Tag Archives: education


The depressing, but motivating, word count bar is back. It’s going to be slow going while I finish up the sabbatical project over the next few weeks, but then I expect this little word count bar to EXPLODE.
So writing on the new book is stuck in the dull, but necessary, background and theory stuff.  I get to do the TV stuff in a bit which is the whole point of the thing after all.  I’ve finally acquired all three seasons of the underrated Millennium and I’m looking forward to revisiting that, as well as some other short-lived classics like Nowhere Man and Dark Skies.
I’m very pleased that OMNI, the awesome science/fringe-science mag from the 80s and 90s is now available in its entirety through the Internet Archive.  This will be a big help, as they had some good coverage and analysis of the earliest seasons of The X-Files.
I’ve spent some of my time refining my working setup in anticipation of some upcoming travel.  I should say I’ve been wasting my time with this, but it’s kind of sort of necessary, if I squint.  I picked up a new, lightweight, laptop bag from Ikea, which will probably carry my reclaimed-from-wife Thinkpad Edge E420s onto which I’ve loaded Ubuntu (If I can’t have OSX, Linux is fine.  Anything but Windows 8!).
I’ll be back teaching in May, both on campus and online and I’ve been thinking about new stuff to do with that.  Mixlr looks like an interesting tool, allowing free and fairly simple online broadcast.  Not sure what I’d do with it, but a possibly useful resource.
Finally, for now, if you’ve read The Chaos Conundrum, you’ll know that I’m interested in archaeoacoustics.  This story appeared yesterday and it’s great to see Paul Devereaux and his work getting wider attention.  This is a fascinating emerging field.

2014 03 08 10 18 22

Speaking of The Chaos Conundrum, it’s now available as a Kobo ebook in the US from the Kobo Store and in Canada from Chapters/Indigo.  I’ll be on the next episode of Binnall of America audio talking about the book with Tim Binnall—I’ll have a link up when the episode drops.
That’s it for now. I’m off to watch the snow melt…

End of Semester Updates

Fall 2013 is in the books, with grades all submitted.  It was a good one, with a lot of great students, few headaches, and more ideas that worked than didn’t.

This next semester, I’ll be on sabbatical, working on a fairly massive project.  I’ll be creating a set of learning and assessment tools for our four survey classes (US History to 1877/1877 to the Present; World History to 1500/1500 to the present) and setting up an online home for them.  If you’re interested (and I can’t imagine you would be, but still) here is the application document that I submitted almost a year ago.

Talking to people, they seem to think that the hard part will be the website bit.  Actually, I’m pretty convinced that coming up with the actual materials is going to be the hard part!  I’m also not entirely sure that not being in the classroom is going to be that great–I’ll probably be missing it by the end of January.  I’ve also transitioned out of my part time professional development gig to dedicate as much time as possible to the sabbatical project, so that will be a change as well.

Additionally, I’ve got the next book project going, having signed a contract with Rowman & Littlefield to deliver a book for their series on science fiction television.  My volume will examine 1990s paranormal and conspiracy theory-themed television series as well as the ways in which these things appeared in other shows and–in general–seemed to permeate the SFTV world at the time.  Surprisingly, there are a lot of shows out there that have not been examined to any great degree.  This all extended far beyond The X-Files.

In any case, I negotiated a year to finish and deliver the book, due to the sabbatical project being priority one.  There are some other small things cooking as well and the random project name generator has been getting a workout for both announced and un-announced things.  Thus, I’ll be working on and referring to BLACK SCREWDRIVER (the book project), ENDLESS WEATHER (the sabbatical project), SLEDGEHAMMER GOLDEN (secret), EIGHTH WRENCH (secret), and SIENNA SMOKE (secret).

Have a good  Christmas, Yule, Solstice, etc.  Signing off until 2014, except for random photos and automagically generated stuff…

E-Learning and the Community College

And another recent presentation, this time from Network Detroit: Digital Humanities.  With all the MOOC stuff flying around, I wanted to talk a bit about online education and the community college (or at least my community college).  Again, not a polished product and not–honestly–too awfully similar to what I actually said at the event!

My Pseudohistory talk from Midwest PCA

Harappa seals

“Harappa Seals” by Flickr user germeister, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Over here (link!) and under the “Papers and Presentations” menu above is what is more or less the bones of the paper I presented at the Midwest PCA conference last week in St. Louis.  I deviated a bit (went over time–sorry, fellow panelists) and–more than anything else–came to the conclusion that this is something I need to return to, probably in the course of working on the largely top secret PROJECT MADOC.

If pseudohistory and its debunking is something you’re interest in, the two places I would send you before anything else are to the site of writer Jason Colavito (@jasoncolavito) and also to the website for a course on Pseudo-archaeology taught by Michigan State archeology professor Ethan Watrall (@captain_primate).  These are two folks who have been (whether they know it or not) an enormous help as I look into these things.


Great Lakes THATcamp 2011–Brief Thoughts

Once again this year I was privileged to participate in Great Lakes THATcamp, held at MSU. Following are a few loosely organized thoughts about the experience.

  • If possible, things were even more friendly and collegial than last year. Great mix of scholars, teachers, librarians, archivists, and museum folks, as well as people whose duties straddled those lines.
  • There seems (to me) to be a reduction in the learning curve on a lot of really cool stuff. For example tools like Broadcastr and WhatWasThere will ease entry to using location-based tools in teaching–especially in getting students to participate in the creation of content. I’m certainly going to try and come up with ways to use these in class this fall.
  • The two bootcamps I attended, on WordPress and Omeka were great. In particular, I really valued learning about some of the guts of WP as well as being introduced to omeka.net accounts. Again, these are things that will have a direct impact on how I teach.
  • Speaking of teaching, Saturday morning was spent with others who were interested in digital pedagogy, particularly the concept of Massively Open Online Courses.

I’ll probably have more thoughts in time, but all in all, this was a great weekend with great people. I look forward to future such events!