Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Carnivalesque XXV

Carnivalesque XXV

While I was conferencing (report on Late Antique/Early Medieval conference to come soon!), Troels Myrup posted Carnivalesque XXV at Iconoclasm. Go and learn and relax while finding out many good things ancient and medieval!

Carnivalesque needs hosts! The next edition some time around the middle of April will be an early modern edition, and the one after that in May will be for ancient/medieval topics. Email carnivalesque AT earlymodernweb DOT org DOT uk if you’re interested!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Head Slightly above water

Head Slightly above water

Conference blogging: today begins my favourite conference. Off to registration in a bit. I'm not presenting, because it's still a bit early for me (in terms of the scope of the conference -- all about Late Antiquity), but I hope to present at the next one. In the meantime, I've been entertaining a houseguest, writing a review, and marking. Oh -- and working on a paper? I miss you all!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hell and Damnation

Hell and Damnation

So I'm spending my break grading, rather than writing the paper and book review I'd planned on writing. The document analysis essays I'm grading are awful. I had this cunning plan of starting with short writing assignments worth small amounts of points, and building over the course of the semester. So the first assignment was 2-3 paragraphs -- external information about the assigned primary source, and two or three general things that a historian might use the document for, e.g., family life, or gender relations. The next one was about 5-7 paragraphs and asked them to do the same thing, but to choose one theme and give a couple of specific examples from the text, how they relate to the theme, and how those things fit in with the context of the external information. This one, I asked them to compare two documents. I gave them specific instructions on the work I wanted them to do to set up their essays -- lists of information on the external stuff (kinds of documents, authorship, audience, dates, etc.) and internal stuff (kinds of information, subjects/themes dealt with, etc.) Then choose one subject or theme only, and compare and contrast the documents.

Except, well, I kind of figured they would realize that they were supposed to be putting this all together. The good students did. The vast majority did the spadework, and chose a single theme, and compared and contrasted that theme, but included nothing on the externals (even though that was part of the exercise), and NO analysis whatsoever. I asked them to make sure they answered the question of what the documents tell us, and assumed that the "how" was going to be covered. Because, well, when you make a statement in an argumentative essay, you have to support it, don't you? Except that, of course, lazy and untrained brains are not going to go there. Of course, none of them are first-semester students. They should know they have to support their work ...

I'm so thoroughly pissed off right now. Most of it is with myself. I'm usually really careful not to let things like this slip through the cracks. I'm usually the queen of over-explaining. But part of me is really pissed off that I have to do that in the first place. Because when I was at university, I was given a paper topic, and wrote the paper. If I got it wrong, I got a poor grade, and I learned from my mistakes or, if really confused, asked how to fix them. So I am now wondering what to do about the marking -- do I raise every grade by 5 points because my instructions were not as precise as they could have been? Or do I do what I'm tempted to do, and make this a step of the final document paper, and have them re-write it properly for part of their final grade?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday Meme!

Thursday Meme

Seen around and about ...

The Pretentious Dissertation Title Mini-Quiz by MagnaMaxima
Your Field
Your Dissertation's Pretentious TitleThe Peasant Economy:
Your Dissertation's Pretentious SubtitleThe Cultural Stratagem at Work In McDonald's

For the record, my thesis title was very old-fashioned and had no colon, nor need for one.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday Memeage

Monday Memeage

Well, Maggie May did one, so I have to act like a sheep and say, "baa!" Yep, it's Johari Window time. You can contribute to mine here.



Dear students with runny noses, aka persons residing in the hell of serious snot-production,

Test-taking time is supposed to be quiet time. Do you know how loud a room full of sniffles is? Also, you are supposed to be (young) adults! Have you not heard of: cold medicine? or at least Kleenex? Amazingly, if you blow your nose really well before class, you might not be making those incredibly loud noises that tell your prof that you don't care if she has both serious work and serious canoodling to do over break, while you're taking your damned colds to the beach! And by the way -- antibacterial hand gel, please. And if the prof offers you a Kleenex? Use it, dammit! Don't tell me you don't need it when you clearly do!

Really, people. Grow up and take some responsibility for your own health and that of the people who come in contact with you. Which reminds me ... I guess I need to go buy some of that anti-bacterial stuff for handling these toxic exam books. Y'all are damned lucky that there were at least 5 of you snortling away and that I'll have finished marking your exams before I can actually come down with something. Because if I do, there'll be hell to pay.

Much love, but with serious irritation,

Dr (not Mrs.) ADM

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wow. Just ... Wow

Wow. Just ... Wow

It's probably clear from my circle of blogfriends (many of whom are now RL friends) that I know some very cool and generous people. Many are medievalists, many are not. I mean this as no disrespect to those of you kind and generous people who aren't medievalists ...but ... can I just say one more time how amazing my experiences with people in my field are? Either I'm terribly naive (possibly), or there is something about the people who do Late Antiquity and the Early MA that seems to make them want to help even people they've never heard of. Maybe it's true for all of us, but I've heard awful tales about un-collegial behaviour from colleagues in other types of history. And definitely from the lit people. So yeah, I'm having one of those "feeling blessed" kind of days.