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Showing posts from July, 2020

Buying Textbooks

Yes, you do have to buy textbooks for college courses. The school doesn't hand them out.
The usual college pattern (which is very different from high school) is that you read the assignment before you get to class, and the teacher assumes you have that information inside your head by the time you arrive. In high school, the teacher told you what the book would say, then you were supposed to go home and read it, and finally, the teacher would tell you (again) what the book said. In college, none of that happens—often the lecture is material in addition to what was in the textbook. In our course, the written assignments usually are some sort of response to the reading you have been assigned.

You need to buy the books.
The campus bookstore I have told the campus bookstore what to order and how many of them, so the books should be waiting for you when you arrive. You don't need to go scampering around to online stores if you don't want to.

Once you get to the campus bookstore, …

Two weeks to go

For teachers, August always feels like summer is over. Yes, the weather is still hot and the trees are still green, but most of us are finally buckling down to the work of lesson planning. A couple of weeks ago, we had a one-hour online meeting of the English Department to attempt to find the shape of the coming semester.
Nobody has ever had to run a university with the threat of Covid-19, so we will need to remain flexible and ready to try different strategies, especially if the infection rate goes up again and we must all stay home. We do have a few advantages, though: Ashland University never came back from Spring Break, so we have been doing distance education since March 16. The first few weeks were very rocky, but we're learning, and this fall should be a lot more graceful.The companies that provide our Internet services were overwhelmed when we shut down in March, but they have been working to upgrade their equipment, and we should have an easier time in September.I've be…

Summer Reading III

These are all very available, but all cost money. You can certainly get them from your local public library, though, and both Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook carry them.
Almost anything by Ray Bradbury is worth a read. I never quite recovered from reading Fahrenheit 451 when I was a boy—it's about a time in the future when the government has banned books and firemen have the job of finding books in people's houses and burning them. (The title refers to the temperature at which book paper begins to burn.) Bradbury has written a lot of short stories (which I like because I don't have much of an attention span). I really enjoyed The Golden Apples of the Sun, The Martian Chronicles, and The Illustrated Man.
The Bradbury novel brings to mind three other dystopian novels: Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell. All written in the 1930s and 1940s, and all predicting a dire future.
On a lighter note, you should consider digging into bot…

Yes you can vote

If you will be 18 years old by November 3, 2020, you can vote in the next presidential election. Here's how: First you must register. Registrations don't expire, so if you have registered recently, you don't need to do it again. Your "residence address" is not your dorm at Ashland; it's where you go home to at Christmas Break (and probably where you are living right now).

You have many options for registering (often people at public events are registering voters), but here's a link for Ohio voter registration.
If you don't know whether you are registered, or suspect that the registration is incorrect, you can check your registration with this link. Getting an absentee ballot. Covid-19 is giving all of us good reasons to vote by mail. Here is the link to request an absentee ballot. A couple of things to remember: It takes time to request a ballot, receive the ballot, and get the ballot back to your home county. You can vote early, but if you ballot is late i…

Halfway through the summer

We're about halfway through the summer (or a little more), and if you are just joining us, I hope you've had a good vacation so far. 
It wasn't quite what we expected. I hope you have been able to navigate around the quarantines, etc., and find some space to relax and have some fun.

I put this blog together to help you get ready for English 100, and to cut down on the "FUD Factor" (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).
A few details about our courseEnglish 100 will be a hybrid course this Fall. That means you will be in class one day every week, and doing the equivalent of two days per week (plus homework time) as a distance education course. Watch your email to learn which day is your class day—oddly, there will never be a time when you actually see all the other members of our class. Your daily cohort will be about six people.

We are doing everything we can to minimize the risk from Covid-19, and one strategy is to keep people in small groups, all wearing masks. Another…