MLA Humanities Commons

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Figure 1. Humanities Commons offers you space to post your work and also a peaceful, forest-like atmosphere if you choose that header.

The Site Formerly Known As “MLA Commons” is now Humanities Commons (http://hcommons.org). It’s a user-friendly space to share your work rather than at Academia.edu.

I had already moved my work to the WSU Research Exchange and had asked whether links from research exchanges could be used in MLA Commons; Kathleen Fitzpatrick had tweeted back “not yet,” so maybe this new iteration will have that as a possibility.

In the meantime, I’m uploading my work–well, all that it’s legal to post–into the CORE section of Humanities Commons as well as in the WSU Research Exchange. As with all new spaces and technologies, there’s some duplication of effort (think about the evolution from vinyl to cassette to CD to downloads in music).  It’s a little like Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black seeing a newer, smaller CD format and saying, “Guess I’ll have to buy The White Album again.”

It’ll be worth it, though, for the possibility of sharing work in a broader space.

A personal history of email closings, 1988-present

DEC_VT100_terminalAn article on Mashable tells us that “best” is dead as an email closing.  Abrupt closings are now the way to go, it seems. But everything old is new again, I guess.

In 1988, when we had Bitnet addresses, closings depended on the level of formality.  For formal emails–not that there were as many academics to write to back then–I used good old “Sincerely,” like a letter. Or “Cordially.” For friends, no closing, or maybe just your name.

When we used names, we used “Dear X” for a while, and then “Hi, X.” Getting rid of that comma–which is grammatically necessary but Not Done in email, which then was “e-mail”–was a hard habit to break for me.

But you had to pay attention to what you were typing and keep it short, because the email client we used back then on those black background-and-amber-lettered VAX terminal screens (Pre-PINE) wouldn’t let you go up a line to correct a typo. There was no possibility of cut and paste. If there was a typo and you’d already gone on to the next line, you started over, if you were writing a formal message. If you were writing to a friend, the friend wouldn’t care.

Then in the early 1990s I started seeing the ones we see today: “Best,” “Best regards,” and, in one from about 1997, “All best,” which puzzled me at first until I grew to like the economy of it.

As more people sent email, the closings varied more: “Warm regards,” “Cheers,” “Best wishes,” and the now-ubiquitous “Thanks” even though no favor had been requested or rendered.

In the 2010s, people started to use “I hope you are well” at the beginning of all emails, and the signature files grew from a manageable and agreed-upon length of 4 lines to 5+ lines, sometimes with graphics.  Some started using just the closing (“Thanks,” usually) and the signature file without typing a name above it, maybe because they’d already used up all the courtesy at the beginning of the message.

And now, we’re told, “Best” is out, as is “Thanks,” because there must be fashions and fashion experts in all things, even email.

I’m still a fan of “Best” or “Thanks” because leaving just the period at the end of the last sentence seems curt.

But another very old email rule, one I internalized long ago, is that you can mimic the style of the messages you’re sent. If you don’t want to use a closing or salutation in a message to me, my reply won’t have them, either.

It won’t be strange. It’ll be 1988 all over again.

 

 

 

Downloading and uploading graded papers to Blackboard

The new Blackboard really, really wants you to use its inline tools to grade and comment on student papers. But what if you have a system in place already, including autotext comments you’ve prepared (which won’t work inline) and don’t want to follow Blackboard’s master plan?

This is largely a bookmarking post so I won’t forget how, so please feel free to click away if you already know how to do this.

To download papers (pretty straightforward):

  1. Go to Full Grade Center.
  2. Go to the column where the assignment is.
  3. Click on the drop-down arrow and scroll down to Assignment File Download.
  4. Check “Select All Users” or “Select Ungraded” or whatever.
  5. Download these as a zip file.

Once you’ve graded them, how do you get them back on Blackboard? There is probably an easier way, but this one works.

  1. Go to Full Grade Center.
  2. Go to the Assignment Column. In the gradebox where the student attempt is, click the little drop-down arrow.
  3. Go to Attempt.
  4. In the right-hand box, where it says Feedback to Learner, click on the drop-down arrow.
  5. Underneath the Notes box, there’s your old friend the paper clip, which means that you can attach the graded file.Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 4.00.53 PM

Here’s another way, no less obscure:

  1. Go to Full Grade Center. In the Assignment column, under the arrow, click on View Grade Details.
  2. It will take you to the Grade Details Page. (If you click Attempts at this point, you’ll be back in the “Attempt” menu, as above.)
  3. Click on Edit Grade. Now, you won’t see the attachment icon here, because it’s hidden in the extended menu.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.56.18 PM

    Figure 1. Nothing to see here, right?

  4. Click on the down arrows, though, and you’ll see the paper clip attachment icon.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.56.35 PM

    There it is!

If Yosemite upgrade broke Mail on your Mac, here’s a solution

macmailAfter upgrading to Yosemite, Mail crashed repeatedly on my Mac. I checked several online solutions, but here is a much simpler solution that worked for me:

1. Go to System Preferences.Click on Internet Accounts.

2. Delete each of your email accounts by highlighting it and pressing the little minus bar (next to the + button) at the bottom left of the pop-up window.

3. Open Mail and be sure it’s working and not crashing.  Close Mail.

4. Go back to System Preferences -> Internet Accounts. Add back each email address one by one. To do this, click on the + icon and add the information.

5. Check Mail after each new email address to be sure that Mail is still working. It will take a little time for Mail to repopulate your Inbox folders, etc., but it works.

I’ve had to do this process whenever the iPad updates its OS and the mail client quits working, so I’m glad it works for other Macs as well.

It’s a nuisance to do this, true, but it’s less onerous than trying to find folders like Mail -> Library -> Bundles or temporarily disable and then rebuild the mailboxes.