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Showing posts from February, 2013


While initially it was hard for me this week to transition from the class's first theme of "Dystopia/Utopia" to the second of "Being Human", now I have so many thoughts on the topic, I don't know where to start.

I find the movie Wall-E coming to mind again, maybe because I haven't read Brave New World, which has been talked about a lot. I guess Wall-E is my example of a world where technology has taken over subtly, lulling us into complacency by giving us everything we could ever want - except for the things that arguably make us human.
Sometimes this is the way I feel about TV, especially Netflix. In theory this sounds like a great service. You can stream TV shows and movies you're interested in whenever you feel like it, so the convenience aspect is wonderful. But somehow it all gets flipped on it's head, and instead it becomes so important to not only watch what I want, but the idea of a queue makes watching feel like another thing to add to…

Granny Reads: Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

This technically is not on my shelf of Granny Reads, but it was suggested to me by a coworker who also happens to be a grandmother and the story really fits the whole theme of Granny Reads, so I'm including it here.

I can see why Morning Glory was recommended so highly to me. I mostly started writing this series to highlight the way romance has changed over the last few decades, but this one was pretty timeless. There are certainly old-fashioned values at play here, but that's because the story is set in the early 1940s in a small town in Georgia. In a marriage of convenience, "crazy" widow Elly Dinsmore advertises for a husband to help her take care of her farm as the birth of her third child approaches, and only penniless ex-con Will Parker is desperate enough to take her up on her offer.

While there's a fairly traditional division of labor on Elly and Will's farm, the reasons for this never feel dated. Elly knows house chores inside and out, plus she's…

E-Learning and Digital Cultures - Week 2

This week we stuck with the thoughts of utopias/dystopias, but turned our focus toward the future. One of the articles we read this week discussed the metaphors used to describe the internet in the media. I knew we used metaphors to describe the internet, but I was surprised at how prevalent this practice was once I saw a sampling of them all laid out.

Not surprisingly, many metaphors focused around the internet either as creator or destructor. I was a little surprised, though, to see how prevalent the "internet as physical place" metaphor still is. I know social networks and "meeting" with people online is all the rage now (I am taking a class that meets solely online), but I didn't think about how that's tied back to the earlier days of the internet when people really struggled to understand what the world wide web was and there were tons of representations of it as a physical space, even a Saturday morning cartoon based on the premise that the web was a …

It's about online learning, ya mook

This winter I decided to try out a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) to see what all the fuss was about and to get a better handle on what's going on with online educational in general. I'm taking E-learning and Digital Cultures offered by the University of Edinburgh through the Coursera platform.

The class started last week, but I'm just getting around to blogging about week one now. For the first week we watched several videos focusing on dystopias/utopias as a way of looking at technology and we read some things from the recent history of technology and e-learning.

We were asked to blog about any examples of technological dystopias/utopias we could think of. For me the movie Wall-E sprung to mind pretty quickly. Here we have a society living in blissful listless ignorance thanks to the wonders of technology. They think this is as good as it gets, until the natural non-technological world comes crashing in and they realize just how much of life was blocked out by all o…

On Being a Strong Professional Woman

A little while ago I put up a few links about issues of gender in the workplace but didn't really have time to elaborate, so I've come back to the topic with some thoughts. Of the posts I linked a while ago, the one that's really stuck with is the way women limit themselves by being nice. Trying to be anything besides accommodating has always been a challenge for me, especially professionally. I'm a small town Midwestern girl who was raised to, above all other things, "be nice", so in situations where there's any question about how I should act, I take the nice route. But I've seen how this has limited me over the years by not standing up for projects I believe in or pointing out issues I think are being ignored.

Lately it's really been sticking with me because I've been job hunting. While the details will stay private, the fact that I'm job searching is no big secret. I love what I do in my current position, but it's only part-time wi…