The Crafting English Prof…

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I got my vanity URL!!! WOOT!!!!! 22 September 2010

Filed under: jewelry — Rana Wilson @ 1:26 pm
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Okay, so last weekend, I started a Facebook page to help promote Definitive Designs.  I thought long and hard about it, and decided the time was right.  So, I set it all up, and managed to get a wee bit confused several times, and changed my picture a couple of times, but finally it was all ready to go.  And then I went to grab the link to tell people about it, and that silly thing was huge.  So I managed to stumble upon another page that was talking about vanity URLs, but you had to have 25 fans before you could get it.  So I just checked my page a little bit ago, and WOO-HOO I got 25 fans!  Yay!!!!!!!! So now, I have my vanity URL in Facebook!  Yippee!!!!!!!!!

Here’s the page: Stop on by and leave me a note!  Looking forward to seeing you there!!!



Whew! Am I glad that’s over! 8 May 2010

Filed under: Ponderings,Uncategorized — Rana Wilson @ 2:17 pm
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Okay, so it’s not really over.  Well, Spring session at SPC is over… but I’m still in the midst of exams at HCC–have one more to give on Monday, and THEN it’s over.  Then I have a lovely 4 days off before the fun starts all over again for Summer session!  Joy!!! Okay, really, I’m okay with it… but I do wish we had a bit more time between Spring and Summer.  Cuz, see, we get this lovely month off after Summer session (which is always when the creative finances come out to play… but that’s another post altogether…)

So, let’s see here…. Okay, I want to give some kudos to my SPC students, they (mostly) did really well.  and so far, so have the HCC students.  We’ll see how the Monday students do.  But I wanted to mention one student in particular (who’s partially to blame for me starting a blog…) and the idea he prompted me to start looking into earlier this week.  Although, I have to say, at the moment, it’s still just an idea, and I haven’t had a chance to look into it… So, I always offer my students extra credit in the form of a writing / reading journal.  Very few of them take me up on it, and fewer still do well on it, usually not realizing the difference between a writing journal and a diary.  But every once in a while I get a most awesome gem.  A few sessions ago, it was the journal of an artist, who incorporated her artwork with her thoughts on the various things she read or saw, and it was just one of the coolest looking journals I’ve ever seen. It was also well written, because she was (and is) a particularly conscientious student.

This past session, the journals I received were good, but in general by no means spectacular.  Except for one particular student. This particular student, Chris, asked if a blog would be okay. I thought the idea sounded brilliant, not least because then I could read it throughout the session, and not be inundated by it at the end, but also because I remembered this guy from the Comp 1 class he took with me, and I remembered the wonderful insights he had on the quotation assignments I did that summer, and how I was always a bit sad to see his work end. He has such an interesting voice, that I literally couldn’t wait to see his work.

So, what was the idea he prompted, you ask?  I’m getting to it, I’m getting to it! (yes, I love a good tangent…) Okay, so in Chris’s last post on the journal blog (which you can find here…) he mentioned that he would like to take a class in “blogging (or perhaps online writing)” which triggered in the dim recesses of my memory the graduate work that a friend of mine was doing a few years ago.  In fact, her dissertation is on blogging.  I’ve not had a chance to read it, but I’d certainly like to, particularly since she’s brilliant, and I’ve found myself, over the last week, itching to write something here (curses on having too much work…)  (Oh, Chris also said I was unafraid to try new things. Seriously, she could teach the instructors of my more technical classes a few things about being innovative. Office hours on Skype was particularly great.”  That just plum tickled me… Seriously, that’s like the best compliment I could EVER possibly receive as a professor.) Okay, so back to the idea Chris prompted… I often try (and rarely succeed) to incorporate info on resume writing in my classes, because it’s important, and well, I used to be a resume writer.  So that, I know.  But the minute Chris expressed a wish to see a class on online writing, I got to thinking, what exactly would that entail?  I know that there could be (and probably is, at some other institution) a full class already developed for this.  And I think there’s a definite need for it.  Think of all the different types of online writing there is–emailing, blogging, commenting, Skype, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, online courses… the list literally goes on for days… These are just things that I’ve used, and I freely admit, I’m jumpin’ in the boat a bit late here (for instance, I’m teaching my FIRST EVER online class this summer…) And the caliber of writing I’ve seen online runs the gamut from brilliant, both technically and contextually, to downright dismal.  I’ve seen blogs from people trying to be legitimate, and who probably have very good ideas, that I quite frankly COULD NOT make heads or tails of! And let’s not get started on the tech aspects of the whole deal… So, what would one include in class on online writing, or, more specifically for me, a module on online writing?  This should, ideally, be a thing that occurs AFTER the basics of Academic writing have been covered. And obviously, those same guidelines I request that my students follow in their academic papers would be relaxed in a class on online writing, but what else would be included?  Definitely a tidbit on tone, and persuasive arguments (some of the comments I’ve read on various articles and whatnot are appalling! So rude!)

I know that this is something that I’m going to have to ponder for a while, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  This definitely seems like something that needs to be included in the curriculum…



Facebook and Midsummer Night’s Dream…. 21 April 2010

So, I’m sitting here in class, and my students are watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream… I love the play-viewing week, because I get so much done. usually…. Today, not so much….

See, I think the problem is general grading fatigue, and the access to a laptop, where, I admit, I usually have Facebook open on a tab.  And my friends are wonderful, and intriguing, and awesome, and…. really, I don’t have enough positive adjectives to describe… But that’s almost the problem–I have wonderful friends who post really nifty stuff that I want to investigate, and for some reason, I cannot focus on the grading I need to do (okay, so also, I’m sitting here in semi-darkness.  You ever tried to read mediocre handwriting in the dark? Not fun…)

But that brings me to another thought.  I love Facebook.  I have a lot of friends and colleagues who have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, and I’ve often wondered why.  For my colleagues, I know that it has a lot to do with how much time our students “waste” on the site, especially when they’re in the classroom (I teach in several computer labs) supposedly listening to us, participating in the course discussion, or otherwise engaged in learning. For my friends who aren’t also colleagues, though, I’m not really sure.  But again, I think it falls back to time “wasting”.  Cuz, yeah, Facebook can be a huge timesuck.  Think about it–we have all those great games (yes, I like and play the Zynga games… my Farm is cute!), we can send silly gifts (my favorites of all of them remain the “send-a-sperm” that were making the rounds when I first got onto Facebook), and we can check in with ALL of our FB friends.  But that last, that’s the real reason I love love LOVE Facebook! See, I had a HUGE group of friends in highschool, and then, as tends to happen, we all lost touch.  Well, most of us.  I’ve discovered small pockets kept in touch (like my 2 best friends and me).  Since we’ve all gotten on Facebook, though, we’ve reconnected, and we’re reforging those relationships we had momentarily lost over the last 16 (gasp!) years.  We’re having picnics, Ikea trips, we’re meeting new friends through our old friends, and we’re supporting each other in our endeavours.  I think we’re becoming better friends for the long separation, even though most of us aren’t in even the same state anymore. So, I love Facebook.  I love to get up in the morning and see what new things my wonderful friends have thought of (it helps that my “morning” is about noon-ish in the real world.

Okay, back to reading poetry based on “Hazel tells Laverne.” Yes, I’m mean.  I make them write the occasional poem.  I’m happy to say, they actually do really well with it!



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