Anne Lamott on the Life-Giving Power of Great Teachers — Brain Pickings

“People who teach others to read or to navigate a library, who don’t give up on slow or challenged students, will get the best seats in heaven. I don’t know a lot, but I know this to be true.”

via Anne Lamott on the Life-Giving Power of Great Teachers — Brain Pickings


Speaking Truth to Power and the Value of Counterpoints: Madeleine Albright’s Surprising Commencement Address — Brain Pickings

“We should use our opinions to start discussions, not to end them.” As I was preparing to deliver my Annenberg commencement address, restlessness of a very different kind and caliber was taking place on the other side of the country. When Scripps Women’s College announced that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — a person…

via Speaking Truth to Power and the Value of Counterpoints: Madeleine Albright’s Surprising Commencement Address — Brain Pickings

Final Assignment

End of Semester reflection

You have two ways to complete this assignment: as a written essay, or as an audio tour of your blog. If you choose the former, you will post your reflection to your blog. If you choose the latter, you will need to email me your audio tour because our free WordPress blogs do not support sharing audio files.Whichever you choose, please have it on your blog or in my email by 4pm on the last day of final exams, Friday May 6,2016

Your purpose is to reflect on your learning: how have you developed as a writer, researcher, thinker, and blogger throughout this semester and course?

You should comment on the quality and content of your blog entries. Here are some (neither inclusive nor exclusive) suggestions to consider:

  • Note where you have developed entries through adding media, copy-editing, or revising.
  • Consider how your approach to blogging changes depending on whether an entry is assigned or of your own devising.
  • Comment on assigned readings and other projects, and if/how they have contributed to your learning.
  • Also, consider how well the blogs you selected to follow have worked to encourage your learning, thinking, and questioning. Did you add different blogs, or drop some that you started following in January? Did they affect your own blog style or content?
  • How much did you follow your classmates’ blogs? Whose entries challenged your thinking? How much did you comment?

Assess the strengths and weaknesses of bloggings as a learning tool. What did you find useful, frustrating, challenging, fun, annoying, etc?

And finally, what advice do you have for improving this course next year?

Course Evaluation time

Dear Transfer FYS people,

As we’ve adjusted the calendar lately, this got lost in the mix. I had planned to give you class time for it, but don’t want to short our discussion time for Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit.  And, it doesn’t mix well with our final day plans for the potluck. If there is time at the end of class on Tuesday I will leave you to do it then.

The program allows you to start it, and come back to it over several days if you want.

Consequently, I invite you to complete this evaluation of Transfer FYS any time before April 30. (Why the evaluation closes before the end of the semester, I don’t know, but please get it done before midnight on April 29!)

Be assured that I will have no access to your evaluations before I have to submit grades on May 16, so be honest and thoughtful. The link below will take you to the online course evaluation for this class:

Thanks for your attention to one more detail at this busy time in your lives!


Perspectives on Going Viral

Dear Transfer FYS students,

In the brave new world of social media anything is possible. Read this, and remember– you’ve been alerted to the possibility of viral global attention to a post of your own. Although, in all honesty,  I imagine the likelihood is akin to your chances of winning the lottery, it is still worth remembering that you are posting to the world, and always just one re-post away from your fifteen minutes of fame (Warhol

So put forth your best, most thoughtful, articulate effort with every post.

Four bloggers share their thoughts on publishing a post that’s read by millions of people around the world.

Source: Perspectives on Going Viral

Arguments of various sorts

Because I firmly believe everybody needs a little poetry, if we have time on Tuesday we will examine this poem by one of my favorite metaphysical poets. It happens to be a fine example of a very specific sort of argument that hasn’t changed much since Andrew Marvell wrote it sometime around 1650.

To His Coy Mistress

You can listen to it at the link above, or read it here.

To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
       But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
       Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.


Later on, we may examine this very different type of argument, albeit related thematically to Andrew Marvell’s poem: the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision OBERGEFELL v. HODGES, otherwise known as the Marriage Equality decision. The decision written by Justice Kennedy appears on pages 1-28, the dissenting opinions of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito appear at the end.