With Thanksgiving break here and my imminent crash coming, I am thankful to have made it through the term and have a healthy family. We are mustering what hope we can find in a season of loss, but one thing I've been thinking about ...
One thing that has been a particlar struggle for me since school resumed in August, something I know a lot of people are wrestling with: I’m working nights and weekends a lot more than I used to.
I’m not talking about this as a problem of hard work. I have always been fine with that. It’s more of a constantly-working-around-my-kids thing.

They’re starting to notice, particularly during this pretty hectic month, and they are voicing it.
They are home all day, so they see me working. And I’m on the clock with a lot of my advising duties at night or on Saturday/Sunday, helping students with struggles or in some cases trying to find students who’ve suddenly checked out (a scary thing even without the COVID worry).
I’ve never wanted to be that with my kids. I got it as a kid from my parents and hated it. And really, I managed to get all through tenure track and then some without doing it.
So the habit is creeping in and I don’t like it. I worry I can’t go back to it, or that the kids notice in a way that’s hard to reverse. I don’t think this moment is going away any time soon.
I know, I know. Many have it worse. And it’s a way better problem than having COVID.

But I know I’m not the only one needing a long unplug week just to be with the kids and reconnect with them without having “to do another phone call."
Hug a teacher. Virtually of course. My K-12 colleagues have it 100x worse than we do in higher ed. Work mixed with people management/care is a lot right now.
Anyhow, I *am* thankful. I intend to just do puzzles with the kids. After I finish a couple recommendation letters I’ve been meaning to write for four weeks.
Also the Mandalorian. I’m behind by three episodes and have been avoiding spoilers by muting all you people haha.

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More from @JeremyLittau

21 Nov
1/x As a tenured professor, I submit a triennial portfolio to monitor my progress. These are usually fairly antiseptic pieces, which cite metrics and data and are full of boasting about how we are without being too over-the-top.

2/x I wrote something like that when I went up for tenure, but now that I have tenure I used the chance to do something more expansive and non-traditional (and with some wonderful encouragement from my colleague @PackerLab #onhere).
@PackerLab 3/x I’m publishing it here because right now the moment to say some things and challenge academic ways of thinking about teaching effectiveness really matter. At least to me.
Read 5 tweets
21 Nov
I’m teaching our introductory course this spring and due to the pandemic I’m having to rethink the whole structure. Idea I’ve been toying with is framing all the theory and concepts around two case studies: election fraud allegations and mask polarization.
As case studies go, they’ve got it all. Public health communication challenges, propaganda, weakened news systems, media echo chambers, social network woes, the blurring of entertainment and news.

The struggle isn’t policy or good governance. It’s a problem of communication.
In the background there’s a whole struggle between news production that valorizes fairness and dialogue vs one a media propaganda ecosystem that is nihilistic. It’s a type of asymmetric struggle that will be lost if it’s seen as fight between two valid points of view.
Read 7 tweets
16 Nov
I just finished my last senior seminar class with a group I mostly saw as freshmen. I have watched them grow immensely in four years.

One thing I wish I could do for parents helping their kids pick a college:
Connect them with seniors talking about what parts of college mattered most. They sound VERY different than their freshman selves.

My experience is college candidates often are asking the wrong questions.
When they come as seniors for candidates day, I field a lot of questions about vocation, job propsects, ROI, specific classes we offer and why we don’t offer this other class like such-and-such school does.
Read 17 tweets
12 Nov
The conservative media civil war will be one of the media stories to watch next year.

I will put my bet on Trump licensing his name (like Trump Wines, lol) to rebrand an existing product like Newsmax rather than spending time/money building a new media product from scratch.
I’d characterize the interplay between talk radio, Fox News, Newsmax, OANN, CBN, Breitbart, etc. as for a long time being a competition but one with the same goal.

Trump’s insertion is a potential splintering effect, similar to what will happen in the GOP.
There will be an audience for his base. He’s ginning up their anger with these bogus election fraud claims now. But there will be more mainstream conservatives, which tends to watch Fox, that will want to move on.

That’s a pretty big audience fissure.
Read 12 tweets
11 Nov
NYT is doing a pop-up vertical on election disinformation coverage. Interesting. nyti.ms/38Czaca
The coverage is good, but it’s also indiciative of the challenge. Make these instances their own story, or embed them in every story? Or is the story the entire bad-faith attempt to steal an election and you ignore the individual claims at the expense of doing critical debunking?
The meta-narrative is something you think about as an editor. Normally legal issues are covered as episodic, but readers might not piece together individual stories. They ARE the Trump camp's strategy (big picture) and a danger to democracy itself (death by a thousand cuts).
Read 4 tweets
11 Nov
There’s a difference between painstakingly verifying information and tweeting conspiracy theories.
The public by and large doesn’t understand election administration processes in the U.S. The mechanics of counting, tallying, canvassing, certifying, voter roll management, etc.

Which is fine! But it’s just eyerolling watching the Facebook insta-experts peddling fraud claims.
Propaganda like what Trump and his sycophants are pushing takes root in environments like this. It’s not that the public is not aware of every technical of election administration. It’s that many are incurious about what they are ignorant of when the news requires some humility.
Read 4 tweets

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