Monday, May 31, 2010

Sleep Away May : Pix!

Interior arch, Wiawaka, May 31, 2010

May has been busy, what with the online course, garage sales, regular work, etc. etc. But I've also managed to sneak away a couple of weekends.

Dance camp morning, May 1, 2010

At the beginning of the month, I went to a dance camp. It's a sleep away, where, for the entire weekend, you eat, sleep, and dance. I had a total blast. Only one picture from there; I was too busy dancing (or sleeping) for much more. The water was just cold enough that it felt good on my feet, but too cold to jump in.

Lake George shoreline, May 31, 2010

And, I've just returned home from a women's retreat up at Lake George, New York where I helped with their season-opening preparations. There were almost 40 of us there pitching in; a great time, and a stunning property. Georgia O'Keefe stayed there when she was a student. Opened in 1903, Wiawaka is the only remaining operational women's retreat center begun during the early twentieth-century women's rights movement. If you need to recharge your batteries, this is the place.

Upstairs Bathroom, Wiawaka, May 31, 2010

Labyrinth, Wiawaka, May 31, 2010

Remains of a springhouse, Wiawaka, May 31, 2010

Treefall, Wiawaka, May 31, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Courseblogging: Holy Crap

I am fried. This pace is relentless. If I teach an online course again, it can't be less than 6 weeks, unless it's 1/2 a course.

Holiday weekend plans: Away! Somewhere peaceful. Yay!

Hope you all enjoy the long weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Courseblogging: The Perils of Multiple Personalities

Yep, it happened. I posted to my course blog under my pseudonymous identity. Fortunately, I caught it -immediately-. Hopefully, no one is getting email updates when someone posts a comment...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Courseblogging: Dear Students,

Dear Online Students: Thank you for being proactive and for (at least most of you) reading the instructions. I have not graded your first assignment yet, but I am encouraged. Keep it up, and we'll all get through this!

Dear Plagiarist: I did not make you fail; you made all sorts of choices that resulted in you failing my class. I do not grade you on the number of other courses you are taking. I do not care that you insist that you are acing those classes. Do not blame the unwitting student you plagiarized from for the fact you submitted their paper as your own, and then announce that their paper was crap. When you get busted for plagiarizing, do not hand in a second assignment to me that is also ripped off from somewhere else. Also, you got a raw deal on the essay you paid $100 for; I found it for free.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Courseblogging: Here goes!

I start teaching an online introductory course in physical anthropology tomorrow. It is thirteen weeks of regular semester squashed into four weeks. I know there are lots of folks who teach online, but it's all new to me!

So far, the challenges I see are that the students will have to be exceptionally self-motivated in order to complete the course, and that I won't have that in-person contact with them that I get in lectures, where I can see on their faces if they are puzzled about something.

I do see possibilities for applying some of the self-directed learning they have to do for the online course to in-person classes. The online format is making me totally renegotiate the material and figure out how to direct the students to it, rather than feeding it to them. This is a good thing.

So far, I have plans for individual exercises where they must retrieve and apply information from their textbook and supplemental material; online discussions in a blog format, with points for participating and more points for valuable contributions; and a group project tackling some of the larger issues in physical anthropology to be presented as a website, but with ongoing chunks submitted for grades and comment throughout the course. I'm also excited to try a grading method for the group project that I recently was told about that very elegantly combines my grade with the students' assessments of who pulled their weight in the group assignment.

I hate not assigning an essay; I will have to work that into the textbook/supplemental material section. It is a delicate balance between keeping them engaging and working with the material, and my ability to keep up with the grading. This is largely a function of the seriously compressed time line. Even so, I will be taking in and grading material three times a week. I think I'd have been happier if the course was six weeks, but that's me now, before it starts. I'll see how I feel at the end...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Waay TMI...

... for you, that is.

Without all the gory details, let me just say this: Love at first sight is, apparently, totally possible.

I realized this afternoon that I didn't just -like- a certain someone, but that I'd fallen in love. Fallen. Quickly, apparently. But, for a series of reasons, not least of which was that we barely spent any time together, I never quite connected the dots. (And yes, I know... how can you love someone you hardly know? Seemingly common sense, logical questions exactly like that one kept me in the dark. Hearts apparently are illogical.)

The realization of being in love was promptly followed by my little heart breaking. The certain someone cannot/will not/does not share the same feelings (it's complicated).

Yes, fine, emotional progress... a good thing, and all that. But not so fun while writing a report in the middle of the office at 2 in the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

OMG Maps! Strange Maps!

I love maps. And I love strangeness. So imagine my delight to discover the blog, "Strange Maps."

If you liked the Great Soda Divide, or you find yourself constantly referring to the map of strange lands printed on the inside cover of your fantasy fiction to figure out where the characters are, or if you like to look at familiar things in new and interesting ways...

... then check out Strange Maps. I am so totally hooked.

In honor of cool maps, I give you a detail of the c. 1639 "Manatus" map, zoomed in on Manhattan. Probably done by Vinckeboons; I love his Delaware River map as well.

Detail, from the Stony Brook University website. The original is at the Library of Congress -- search the Digital Map Collections for Manatvs.