Archive for the 'fa07' Category

A funny thing happened on my way to a blog post

I’ve been trying to formulate a post since FA but, I have not been able to sit down and do it. Not only do I have thoughts on FA and the ronco discussion but, Steve recommended I read “Clueless in Academe” this summer so I’ve been flooded with ideas. So in attempt to pull some strands together, finally a blog post.

Last night, as I was taking a walk, I thought ‘Why am I doing this? What is the point of dedicating all this time to learning about this? Heck I’m not even a prof! What is it about this whole thing?’ It is kind of ridiculous in many ways, I don’t consider myself a great thinker, I am a relative “n00b” to a lot of this but, as I have discovered it doesn’t really matter. I suppose I have incredibly lucky timing coming to Mary Wash at the point where class blogging, wikis, etc. are just starting to take hold. In fact I have feared that next year some super freshman will rise up and somehow take my position at DTLT and then promptly take over the world. It is my belief within a relatively short period of time there could be great discussion among students via blogs and if I had shown up later I would be another voice among many students.

Besides impeccable timing there are other factors that have led me to jump on the caravan. In early February, Steve e-mailed me and asked what I thought about a post over on Gardner’s blog. I had actually looked at the post he was talking about a few days before but, after two sentences or so I had skimmed the rest and decided it was way over my head. Not wanting to ignore the call to analyze I wrestled with the post, ‘God, does that word have another meaning? Purpose? Sense? Turtles?’. I had read it enough that I began to memorize parts of it and I finally e-mailed Steve back with what I hoped was a response to what Gardner was actually talking about. In turn Steve told me to blog it so I nervously posted and was excited and surprised that Gardner said what I had said made him think. How could my wimpy post contend with the lofty thoughts of Gardner? This was one of my first invitations in “The Conversation” and I don’t mean just a conversation on education or technology but, the dialogue that exist between people who take time to reflect, respond, and so much more. I realized there was a conversation going on that I wanted in on and I wasn’t even sure why.

I understand now that small pieces loosely joined don’t only foster conversations about things I am interested in (as much as I would like to think the world revolves around me) but, chemistry majors could engage in deeper learning and with the possibility of ronco on the horizon those conversations can extend past our specific interests and majors and lead to conversations where we can all utilize what we know towards a better understanding of…whatever! So perhaps I don’t have to fear that super freshman who will take over my position at DTLT and then the world because there could be other conversations out there for him/her to engage in (and Jim is taking the world over anyway). Even if SuperFrosh did get involved in the dtlt conversation, I might even be ok with that. ūüėČ Everyone can contribute to the conversation and the more reflection the better the conversation gets. It isn’t about whether someone has better ideas than me or blogs better, it is about the conversation their ideas can generate. It is hard to admit when you are being self-centered and I’ve been guilty of some of that. What I really like about “this thing” (whatever this thing is) is it allows me to reflect individually and take time for myself but, also encourages me to share those thoughts and be open to conversation for a greater good.

I actually wanted to discuss something completely different in this post but, sometimes posts have a life of their own. More posts to follow soon, hopefully about things I actually intended to discuss, for now it just feels good to get another post out there.

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…and exhale

The FA has ended and I am already feeling withdrawal. I can’t say much now because I am borrowing my friend’s laptop but, as soon as my laptop is returned to me (with working shift keys hopefully) there are many things I want to say. First, it may seem silly but, I know there is something special going on when I¬†willingly miss the season finale of my obsession, CSI.¬†Lastly for now,¬†I just want to comment on the after dinner activities. As each person stood up to say something I knew they weren’t¬†doing it because they felt they¬†had to but, because of the genuine love and friendships that have formed. I’m just in awe of all that is in front of me and I wonder what wrinkle in the matrix has placed all of these people together. The lovely music being played and the¬†song being sung by the choir is like a siren song, and I am lost in it. I feel beyond blessed that I should have stumbled across¬†this community¬†of thinkers, learners,¬†and innovators. This is going¬†to be a long strange trip the next 3 years and hopefully beyond that too.

I’ve been bit by the twitter bug

Today I finally opened a Twitter account at the encouragement of Joe. I had been tempted for awhile but, I¬†had that feeling I didn’t need another reason to feel like I was stalking the UMW faculty. Twitter was acting a little wonky today but, I finally got an account made and started to friend, yes you guessed it, faculty members. I think I came in on Twitter at the perfect time, with all the flurry of ideas and activity there was plenty to read and soak up. Great, just what I needed another reason to get distracted from school work, well I have the whole summer to work through an addiction.

Leave it to XKCD to have¬†an apt comic for¬†today. I’m sure¬†many people ran into something like this¬†at Twitter on a couple occasions. ūüôā

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Small Pieces Loosely Joined

Shannon Hauser

Panel Discussion: Small Pieces Loosely Joined

Steve/Jerry: It was quite a curious feeling having the class I was in discussed and dissected right in front of me. One of the first things mentioned, “first year students are moldable”. Couldn’t agree more just look how I have been brainwashed ūüėČ Especially first semester if it is made clear to students that college isn’t just “13th grade” there is greater chance for sending them on the right track. One of the keys to the right track is the idea of ownership, without it than a student’s education isn’t personal but, rather a pre-packaged product to be consumed. I was never really fond of pre-packaged anything.

Gardner/Jim: I actually stumbled across the els blog feeds and followed it over the last half of the spring semester. As Gardner said (more eloquently of course) he was trying to create as many opportunities to allow students to observe connections between classes. So as I followed the class I felt like I was almost there without actually being enrolled in the class and I contemplated if I could somehow sneak into the class just to listen in on the in-class conversations that I read about on students blogs. I lurked over a few weeks and in passing mentioned to Serena about following her films blog and she encouraged me to comment, sadly I never did. Since setting up my Netflix account I have added many of the movies discussed in class to my queue, the discussion on the blogs sparked an interest to see and analyze these films. Lastly, as Jim pointed out, he formed relationships with students (such as Serena) that he normally would not have really known and in the process is also learning from students.

The Good Stuff: FA 2007

Shannon Hauser

After driving down from Jersey I am slightly sunburned and a little exhausted but, I have arrived at the Faculty Academy.

Currently I am sitting right next to Alan Levine (zomg the CogDog!) and listening to Barbara Ganley share words of wisdom on slow-blogging and deep learing, it doesn’t get much better than this. Here’s a quote from one of Barbara’s students, “There’s links on blogs that don’t exist in real life” Exactly!! I couldn’t agree more. So many pieces of brilliance are flying at me that I cannot grab them all but, thanks to technology I’m sure I will read other people’s posts on her inspired lecture and hear the recorded version online.

More goodness to come!


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