Monday, May 19, 2008

    BlackBoard should "opt out"

    InsideHigherEd wrote about Blackboard syncing with Facebook to provide a class link (which is what ultimately worked out) through the social networking site. BlackBoard, in doing so, comes off as a the creepy old dude still trying to look cool.

    One of the comments makes a link here where the phrase "creepy tree house effect" is discussed, which is pretty accurate for a neologism.

    One of the comments to the creepy tree house effect discusses, quite well, how she tried twitter as an opt in class aid.

    To all of this I say: keep the class out of socializing. That is, by drawing a clear demarcation between class time and social time, a whole set of confusing, embarrassing, and/or inappropriate blurring of personal/professional.

    Why would BlackBoard want to interface on FaceBook? Because students don't want to log on to BB's interface? Then create an RSS feed for updates to be spammed out.

    Because students spend a lot of time on Facebook and not on the BB site? Then make the BB site more usable--key interfaces with the library, with sources, may a link-in with OneNote or the like...

    Point is, quit trying to be "cool" and be functional. Let the students and profs work out the time spent on task, and leave the socializing to the hallways.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

    Turn It can pay me to go to SF

    InsideHigherEd has a story, with some attempt at breathless expose, outlining TII's solicitation to pay travel to San Fransisco's CCCC convention next year. Catch is, the paper should be nice to TII. The same paper has to be initially approved by the CCCC committee, but that fact appears only marginally in the story (or it may have only cropped up in the comments).

    Here is what I said:

    In my poverty-stricken adjunct days, I would have jumped at the chance to present at a national conference about a tool whose use I employed for the 12 odd years I taught. I would have jumped to present the limitations of the tools (which there are) in order to present the context of its use (as an automated policing tool). Why, because I was poor, the tool worked, and it freed up my time. Plus, there are little opportunities for an adjunct to play on the big stage.

    Would it have been like "win a free trip to SF?" You betcha, but not just to see the Golden Gate, but, again, to play on the larger professional stage.

    I second making the payment public (I would be one of those whose initial submission may or may not be what is actually presented--tickets, once purchased, cannot be taken back). CCCC needs to enter the adult world where financial interests compete with scholarship (medicine has been doing it for years). Monitor, yes. Disclose, yes. Allow for a range of voices that may not have been heard, yes.

    Worst case, you walk out of a commercial posing as a paper. Best case, you hear from that small town CC whose adjunct has something interesting to say.

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