Monday, January 25, 2010

Michael Moffatt's Book in Google Books

You can read Chapter 3 from Michael Moffatt's Coming of Age in New Jersey, "A Year on Hasbrouck Fourth," at our Sakai site for the class.  But it turns out you can "preview" most of the rest of the book (but for a couple chapters) online at Google Books.  Check it out.

Moffatt's book is a valuable resource for discussing such topics as sexuality, male/female power dynamics, race, "student life" and student attitudes toward academic work.  It is especially useful for offering a historical perspective, comparing today to the 80s.  I hope students check out some of the other chapters that apply to their topics and do not rely only on the chapter we are reading together.  By the way, Moffatt also wrote the Rutgers Picture Book which is a great historical reference.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Defining a Topic

  • "I'm not sure on what my concrete research topic will be, but I feel very strong about college student activity and the role that young people play in our mainstream world."
  • "With all of these different ideas about what college is meant to it seems appropriate to wonder which is the right view? Or if there even exists a right view?"
  • "Hey hey hey"
These were the first responses I received on the first blog post assignment.  I wondered what was happening, since none of these posts suggested a specific topic.

Looking at the syllabus, though, I realized suddenly, to my horror, that the prompt portion of my first blog assignment had somehow gotten cut off.  I will have to distribute a corrected version in class tomorrow.  Of course, I thought I was pretty clear elsewhere in the syllabus and certainly in class discussion, but I can see the misunderstanding.

Only half the class has actually visited the Sakai site at this point -- some 15 hours before class..... I dig those Sakai stats.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Simplicity Above All

As part of my course "College! The Contested Territories of Higher Education," I am going to have students keep a research and writing journal online as a blog.  There will be a minimum of 15 required posts to the blog, though I hope students will find that they want to blog more frequently and that the blog can be a useful place to store information.  I was contemplating using WordPress, which is much more attractive and favored in academic settings.  But after playing around with both Blogger and WordPress, I realized that Blogger is the simplest option available.  Besides, I am hoping that students will try out Google Docs this semester to help them write their papers, so it makes sense for them to be able to move freely from one Google app to another with only one log in.

Decision made.  Let's get blogging.