Someone just wrote a book that is entirely composed of tweets about writing a book. People post about how they are writing (#amwriting) and how good they feel about it. The author says that it's not cruel to make fun of these people. The book sells for $9 on Amazon.
If I cite this using MLA, do I put it as an edited book? Did I miss the boat on collecting other people's words for free and charging for them? Is it possible that making fun of random strangers who post on Twitter could be considered cruel?
Signed, Soft-hearted Susan
Dear Ms. Undine,
I want my class to be a success on the first day. Do you have any advice?
You can find a good list at Vanderbilt or your own university's teaching and learning center. That list is mostly great advice, although I don't follow this part under the "sharing information" section: "Personal biography: your place of birth, family history, educational history, hobbies, sport and recreational interests, how long you have been at the university, and what your plans are for the future."
I figure if they know that I'm a humanoid life form and where my office is, that will about exhaust their interest in me. If they want to know more, they will ask.
Dear Ms. Undine,
I would like to save paper by not printing a syllabus but by putting it in Blackboard/Canvas instead. Students will read it there before they come to class, right?
Signed, Dances with Trees
Long ago, in a classroom far away, a dewy-eyed Ms. Undine believed as you do. Then she checked the usage statistics to see how many students had looked at the syllabus and emerged a broken woman.
You don't have to hand out print copies of everything, but a print copy of a syllabus is like a contract for the class. Just the physical act of handing out something on paper will help them to take it more seriously. They are online all the time, and what's there is ephemeral to them. Since a piece of paper is no longer the norm, it has more weight than a bunch of pixels.