Comments, Please: Professors and Students as Facebook Friends

I’m working up a post on students and professors being friends on Facebook, but in truth, it’s wandering, and I’m just too darned tired to shape it up this morning for publishing.

So help me out in the meantime: what are your convictions about Facebook “friending” between students and professors? I’m talking about adult students here: higher education. As a bit of a preview: I suggest that one’s answer to this questions depends on what you think Facebook is for, and that the answer to that question is user-specific.

Comments on students and profs being Facebook “friends”?

Promises to Keep

(Btw, you will have heard it elsewhere already, but Biblical Studies Carnival 44 has erected its tents and opened for admission over at Jim West’s place.)

Every now and then, in order to keep a post under a thousand words or so, I’ve thrown out a promise to flesh some idea out more fully in the future. Here, I’m going back to try to list some of those outstanding promises.

  • “Being a Student” series: I offered suggestions for students planning to ask for letters of reference, and said I would occasionally offer similar posts on “being a student.” I’ve done a bit, and may step up that series as we get into the academic year.
  • I haveseveraltimesusedtheterm “woo,” a term used by science bloggers and atheist bloggers to describe instances of pseudoscientific claims and arguments. At least once, I have promised to devote a post to justifying the term “Bible woo.” I keep deferring the post, because it calls for some fairly serious platform-building, including 1) distinguishing evidentiary “biblical studies” from devotional “Bible study”; 2) establishing how historical studies and literary criticism sit among the sciences; 3) figuring out how not to have to bring in an explanation of modernism and post-modernism if it can be avoided by any means; 4) distinguishing unsuccessful but methodologically sound “biblical studies” from fraudulently-conceived, pseudoscientific “Bible woo.”
  • In a related vein, I once suggested that the dichotomy “science v. religion” might profitably be swapped out for the distinction between “literal speech and figurative speech.” That is, if religious speech would try to be more clear about whether it means to be literal (and therefore falsifiable) or figurative (and therefore subject to the different critical canons of literary art), then much of the “science v. religion” conflict is sidestepped. My one post on the topic addressed a particular news item (Obama’s nomination of Francis Collins as Director of National Institutes of Health). I would like to write a follow-up post that fills in the argument that I started there.
  • These two are promises I’ve made to myself in the form of drafts or outlines: I would like to write a post about how we users decide what new technologies or platforms are for (“What is Twitter For?”); and I would like to further promote awareness of iTunes U and YouTube/Edu by featuring particular items from time to time.
  • As SBL gets closer and my fall teaching progresses, I will be testing out ideas about my paper topic: How strategies in distance learning contribute to the brick-and-mortar classroom.

By writing this post, I don’t mean that I’m going to drop everything until every item is neatly scratched off with a fine point pen. In fact, August (with class preparation amping up into high gear) might not even be the most fruitful time for the careful thinking that these plans ask for. But, it puts my loose ends of yarn into one basket here at my elbow.

What of these plans, if anything, would you like to see taking shape first? What other kinds of posts would you like to see more of?

Run Along and Play Now, That’s a Good Reader

I’m snowed under with unexpected emails from students and some other urgent tasks. But what can you do while I’m busy? Hm…

You eager beavers have already crashed the new online Sinaiticus site, rushing in like manuscript geeks to a manuscript (I’m too busy even to concoct a metaphor), so that’s out. [Later: It lives!]

Oh, just read popular Ph.D. Comics for a while. And scrounge for your lunch out of the fridge, I don’t have time to fix you something.

iTunes U and YouTube-Edu

Truth is, I am still researching my planned blog entry. So, as a ready placeholder, I offer a couple of resources that many readers will already know, but some will not (and should!).

iTunes U: If you have iTunes (which is free for Mac and Windows), you can go to the iTunes Store and will find there a tab for “iTunes U.” (iTunes U is a component of Apple Mobile Learning.) In iTunes U are found podcasts that come from institutions of higher education: colleges, universities, divinity schools, and so on. You can browse by category, or look at top downloads, or even browse the most frequent providers. Near the bottom of the window, a link offers an introduction for those new to iTunes U.

YouTube/EDU: Use the regular address for YouTube, but add “/edu” to the end of the URL, like so: . As with iTunes U, this yields a portal to YouTube content uploaded by institutions of higher education. You can scroll horizontally through specific institutions, or browse tabs of most-viewed content. Also, there is a search window that is limited to YouTube/EDU. This means that you can do a search, for example, for “Bible,” and get hits from the EDU portal alone (not videos uploaded by every yahoo or charlatan in the world).

Through both of these resources, you may find high-quality lectures and presentations to supplement your teaching.

Have you browsed these resources for Bible fare? What sorts of things have you found there? Feel free to offer links or search terms in the comments here.

[Addendum for Twitterers: there is a hashtag for iTunes U: #iTunesU. There is not at present a hashtag for YouTube/Edu, but a search for YouTube EDU (with space) yields reasonable if imperfect results. I plan to start using a hashtag #iTunes #YouTube/EDU. The “slash” is not recognized in regular word searches, but appears to be recognized as part of a hashtag word.]

Out of the Belly of Grading I Cried

The cords of Grading are wrapped around my neck,
The snares of Grading confront me.

I have gone where there is no blogging
Nor memory of blogging.

Until the LORD brings me up alive from Grading,
Restoring me to life from those who go down into the Office,

You may as well stop by Four Stone Hearth 67,
Visit the anthropology news of which Duane makes me aware.