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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: capricorn, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 10 of 10
1. Spring Classes Postmortem

The spring term is done, grades are in, and so here is my regular, quick post looking back on how the courses went, an epilogue to the January post looking at the courses just before they began.


Currents in Global Literature went pretty well, though I certainly missed Petals of Blood. But having three short books after Sentimental Education and Burger's Daughter was an improvement over Petals of Blood followed by two short books, and The River Between was popular with the students. If I were teaching the course again, I'd probably redesign it from the ground up, but we hired a great person to take over the course, so she'll get to make it her own now. I find our whole curriculum structure annoyingly nationalistic, which makes teaching this course very difficult because it has to accomplish more than any one course possibly can. I hoped to give the students some glimpse of the richness of literature outside of the U.S. and Britain, and to give them some tools to seek out such literature for themselves in the future.

Introduction to Film continues to be a course that perplexes me. I think the students liked it well enough and certainly found that it broadened their perspective of what movies have been and can be, but I felt very unorganized teaching it, despite all the effort I put into organizing it. The challenges of the course have a lot to do with some incoherence in our curriculum, which makes this class, much like Global Lit, too much of a catch-all. I could have defined it better myself, and should have. At a small school with no real film program (film is a "concentration" within two different majors, English and Communications & Media Studies), Intro to Film has to function as a course in film history, film analysis, and film theory, and that's just too much for any one class to do — indeed, the ideal would be to have separate courses in Hollywood history, non-Hollywood history, and film analysis & theory, but I don't see us having the resources or organization to be able to accomplish that any time soon. So there's Intro to Film.

In the future, I think I'm going to cut the screening list down to maybe 10 movies at most, because by the end of the term it just felt like we'd watched too much, so what could be said about any one film was superficial. I may have to reconsider the textbooks, too, because as much as I like them, I think I need a book or book(s) that are more specific and less broad. I was disappointed in the updates to The Film Experience in the new edition, because there just isn't enough close analysis of specific films, so the book ends up leading us away from the sort of specificity that will, perhaps, make the class more coherent. Something like Film Moments might actually be a better bet. (Among textbooks, Film Art has more of the kind of specificity I'm looking for; I just wish it were balanced with Corrigan & White's more ecumenical view of cinema history and theory.)

Outlaws, Delinquents, and Other "Deviants" in Film & Society was fun, and would have been even more fun if it weren't at 8am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a schedule that made most of the students less than lively. Nonetheless, and if I do say so myself, the choice of materials worked very well together. Even though there were a lot of movies, it didn't feel like an overwhelming group, unlike Intro to Film, and I think this is because the course is much more focused and so I was able to create a set of films that spoke well to and through each other. As for the textbooks, I'm not sure I would use The Cinema Book again, because as good as it is, it just didn't end up having quite eno

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2. Ypulse Essentials: Hillary Clinton Tells Teens 'It Gets Better,' Starbucks Goes Digital, Judy Blume Heads To The Big Screen

Hillary Clinton tells teens 'It Gets Better' (giving the anti-bullying social media campaign a nice dose of political legitimacy — I especially like that she tells LGBT youth who are struggling to "ask for help." Meanwhile, GLAAD urges... Read the rest of this post

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3. How Swine Flu showed publishing the way

Score one for eBooks as a learning tool.  Jason Boog over at the GalleyCat blog made mention of what I consider to be a major advantage for students in cutting edge fields like Medicine.  Instantly updated learning material.

When the publisher Little Brown issued an eBook only update about the H1N1 virus to their title "The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child" they explicitly showed that the publishers now have a way to combat the lag times of traditional publishing, they don't even have to abandon print editions. 

By simply giving purchasers access to a continuously updated electronic edition a publisher can ensure a textbook buyer that they will have completely up to date and relevant information about their subject despite any advances that may occur.  They could package the text like software giving you the base text and two years worth of updates with the first purchase.  After the term the student/teacher/professional could opt for further updates for an aditional licence fee, keep the product as is, or buy the next edition.

This could also help reduce the number of new editions that publishers need to produce allowing them to move towards something more resonable like a 5 year publishing cycle for textbooks.  The publisher is rewarded financially for keeping their text up to date, professionals no longer have to cross reference between texts and monthly journals, and students could be less crippled by debt.

Obviously this is less of a concern for some fields (I am constantly aggravated by the parade of new Calculus editions being produced despite the fundamentals remaining unchanged for centuries... but I digress), but for fast changing sciences like Medicine this is a huge development.  Now we just have to see how it will be used.

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4. How Swine Flu showed publishing the way

Score one for eBooks as a learning tool.  Jason Boog over at the GalleyCat blog made mention of what I consider to be a major advantage for students in cutting edge fields like Medicine.  Instantly updated learning material.

When the publisher Little Brown issued an eBook only update about the H1N1 virus to their title "The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child" they explicitly showed that the publishers now have a way to combat the lag times of traditional publishing, they don't even have to abandon print editions. 

By simply giving purchasers access to a continuously updated electronic edition a publisher can ensure a textbook buyer that they will have completely up to date and relevant information about their subject despite any advances that may occur.  They could package the text like software giving you the base text and two years worth of updates with the first purchase.  After the term the student/teacher/professional could opt for further updates for an aditional licence fee, keep the product as is, or buy the next edition.

This could also help reduce the number of new editions that publishers need to produce allowing them to move towards something more resonable like a 5 year publishing cycle for textbooks.  The publisher is rewarded financially for keeping their text up to date, professionals no longer have to cross reference between texts and monthly journals, and students could be less crippled by debt.

Obviously this is less of a concern for some fields (I am constantly aggravated by the parade of new Calculus editions being produced despite the fundamentals remaining unchanged for centuries... but I digress), but for fast changing sciences like Medicine this is a huge development.  Now we just have to see how it will be used.

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5. Introduction to Film Textbooks



I previously wrote (and wrote and wrote...) about what I was thinking when designing an intro to film class that I'll be teaching next term, and particularly when choosing the fourteen films to show during the 150-minute screening time outside of class.  That post wasn't complete, though, because an important other factor in the shape of the course is the textbook.

When I got the assignment to teach intro to film, I'd never looked at a film textbook.  I'd be tempted to say, "When I was in school, we didn't need none of them overpriced, overstuffed, overacademic behemoths!"  And though it is true that the profileration of such textbooks is a relatively recent event, a handful of them are over thirty years old.  I just tended to get teachers who didn't want us to read much in film classes.

I'm a fan of reading, though.  And I'm especially a fan of reading in an intro class, where a textbook gives interested students more information than they'll get from the inevitably incomplete survey an intro class provides.  With a good textbook, or even a mediocre textbook, a student who becomes particularly curious about a topic will have a tool that shows the way toward deeper exploration.

I began by borrowing books from colleagues, then contacting publisher's representatives to see what they could send me.  I soon had over a dozen books to choose from.

After skimming the books in my pile, I was able to eliminate half of them as in one way or another obviously inappropriate.  For instance, I loved Routledge's Introduction to Film Studies, and particularly appreciated that it was thirty dollars less expensive than most of the other textbooks.  But that book's idea of introduction and mine are very different -- for students in their first or second year of college, it would be dauntingly complex, its vocabulary and concepts challenging even for intrepid students.  As a textbook for graduate students or for undergraduates in a serious and comprehensive Film Studies program, it would be an excellent resource.

Once I had skimmed and whittled, I encountered this post by Chris Cagle about film textbooks and found it helpful and reassuring.  Most of the books Cagle writes about have been updated or are out of print, but the post confirmed a number of ideas that had been floating around in my mind.  With one exception (and that likely because of a difference in editions), the descriptions of the books seem accurate and fair to me.

It only took me a few days to get down to three finalists: Bordwell & Thompson's Film Art, Barsam & Monahan's Looking at Movies, and Corrigan & White's The Film Experience.

Each is a wonderful textbook and would serve the class well.  Looking at Movies is the most straightforward and clearly written of the three, absolutely perfect for a basic intro class.  It also has the only useful accompanying DVD that I've seen with a textbook.  Film Art is a pure joy to read an

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6. BookFinder.com saves students 60% on Textbooks

It's back to school time for college students, they've registered for classes, figured out their housing and now it's time to think about their textbooks.  This is often a huge expense for students, the Student Public Interest Research Group's Make textbooks affordable campaign reports that students spend an average of $900 each year on textbooks, but much of this cost is avoidable.  Students can use BookFinder.com to help reduce their textbook costs.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jennie Kushner from the University of Alabama newspaper (The Crimson White), she was asking what students should do to help shave down their textbook costs. 

I explained that buying their books early, inquiring about old editions, and buying used textbooks were the three easiest things that a student could do to save money but in the end they should compare prices and shop around.  She obviously took my advice to heart because she picked a bundle of books and compared prices on BookFinder.com to her college bookstore and found that BookFinder.com would save 60% over the college bookstore.

Five books covering a wide variety of subjects from the SUPe Store’s Tutwiler location totaled $469.30 without taxes. Using BookFinder.com the same books totaled $184.09, including shipping. That is a total savings of $285.21. - Crimson White

The one thing that Ms. Kushner forgot to mention in her article was that while textbook rentals can be a very powerful savings tool, and that we highly recommend considering them, when you compare the price of a textbook rental to the price of buying the textbook you need to factor in the resale price you will receive when you sell the textbook at the end of your semester.

Many people forget about this because college bookstores are famous for paying pennies on the dollar for used textbooks but now that selling textbooks online, or textbook buyback, has become commonplace online students are able to get a good chunk of their money back.  I will do the math on this in a post next week and show how to make the most of our textbook buyback marketplace, where you compare offers from several textbook merchants who are all competing to buy your textbook back from you.

Search BookFinder.com to find your Textbooks.

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7. Ilakaka, Madagascar

bens-place.jpg

Ilakaka, Madagascar

Coordinates: 22 40 S 45 13 E

Elevation: 2526 feet (770 m)

Perhaps best known for its abundance of arboreal, mainly nocturnal primates (in fact the only place in the wild where lemurs remain), Madagascar recently discovered another, more lucrative source of natural wealth: precious gems. (more…)

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8. Save 54% on textbooks at BookFinder.com

We’ve been adding more textbook sources on BookFinder.com, leading to even lower prices on college textbooks.

We did a survey of six sample courselists from three U.S. universities, checking prices at local campus bookstores, and comparing them to the prices we found on BookFinder.com; we were happily surprised by the results.

There are substantial savings buying a semester’s worth of textbooks from BookFinder.com:

  • $175.75 (54%) saved vs. buying the cheapest copies at local campus stores
  • $278.69 (65%) saved vs. buying new books at local campus stores
Courselist Campus store BookFinder.com
cheapest
Savings vs. campus
store new
Savings vs. campus
store cheapest
New Cheapest $ % $ %
Iowa State “fuzzy”
Econ 101, History 222, Comm Studies 102, Math 8
$488.00 $365.80 $132.23 $355.77 73% $233.57 64%
Iowa State “techie”
Engl 101C, Chem 160, Math 140, Geol 100
$428.40 $321.20 $86.89 $341.51 80% $234.31 73%
UC Berkeley pre-computer sci
Engg 10, Phil 12A, Engl 31AC, CompSci 61A
$416.05 $322.40 $169.46 $246.59 59% $152.94 47%
UC Berkeley possible-premed
Bio 1B, Stat 131, Spanish 1, English 25
$479.65 $374.40 $185.93 $293.72 61% $188.47 50%
Duke art/classics
ArtHist 70 & 103, Vis Arts 54, Relig 20S
$469.93 $353.00 $184.21 $285.72 61% $168.79 48%
Duke political science / policy
Econ 49S, HealthPol 111, PoliSci 101, Stat 10
$290.43 $218.00 $141.59 $148.84 51% $76.41 35%
Average of all courselists $428.74 $325.80 $150.05 $278.69 65% $175.75 54%

[Now reading The World to Come by Dara Horn]

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9. Ypulse Book Essentials: 'Charlie the Second,' Hip-Hop As Poetry, Librarians Vs. Google

Editor’s Note This is the last edition of Ypulse Book Essentials and the last day of our separate Ypulse Books Newsletter. We will continue to cover YA and children's book publishing as a part of Ypulse and publishing related news will be covered... Read the rest of this post

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10. BookFinder.com helps you sell your textbooks

So last week I mentioned that the cost of education is becoming more expensive, and that buying your textbooks doesn’t have to add to this burden. Today I want to give you some more good news.

This week as you finish writing your final exams (assuming you are a student and that you're not one of the lucky ones who already finished) you have more options then ever when it comes to selling off your old textbooks.

Your options are no longer limited to selling your books back to the college bookstore, consignment, or posting on notice boards; a growing number of online booksellers are engaging in online textbook buyback and once again BookFinder.com is here to help.

This system works almost exactly like buying books online but in reverse. You simply enter the ISBN's of your textbooks into the BookFinder.com buyback search and you will be shown offers from multiple online book buyers. You can compare these prices, just as you do when buying books online and if you are happy with the prices being offered you can choose to sell any one or all of your books.

All you have to do is pack the books up in a box or mailing envelope, print out your packing list(s) and pre-paid shipping label(s) and then mail the books off. Then when the book buyer receives the books they send you your money. All of the BookFinder.com buyback partners pay the shipping costs and there is no buyback window so you can sell your books anytime.

By checking the buyback prices online and at the college bookstore you are sure to get the best price for your books with the added bonus of not having to wait around for consignment sales.

Currently buyback is only available within the United States, however we are working hard to find buyback partners in other countries.

So go ahead and try the BookFinder.com textbook buyback and let us know how you like it!

[Now reading: Going Solo by Roald Dahl]

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