Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

when it rains

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

This coming week, everything happens at work. Tomorrow takes the cake, though: have to deal with a file share permissions emergency first thing; four meetings in the afternoon, back to back; and then the first evening session of the web application development course I’m taking. Then Friday I’m teaching the first iteration of the two-hour digital research methods workshop I wrote about here some weeks ago.

Exciting, all of it, but scary. On top of this, my mom is sick. (This is the part I’m compartmentalizing like crazy, because it would easily send me into panic if it were allowed to, and that’s just not helpful to anyone.)

On the plus sides, today was full of social goodness. Went to a brunch-and-Gattaca-showing, which was brilliant. Took a friend (and myself) shopping at a Russian supermarket. We were both sort of unreally happy with the experience, and talked and talked in the car both ways. Housemates were almost as pleased, and partook of the tasties. Then we watched Torchwood.

It’s pouring in every sense but the rainy. The weather is cool enough for sweatshirt and a scarf. All my nerve endings are at attention. Life’s edges are rather ill-defined, and frightening in this. Wouldn’t trade it, even if sometimes I need to be talked down from scraggly fear trees.

digital research methods workshops: RFF

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

I’m making a topic list for some digital research methods workshops. This is a request for feedback and/or supplements!

Some background first. The school I work at is a theological seminary existing within a Research I university. The students in it are all [post]graduate: Master’s- and doctoral-level. Some degrees are more vocationally oriented; others—more research-oriented. This refers to what the students do after they leave here; all of our graduate programs involve the usual amounts of traditional scholarship. Some also involve field work.

I aim for these to be one-off, two-hour workshops offered to every student near the beginning of their time here. There will be two different workshops, one for most of the Master’s-level students, the other for our advanced Master’s and all doctoral students. The topic list is more or less the same, with different areas of emphasis for each workshop.  For those people writing theses and dissertations, there will be an additional hour-long workshop touching on things like how to properly format things in MS Word (sigh; yes, really—nobody teaches them this stuff!), open access, authorship etc.

These might more rightly be called digital scholarship primers, I don’t know. In any case, “digital research methods” might be a misnomer. I actually don’t think that it is. Implicit in the topic list below is my belief that the use of digital resources that feed you information and the use of digital tools to directly create new knowledge are different skill sets, but both classifiable as digital research.  If you think I’m off the mark here, I’d welcome your reasoning—not to make you justify yourself, but to gain more perspective—and/or suggestions for other workshop titles.

Here’s what I have so far. What would you add? Do you see problems with my thinking that I’m not seeing?Continue Reading digital research methods workshops: RFF

social media, teaching and research

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Last week I gave a talk at the second annual conference on distance ed put on by the BU Faculty Advisory Board on, You Guessed It, Distance Education.

It was a great time! I was heartened to see so many people thinking so creatively about classroom technology. Distance ed may not equate to using technology (networked or not) in the classroom, but there’s a lot of crossover, so I was asked to reprise a talk I’d given few months ago through the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching.

I’ve taken recent thinking about slide presentations to heart, so looking at my slides wouldn’t yield anything particularly coherent: there’s little text on them. So I’ve inserted the slides here instead of putting them on SlideShare; click on a slide to see it full-size.  Alas, I haven’t figured out yet how to open the full-size images in the same page, with a gallery-like overlay (is there a WordPress plugin for this?), so—apologies—they’re set to open in a new window.

This gets long; here’s hoping the LiveJournal crosspost can deal with the more tag. If it can’t, sorry, LJLand—I don’t do this often…Continue Reading social media, teaching and research

Making waves

Friday, January 21st, 2005

I’ve just posted some thoughts about different approaches to presenting and distributing academic knowledge. Please opine if you are so inclined. I have a feeling I’ll be roundly chastised for some of the things I said, but discussion is sort of the idea. :)

how do you quack in italian?

Monday, April 19th, 2004

Well, the photos get a resounding vote of “enh” from me. They’re just uninspiring. You had to be there, if nothing else then for the olfactory paradise of chopped herbs and ground spices.

N.B.: if you’re a staunch vegetarian who is nauseated by the discussion of preparing meat, you might want to skip the rest of this post.

I’ve got to say, thinking that I could easily cut up a whole duck, just because I know fairly well how to do the same thing with chicken, was erroneous. Duck skin is rather more strongly attached than chicken skin is; plus, I couldn’t figure out how to partition it. Ethan’s googling powers saved me, of course; what I’d failed to understand is that the duck is both more fatty *and* more bony on its back than chicken. So I decided to save some of the bonier parts for a soup (to be made tomorrow) and soon I had three containers. The contents of one of them will be rendered, and will make for a good cooking medium for potatoes, fish, what have you.

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for not throwing away any part of the bird, which had admittedly been cleaned before they sold it to me. Its meat is providing us with two meals each, and we’ll have soup and cooking fat besides. Not bad, for a generally wasteful world.

So, here’s the recipe I made. It comes from Alexandra Greeley’s Asian Soups, Stews, & Curries, which I really must return to Mrs. Zogathon someday soon. Next time I make this, I’ll use more ginger, galangal and lemongrass, and will add some fresh chili peppers. This was surprisingly mild.

If you don’t know where to get certain ingredients, check to see if you have an Indian and/or Southeast Asian grocery store nearby. You can always resort to places like Whole Foods, but their herbs are both expensive and not as good. Also, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t use the Thai Kitchen brand of coconut milk. Use Chaokoh instead. Have four cups of it on hand.

Get a 4- to 5-pound duck, clean it and cut into serving pieces (or you could just get duck legs, I guess).

Prepare your herbs and spices. Throw all of the following in one bowl:

     1 stalk lemon grass, trimmed and thinly sliced;

     shred 3 kaffir lime leaves;

     one 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped;

     two Indonesian bay leaves, crumbled (I used regular Western bay leaves);

     1 tsp’s worth of galangal root, minced;

     1 tsp ground coriander;

     1 tsp freshly ground black pepper;

     1/2 tsp ground cumin;

     1/4 tsp ground turmeric;

     salt and sugar to taste.

Take 8 shallots and 4 garlic cloves, peeled and rouhly chopped. Put them in a blender or small chopper, add just enough water to process, and blend until smooth. This she calls “curry paste,” why, I don’t know.

Heat 1/3 cup of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion-and-garlic paste and stir around for 2-3 minutes, until it’s fragrant. Add all the other spices, stir well and cook for about 5 minutes. That’s what she says, anyway; I cooked for about 7-8. Add a bit more oil if the mixture is too dry.

Add in the duck pieces, and make sure they’re thoroughly coated in the spices. Pour in the coconut milk (mix it up first if it’s separated; it’ll be hard to mix with all that meat in the pan). Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1.5-2 hours. If the sauce gets too thick and/or shallow, add some water. For garnish, fry up some shallots and/or garlic until crunchy. Honestly, I skipped that last part.

Mmm, tasty. Do make some sticky rice to sop up all the saucy goodness. Make sure you stir the sauce before spooning it onto the rice; some of the herbs and roots stay crunchy, and in every tender bite there’s a little explosion of flavor.

In other news, my Italian class did marvelously well on their exam, all things considered. (They are a good and genial group, but this class is their very lowest priority. We do what we can!) The average grade was 7.5 percentage points higher than the average quiz grade! I’m duly impressed, and they seemed pleased too. We did the simple past today, their first Really Tough Topic, and they did well. I dare say I’m proud! And to think that I’ll have children someday. If that’s how it’s gonna be, at least sometimes, then I’m all for having children. Because, you know, I need convincing to have children.

G’night. Let me know if you make the duck; I’d be curious to find subtle but tasty variations.

Happy women’s day!

Monday, March 8th, 2004

It’s International Women’s Day. Happy 8th of March!

Despite the lack of updates, it’s been an eventful month. I gave a talk at a brown-bag seminar at, well, Brown; and it went remarkably well. Ethan moved here from Seattle, which consumed us logistically for a week or two but, oh, is worth it. Both my work and my personal well-being are much improved.

Entirely selfishly, I am giddy to have access to both a ricemaker and a breadmaker now. Oh, and a wok. These implements of culinary creation, coupled with finding a couple of excellent Southeast Asian markets around Providence, have rather shaken up my daily diet in the best of ways. Incidentally, as long as you stay away from Thai Kitchen brand anything, I cannot recommend mamster’s Thai curry highly enough. Actually, here: take a look at his other food writings. They are as amusing as they’re informative.

E. and I have successfully (“victory!!”) collaborated on writing a paper abstract, which was submitted too late to be considered for a conference session, but we’ll find a venue for it. We continue to talk about the logistics of RolandHT and I am hopeful for the project, if a little frustrated by not dedicating quite enough time to it. This last one should improve now that the exciting double-appointment, Italian-and-Comp-Lit faculty search is over. Amongst the applicants are a couple of really excellent women, and I fervently hope that one of them will join us.

I have begun to teach Italian to RISD students. They’re a trip, complete sweethearts, and that priceless combination of razor-sharp and willing to throw themselves into conversation in a language they barely know. It’s a really fun gig, and although it’s technically a distraction from what I should be doing (*cough* dissertation *cough*), it’s actually great for my own morale.

Tomorrow evening, I go in for a sleep study. That’s exciting! Perhaps we’ll find out why I become sleepy, regardless of how rested I am, if I sit in one place for too long. Becomes a bit of a problem when spending long hours at a computer, or, say, driving to Boston…

The weather had been improving until the weekend. Saturday it rained and rained; Sunday it was sunny and gorgeous; and today, it is snowing again. But the days, they are getting longer; and my mood is definitively on an upswing. We’re full of activity over here. I keep noticing little things and mentally filing them in the “to blog” category, and… well, you know.

Earlier this morning, right around 6:30, a skunk waddled across our neighbors’ backyard. It was light already, so either it spaced on the whole hide-in-daylight thing, or it was rabid. Cute.

tutoring glee.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

I didn’t want to tutor today.

I really, really didn’t.

There’s thesis work to do. There’s a lot going on at other-work, too (the stuff I get paid for). I need to clean my apartment I need to iron my shoelaces I want to read the New Yorker and curl up and do nothing and sleep and traipse in the woods and stop overloading my brian and do not want to tutor.

Right. Two successful hours later, I am jumping with glee like a mad squirrel. I was made for teaching, and cannot wait to teach Italian twice a week next semester to brilliant young artists. They will undoubtedly be blasé, and some of them will care nought for homework, but it’ll be good to get some practice on non-Brown students (who are on crack in their own sweet way, hyper-responsible and sometimes more demanding on the teacher than the teacher is on them). Plus, RISD exposure specifically is never a bad thing. And, teaching! I get to create knowledge and get them to speak another language. How good is that?!

little victories!

Friday, March 14th, 2003

The mysterious They (being a selection subcommittee) are recommending my Intro to Humanities Computing course for approval to the curriculum committee. I get to teach it come next spring. I am so pleased!