Category Archives: technology

December 23, 2013, 12:19 pm

Job Market Rage Redux

Caution-Drama-Queen-Just-AheadThis gem is making the rounds of the interwebs: UC-Riverside’s English department plans to let semi-finalists for its job in American Literature know five days in advance if they are to be interviewed at the Modern Language Association meeting. Rebecca Schuman, a writer for Slate and The Chronicle of Higher Education has outed them on her blog, pan kisses kafka. After years of winning prizes, Schuman went through four job seasons without being offered a job. She quit to become an education journalist. “These days,” she writes in her profile, “I can’t believe I ever wanted to be a full-time professor, given how much more fun it is to be able to say whatever the fuck I want to and get paid for it.”

I can’t believe that she isn’t a little more cautious about attacking people in public without getting their side of the story, given that she is a professional journalist. And yes, it…

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October 5, 2013, 3:59 pm

Saturday Tech Follies: My Failed Experiment With Masher

Thumbs-downEvery once in a while it’s fun to hunt up a new piece of software down and play with it. Mostly, although not always, I do this for teaching purposes. Will the platform be useful for posting or organizing material for my students? Giving them an alternative way to do their own presentations? Help me flip the classroom a bit? You can’t figure out what a given piece of software is good for, or whether it works at all, until you wrestle it to the ground yourself. Prepare to waste some time if you really want to be a digital humanities cowboy.

Today I made a short film with Masher about the government shutdown. So far, however, there seem to be a lot of bugs and you won’t be seeing that film anytime soon — although I presume it is still somewhere on the Masher site. (more…)

July 21, 2013, 11:39 am

F is for Failure; Or, Don’t Invest Your Pension in MOOCs Yet

600px-Semaphore_Foxtrot.svgWill Oremus reports at Slate that San Jose State University is suspending its online classes after over half the students in them failed their final exams. Sebastian Thrun, the founder of San Jose’s provider, Udacity, explained to the Associated Press “that the failure rates in the five classes ranged from 56 to 76 percent. Nor was the course material exactly rocket science—the five classes were in elementary statistics, college algebra, entry-level math, introduction to programming, and introduction to psychology.”

I’m really glad they weren’t teaching rocket science, because clearly the people who put the courses together weren’t rocket scientists either. (more…)

February 2, 2013, 11:53 am

When The Modern European History Survey Goes Modern: Social Media in the Lecture Hall

Our guest blogger Mary Louise Roberts is a Professor in the History Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.   Her most recent book, What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War Two France, will be published with the University of Chicago Press in May. This essay was originally written for ”The Public Practice of History In and For a Digital Age,” a plenary session at the 2013 American Historical Association Annual Meeting. Roberts appeared with historians Edward Ayers andWilliam Cronon; editor Niko Pfund; journalist Michael Pollan and your very own Tenured Radical.

I begin with a confession.  I resist change.  Unlike the other people on this panel, I am a change resister.  Unlike them, I have not pioneered digital or digitized approaches to historical inquiry.  In fact I have consciously refused them.   And when I have embraced new technologies,…

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September 1, 2012, 10:23 am

Tenured Radical’s New Media Adventures

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a new Huffington Post feature called HuffPost Live. My segment — on marriage equality — was hosted by Janet Varney, who once had a part on one of my all-time favorite shows, Entourage (2004-2011).

I can’t figure out how to embed the video (perhaps because it is unembeddable?) but you can access Tenured Radical discussing the question of whether the government ought to get out of the business of marriage altogether here.

As you can see if you click on the link, it’s a web broadcast with a live chat feature on the right. There is a central studio in Los Angeles, where they sometimes have sit down guests: our feature was done via a Google+ Hangout, a video chat feature that allows up to nine people to join a conversation.

One obvious feature of doing a digital media event — aside from the fact that it is fun — is that in a …

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September 17, 2011, 1:46 pm

The Problem That Has No Name: Or, If Computers Are A Labor Saving Device, Why Am I Working A Double Shift?

"Danger, Will Robinson!"

This is the first in a series of posts that addresses labor conditions in the academy, and the potential problems attendant to replacing people with machines.

In case you have wondered where Tenured Radical has been in the past week, we have been getting our classes up and running.  One of the things we have been thinking about, as we worked 14 hour days (probably a modest 6-8 on the weekends) during the first two weeks of school, is that we do not even work close to a 40-hour week during the term.

Do the math: at minimum, I would say that we are currently clocking a 90 hour week, which leaves us no time for blogging, reading, going over the copy edits for the new collection, going to the gym, or cooking those gourmet dinners that some of our friends like to post…

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May 15, 2011, 3:37 pm

Network Down! And Other Thoughts On Shifting Our Educational Practice To A Virtual World

Yesterday the Zenith network went down.  While the message that informed us that things were working again said something about a hardware upgrade, it is difficult to believe that they really intended to take the whole system down during finals week.  I suspect that, although tinkering may have been part of the issue, the network was also overwhelmed.

This happens periodically because of two institutional impulses, neither of which is inherently bad, but which together can create havoc:  putting as much of our work on-line as possible and cutting the university budget.  It is only a guess that these two things are related, but I can’t recall a year during which we have lost our online services abruptly so very many times (the last occurrence was in the middle of uploading senior honors theses.)  Here’s a lesson for you, if you are an aspiring administrator:  money saved by implementing…

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September 15, 2010, 12:44 pm

The Annals of Technology: The Pros And Cons Of Going Audible

Many years ago, when I was commuting between Zenith and New York, I tried what were then called “books on tape.” At that point in time, every car had a “tape deck,” a now defunct technology that was, from time to time, carved out of the dashboard of one’s car by enterprising youths on the Lower East Side. Books on tape would arrive in the mail, much as Netflix do today, but in a large padded envelope. Contained within would be a large plastic folio with multiple cassette tapes in numbered order (usually 8-12.)

Listening to books was, and is, a project about which I am conflicted. For reasons I don’t quite understand, I dislike being read to, and prefer to have text be a starting point for inserting myself in another narrative world (is this why the young enjoy video games?) On the other hand, when I first tried listening to books in the 1990s, I had a highly literary and elderly…

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September 19, 2007, 12:35 am

The Radical Reports In and Things Are Excellent Here in Radical Land

Its been awhile. But don’t worry. I’m back, blog-dudes and dudettes.

Since I started Tenured Radical, except for vacation, I do not think I have gone six days without a new post, as I just did. I do not, as some bloggers seem to, experience guilt for neglecting my blog (one of my flaws, I have been told in my deep past by women heading out the door with suitcases in hand, is that guilt and I are not as fully acquainted as we might be.) But I do miss my audience, and I miss writing freely. I miss stealing pictures. I miss Flavia.

One of the reasons I have been absent is starting school in my dual roles as chair of American Studies and the Director of the Castle: it’s a little like being Batman and Robin at the same time. There are endless small but necessary tasks to be done every day, from signing many student forms (“Holy oversubscription, Batman!”) to making sure we have a proper …

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August 1, 2007, 1:15 pm

The Radical Leads the Lambs Out Of The Wilderness: Six Pieces of Random Advice For The Novice Teacher

In this post at Center of Gravitas Gayprof tells a story about having been diagnosed as color blind by a school nurse when he was but a wee Gayprof. Since the nurse explained nothing, and told him to go home and tell his parents, Gayprof — assuming that this was merely a stage on the way to complete blindness and wishing to shield the parental units from this tragedy — kept it to himself and merely suffered in silence until Nurse Ratched had the wit to call his home. Isn’t school great?

This caused me to think, in turn, about the most peculiar thing I ever got wrong as a child. On the first day of nursery school, perhaps as a way of staving off tears from the most delicate of us, the teachers would say every once in a while: “Your carpools will be coming soon!” Now, I knew what a car was — I had arrived in my mother’s big yellow Mercury. And I knew what a pool was: I swam…

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