“Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class — via Twitter”

I found this via a Facebook post by Nels Highberg, “Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class — via Twitter.” Here’s the opening paragraph:

Cole W. Camplese, director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, prefers to teach in classrooms with two screens — one to project his slides, and another to project a Twitter stream of notes from students. He knows he is inviting distraction — after all, he’s essentially asking students to pass notes during class. But he argues that the additional layer of communication will make for richer class discussions.

Camplese started this first with a 20 student grad class, and while it took a while to catch on, he says, and one of his goal with this encouraged and systematic “back channel” communication is to disrupt the traditional classroom lecture/discussion model.

Maybe this is a good experiment, and it is something I will certainly bring up the next time I teach English 516. But I doubt this is going to catch on in my department. There is a movement here– a mini-movement, but a movement nonetheless– to have a departmental policy against laptop use in classes. It’s a confusing and odd policy for all sorts of different reasons, and it would be at the discretion of the instructor. In other words, students in my classes could still use their laptops. Anyway, my point is this mini-movement suggests to me that there might be a few folks not quite ready for a Twitter-hosted back channel discussion.

All this reminds me that one of these days, I think I might have to learn a bit more about the Twitter….

CCCC Web editing, part 2 (or 3?)

Strangely, I received another email about the CCC Online and CCCC MemberWeb. Though my sense is I am not the only one who got this not very personal email from Chuck Bazerman. Here it is, in its entirety:

April 8, 2009

Dear Steven Krause,

We need your vision and commitment to lead us into our next stage of networked engagement. We are looking to fill two web editing positions, as listed below.

* The position of CCC Online Editor focuses on publication, and will coordinate closely with Kathi Yancey the CCC print edition editor.
* The MemberWeb Editor is concerned more with creating new ways for CCCC members to collaborate and stay in touch with others with common interests. This position will be parallel to similar positions for the other conferences of NCTE.

Both positions will receive technical support from the NCTE office; we are looking more for your vision, communicative skills, and commitment than we are for technical skills. Visit the call for applications for further details.

I hope either or both of these positions will be of interest to you, and we look forward to seeing your application.


Chuck Bazerman
CCCC Chair

Anyone else out there get this letter? I’m sort of curious what list I am on to be receiving this.

Anyway, here was my response:

Dear Chuck Bazerman, CCCC Chair:

Thanks for your email, but a) I already was invited and declined this invitation, and b) I’ve written about this in some detail on my blog, http://stevendkrause.com/2009/03/01/ncteccc-online-web-editor-positions-or-i-still-dont-think-they-quite-get-the-internets-and-that-worries-me/



Somehow, I am not expecting a reply….

The NCAA Finals was fun, and either way, I’m a winner

Our seatsI was in two NCAA pools this year, one with my father and about a dozen of his friends and relatives, and one with my friend Bruce, who have been “betting” on the tourney since we lived across the hall from each other in Quadrangle Hall at the University of Iowa in 1984. In both pools, I had MSU, UConn, UNC, and Pitt in the finals, and I had MSU and UNC in the final game. In the pool with my dad, I picked UNC; in the pool with Bruce, I picked MSU. I don’t remember the reason for these different choices, but it turns out I won both pools.

So I got that going for me.

More important though, Will and I got to go see the final game last night. My parents bought tickets for the tourney through the lottery system, they went to the games Saturday night, and gave me and Will the tickets for Monday night. Here’s is a link to my Flickr set of pictures from the game; here are a few highlights:

  • Of course, we got lost getting into town. I always do going to Detroit. But we did navigate to a parking deck right next to Ford Field for the privilege of paying $40 for a parking spot. As I will get to in a moment, that was worth every cent.
  • Will and I walked around a bit and did a little souvenir shopping, but we decided to pass on going over to Cobo center. I think that the cold and the snow kind of dissuaded us. Had we come into town a little earlier, it might have been different. And had Will been 21, it would have been much different: the main activity before the game seemed to be drinking at one of the many bars and tents connected to bars, and that might have been a fun way to pass the afternoon before the game.
  • I would say MSU fans outnumbered UNC fans about 15 to 1. Lots of Sparty-wear on the streets and in the arena. I wore my Eastern Michigan hoodie sweatshirt because while not a direct alliance to MSU, it is green and white. So it represented my “on the fence but leaning” take on the game.
  • Ford Field is a very nice facility, and the next time that EMU plays football there (which has happened about once a year for the last couple years), I’m going. Heck, I might even go see the Lions next year. In one sense, our tickets were terrible: about halfway up the last section in an end zone end of the arena, which meant the court was literally about a quarter of a mile away. But this wasn’t as bad as you might think. I still feel like we got a pretty decent view of the game, and with the big-screen TVs at the top of the stadium, it wasn’t that different from watching it on TV.
  • Everyone I dealt with was extremely polite and well-behaved. That includes the fans, the people taking tickets, the security folks, the hot dog lady, the dude who gave me foolproof directions out of town, everyone. It was almost as if Detroiters and Michiganders had some kind of collective mission to put a warm and happy face on a scruffy and run-down town and state.
  • At half-time, UNC had managed to score the most points in a half in NCAA playoff history and they were ahead of a lackluster MSU team by 20 points. And it was 10:15 pm. Will said “let’s go,” and I didn’t disagree. While plenty of other people left early, my very close (albeit over-priced) parking space meant that we were out of the stadium and on I-75 and then I-94 back to Ypsi in a matter of minutes. In fact, we got home early enough for me to watch the last seven minutes of the game on TV (and Will and I clearly didn’t miss much), and also to see a local news report on the massive traffic jam after the game ended. We would have been there until one in the morning had we stayed.

So an excellent time all in all and a huge thank you to my parents for the tickets!

On rodent eating

I saw this article on Boing-Boing and on Mark Maynard’s blog: “To urban hunter, next meal is scampering by
Detroit retiree, 69, supplements his income by living off the land”
from the Detroit News. A quote:

Beasley, a 69-year-old retired truck driver who modestly refers to himself as the Coon Man, supplements his Social Security check with the sale of raccoon carcasses that go for as much $12 and can serve up to four. The pelts, too, are good for coats and hats and fetch up to $10 a hide.

While economic times are tough across Michigan as its people slog through a difficult and protracted deindustrialization, Beasley remains upbeat.

Where one man sees a vacant lot, Beasley sees a buffet.

“Starvation is cheap,” he says as he prepares an afternoon lunch of barbecue coon and red pop at his west side home.

First off, I’m pretty sure that the last thing that Southeast Michigan and Detroit needs in the paper right now is a story about the resourceful use of raccoons as food. “Come to Detroit for the Final Four; stay for the ‘coon.” Ouch. I think I like Mark’s take on this, for the most part.

Second, this reminds me of a time that must be 15 or more years ago now when Sheri Reynolds brought over a muskrat to a party I was having while living at Charlotte’s house in Richmond, Virginia.

I cannot recall the purpose for the party (though I had many parties at that house), nor can I recall the specific purpose for the muskrat. I do remember though that Sheri bought it at some kind of redneck-ish grocery store. It was in in the frozen food section– no kidding. Anyway, she brought this thing over and cooked up a “muskrat bog” in a big pot: lots of rice, onions, stock seasoning, and, of course, muskrat. Stank up the whole house.

I don’t remember what the muskrat tasted like– I imagine a lot like raccoon might taste. But I do recall someone fishing out the muskrat skull from the bog and propping it up on a bunch of beer cans in the kitchen, or perhaps the dining room table.

ReReRe: CCCC-ing, part 3 (The “CCC(C)s Sux” or a similiarly provocative title and subject)

Nope, not an April fools joke, I’m afraid….

In English 516 the other night, we talked about proposal for the upcoming CCCCs in Louisville, close enough to EMU for a car drive and a cheap hotel for some of our interested grad students. One of the students made reference to this post of mine about the weirdness surrounding the call for various editors of the CCCs online. Bradley Dilger mentioned that post on his blog here, and of course Collin Brooke has written about the work he did on his blog (here, for example). And if I wanted to add the “Conference” C to the conversation, I could take the angle I took in this post back in August.

Anyway, I half-jokingly said to my class that I might try to propose a panel called something like “The CCC(C)s Sux: Radically Rethinking the Conference and the Journal,” or something like that. What I’m imagining here are presentations (or a roundtable?) where presenters take up one issue of something that has gone terribly wrong with the conference and/or the journal over the last decade or so, and to propose a radical solution. For example, let’s close down the print version of the journal. Let’s make all presentations online. Let’s re-examine/re-expose the presentation review process and talk about the extent to which “sexy titles” win the day over content. Or whatever.

There are a lot of sucky things about the CCC(C)s that could work here.

One of my students said that there is no way such a panel called “The CCC(C)s Sux” would get accepted. On the contrary, I said. I think that the reviewers for the CCCCs would actually be more than willing to embrace a panel about the CCCCs sucking in the name of promoting the views of “other voices,” to be fair and balanced, to be open to change, etc. And if they didn’t accept such a proposal, well, then I and my fellow presenters would have yet more evidence that NCTE/CCCC is not truly able to revisit, rethink, revise, and/or renew the way that it does things, the proverbial “see, I told you so!” satisfaction.

Any takers?