Monday, October 31, 2005

Draw You, Draw Me

Richard Bell has posted to his online journal a couple of drawings of him I drew some time ago. So I thought it only fair that I post here a cartoonish drawing of myself.

Never Too Old

You're never too old for Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tell Me the Story of Your Mind

Gardner Campbell's podcasted remark that podcasts may help to "bridge imaginations" suggested to me a convergence of academic investigations and creative writing. What if students were instructed to articulate their analytical thinking in the voice of a reliable (fictional) third person narrator, or (more interesting still) in the voice of an unreliable (fictional) third person narrator? What if, instead of textual outlines in Writely documents, students performed research as adventure in a virtual world such as Second Life?

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Breakthrough for Online Writing Instruction

My friend TQ and I blew ourselves away when we struck on a terrific combinations of tools. While playing with jybe, a synchronous chat program that runs in your browser, we opened a Writely document. Thus we were able to coedit the Writely document while chatting with each other, all in the same browser window. The potential for online writing instruction (and information literacy instruction) was both obvious and thrilling.

Here's a screenshot of our epiphanic moment.

Tricky Background Image

For Dr. B.

link to mp3

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bookmark Skype Chats

Today I learned how to treat a multi-party Skype chat session as if it were a chat room and bookmark it so I can recall the same group of contacts to the same chat in the future.

Want to see how it's done?

Click here (4.3mb) for the video. Click here(500kb) for the audio.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

DanToday Theme Candidate 3

Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a big hand to our third candidate for official DanToday theme song.

OPML Reading Lists

As Dave Winer defines the concept, a reading list is a dynamic OPML document containing links to multiple RSS subscriptions and curated by a subejct area expert who filters the subscriptions.

What is new in this idea that takes it a step further than something like publicly viewable bloglines subscriptions (OPML) is the introduction of expert filtering. For example, the list of my own subscriptions to educational weblogs might be rather arbitrary compared to Stephen Downe's (expertly filtered) list of educational weblog subscriptions.

I think I may ask my writing students to create reading lists on their topics which could be inherited (and edited for currency and relevance) by students in subsequent writing courses.

A Voice of Experience

At lunch today an older gentleman, retired from retail sales and high school teaching, asked to weigh in on a conversation I and two of my colleagues were having about evaluating student writing. He told us that, in his experience, students don't know how to write in the real world. He told us if we wanted to remedy this problem, not to teach to standardized tests; rather, he implied we should make writing assignments authentic, true to life, and make sure they involve critical thinking and audience assessment (he may not have used these words, exactly, but you could tell he wanted to). On the subject of student assessment, he told us we should not curve grades, but rather that we should grade to an unwavering standard. Finally he told us that the buck for student performance stops with us. "When I taught high school," he said, "if my students did poorly, I always blamed myself."

I bet that man graded holistically.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Interview With An English Major II

In this, our second "interview with an English major," we meet Nicole. Listen to find out what Nicole likes best about being an English major.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Creative Learning

Quote of the day:

"Learning is becoming a creative activity."

Stephen Downes

Friday, October 21, 2005

Theme Song: Candidate 2

The second candidate in our DanToday theme song contest is a group effort .

Now that's independent media!

Theme Song: Candidate 1

Just for fun, here's a look at the the 1st contestant for "official DanToday theme song!"

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Horse Race

My enthusiam for poetry recordings collected at the Pennsound website has resulted in a horse race of mp3 downloads!

A personal favorite (recommended by my friend, Ken): poet David Antin. Antin's is a "poetry of thinking."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Interview With An English Major

Meet Abbey, a current English Major and a member of my writing class. In our interview , Abbey tells me why she chose to become an English major, what keeps her coming back to class, and how she believes her experience as an English major will serve her in the future.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dr. B's Active Rubrics

Dr. Blessinger's use of active rubrics in Word merits an A for precision, an A for efficiency, an A for professionalsim and a C for documentation (just kidding, Dr. B.).

Perhaps detailed instructions will be forthcoming.

Update: He did it! What a mensch!

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Today I tried out the Taskable OPML / RSS browser. This is a very small application that allows easy access to OPML and RSS directories. To see what I mean, just download and install (Windows only); it comes with several demo links that prove the point.

I was hoping it would be better for reading text, such as Dave Winer's DaveNet essays indexed here.

You can subscribe to an OPML version of my own Bloglines RSS subscriptions here.

Goes great with OPML Search!


Chat with a Friend

Last night I spoke with Ken Sherwood, poet, professor, and soon-to-be podcaster. We spoke of Skype, outliners, and the social bookmarking service. I hope you will enjoy these highlights of our chat.

download (16.3 mb) mp3

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Isn't It the Cutest?

Isn't this just the cutest, most adorable little flash mp3 player you've ever seen?

Play This Page

For a playlist of every audio or video file linked to this webpage, go here.

It's that easy.

For an RSS feed for media files linked to this webpage, go here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Identity 2.0 Presentation

Dick Hardt's presentation style is getting a lot of attention.

What's An Outline?

I'd been telling my student to write outlines. My position is that it makes more sense to advise students while they're outlining their paper than it does to guide them after they have written a draft. Then it occurred to me: what if they don't know how to write an outline? What if they don't really know what an outline is? Hey, it could happen.

Then I found this handout.

Most useful.

A Junior Moment

CHILD: Sometimes I forget things.
ME: What did you forget?
CHILD:I don't know.
ME:Can you remember a time you forgot something?
ME:When was that?
CHILD:I don't remember.

DanToday Theme Song Contest

Management has determined that it's high time DanToday had its own theme song. Although many tunes were auditioned, in the end, the choice was clear. The official theme song of DanToday is (and how could it be otherwise): "Do You Know the Way to DanToday?"

Those of you familiar with the work of Burt Bacharach will no doubt recognize the homage to the song, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose." At this point, however, all I have is the music. I think it would be nice to have some vocals as well - a vocal adaptation of the Bacharach song for use as the theme song of this blog.

After all, Jeff and Pat of the "This and That" podcast have their own theme song, why shouldn't I?

What I'm proposing is that you take the music (midi | mp3) to "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and the lyrics, and, with a program like Audacity, add one or more vocal tracks to the recording. Change the lyrics so the song is about DanToday, not about San Jose, save the file in mp3 format, and send it to me at djweinstein at gmail dot com.

If I like it, I'll host it and post it. If I really like it, I'll make it the official theme song of this weblog, and a link to it will appear in the sidebar, permanently.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Though not quite as fancy as Writely, Whiteboard also offers literary collaborators a wiki-style, syndicated writing space.


If you would like a dead-simple, lightweight word processor (no bells, no whistles, just something with which to write that term paper) and you would like it to be free, allow me to recommend AbiWord.

Piggy's Great Adventure

image of an adventuresome little toy pig

OWL Interview

Last year, student renovators of DSU's Online Writing Lab interviewed several DSU faculty members about their views on college writing. These interviews have been posted to the OWL. They contain text and audio components. One can read and listen to my interview here.

Podcasting Hits the Big Time

As if the availbility of podcasts via ITunes was not enough to cement the legitimacy of this personal-on-demand media form, Yahoo! now has announced its own podcast subsite.

Plus, there is an informative section on producing a podcast as well.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Call for Podcast: "Mr. Literal"

Here's an idea mp3 for a podcast:

A character, named "Mr. Literal," has a great deal of trouble seeing beyond the surface of things. Another character, "Mr. Critical," by guiding Mr. Literal through readings of literary works, tries mightily to deepen Mr Literal's understanding of both literature and life.

What do you think? Should I produce a series of "shows" after this concept? Comment on this post to register your vote.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

WebJay Playlist Community

Probably the most convenient way to share podcasts and other open audio files is through WebJay's playlist community. WebJay hosts lists of links to media files created by members. Membership is free. Here's a link to an ever changing playlist of my own favorite podcasts.

The Child Looks Out

What's out there?