Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Just Wait....

I'm nowhere near retiring, and each semester I wonder if students can get worse. And you know what? They can!


From in Phoenix:

An Arizona mother said she hopes cruel birthday cupcakes given to her teenage daughter will become a “teachable moment” about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Deborah Muller, of Paradise Valley, said her daughter’s 14th birthday party this month included cupcakes that guests were allowed to frost. Two girls, who Muller said are friends of her daughter, decorated cupcakes with chocolate swastikas, even though the birthday girl is Jewish, according to KPNX-TV.

Muller said in a now-deleted Facebook post that the girls told her they did it to “be funny.” She said the teens all recently learned about the Holocaust in school, and were aware of the symbol’s meaning.


I love the detail that the students had been learning about the Holocaust, and my only response is: "Not much."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Early Thirsty: Can a Paperless Classroom Work? From Alex Outside Allentown.

I'm sorry to say I've invested the past 13 weeks trying to make a completely paperless classroom work, mostly because my college has mandated it. No paper. No copying. No printing. Everything online through a large and powerful course management system.

And it's been a nightmare. I've always been tech-y, so a lot of this was familiar to me. But what I cannot seem to do is guarantee that my students have SEEN, TOUCHED, or READ any of the pertinent material I distribute, which goes from a syllabus to assignments to lessons. I'm a little document-heavy, or so I'm told, so it adds up to about 50 pages of stuff I've made available over the first 90% of the semester.

Never have I had so many idiotic questions about due dates, policies, or criteria. I'm constantly reminding them of the CONTENT section of our CMS, re-sending links. If I tell them to read something, I can SEE that they've not logged in an accessed the file. It's NOT the same as handing them a piece of paper in person, pointing to a paragraph, circling a date.

And I know I should make them responsible, and I know that in the end they must want to access this information and benefit from it.

But far too much of my time this semester has been spent begging them to read the distributed course material that is designed to help them. I'm very curious about your experiences.

Q: Can a paperless classroom work? How do you increase the chance the "available" material gets used and read?

Tuesday Open Forum.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Which Icon Should I Press? A Primer.

If you're looking to post something on the page, the gold email thingie icon at the TOP of the right sidebar allows you to do that. Put in your email EXACTLY what you want to appear in your post, and DON'T include real names or info that might appear in your email's sig file. Always include your user name (the name we know you by, your nom de misery) at the bottom of your email.


Further down the sidebar is the RGM icon, and that's the email link you use if you want to contact this page's mod with questions, complaints, comments, etc.

More campus violence.

From the Columbus Dispacth

Early reports indicate that the attacker drove his car through a crowd gathered for an earlier gas leak evacuation.


During the violence yesterday in Columbus, campus officials tweeted a "Run Hide Fight" message that links up with a training video widely available at Ohio State (and elsewhere.)

Click video to watch.

High-School Students as Co-Authors, Even in the Absence of Research, By Froderick Frankenstien from Fresno

Just when I'd thought I'd seen it all, THIS happened.

I've previously groused about how little sense it makes for me to involve high-school students in research, here and here. They never want to do research: they want a line item on their resume that says they have "research experience," so they can get into a university more selective than mine. Worse, it's rarely the students who make the inquiries: for 10+ years now, it's almost always been their parents.

Kids, this has finally come to its logical conclusion. A parent e-mailed to ask whether their spawn might be able to benefit in my lab, from what is essentially free tutoring from me. I gave my now-usual reply: "I'm sorry, but there's not much in my lab that a high-school student can do," after which I give a list of research programs that are actually funded to take high-school students, as well as a list of readings. (Hope springs eternal, but as John Cleese noted, "It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.")

The parent responded that this was OK. Might I be able just to add their spawn's name on a paper, as a co-author?

The next time I am asked this, I am going to reply, "Sure, if you make a $3M donation to our Foundation, to endow a chair for me to sit in, together with a separate $500k donation to set up an endowment to pay the rent for our observatory in perpetuity. We'll name the chair and the observatory after you, of course." Sadly, I missed my opportunity the first time: I was expecting to ask the university administrator who'd referred their old pal to me for some release time, which of course they never give me.


Froderick Frankenstien from Fresno

Monday's Open Forum.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

U.S. mathematics, as of November 27, 2016

Why did I wake up early Sunday morning to read CNN (before CM)?
So I could find little gems like this:

No doubt fair use applies here, because I don't want to take credit for CNN's material.  It looks like one of Frod's lesser students was hired by CNN to create pie charts.


Sunday Open Forum

You can make wry in
The comment section below
If that's what you like.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Seeking New Correspondents!

College Misery is always looking for new correspondents. If you have stories and tales about the misery of college proffie life, we'd love to share them with our readers.

Over in the sidebar are two links, the top one - with the golden envelope icon - will allow you to write a post the way you want it to appear on the site. (Make sure to include a user name / pseudonym at the bottom. Do not include any personal info or notes to the mod.) It goes into a queue where the moderator will check it for formatting and post it within a few hours.

The second link further down to the RGM (Real Goddamned Moderator) sends a direct message to me. You know, when you want to complain about something or call me an asshole.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday's Open Forum, You Know, A Place to Deposit Some Tasty Vents that Maybe Don't Quite Fill Out a Whole Post. Or, Maybe You Just Want to Report On That Terrible Thanksgiving Dinner Debacle With Friends and Family, Especially Uncle Rick Who Kept Saying, "Do Misty," When Misty Is Not Aunt Misty, But Instead the Carolina College Cheerleader Who is Dating Uncle Rick's Mortified Son Rusty. That's Just a Hypothetical Example.

Today's open forum is open, and forum-like,
free for you to share some nuggets, below,
in the region, in the manner.

There's no charge. 
Except a psychic one, of course.

CM Flashback: Ben Again. Three Years Ago Today.

Job applications: What not to do

This started as 3 observations, then 
I thought of a few more things to say.
Once I got to 7 items, I added some 
filler to make it a top 10.  I'm sorry 
if these details ruin the sense of mystery 
of how this post came to exist but I think 
we should be honest with each other.
For Christ's sake, people.  What the fuck are you doing sending me this terribly shitty mess of cover letters, CVs, emails from students (emails from students!) and miscellaneous bullshit?  We are searching for an assistant professor, not the dumbest job applicant in the world.  Perhaps our ad should be more specific.

Here's a list of ten things about job application letters that piss me off.

10.  If you are a researcher, don't try to fake your way into a teaching position.  Oh, you really care about education?  That explains why you publish out the wazoo but your only teaching experience was as a TA in 1992.

9.  Likewise, if we are looking for a researcher to shower our department with grant money, then your mentoring of a high school kid's science fair project last year won't earn you any points.  In fact, Our scoring system looks like this:

   # of grants
+ # publications
- 100,000,000 if your CV says that you mentored a student's science fair project

= a number

It works surprisingly well.

Here's the jumpity jump, or as the RGM likes to say ...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Beaker Ben Flashback Of Thankful Things. From 2009.

  • excellent, friendly secretaries and support staff who have saved my ass several times (who knew that my exam doesn’t print and staple itself on its own?)
  • look on my colleagues’ faces when they realize that, although they got straight A’s at elite schools and I got more modest grades at big ol’ State U., we still work at the same place and I have more research funding to boot
  • relief and gratitude expressed by a student who claims that he overslept the exam (more likely spent all day studying) but I’ll let take the exam that afternoon anyway
  • confusion and fear expressed by same student when I mention offhand that any extra studying he did won’t help him muchnation of China for purchasing US bonds that allow the federal government to spend money that pays for my research
  • underfunded IT department, which is so busy that it could never have time to check all the websites that I peruse at work
  • student research assistants who are less stoned and more hard working than I ever was in college
  • parents of students for continuing to pay tuition even after all hope of graduating has been lost
  • humanities faculty for coming up with such batshit-crazy research topics that it makes our goofy science experiments sound sane
  • political naiveté of my coworkers and administrators, which allows someone like me, with just a modicum of common sense and a healthy lust for power, to have far more influence than he deserves
  • public school system for doing such a poor job of educating children that none of these young whippersnappers will ever be qualified to replace me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Whatever Wednesday, Blah Blah Open Forum...

Here is that old thing,
where the misery is shared,
in the region,
in the manner.

Fuck That. If I Want to Tell Fab I Love Him, He Can't Stop Me. HE'S NOT THE BOSS OF ME! He's Not the Boss of Anything Now!

When I closed RYS, Fab was the guy who made the best case for the page to continue. That was more than 5 years ago, and he has repaid me and repaid me a hundred times over by keeping the spirit alive, and by making a place where the misery could be confessed, shared, and left in the dust.

Thank you, brother, for fighting a worthwhile fight, and by welcoming so many voices to our odd, troubled, and inspiring community.


From Fab

First things first, the page will continue. I will not, however.

I want to be clear how much I have enjoyed this enterprise since June of 2010 - when I started College Misery - and the years before that when I was a lover/lurker on RYS. But I feel different personally and professionally than I once did, and it's not a space for me anymore.

Please know how I've valued everyone and everything related to this page.

A former mod is taking over and has asked to only be identified by the genderless (and badass) RGM moniker, and to that person I express my public gratitude.

I say without fear how much I have loved my time here, and please don't muddy things up with the complaint that we had a couple of hiatuses and that there have a handful of different mods. I can tell you we all have done the best we could do while balancing our families and careers along with this space. I've come back a couple of times to keep the page alive when it looked like it might die, but the entire account - for the first time - have been delivered to the new mod and my time is done.



The new RGM writes:

I love Fab, but in my discussions with him and Cal this past week I understand why he wants to step away from the page, a page that simply would not have existed or thrived or lasted as it has without his leadership. The page has settled into a low-key groove that is still valuable for a lot of folks. According to Cal we probably get about 1000 unique visitors each day, which is small potatoes compared to past iterations, but which remains a healthy group of like minded community members. And when Fab started talking to other mod, I volunteered to take over the page.

I'm going to stay in the background and let the page be what it's going to be. Nothing lasts forever, of course, and the RYS/CM 11 years lifespan is pretty amazing. So if you want the space to stay open, be a part of things by commenting and posting. The same options for posting are in place. The golden thingie in the sidebar allows you to post something right to the page (no real names, no messages to mods, etc.), and it'll go live once I check it and standardize fonts and graphics, and the RGM icon further down in the sidebar sends an email direct to me, and I can help you from there, from getting a post up, or just answering questions.

I second the notion above in Fab's note about the perception from some readers that this seemingly fluid movement of mods adds up to a sort of flakiness or casualness. It is so not that. As someone who's been inside the "compound," the health of this place has been such a big part of Fab's life. Even when he wasn't in charge he has been the force for good behind it all. He is simply a good man, caring, considerate, and someone anyone would be lucky to have as a real world colleague. (He's like the opposite of Cal, say, even including the whole ability to eat gluten thing!)

Let the misery live, I say. Lights are on. Page is wide open.


PS: Fab has asked for comments to be turned off. He knows how you feel. And he hates when we get dinged for navel gazing...LOL.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Break, twenty-three down, two more to go: from an old fool in a sentimental mood

I retire in 2019. And I am beginning to realize that. I know how fortunate I am. My partner and I will be able to leave when we are willing to leave. Few people seem to be a position to do so. I feel fortunate—to have this job, tenure, promotion, salary and benefits, an office, and time. I know that. Yet more and more I feel most thankful for the work.

For all the annoyances, disappointments, frustrations, and outrages from the tasks of my job, once I'm gone, I will miss the work.

I have realized that I will miss one aspect in particular: that time before my eight am classes, from six until seven thirty. The building is mostly empty and quiet, and I am here alone.

That quiet time I am alone getting ready for class: reading these texts—old chestnuts on and new additions to the syllabi—so interesting, so worthy, so stimulating, and then revising, revamping, rethinking last year’s lesson, to keep it fresh, relevant, current.

Before the first email of the day with reports of illness, car trouble, emotional turmoil, before the committee meetings, before addressing various tasks from newly created offices demanding my time, before the stack of ungraded essays guilts me into attention, before colleagues in the hall breathlessly chin-wagging about the provost, the dean, the vice president, etc. I do work I love.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Compound Cal Writes This...

When I began to find Lipdubs, I was taken with the amazing planning that went into these campus wide, often one-shot, wonders with dozens or scores of students all getting together and completing a task far harder than, say, getting to the fucking library, or completing a 15 minute group project.

And, as Fab said yesterday about the "Dorm Dancin'" vids, these gave me such a warm feeling for my otherwise dour students. "Look at these fucking kids go," I often thought. And a small part of my black heart always wanted one of my own students to come up to me after class one day and say, "Dr. Cal, we're putting together a lipdub on campus Saturday morning. Here's your lyric. Wear a boa and a funky hat and come and have fun!"

Alas, as you might guess, it never happened.

Anyway, thanks Fab for reviving some of these old vidshizzles. Like the two you've shown so far, this comes from about 7 years ago and was the first college lipdub I ever shared on RYS, AND it's the one that had the most editing, as I did some tricks in the video and even cut out a brief section of another (much more well known) song, to keep the odd and lovely Eurovibe of this French wonder.

Monday Open Forum.

On days when we have no material I've been making open forums available, so if folks have small matters they want to introduce or kvetch about, there will be an open space, and you won't have to go get your misery in some dirty alley.

That's what this post is for. So in the region below, the comment area, a grassy knoll of conspiracy if there ever was one, please to enjoy, in the manner.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

By All Means, Cancel The Whole Fucking Week So The Students Who Are Expected to Come to Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday Classes Can See Me For the Complete Dictatorial Asshole They Already Think I Am Because I Expect Them to Staple Their Shit Together and Turn Things In On Time.

Perhaps One Might Remember The All Time

VidShizzle Dump Continues: The Allure of the Dorm Dancin'

Cal was always transfixed by the Dorm Dancin'. There were a number of them. They didn't all have numbers, and I'm sure #5 came before #4, and sometimes they'd have a different title, like "Dancin' in Da Dorm."

I always took a little pleasure in these vids, because so often my students seem so unberably happy. It made my heart swell to know that when they weren't in class at least they were having fun some place.

Super Sunday Open Forum For Discussion and General Miserable Enjoyment.

Here below, in the region, one may, in the manner, make open comments, just-let-it-rips of all kinds and stations. Fear not of being judged because few of us know who you are. After all, most of think only of ourselves - and of Ben.

Remember the good old days?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Old VidShizzles.

Oh, there was a time way back when the vidshizzle ruled (originally vid-shiz-eo). Anyway, Cal made most of them. This first one goes back more than 7 years, and has - for me at least - at least 9 solid truths and 3 belly laughs. And, shit, that's pretty good.

Certainly there will be a few folks here who were not around for the early clips, and maybe a couple of us are old enough to have forgotten them so it'll seem fresh anyway.

The market for irony is hot

I teach a First Year Seminar class at a community college.  Someone else picked the textbook, but I think it's actually pretty good and we get a cheap custom edition.

I also teach a developmental version of a gateway science course at a residential college.  We tossed around the idea of assigning a similar book and asking the freshman in the science course to do some assignments pertaining to study habits and meta-cognition, and self-authorship.  

So I set about researching the options.  There is a book called "Focus on College Success"  The pages have lots of side bars, and it's full of pictures.  It actually looks pretty good in that the readings wouldn't be so arduous that it would do more harm than good.

But here's what blows me away.  There's not one, but (at least) TWO, independently produced, "guides".  You know, in case the 20 pages that included 20 pictures and 30 side bars are too much to get through.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Peter Principle Proffie. From Uggy.

Do you ever feel like a living embodiment of the Peter Principle? I do! You might as well stamp "incompetent" on my forehead. I got my job because I was good at research. Now I'm a teacher, an academic advisor, a research advisor, a counselor, and an accountant--everything but what I was trained to do--and I can't escape the feeling that I stink at everything.

Take teaching. I used to think I would love being in the classroom. What could be more fulfilling than introducing students to the subject I love so much? (I can feel you laughing. What can I say? I was always an idealist.) These days my attitude toward teaching ranges between "tolerate" and "hate" depending on the day. I thought I would be a good teacher because I'm good at organizing information and making difficult concepts accessible, but it's clear that most of the students don't value those skills. On course evals they complain about my voice ("Uptalk is distracting"), my enthusiasm ("Uggy will be a better teacher after s/he realizes some of us just don't care"), and my class rules ("Your laptop policy is dumb"). I'm not a natural-born entertainer and I resent feeling like I have to perform every day. Lately I have developed a strategy where I focus just on the five people who pay attention and ignore everyone else.

I spend a lot of my time as an unqualified amateur psychologist. In my role as an undergrad advisor I tried to help a student who bombed an entire semester due to bipolar disorder get back on track academically. I placed frantic phone calls to the college's social worker after a student confided (via email) that s/he missed a test after taking too many sleeping pills. (That one had a happy ending at least--the student got into counseling and thanked me for intervening.) Along with other faculty, I provided input when behavioral services assessed a grad student who was borderline suicidal. I still break into a sweat when I think about that case. What if the student had taken hir life?

As a research advisor, I have spent several hours over the past two weeks trying to convince a graduate student to test hir computer program against results already in the literature. S/he's resisting because code tests are "boring." I finally ran out of patience and dropped an ultimatum: if you don't do the code tests, we won't submit your paper. The student slouched off, sulking. S/he accused me of being "too perfectionistic" to write papers with and said I haven't been at my best this month. What can I say? I know how to do science, but I don't know how to manage and motivate recalcitrant students. On the flip side, I don't know how to keep good students afloat when they start to suffer the confidence crises that grad school produces so frequently. Sadly, working with the grad students is as close as I get to science these days.

By nature I am the stereotypical absentminded professor, so I have to work very hard to stay organized. Constant minutiae-chasing drives me crazy. I budget and re-budget grants ("Oops, I allocated $1,000 for page charges but this paper is going to cost $1,230 to publish. Can I move money from the travel budget? Oh no, that's already earmarked for next month's symposium.") I try to stay on top of my grading, but it's a losing battle ("Janie said she handed in her homework, but where is it? Bob has an excused absence, but Bill's missed quiz is unexcused. TA Jen put in her lab grades, but what is TA Joe up to?")

I really want to be good at my job. I admire teachers who have been through the student bullshit gauntlet tons of times yet still bring their A-game to the classroom. I wish I could be like those teachers, but I'm so exhausted. I want to give my grad students the attention they need to be successful, but lately I've been keeping my door shut because they get on my nerves so much. I've actually been thinking about quitting my career, which would be a very drastic move given how much hard work it took to get the career going in the first place. My spouse works full time so I could conceivably quit, but it would mean a huge financial shakeup. I think I have a lot of science left in the tank, but I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to sit down and do a real project of my own again.

I'm looking for insight from CMers. If you have thought of quitting, what brought you back? If you got to a bad place in your attitude toward teaching, how did you turn it around? (Or did you hit the booze and Xanax, which is where I'm headed?) How do you hit the reset button, especially if you have children or other family responsibilities that don't halt just because you need a break? Would you quit if you were in my shoes?

-Uggy from Utica

The fried-day open misery

please to enjoy the misery sharing in the below regions

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Half Big Ass-Thirsty.

Q: What Is Your Go-To Fail Safe Lecture / Lesson / Presentation / Thingie When the Semester Has Gotten Away From You And Yet You Find Yourself In Front of a Bunch of Students?

Lesson Learned in the Form of a Rant. From the TubaPlayingProf.

At the risk of being accused of ageism by Anonymous, I have to share one of my lessons learned this semester.

I will never use the term millennial again, and I won’t bother to learn what to call my students born after 1996. iGen, Gen Z or Centennials, whatever, I don’t care.

Bad students are bad students.

My two most trying, annoying, needy, dramatic, tortured, and inappropriate students are two male students in their fifties.

Those two (out of 72 students) have written the majority of the “drama” emails that I’ve received this semester: ill, car issues, scheduled medical appointments, “emergency meeting with advisors,” the always vague “family problems,” staying up late watching election returns, “just not feeling what we’re reading so I’m missing class” admission, requests for excused absences, extra time for essays in order to turn in work worthy of the grade they want, etc.

Inappropriate comments about “the girls in yoga pants,” references to Seinfeld episodes and Goodfellas that in no way contribute anything to the class discussion, disruptive questions and connections, random personal stories meant to mansplain, etc. “Hey Professor, this is out of left field....” No, it is not even in the same ballpark. Wait, that’s coming from a football stadium, not even a baseball park.

“Hey Professor, what’s on the exam exactly?” I covered that—when you were on your phone, or nodding off, reading for another class. By the way, NONE of the Seinfeld references, your contributions, questions, and personal stories will be on the exam.

“Hey Professor, I’m no grade grubber, but what do I need to do for a perfect score?” No, you are a grade grubber.

What set me off today and thus this rant? “Those millennials, right?” You mean the great majority of your classmates who are taking more classes than you, earning better grades, making contributions, and in general being better college students than you? Clearly balancing college, work, and “family issues” deftly? Those millennials?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

bad haiku for mid-november

today, the air is
all october, a mix of
leaves and nostalgia

that betrays what's left
of the constructs we cling to
in the aftermath

of the second week
of november. this day feels
so four weeks ago,

like former years when
trees peaked as scheduled. this year,
they reject their own

anatomy, their
fated decline, and instead
attempt to remain

as they were, remains
of a summer that exists
only in shadowed

memory.  in a
few days, the green that persists
will drop and die and

nothing will stop that.
november will once again
be november, the

way it must, the way
we all are.  this month feels so
forty years ago,

decades fortified
against a clock that cannot
be unwound.  or a

timer. such things wound
equally well, depending
on one's perspective.

one morning this week,
logical fallacies on
tap, a middle-aged

woman tapped her desk,
fixed me with a look and said,
"be careful."  the room

became the week, the
year, the decades.  everyone
felt it. i hadn't

said anything.  it
was a warning shot and a
moment that defined

more than that student
will ever understand.  i
will be careful – as

careful as deluge
that follows the harshest drought,
as careful as time,

careful as hornets,
careful like vesuvius,
like cannonade, like

cacophony, like
clamor, cracking, crush, and cause –
and effect.  oh, yes,

effect.  i will be
careful, as careful as a
comet and just as

easily resigned.

Great Lakes Greta

Shall I call a doctor?

On a dark and rainy afternoon I was teaching one of my favorite subjects to a group consisting of 5 students listening intently, another 10 or so trying hard to stay awake, and another dozen with their mobile phones hidden under their desks, thinking I can't see them text. One day I'm going to stream the view from the front to some video site...

Anyway, sitting in the back row was a student I'll call Fred for no other reason than I don't have any Freds this year. Fred was playing with his mobile phone openly. I then watched as he picked up his heavy scarf, wrapped it around his eyes and the phone, and started jerking his head erratically. 

I realized that he was playing the little 3D bee game that comes for free on mobile phones. As you bob your head and weave back and forth, your bee avatar collects prizes and avoids monsters. Doesn't that sound like much more fun than listening to me droning on about advanced hamster fur weaving patterns?

I stopped in the middle of a sentence, drew in a breath. "Shall I call a doctor?" Everyone but Fred wakes up and looks around to see what I mean. "Oh, I see, you are just playing a 3D game." Fred dropped the scarf, had the grace to redden, and everyone had a good laugh.

This is the future, fellow proffies: We will stand in front of a sea of students who are physically present but mentally in such an alternative reality that we will get seasick just looking at them.

Is it Gin O'Clock yet?


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Someone Tweeted This Our Way.

Tuesday Open Discussion.

Nyní účastní živých diskusí s jinými akademiků, kteří budou osvětlovat
ubohé předměty, které někdy zmást i ty nejjemnější vysoké školy akademiky.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Re:translation service?

Posílám pozdrav,
YYYY Překladatelské služby je nezávislý překlad komunita vytvořená xxxxxx XXXXXXX. Specializující se na přesné, vysoce kvalitní překlady provádí výhradně profesionální lingvistiky. Překlady do nativního nebo přírodním anglickým YYYY, naše překladatelské služby doufá, že pro splnění požadavků klientů a agentur, s nimiž se potýkají s nedostatkem kvalifikovaných a profesionálních překladatelů. Zajišťujeme překladatelské služby do az 50 jazyků a dialektů 25. Překlad není jednoduchá akademické cvičení a vyžaduje lingvista a kulturní porozumění obou cílových a původních jazycích. Pokud hledáte pro překladatelské služby, neváhejte nás kontaktovat ještě dnes. Naše cena je bezkonkurenční a my bychom rádi, aby projednat Vaše požadavky, těšíme se na Vaši odpověď! Vřelé pozdravy xxxxx xxxxxxxx YYYY Překlady

Monday Open Discussion.

Enjoy making comments and exchanging
in lively discussions below.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Free Email Burner Account For Anyone To Use

Start at
login: burneraccountmisery
password: burneraccountmisery66

You can use this to send posts to me. If you've been holding off because you don't want your material to come direct to me, or if you don't have a secret email account to protect yourself from someone at the blog doxxing you, just use this login, send me an email, and I'll take care of the rest.

WARNING. If multiple people use it, others WILL see what you wrote or sent in. But of course they'll see it on the page anyway. JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON'T IDENTIFY YOUR REAL SELF IN ANY WAY. OBVIOUSLY ANYONE WHO USES THE BURNER ACCOUNT CAN SEE WHAT EMAILS YOU HAVE SENT.

I don't believe the account will ask you for any more information - not that you can skip anyway. If you get the secret question prompt, the last name of your favorite teacher is sunshine.

Good luck! Looking forward to your posts!


Sunday Open Discussion.

Enjoy leaving comments and discussing matters
below in our open comment section.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Safety pins?

So there's a movement afoot to wear a safety pin as a sign of disagreement with Trump's xenophobia, racism, sexism (etc., etc., etc.)  -- a continuation/repurposing of symbol first adopted by Britons after the Brexit vote.  I have to admit, as a proffie at a school with a lot of nonwhite, Muslim, and/or immigrant students (and a fair number of international students who might be mistaken for immigrants), I'm tempted.  It seems like a harmless and possibly comforting gesture, especially since I've been hearing from students that some of their peers are feeling very vulnerable (these accounts are mostly secondhand; people seem more willing to talk about comforting friends than about whether they feel vulnerable themselves.  Also, so far, they seem to be mostly accounts of LGBT students feeling newly vulnerable; that might just be my particular small sample, but I'm wondering whether it's also a matter of people who grew up in an increasingly welcoming environment feeling newly vulnerable vs. those who always knew they and their families were vulnerable).

On the other hand, I'm more than a bit skeptical of the larger rhetoric of safe spaces with which this particular symbol intersects (and which we've discussed here before).  While I'm mindful of just how much words and the ideas they express can hurt, and how much energy it can take to deal with such messages, I also value free speech, and tend to think the the remedy for most objectionable speech is more speech. Over the course of what is getting to be a longish life, I've also become increasingly aware that, while human beings can, to some degree, control or at least modulate their own reactions to others and their expressed ideas, we can't control others or their ideas,and that trying to do so can use up a great deal of time, energy, and emotional that might be better spent in other ways.  I'm not going to tell anyone who's feeling hurt by another's ideas that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," because it's not that simple, but I do think there's something to cultivating a fairly tough hide, an ability to cogently critique ideas that are wrong as well as offensive and/or hurtful, and a willingness to walk away from unwinnable fights and find something practical to do that addresses the same or at least a related issue (or something else that one judges to be more important in the long term).  

I'm also mindful that wearing a safety pin would be an empty gesture (mere 'virtue signaling," to quote some of the critical tweets), since I can't really do anything to keep anyone subject to deportation (or harassment at any moment when I'm not there to object) safe (and I might not be much use even if present in the case of violent harassment, though I'd certainly do my best).  I'm certainly thinking about where I can best direct donations (especially any additional income I might derive from a tax cut, though I think that's unlikely to amount to much) so as to aid those who are in a position to provide real, practical (legal and/or logistical) help.

There's also this point, made by a British woman of Pakistani descent, which I think could also apply to our classrooms:

While I think it's great - amazing, even - that people are protesting en masse against Brexit racism, and are saying it's not okay, this isn't how solidarity works. When I'm sitting on a train and I see your safety pin, I don't think: "Hurrah, now I feel safe."
My default expectation from you as a human being in society is to not be racist or call me a Paki on my morning commute.
Wearing a safety pin just reminds me that I'm not safe, and telling me that you're on 'my side' just reinforces the idea of sides.

So what say you?  Are you thinking of wearing a safety pin yourself?  Have you seen any students doing so?  Do you think it's a bad/silly/dangerous idea, or a good or at least innocuous one? 


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Why Can't They Follow Instructions?

It's that time of the semester for wailing, gnashing of teeth, and the winter of our discontent is upon us, although the weather is still mild. It is November; my pre-first-year writing students are completing an annotated bibliography and a research report. The wailing comes from me, the gnashing from them, and the discontent from all of us. I have posted simple, clear instructions in our LMS, along with tutorials and sample papers. We have gone over them in class. We have played citation games, scavenger-hunted through the library databases for secondary sources, scaffolded on lab days, practiced the hanging indent, and discussed what goes in an annotation. When I ask for questions at the end of class, no one responds.

I find myself typing the same comments on every assignment: Alphabetize your sources. Use the hanging indent. Yes, you must include the website name in the citation. No, a URL is not a citation. None of these are new concepts; we've been working on them for weeks.

Students stare at me with slack jaws and furrowed brows when I explain that they received an Incomplete on the Five-Item Annotated Bibliography because they only included two items. They respond, "I didn't know we were supposed to have five."

They're bewildered when they get a failing grade on the research portfolio because they only included half the assignments listed in the prompt and rubric (which we also reviewed in class) -- or they included the wrong ones.

When they request help because they don't understand the assignment, I ask if they've read the assignment guidelines (which have been right there in our LMS class shell since Day One and which we also reviewed in class). They reply, "No, just tell me what it says." We spend ten minutes going over it together, but that student still gets the structure and the required content wrong, or only does part of it.

How is this happening?

I want these students to succeed. I strive to be transparent, open, and clear about assignments. I work at laying bare the "hidden curriculum" and showing them how to "do" college. Part of doing college successfully is reading and following instructions -- a basic skill they'll need in life as well. What I see every semester, though, is a huge disconnect between knowing and doing, whether it's reading the instructions or revising in response to feedback.

Sometimes I, Part-Time Professor Jen, want to retreat to my man-cave with a nice cold beer and binge-watch "Stranger Things" until the semester is over. Failing that, what the hell can I do to get them to read and follow the damn instructions?

 - Part-Time Professor Jen


Thanks for writing, Jen.

This has, for me, become the great unaswerable of the decade. Many of our community have asked variations. It's something that has absolutely vexed me in my own teaching. Here are some other posts that get at the conundrum. I hate to say that even though we often think we know why it's happening, nobody seems to be able to stop it!

About Stanley

And, just below the header are two tabs that will take you to a few other posts that conscientious community members "labelled," back when we still did such things!

We Rarely Get Involved In the Political World...

This page sucks, but
we do love the inside jokes.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Students and the google

It doesn't quite count as distraction from the main preoccupation of the next 36 hours (at least for those of us in the U.S.), since it's framed with examples from the campaign (and my explain some aspects of said campaign), but in case you need something else to be horrified by, take a look at this commentary drawing on recent studies at Northwestern and Stanford of how students actually use google. 

One key finding is that most students believe the highest-ranked results are the most appropriate ones, and have little idea of how to focus searches or filter results. 

Another is that students, unlike professional fact-checkers, try to judge the reliability of a site by reading the site, rather than by googling others' references to the site, its author(s),and/or its sponsoring organization(s).  That creates results like the following:

One task asked students to determine the trustworthiness of material on the websites of two organizations: the 66,000 member American Academy of Pediatrics, established in 1930 and publisher of the journal Pediatrics, vs. the American College of Pediatricians, a fringe group that broke with the main organization in 2002 over its stance on adoption by same-sex couples. We asked 25 undergraduates at Stanford—the most selective college in the country, which rejected 95 percent of its applicants last year—to spend up to 10 minutes examining content on both sites. Students could stay on the initial web page, click on links, Google something else—anything they would normally do to reach a judgment.

More than half concluded that the article from the American College of Pediatricians, an organization that ties homosexuality to pedophilia and which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled a hate group, was "more reliable." Even students who preferred the entry from the American Academy of Pediatrics never uncovered the differences between the two groups. Instead, they saw the two organizations as equivalent and focused their evaluations on surface features of the websites. As one student put it: "They seemed equally reliable to me. ... They are both from academies or institutions that deal with this stuff every day."

This is, of course, both horrifying and discouraging.  It also, as the author of the Curmudgucation blog (where I first read about this piece), points out, one more reason why google will probably not make formal instruction obsolete. 


Darn it. Darn it all to heck.

It's that week. That week when the students all are sick. That week where their second wave of essays/tests/projects comes in and has to be graded. That week where we have to do advising. That week. That week when the search closes and we have to actually look at the applications and schedule phone interviews. That week when the time FINALLY changes, and the small people in Dr. Amelia's house are bright-eyed and bushy tailed at an ungodly early hour and doubly cranky in the evening.

That week. The week where there is so very much to do and the ever-swelling sea of requests from colleagues across campus to send my students to this talk and to come myself to this performance and I just want to start screaming "Do you know what week this is? Do you? Because it is THAT WEEK!" That week when the Deanlet for Student Content sends a helpful note about some article in The Crampicle about how we all should be doing INSERTFADHERE to really be effective in the classroom and you know you shouldn't open the e-mail, but you do, and you have to restrain yourself from replying - Really, when was the last time you taught a class of freshmen? It's that week.

It's also the week with Election Day. Dr. Amelia voted early in hopes that she could stop paying attention to the festering insult war that the US has apparently become. Didn't work. Should have voted for the meteor.

You guys be good to each other. And to me. Because it is that week.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

TubaPlayingProf Is Searching For the ... Uh ... What is It? The Word.

"Stuck In The Middle"

"Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
Well I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you"

Sometime ago I proposed turtle for the CM vocabulary—for not all older men are silverbacks. It didn’t catch on. I wonder if too few quiet old men prodding along exist. So let me turn to you: May I ask the considerable, creative wisdom of the CM community to come up with a new word?
The recent posting about burnout made me take a look here at Ambitious State. Perhaps what I see is not common. And in an earlier entry about “work” and “job,” I detailed how outrageously unfair we are to adjuncts whom we call contingency faculty. But I’d like a word for the newest type of “permanent” faculty that I see: Somewhere between silverbacks (and turtles) and unicorns, it is the recently tenured and promoted associate professor.

Because the provost and his minions threaten departments with the “loss of lines,” many senior folk have become increasingly protective of the colleagues working toward tenure. Here, that means: “Junior colleagues” have no service obligations. They enjoy favorable teaching assignments-- two-days-a-week work schedules, no early morning classes, no evening classes, no introductory courses, no survey courses, upper-level seminars that they are encouraged to develop in concert with current research projects. They hold their classes in the smaller classrooms that limit the size of classes (by twenty percent) because of strict fire codes that set maximum class sizes. They are assured of a 3/3 teaching load—never having to apply for it, justify projects, or offer “deliverables.”

And I support all of those measures. Our students love our “junior” faculty, we respect them, and I sincerely want them tenured: First, for the all the noble reasons. And of course, to be honest, the selfish ones, as I don’t want to redo job searches, start over, etc.

Yet, once they are tenured and promoted, they become. . . . what? They are NOT senior faculty members. While tenure is increasingly difficult here, earning the rank of Professor seems next to impossible.

And they have more work than ever. Now, they are required to do service. Their tenure applications and tenure bring attention. Committee chairs looking to fill up committees turn to them—often by suggesting that service is the key to promotion to Professor. (It is not.) Deans “call in favors.” Department heads trying “to fill out the grid” (as the provost requires) schedule them in larger classrooms, three or four days a weeks; they now MUST teach the required courses. They must apply for the 3/3 load—and deliver.

I will admit that I considered them "senior" faculty. Yet I was wrong.

We tenure them for a job, obligations, demands, and expectations for which they have not prepared. And yet we expect them to be able to start what is in real ways a new position—more challenging, more exhausting, more stressful than the one we asked them to do to prove themselves.

They are not Professors—with higher salaries, license (to say no to deans and committee chairs), and time to deliver on research projects. Yet we expect them to “do their part” as “senior members of the department,” that is, support the junior faculty, pay back the department, etc.

Congratulations on tenure: “STFU and get to work.”

So, what’s between the silverback and the unicorn? Between "senior" and "junior?"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

POW: From Inside Higher Ed.

A Possible Big Thirsty On All That Is Possible from OPH.

If the Cubs can win the World Series for the first time in over a century, maybe my Provost will spend some of our growing endowment to increase faculty for the first time since I've been at this joint.

If the Cubs can win the World Series for the first time in over a century, maybe some students will get the near-perfect scores they need on their finals to scrape by with D's for the first time in, like, ever.

If the Cubs can win the World Series for the first time in over a century, maybe I will drive to work tomorrow without even thinking about the growing dread for the first time in weeks.

Q: If the Cubs can win the World Series for the first time in over a century, what else is possible?

-- From Ogre Proctor Hep

P.S. Happy Birthday, RYS!

But "millennials" are the 'flakes....

From: WotC
To: 3 professors and a student

Dear Professor-who-teaches-am-pm-labs, Professor-who-teaches-am-lecture, Professor-who-teaches-pm-lecture, and Student.

Due to an on-going family emergency, we have made arrangements for Student to swap her lab and lecture times. There is one seat left in Professor-who-teaches-pm-lecture's lecture, so she will be joining Professor-who-teaches-pm-lecture's class at 1 PM. She will still have Professor-who-teaches-am-pm-labs, but she will now be in the AM lab.

Thank you.


From: Professor-who-teaches-pm-lecture
To: WotC

Does this mean she will be joining my lecture class?


November 3, 2005


As we begin, let's be clear. Rating students and professors is a gigantic waste of energy and time. But as long as continues to operate mostly unmoderated and with no real intention of limiting anonymous attacks from anyone who'd like to log in, we will operate over here on our little site.

We will rate our students here. And we will do it without compunction. Then we'll just see where we're at. We'll still be poor academics. But at least those callous and ignorant ‘customers’ of ours will know what it's like. What we believe here is that if it's little, you say it's little.


Merciless in Ohio.

An English professor from a college in Ohio writes:

My dream is to face down baseball playing D, and tell him that I won't shed a tear for him when he blows his hose. He's never prepared for class, and he mostly shows up so he can run his mouth into the sweet ear of that sorority candy who sits next to him.

I'm expected to meet him at his own whim when he can't make my class or my office hours. I get faux-frantic calls from the Coach who thinks D might go the "show" someday, and wouldn't it be great for the college when he does.

I'd just like him to write his own paper once. Or at least crack the spine of that $40 textbook.

I'd like to smack his smug face.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

We Get Link-Checked (For Our "Silverback" Glossary Term) In This Crampicle Piece Submitted by ELS.

The 40-Year-Old Burnout: Why I gave up tenure for a yet-to-be-determined career
by Jonathan Malesic

Flava: Burned-out faculty cannot be the teachers and mentors that students need them to be. As the profession becomes more economically precarious — with more and more adjuncts teaching for less and less money or recognition — the working conditions that foster burnout become more widespread. The quality of students’ education and instructors’ lives will spiral downward together if institutions don’t face this problem.

The Misery.