Education in a row

Posted October 8, 2012 by cathymcdonald
Categories: digital literacy, teaching and learning, Uncategorized, university education

What does this image tell us about the model of education it affords or sets up? What kind of teaching/learning situation does it call forth?

My interest in looking at even the basics of the spacial semiotics of the college classroom comes from Michael Wesch’s video “A Portal to Digital Literacy”  Watch it! He analyzes what a lecture hall signifies about outdated academic attitudes about delivering education.

I don’t believe I can “deliver education” anyway. Think of the pizza delivery person packing in an armload of warm and fragrant boxes to a hungry crowd. Good for football, bad for higher ed. I have this blurb on my syllabus:

Participation: “I have a (perhaps atypical) philosophy about student participation. I believe your engagement is your choice. I encourage college students to work for themselves, not for the teacher. That will play out in other classroom practices too. My philosophy is rooted in the simple belief of a democratic classroom and my high regard for students as individuals. Autonomy is, research shows, the greatest motivator anyway, even above financial reward (or in our case, grades). You are free to work or to fail, and to gain the benfit or bear the consequences of your own choices. I will most likely still like you as a person whatever you decide. I don’t believe one’s value or identity is measured in grades or performance anyway. We will learn from each other as we study together. It will be intellectually stimulating. I will naturally notice those who stand out, for better or worse. Better to be known as the one who attempts smart ideas rather than the slacker who seems stoned.”


Fuck cancer OR Praying with images of loved ones laughing

Posted March 9, 2012 by cathymcdonald
Categories: Uncategorized






Pain reduction

Sense of the moment

Pray by picturing the people laughing

Representations of disability in film

Posted January 17, 2012 by cathymcdonald
Categories: Uncategorized

I have discovered a new planet. I am amazed.

My class is quarter is a new prep for me: Literary and Creative Expressions Across Cultures: Viewing Difference. I’ve themed it to study cinematic representations of disability. So I have be immersed in the new-to-me body of scholarship of disability studies.   OMG. It is more than intellectually stimulating. It names for me things in my life. I am still in that cloud of fog that accompanies falling into a new discourse.  It’s like putting on black leather and chains and walking into a biker bar for the first time. Or entering the academy. Or marrying into a new family.

But the ideas are burning. I don’t know how to know them yet. I may have to write (don’t tell Margi).


Guess what this is…

Posted November 4, 2011 by cathymcdonald
Categories: Uncategorized

… and what it has to do with life in general, life with animals, or poopy things


The glory of age

Posted October 31, 2011 by cathymcdonald
Categories: Uncategorized

So here we have Moppet, the grand dame of the back deck, taking her rightful place in the sun. If it’s one thing I like, it’s a old girl with an attitude.

The blessing of good neighbors

Posted October 28, 2011 by cathymcdonald
Categories: Uncategorized

Abby, the neighbor cat, is the lovingest ball of color you could have in a neighbor. We are blessed and joyful for the honor of her visits in our backyard and her people who are close in our yard and in our hearts.

The face of blackness

Posted October 28, 2011 by cathymcdonald
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Kevin in black mood?

When some people blog, they revel in getting all dark and esoteric. What does that get you? Does this bull look like the expression usually on your face?

Today I had a heartbreaking conversation with one of my graduate students. A quote board in the common room asked the question: “Name something on the top of your bucket list.” I wrote: “More fun, love, friends.” This elicted a 30 min conversation with a grad student about the postmodern dilemma of annhilation and consumption by the forces of discourse. I told him to get over that. I said we are SO PAST that false subjugation. I told him we were moving on as of a decade ago. “To where?” he asked, almost hopefully. I cheerfully replied: “Popomo!” (Thank you Matt Holtmeier). I begged him to consider Anthony Giddens’s who moved us past the myth of endless swirling in the man’s structures. He was beyond hope.

He argued strenuously for Niche and Marx. I told him to throw Foucault into the mix and really get depressed and resort to death poetry. In blackest tones and despair, he could not.  He truly saw no alternative. He mockingly told me to enjoy my [critical tone here] “fun and love and friends.”

The disheartened, poor man has NO belief in self-agency. No joy, no hope, no power in his life. (Made me wonder if he actually GETS the notion of a bucket list.) I told him he only believes what he believes because he believes it. He has the power to believe something else. No. Not possible in his ideology (remember that ideology tells you what is, what is good, and what is possible a la Althesseur. My heart is sad for him.


On the other hand, because I do know what a bucket list is and am taking responsibility for what I do now that I’m facing it in general, I offer these pictures to represent what is possible: