Author Archives: jbj

Even art critics need fact checkers; or, how ahead of his time *was* Darwin?

In this morning’s Times, at least in the CT editions, Benjamin Genocchio reviews Endless Forms: Darwin, Natural Science, and the Visual Arts, an exciting show at the Yale Center for British Art.  By way of setting the exhibit up, however, … Continue reading

Posted in darwin, things I love, things that should stop, Victorian literature | Leave a comment

Online quizzes for lit classes

A couple of years ago, I began requiring online reading quizzes in my 200-level lit classes (Brit Lit II, plus topics-based courses for nonmajors).  This year, I’ve extended it to any class where there’s assigned reading.  As usual, there are … Continue reading

Posted in higher education, teaching | 8 Comments

About online grading

Katy asked for a post about grading with the computer, and I always try to honor requests, so here goes: Online grading doesn’t save me any time, although that’s probably because I do it badly.  The main benefits I get … Continue reading

Posted in higher education, teaching | 9 Comments

Modernists think they’re so great

The 2nd-most irritating thing* about being a Victorianist is having to deal with our modernist colleagues who appear to believe that modernist claims about Victorian culture were simply true, and not at all artifacts of generational conflict or artistic brand-building.   … Continue reading

Posted in Dickens, fictional autobiography, teaching, things that should stop, Victorian literature | 11 Comments

My current tech crush: Dropbox

Anyone who regularly accesses multiple computers knows how hard it is to keep track of files.  That’s why Zotero now offers online syncing & backup, why MobileMe offers Back To My Mac, why flash drives are so popular, and why, … Continue reading

Posted in productivity, software, things I love | 12 Comments

Take attendance with your phone

I have a review of the iPhone app Attendance up at Macworld, which is pretty cool.  (More to come, too!) A taste: Ever since I moved to an electronic gradebook, keeping track of attendance has been a nagging problem. Usually … Continue reading

Posted in gadgets, iphone, review | 3 Comments

A miracle of the Force

I was gobsmacked on Friday when something happened for the first time in 10+ years of teaching: A student produced a reasonable definition of the word canonical.  It was a first-year student, in a composition class. And how did the … Continue reading

Posted in family, higher education, star wars, teaching | 1 Comment

An offer to UConn

Readers outside CT may not be aware that there is currently a mini-scandal in the state about retired employees, including faculty members, who keep working and are thus drawing both pension and pay from the state.  Sometimes this is fairly … Continue reading

Posted in connecticut, education, higher education, silliness | 7 Comments

Stanley Fish is irritating, and not in a good way

Today’s Stanley Fish column about academic freedom & fantasies of academic exceptionalism offers a good example of his strengths and his considerable weaknesses as a columnist. For example, I think this is both true and too-infrequently said: But this is … Continue reading

Posted in academic freedom, education, first amendment, higher education, Victorian literature | 3 Comments

Should MLA members be experts in electronic environments?

Alex Reid has a typically thoughtful post this morning on the MLA’s recent white paper on the undergraduate major in language and literature.  There is something a bit embarrassing about the MLA’s assertion that competencies in reading and writing translate … Continue reading

Posted in education, English major, higher education, mla, teaching | Leave a comment