Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pictures from an Institution 7 (Advising)

I would wager that if you could chart the most restlessly revised institutional systems at small liberal-arts colleges, you would find that advising would be one of the top two or three on that list at most colleges. Advising is … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Pictures from an Institution, Swarthmore | 4 Comments

The Way Things Work (at Swarthmore)

I’m thinking of doing a series this fall of really basic, short and frank explanatory essays aimed at current Swarthmore students (and any other interested readers) about some of the college’s central structures and practices. My aspiration is to demystify … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Swarthmore | 16 Comments

Pictures From an Institution 6 (Course Design)

I usually spend time in the last half of the summer, somewhere around the end of July onward, working on the design of upcoming courses. I think I’m probably at one end of a spectrum as far as making more … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Pictures from an Institution, Swarthmore | 3 Comments

Science a la Carte

Waiting for the candidates to reveal all of their positions on particular scientific paradigms is getting to be a bit of a fan dance. We hear a little bit here about how climate scientists are all in it to make … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 15 Comments

Polenta Soup and the Terrible Awful No-Good Cost of Higher Education

While I don’t think there’s much I could say that could satisfy a recent commenter hereabouts, the question of the cost of higher education is an old theme at this blog, and longtime readers know that I worry about it … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Swarthmore | 22 Comments

The Social Media Minimums

Grizzled old Internet hands like me, we like to think we’ve seen it all. We were using our modems and marvelling at the strange intimacy of having threaded text conversations about science fiction or politics or woodworking with people you’ve … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Humanities, Politics | Comments Off on The Social Media Minimums

Some Small Ideas About Big Ideas

At first, I thought that Neal Gabler was singing my song in his ode (and eulogy) to the “Big Idea”. Part of his argument turns on a familiar theme at this blog, that overspecialization has its costs, and that one … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Digital Humanities, Information Technology and Information Literacy, Popular Culture, Production of History | 1 Comment

A Point Everyone Has Already Made

I try not to restate the trending applause lines that are cresting like giant waves through Twitter and similar online spaces, but there are reasons why some short sentiments find such a warm welcome at so many handles. In some … Continue reading

Posted in Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System, Politics | 16 Comments

What’s Not in a Datamine

I think that research that involves quantitative studies of extremely large datasets of texts that focuses on word usage, genre classification, spatial mapping of publication and circulation, or other kinds of information that we can now collect and analyze is … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Humanities, Generalist's Work, Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System | 4 Comments


I’ve turned off registrations for commenters for a bit until I can figure out a reliable longer-term solution. Getting 20-30 spam registrations a day now. If you’re inspired to comment on a post and you’re not a registered user, please … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | 4 Comments