Traveling Stromateis

Encouraging news about my current employer from The Scotsman; encouraging, that is, in the sense that the report identifies the cost of living there as low, and characterizes the students as hard-working. Now, that’s based on the number of hours they work for pay outside of academic efforts, and I don’t wish financial hardship on my students — but it bespeaks a degree of earnest commitment on their part, that they would devote so much energy to part-time jobs for the sake of their studies.
Inside Higher Education features a couple of good stories this morning, one on grading and one on the future of books. Cathy Davidson plans to alter the basis for grading in her courses this fall; although Margaret and I both note that this plan doesn’t take convincing account of the importance of the quality of writing and of critical engagement with the topic (although Duke’s Undergraduate Writing Program might provide a foundation for that), still it’s encouraging to observe a high-profile prof articulating some of the structural problems with the institutional-educational economy.
The other mostly just reports that the sorts of thing that technologists have been saying all along about the future of books and digital texts — that digital texts will not simply replace books, that they stand to amplify the market for long-tail books (though they will tend to damp the market for the runaway bestseller), that digital distribution adds a medium to the familiar channels of communication rather than undermining reading — but it’s good to see that librarians and university presses are noticing and making arrangements with a view to a positive digital future.
And although the outdoor temperature this morning was pretty moderate, the humidity is still high and Christ Church holds onto heat, so even a short Morning Prayer service in street clothes came close to being a thermally-uncomfortable experience. The Daily Office is a lovely, profound gift; it’s great that Christ Church sustains this as a regular aspect of their worship schedule.

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