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…
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!
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.
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.
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!