Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forFebruary, 2007 | back to home

27 February 2007

Yes it turns out Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, did some early promotion material (nearly 20 years ago!) selling Macs to students.

21 February 2007

OK I admit my teaching may not have been at my best today. I’ve been suffering from the flu since Friday and am still hardly at my best. There was a moment in the tube on the way to my workshop that I thought I might throw up, but it passed. I may also have been a little distracted by guilt – you see in order to come today I had to leave my (exhausted) wife at home with our (still sick) baby child.

But there wouldn’t have been time to find someone to replace me and I know you are paying more than £10,000/$20,000 to learn at the LSE (plus a great deal more for living expenses in London) so I felt I had to do my best to attend – I can’t remember a lecture or seminar ever being cancelled because of ill-health when I was being taught (though I may have forgotten a time or two).

To be honest though this was an advanced workshop session on Internet methods – a subject I enjoy talking and thinking about, and I was being a little selfish – I actually really like teaching, and a workshop full of graduate students who are (on the basis of marks and financial commitment at least) some of the ‘best and the brightest’. So I was really looking forward to my workshop…

Until I noticed early on that your attention was elsewhere. To be more precise you were using the Internet access I (foolishly) arranged in case it would be needed for teaching in order to surf some kind of funny images site. Which was bad enough. But then you started to smirk and show them off to the woman beside you. Then would have been the time to call you out on it I suppose, but I didn’t really expect you to carry on in the same way for the entire one-hour session. But that doesn’t mean what you did was fine. Here are a couple of tips.

1) You don’t get marked for attendance at the LSE – you get marked for results. If you know in advance you don’t have any interest in the subject don’t turn up – I assure you you won’t be missed.
2) If you do want to surf recreationally, sitting under the speaker’s nose is the wrong place to do it.
3) Distracting another potential learner – even one you hope to impress – puts you pretty close to the bottom tier of my personal student hell.

If you do come across this weblog posting in your idle surfing consider this a warning – if you start anything like that again in next week’s workshop, I will waste a precious minute or two of teaching time giving you a piece of my mind. It may not cure my flu but it would certainly make me feel better about teaching for a little while…

17 February 2007
Filed under:Online media,Weblogs at7:57 pm

365 Ways to Change the World – stocked by the cash register of my local bookstore – includes “Fight child slavery with fairtrade chocolate” alongside, “Influence the world’s media: become a blogger”. Unless you happen to live in a country or situation that is both inaccessible and newsworthy or you have specialist expertise and connections to the mainstream media you are unlikely to make much of an impact on the mainstream media, and in any case there are many reasons to blog and a desire to influence the world’s media is one of the least common.

14 February 2007
Filed under:Interesting facts,Old media at3:55 pm

So much about The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids was interesting and/or rang a bell. It covers a lot of ground but the key take-away point for me was that you should be very cautious about telling your kid that s/he is smart – you should be praising them for putting in effort and/or for specific aspects of what they did. It sounds rather puritanical but apparently there’s evidence that praising a kid’s capability can be harmful – they can end up avoiding things that are challenging.