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Starting up again

If you found this blog by using Google, you probably noticed that everything sort of stopped in September. This was because the course was actually meeting and the blog was less necessary. (I did delete some very specific end-of-semester information just now too.) Up until this morning, the class had very few people signed up, and it wasn't at all clear that I would be teaching it. That's all changed now, and over the next couple of days, I'll put the blog into shape for the Spring semester.
Recent posts

Mask Under Your Nose

This style of mask-wearing seems especially popular among young men. I have to assume one of two things when I see you doing this: You don't know that you breathe through your nose too. You think that the only point of wearing a mask is to keep authorities from yelling at you. So, for your information (because you apparently don't know): The purpose of a face mask is not to hide your teeth. We wear masks to prevent the spread of airborne virus. And if you protest that you are a mouth-breather, I present this Google definition: Mouth-breather: a stupid person

A friendly note about reading responses

First, yes they are required. One of the key strategies for getting good grades in any class is to submit every assignment, large or small, on time. Second, the questions for our reading responses are quite specific. If you didn't bother to read the article (or the question) and just grab one or two major words from the assignment and run, you aren't likely to get a very good grade. The prompt for this Friday is: Does Niman understand and accept the journalists' confusion about and reaction to what happened to the Columbus statue? How do you know? To do this one, you will need to know: What happened to the statue? What was the journalists' confusion and reaction? What evidence do you see that Niman "got it" (or didn't)? A generic discussion of the value of statues in public places isn't going to answer this question.

Cannot See the Video

Students keep having trouble with the little "talking head" video that begins each week. The problem seems to be with Apple users, so here is an instruction sheet from another college for fixing the problem: Safari, Firefox: Enable Third Party Cookies One of the simplest ways to fix the problem is to download and install Google Chrome browser. Here's the link for that: Download Google Chrome

Adulting Skills

Business people talk about "hard skills" and "soft skills." Hard skills can be taught with books of instructions—things such as driving a standard shift, using Microsoft Word, or analyzing a blood sample. Soft skills are such things as showing up on time for work, giving the boss the proper respect, wearing appropriate clothing for the task, and keeping your work area tidy. Many college students figure that the hard skills are all they need, but the hard skills are relatively easy to teach; if you lack soft skills, you will struggle in college and have a lot of trouble finding and keeping a job. Somewhere in the middle area between these are the adulting skills. People who lack these skills might be able to pass courses, but their time in college will be very difficult. Here are a few you will need—and now is a good time to begin working on them. Doing laundry. Surprised that I put it first? The laundry room is a total mystery to most high school kids,

The Student and the iPhone

Nearly every student has one of these things, and it's impossible to imagine a time without them. (Trust me—there really was a day when you couldn't instantly send Tweets to your friends, look at pictures of kittens, play games, or browse for porn 24/7.) Smart phones cause student trouble in three ways: The phone is not a computer Well OK—literally it is. The modern smart phone can do things that the full desktop computer of fifteen years ago only dreamed of, but that's not what I mean. It's a poor tool for typing a paper. The screen is smaller than your hand, so you cannot see a whole page of typing, and writing a paper with that tiny on-screen keyboard will make you crazy when you do a five-page paper. It's OK for Tweets, but those are only 280 characters. They cannot do Blackboard. Most of our course is on the Blackboard LMS, and yes, there is a way to see Blackboard on a phone, but learning how to do it and fighting the machine is a major challenge. Best

Quick Thoughts about This Blog

Now that the course is beginning to roll, I have a few reminders about this website. This will continue to be an informal "advice and reminders" site, and it's really part of the course. I will probably post things here every week (and at the start of the course, every day), so you should keep coming back. The website isn't part of the Ashland University internet environment, and it's completely public, so it will keep going even if there's trouble with AU's server. It's also available to anyone with an Internet connection, so go ahead and refer your friends to this site if you like. (In the last 30 days, we've had readers from Belgium, Philippines, and Japan. The reader from Portugal seems especially faithful.) There's more to the site than the seven items you see on the first page. In the black banner at the top, you'll see the words "The rest of the blog." Click that to learn how to see more. If you click the thing that looks l