Semi-Academic Nonfiction
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate, 2011/12/30

Good post on the subject of "'semi-academic nonfiction' (SAN, hereafter). SAN books are frequently written by academics but are meant for a 'general audience'." The two types of books are interestingly different in some ways (for example, the way they document sources). But they are also distributed through different channels. Even though "most university presses have 'general' books, meant for a broad audience... it still sounds like academic publishing is its own 'game', especially in terms of distribution." And the big difference between them is probably readability. "To some, this unreadability comes from the complexity of the material itself. To others, it’s a sign that academics are unskilled writers. In such a context, the increased readability of books which 'aren’t too academic' is probably welcome. Today: Total:47 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Using WordPress as a Syllabus Database
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate, 2011/08/29

This is pretty smart. WordPress, like most blogging systems, is at heart a content management system. So using it to manage some sort of content, like a syllabus archive, is a good idea. So here, writes Alexandre Enkerli, is "a preliminary version of a syllabus database that I’ve been meaning to build for an academic association with which I’m working." Here are more screenshots and a self-contained version with theme files. Today: Total:122 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Answers On Expertise
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate,

Alexandre Enkerli follows up his post on expertise. "Mass media coverage of academic research was the basis of series of entries on the original Language Log, including one of my favourite blogposts, Mark Liberman's Language Log: Raising standards - by lowering them. The main point, I think, is that secluded academics in the Ivory Tower do little to alleviate this problem." Today: Total:35 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Quest for Expertise
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate,

This is a fabulous bit of academic sleuthing as Alexandre Enkerli looks for the source of the claim that "it takes ten years to become an expert in anything." He uncovers a number of suggestive works and traces a plausible timeline for the claim, but nothing in history showing it as having been definitively proven. He also notes that Malcolm Gladwell has been acting as though he is the source of the claim: "it doesn't seem that Gladwell himself has done anything to 'set the record straight.' He does quote Levitin in Outliers, but I heard him reply to questions and comments as if the research behind the 'ten years or ten thousand hours' claim had some association with him." Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blogging Academe
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate,

Reframing and reworking of a series of points from Hugh McGuire on Why Academics Should Blog. The focus is on "three main dimensions of an academic's life: research, teaching, and community outreach. Other items in a professor's job description may benefit from blogging but these three main components tend to be rather prominent in terms of PTR (promotion, tenure, reappointment). What's more, blogging can help integrate these dimensions of academic life in a single set of activities." Today: Total:48 [Comment] [Direct Link]

enkerlienkerli, DisparateDisparate,

Disparate writes, "Academic contexts are full of cases of intello-bullying. Classrooms, conferences, outings... Put a group of academics in a room and unless there's a strong sense of community (Turner would say 'communitas'), intello-bullying is likely to occur." I'm sure I've been accused of it, despite my best intentions, and I would certainly accuse others of it. Where is the line, I wonder, between intellectual bullying and refusing to be swayed by poor (or inarticulate) reasoning? I think I need to find out. Today: Total:41 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Patent Filing the Future of Instructional Podcasts
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate,

This post concerns an Apple patent application for a device that switches from a lecturer to his or her slides. If you ask me, this one falls under the 'obvious' category. And I love how the images in this Apple patent application look like they came from the 1950s.

Today: Total:54 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Voice and Empathy
Alexandre EnkerliAlexandre Enkerli, DisparateDisparate,

I like this post not so much because I wanted to learn about telemarketing but because the self-reflective attitude demonstrated here is an important skill and worth illustrating. Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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