Starting again… again

OK, I just read this article by Lisa Endlich10 Reasons Why You Should Have a Blog… and I’m inspired to start again… again.

I started this blog as an assignment for Justin Reich‘s class “Massive: The Future of Learning at Scale” and I meant it to have an Educational Technology bent but now I’m realizing that my “story” at the moment is about figuring out what I want to do with the next stage of my working life and career.

I spent the first stage of my working life becoming a very good Boston-based actor.  First theater, then on-camera and voiceover work.  At the same time I worked full-time and then part-time at Harvard University taking care of research grants. They were both “real” jobs, but acting was a bit more real for me.  I was a small business owner selling acting services.  By 2000 I had joined all the acting unions, worked in some of the bigger Boston theaters, and had earned enough (via a national commercial) that I qualified for healthcare and I decided to start commuting to NYC.  I completed a successful NYC showcase in July of 2001 and then the twin towers fell and completely changed the landscape.  I reflected on my life during that time and came to the conclusion that most of the acting work I’d been doing was not having an impact on the world.  At the same time, Harvard called and asked if I was ready to come back…

That’s all for today… stay tuned for the next stage!

The little things do really matter

Thank you, Rachel.

Rachel Roberts

There seems to never be a dull moment in life. I love this life, but sometimes (like now) I’m a bit overwhelmed, not having the space to think through everything as much as I’d like. As I walk around three campuses this semester, often with my head down lost in my thoughts, it’s easy to forget that the people passing by are also in their own bubble, consumed with their own thoughts, projects, challenges, and ideas. Sometimes we share with one another what’s going on. Other times, we keep silent for various reasons. But it’s worth reminding each other that human compassion can never be underestimated.

Just over 12 years ago, I was working with the Houston Symphony, my first job after finishing music school, and I was responsible for taking care of the guests artists during their visits and guest appearances with the orchestra. One of my most memorable experiences…

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Learning is the journey, not the destination: Nine things I learned from writing my A-222 mid term

I passed in the paper– in the end there just wasn’t enough time to write it the way I wanted to.  As it was, I walked into class 10 minutes late.   I think it was a pretty good first draft, though.  Download it here, if you care to read it (10 pgs, double spaced) on Steven Salaita and academic freedom: KWMassey A222 Mid Term Paper

I console myself by remembering it’s not about the grade but about how much I’ve learned by attempting to do this paper.  Here are just some of them…

  1. I learned how to use Zotero instead of those old fashioned notecards.  It allowed me to bookmark, tag, take notes, keep track of what I read, search everything that I had read, attach pdfs of what I’d read, relate things to each other and BEST of ALL, a plug-in made it easy to cite and create a bibliography in Word.
  2. I’ve signed up for a bunch of newsletters– Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle Vitae, EdSurge, the Academe Blog, Inside Higher Ed, CoreyRobin.com, etc.
  3. I am using the Diigo  “Read Later” button to help manage the fire hose of information .  I could happily go down rabbit holes all day.  I don’t want to miss a thing.  However, it stresses me out to have 20 articles open in my web browser that I plan to read someday.  “Read Later” is just the thing to do that.  I know if I REALLY need to read that article later, I can look there.  AND, any time I have spare time (Heh!) I can go there and read some stuff I know will interest me.
  4. I learned SO MUCH about Higher Education!  I didn’t know that there was an American Association of University Professors and that they had a Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure before I took this class.
  5. In the process of exploring over 50 items on the Steven Salaita/UIUC controversy, I learned more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, shared governance, how “civility” is used to marginalize groups, and the academic search process.
  6. I learned how to sign up and work with HGSE Academic writing services.  I originally did it because I hoped that having an appointment would force me to write my first draft much sooner than the hours before class.  THAT didn’t work, but it didn’t matter.  The writing coach was still very helpful.  Who knew you could just go in and talk if need be?
  7. I learned that whenever I get a writing assignment I should comb the internet and figure out best practices for that type of assignment.  For instance, this website:  “How to Write an Essay — 10 Easy Steps”: A Step-by-Step Guide For Students Writing Essays, or For College Instructors Teaching Essay Writing” might have helped a lot, had I looked at it when the paper was assigned.
  8. And I learned that the thornier an issue is the sooner I have to formulate an argument and limit myself to gathering information for and against that argument.
  9. I learned how to add a poll to this blog (see below).

There’s much more to write but I’ve miles of learning to do before I sleep… so I’ll leave you with this.

“Civility is not a state of mind. It’s a regime.”   Fired Professor Steven Salaita’s Speech at Columbia College Chicago on Israel, Civility & Academic Freedom | The Dissenter

HELP– feeling overwhelmed…

How can I be coming back from a long weekend feeling exhausted and overwhelmed?  I have a paper due on Thursday, that’s why.  And I’m blocked.

I think it may be that I’m overthinking.  (ya think?)

I don’t feel connected to the students (they’re all in another program and are friends already).  The lecturer uses a “quasi-socrative” method and always argues the opposite side of a point.  It makes the class kind of intimidating.

I don’t think he likes me.  And that’s self-defeating.  And I shouldn’t care.  But I kind of do. I told him I wanted to start a twitter handle for the class and he said he didn’t want one because it would restrict free speech.  When I asked him about the paper I’m writing he said something like “all the facts are there, I’m not going to tell you the answer.”

All that said, I Do like his class.  The material is super-interesting and he is very organized and funny and the discussions are thought-provoking.  I’m glad I’m taking it.

OK, productive procrastination is now over.  Must Write Draft Of Paper Now.

Maybe if I just blogged the paper it would be easier…?