while; why is that?” Then I took a look through my calendar for March. I had about 20 student appointments (advising, GAs, etc., ). I probably another dozen or so drop-in appointments with students about first year composition– typically students who are trying to get exempted from our composition requirement for one reason or another. These meetings are frequently disappointing for the students.

Then I had about eight or ten other meetings with various committees. And then there was the English department conference I helped run at the beginning of March.

Of course, there was the CCCCs.

And just to make things interesting, I’m teaching an overload this term.

Anyway, I ran through this list of stuff and said “Oh yeah, that’s why I haven’t been posting lately.”

I don’t mean to be too whiny, and I’ve had a lot of tremendous experiences doing double-duty administrator work this year. But I’ve got to say I’m also pretty burned-out. I’m looking forward to turning the first year program officially back over to Linda AK, getting back to being “only” the coordinator of our undergraduate and graduate programs in writing, and maybe posting on my blog once in a while.