Sunday, June 21, 2015

Grading, Seminars, and Dentist Appointment

My cat loves his pet bed and the microwavable warmer. I heat it up in the morning before leaving for school and it is still warm when I get back in the evening. I found a New Zealand supplier ( so I didn't have to wait.

I really enjoyed Jurassic World and all of the science fiction implications. If we have time while in Sydney, I'd like to see it in 3-D IMAX! The ending is pure awesome.

Grading 30 essays was a huge pain and took me 3 days to complete. The good news is some students did a lot better than last time (not that anything in the class was about improving their writing) and there were fewer instances of plagiarism. However, some students did worse and evidently didn't feel like putting much time into their work. A lot of them clearly struggled with the essay questions, but only a couple sought my help.

Seminars & Conference

I won one of two travel scholarships to one of the Australia conferences I'm going to in a few weeks, so that was great news. They would like to present it to the awardees at the conference banquet as well.

I attended several of the Teaching Week seminars on-campus and learned a lot of good information on diversity, ineffectiveness of the lecture for student engagement and learning, and motivations and profiles of first-year law students. I feel like I'm being stuffed full of information which is all coming together with common themes.

The National Digital Forum held a one-day "barcamp" which is a kind of conference where the people attending decide on the topics they want to see covered, rather than the program being pre-determined. It was an interesting way of organizing. Attendees ranged from library staff, to academics and teachers, to students, to museum and gallery staff. We shared tools and resources, ideas on how to digitize content and why it is so important, ways of helping people learn coding and tech skills, and how to enable partnerships between libraries, museums, and students. I have quickly become a big proponent of Digital Humanities and the importance of turning the critical eye of the humanities to digital content and not letting the small percentage of programmers dominate the tech sector. I am looking forward to the international Digital Humanities conference in one week in Sydney!

Dentist Appointment

We had our first experience with dentistry in New Zealand. Apparently, it is uncommon to have dentists and hygienists work together in the same office. So when you go for a dental checkup and X-rays, this is performed by a dentist in a 15-minute window. To get an actual teeth cleaning, you have to go to a hygienist and pay anywhere from $80-$150 because dental things are not subsidized by the government healthcare system. The dentist said he would really like to have a hygienist in his office, but he has faced resistance from New Zealanders who think that it is a strange concept. 

He was a fairly young guy who has a lot of complaints about the abysmal state of healthcare, especially dentistry, here. He recommended American or British doctors because they will be more thorough and caring (threat of litigation still weighs on American doctors he said). He and his staff were telling me horror stories about their encounters with the healthcare system, like a family member getting metal in an eye that ended up rusting and causing permanent damage, all because the initial doctor said there was nothing in the eye (and the person can't sue in this system). I said they could probably be a millionaire in the U.S.! They also mentioned doctors giving wrong prescriptions and ignoring a woman on the floor in pain who clearly needed emergency medical attention. He was also upset that the government was trying to pretend there were no waiting lists for healthcare by pressuring healthcare providers into essentially hiding their waiting lists. It was all very disappointing to hear.

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