BA in French Teaching; PhD in Educational Technology; Associate Professor of ICT at University of Kentucky School of Information Science

I am an transdisciplinary digital methods researcher studying meaning-making practices on online platforms.

My CV is available here.

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what would Doctorow University look like?

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One of my favorite academic anecdotes to share in conference rooms and university hallways is for my dissertation defense, two of my committee members were there via telepresence robot. This is less impressive post-2020, when a lot of defenses happen entirely over Zoom, but it’s still different than an online-only defense, so the story still attracts some interest. At any rate, as good as I thought my story was, I got a real kick out of this bit in the prologue to Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom:

hooray for faculty collegiality

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My unit is currently hiring three new faculty members, which means that we’re right in the middle of nine(!) campus visits. We’re all getting well practiced at talking about the strengths of our unit and why people might want to work here. One thing that we’ve said over and over in meetings and interviews with candidates is that we work together well and get along with each other, too (we also acknowledge that this is not true 100% of the time, but that the exceptions prove the rule).

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Several times in recent weeks, I’ve packed a lunch, “realized” I’d forgotten a fork, rushed to add one to my lunch bag, and then opened my lunch on campus to find two forks in there. I often joke that I became a professor because I already had the “absent-minded” part down, but still…

far-right Mormonism and the boundaries of Twitter hashtags

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There are a couple of weeks before the deadline to submit abstracts for the Mormon Social Science Association’s sessions at the 2024 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, so I’ve been filling some nooks and crannies of my busy work week by looking at some Twitter data. Last year, I published with my colleague Amy Chapman a qualitative look at the #DezNat Twitter hashtag, which blends Mormon orthodoxy with far-right and anti-feminist thinking.

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This week has enough writing (and deadlines!) that the utilitarian appeal of ChatGPT is finally clear to me; and yet, it’s also so much clearer that I would rather do fewer things well and on my own.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'UK looks to change role of faculty senate. Employees worry it will take away authority'

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Need to read more on this before I fully understand what’s being proposed and what the consequences will be. I struggle, however, with the argument that reducing the power of faculty is somehow improving faculty governance. link to “UK looks to change role of faculty senate. Employees worry it will take away authority”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in Academia When You’re Six Raccoons Living in a Fjällräven Parka'

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I really ought to be reading more McSweeney’s. link to “How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in Academia When You’re Six Raccoons Living in a Fjällräven Parka”

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Present me forgot to take pseudoephedrine this morning and was dreading having a congestion headache all day, but past me left a stash in my campus office that I’ve just raided. Thanks, past me!

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'University of Michigan Sells Recordings of Study Groups and Office Hours to Train AI'

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This is straight-up awful. Shame on the university for doing this. link to “University of Michigan Sells Recordings of Study Groups and Office Hours to Train AI”

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Trying to figure out which circle of hell it is when three people in a row fail to recognize a message is coming from a university listserv and reply all with “hey, think you meant to send this to someone else!”

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I spent 12 hours last week working on a small, open journal’s WordPress site, and I came away from that with a new, begrudging respect for what they’ve done with the Gutenberg site builder. The same things that made me cranky in terms of my personal site make sense for larger scale projects.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'UK president to legislature: Proposed DEI, tenure legislation is ‘deeply concerning’ for Kentucky colleges'

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I appreciate it when our president speaks up against legislation that would hurt the University of Kentucky. link to “UK president to legislature: Proposed DEI, tenure legislation is ‘deeply concerning’ for Kentucky colleges”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on ' Ky. Senate passes bill to limit DEI in higher education in the name of free speech'

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Well, crap. Not a lot of hope that House will stop this. link to " Ky. Senate passes bill to limit DEI in higher education in the name of free speech"

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It’s remarkable how much of my service in academic organizations has come down to “oh, hey, you know WordPress, don’t you?”

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I think what bothers me about “improving learning” approaches to educational technology is that it tends to prioritize utilitarianism at the expense of everything else. Ethical concerns about AI don’t matter if grades go up, what students should learn about is largely shoved aside, and so forth.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'The Absurd One-Sidedness of the Ethics of AI Debate: A rant | Punya Mishra's Web'

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Punya is a bit warmer on AI than I am, so I wasn’t sure what I would be reading based off of the title, but this is one of the best things I’ve read on generative AI in education. These companies have so much power and could use a little more Parkerian responsibility. link to “The Absurd One-Sidedness of the Ethics of AI Debate: A rant | Punya Mishra’s Web”

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Can anyone recommend a newsletter/CRM platform for a small academic organization with a limited budget? I’m managing our membership and emails through Mailchimp right now, but they’re pivoting hard to AI, and I’m ready to leave once I find a solid alternative.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Generative AI course statement – George Veletsianos, PhD'

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George’s example statement is one worth bookmarking. link to “Generative AI course statement – George Veletsianos, PhD”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'House education chair says professor review bill is not aimed at limiting tenure in Kentucky - Kentucky Lantern'

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You can say that, but it’s hard to understand how this isn’t limiting tenure. link to “House education chair says professor review bill is not aimed at limiting tenure in Kentucky - Kentucky Lantern”

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ClassDojo sent me an automated “see how this week went!” email today even though school hasn’t been in session all week, and I feel like that’s telling.

on Scrabble, French, and what it means to learn

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In the summer of 2015, New Zealander Nigel Richards won the French-language world Scrabble championships despite not speaking a word of French. I heard this story on a Radio Télévision Suisse news show repackaged as a podcast (probably Le 12h30, but I can’t remember exactly) and wrote myself a note that if I ever got a chance to teach a class on games and learning, I would use this story in it.

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I mean this as a general observation and not generational handwringing, but it’s amazing how many cues my students take from YouTubers when recording video presentations for my class.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '‘Student Should Have a Healthy-Looking BMI’: How Universities Bend Over Backwards to Accommodate Food Delivery Robots'

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I work on a campus with Starship robots, so this was a fascinating read. link to “‘Student Should Have a Healthy-Looking BMI’: How Universities Bend Over Backwards to Accommodate Food Delivery Robots”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: American education has all the downsides of standardization, none of the upsides (16 Jan 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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Some interesting thoughts here from Doctorow. Makes me want to put more effort into OER. link to “Pluralistic: American education has all the downsides of standardization, none of the upsides (16 Jan 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

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It’s a Chromebook-heavy “non-traditional instruction” snow day for kiddo today, and I’m having a lot of thoughts about Larry Cuban and that recent UNESCO report about emergency remote teaching during the COVID shutdowns.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Plagiarism is the latest weapon in the culture wars. But what even is it? - Vox'

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Lots of interesting comments in this article. I haven’t been following this story as closely as I should, but it—and articles like this—are making me think that I need to think harder about plagiarism: what it is and how I should respond to it. link to “Plagiarism is the latest weapon in the culture wars. But what even is it? - Vox”

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I like peer reviewing manuscripts that cite my work, and I especially like correcting manuscripts that misunderstand my work, but my favorite is reviewing a manuscript that gives my work too much credit so that I can say “hey, this guy doesn’t know as much as you think he does.”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Open Infrastructures and the Future of Knowledge Production, part 2 – Platypus'

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Strong follow up to the last post I just linked to. link to “Open Infrastructures and the Future of Knowledge Production, part 2 – Platypus”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Open Infrastructures and the Future of Knowledge Production, part 1 – Platypus'

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Lots of helpful thoughts in this post. Makes me think about the value of Mastodon for the academy—and other spaces that I care about. Also, I love seeing Doctorow and academic thinking come together. link to “Open Infrastructures and the Future of Knowledge Production, part 1 – Platypus”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'TikTok Quietly Curtails Data Tool Used by Critics - The New York Times'

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Don’t love it when platforms shut down tools because they don’t like outside research. Gift Link link to “TikTok Quietly Curtails Data Tool Used by Critics - The New York Times”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Are education and learning engineering problems? – George Veletsianos, PhD'

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I’m grateful for George’s comments here. link to “Are education and learning engineering problems? – George Veletsianos, PhD”

assessment statements in my Spring 2024 graduate syllabus

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I ended the Fall 2023 semester with a lot of anxiety and frustration about grades, and there was enough of both that I wound up making a lot of changes to a graduate class that I was sure I was going to keep mostly the same from last year. Not all of these changes were assessment-related (I replaced a lot of readings and shuffled content around some), but I also more-or-less threw out the assessment structure that I’ve been using since 2019 to replace it with something minimalist and closely tied to the course’s learning objectives.

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One of my favorite perks of academia is finding a personally interesting book through the university library.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Wife of Investor Who Pushed for Harvard President’s Exit Is Accused of Plagiarism - The New York Times'

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Plagiarism is clearly bad, but its weaponization as part of a culture war could well he worse. I don’t love the idea of its escalation. Gift link. link to “Wife of Investor Who Pushed for Harvard President’s Exit Is Accused of Plagiarism - The New York Times”

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It’s that time of year where I have a text editor open alongside Canvas so that I can strip out all the extra HTML tags that LMSs like to add to my content.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Kentucky Senate leader files bill to curb 'divisive concepts' in public higher education - Kentucky Lantern'

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Welp, here’s something to pay attention to this legislative session. link to “Kentucky Senate leader files bill to curb ‘divisive concepts’ in public higher education - Kentucky Lantern”