As the term begins, I thought I’d write a quick post with some useful links.
• Composition instructors know it can be difficult to teach using a handbook. How do we approach the text as a useful resource for students? All too often it’s easy to assign pages from a handbook for students to read, or to provide links to online resources and move on, assuming students are going to go there on their own. Rebecca Moore Howard provides ten principles of teaching with a handbook, a useful list that stresses teaching how to use the handbook—a lifelong skill for writers. She has more on what she’s doing in class with the handbook.
• One of the first things those who are new to Penn State learn is that PSU’s Webmail sucks. It’s not pretty to look at, it’s not organized well, emails can get buried easily and are hard to see, the organizational scheme isn’t very “intuitive” — those who have used gmail usually respond to the interface: “Wow, why don’t they code this like gmail — or switch over!” I prefer to forward my psu email to gmail and download it to my Mac Mail client and iPad Mail. Onward State has a recent post with links on how to do just that.
• Blogrolls are a thing of the past, and Traci Gardner provides some reasons why. She doesn’t discuss the increased use of RSS readers, though a reader brings that up in the comments. I don’t think I’ve updated my blogroll in two years or so — perhaps I’ll put that on my to-do list. Gardner also provides a a list of almost 70 blogs in rhetoric and composition.
• Many of us use caffeine to keep our energy up, or to keep our energy stable, or to just survive. Here’s an interesting Death by Caffeine tool to find out how much caffeine it would take to kill you. You can choose your caffeine of choice (many many options!), enter your weight, and find out. I drink mostly brewed coffee (black), and it would take 92 cups to kill me of an overdose, according to this. Or, if I went to Starbucks and got tall coffees, 38 cups of them. It’s not healthy to drink as much coffee as I do, but now I can rest assured that I’m no where near deadly levels.