@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-16

  • U. of C Biblical Manuscript a fake :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: http://bit.ly/4ToE6P –Once fetched millions, but it's a forgery #
  • Give a Humanist a Supercomputer … – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/6G73lr #
  • Student banned from U after Facebook posts | StarTribune.com http://bit.ly/4DfZ1E #
  • When Teaching the Right Answers Is the Wrong Direction | Edutopia http://bit.ly/6Z0mPB #
  • Scholastic Names the Decade's Ten Big Ideas in Education http://bit.ly/8F1onB #
  • 'Teacher U': A New Model in Employer-Led Higher Education – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/772H6f #
  • How to Prepare Your College for an Uncertain Digital Future – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/4xKMx3 #
  • First Amendment in the Classroom – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/7q7uy8 #
  • Clean Slate – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/85RV7y –Blackboard, ends patent feud with Desire2Learn. #
  • A major reading program that gives more points to 'Breaking Dawn' than 'The Grapes of Wrath' http://bit.ly/8Vhu8P #
  • Pasadena library branch offering free after-school homework help – Pasadena Star-News http://bit.ly/8KQhjp #
  • Chinua Achebe’s Encounters With Many Hearts of Darkness – Review – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/8Jm6jA #
  • Tablet PCs Are Coming, and Magazines Aim to Be Ready – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/50k8eZ #
  • Wary Book Publishers Are Fighting the Future – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/5sDDd1 #
  • Team Bronte? 'Twilight' teaches classics | Columbus Local News: http://bit.ly/7mK53d #
  • Writing workshop helps veterans express feelings | Radio Iowa http://bit.ly/6tDwJ6 #
  • What Matters Now: Free ebook from Seth Godin – http://bit.ly/800fs5 –70+ big thinkers share an idea to think about as we head into 2010 #
  • Writing Carnival Video from SC's Celebration of National Day on Writing – National Writing Project http://bit.ly/5PEpCe #nwp #
  • Blackboard Settles Longstanding Patent Fight With Rival Desire2Learn – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/7CPVG0 #
  • UC research workers call for pay raises http://bit.ly/8TO5GX –researchers, technicians & postdoc scholars picketing for raises & benefits #
  • Sarkozy unveils €35bn 'big loan' boost for French universities and museums | World news | guardian.co.uk http://bit.ly/5121Vc #
  • The All-Digital Library? Not Quite Yet – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/5OuDO8 #

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-15

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-14

  • Why James Chartrand Wears Women's Underpants | Copyblogger http://bit.ly/8H7rHM –gender bias & adopting 'male' pen names #
  • Obama's Safe Schools Czar Tied to Lewd Readings for 7th Graders | FOXNews.com – http://bit.ly/8b0pe4 #
  • Free Web Site Helps Harvard Students Cut Class – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/6hnJKb #
  • E-Textbook Publisher Strives to Make Titles More Accessible to the Blind – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/724PSq #
  • Video Highlights from NWP's 2009 Annual Meeting – National Writing Project http://bit.ly/5qOGnM #
  • Open Access Encyclopedias – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/6X6QeH #
  • Are We All Precious? – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/7Vl8ur #
  • Gingerbread Has Its Strengths as a Sustainable Building Material – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/7iUXKA #
  • Because We Fight Over Poetry – New York Magazine http://bit.ly/59YDHm #
  • Oye, new Spanish grammar guidelines unveiled | The Associated Press: http://bit.ly/6qaIeE #
  • Media Cache – TV Still Has a Hold on Teenagers – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/6Ff6XO #
  • Preparing Students for College: The Academic Word List (AWL) | Classroom Solutions http://bit.ly/7T3AAy #
  • Sex bias probe in colleges' selections: Panel to study whether men favored in area admissions – washingtonpost.com http://bit.ly/5g8zxn #

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Does Comcast Care, Part 3

It’s 5 months and 6 days. I’ve been assured that the refund check has been cut and I should have it this week. Here’s what happened late last week.

12/10/09:
2:42 PM, I returned the call from Mary, an Executive Support Specialist in Oakbrook, Illinois. I got someone else, and was told that Mary wasn’t taking any calls because of computer problems. The person was going to walk my information over to Mary so she could return my call later.

3:10 PM, Mary tells me that they are “working to get the refund out” and that they are “hoping to have resolution today or tomorrow.” She can’t really tell me anymore, but mentioned that she knew I’d been told a lot of things by a lot of different people and she was working to figure out what was going on.

12/11/09:
11:22 AM, Mary, the Executive Support Specialist in Illinois, calls again. Mary tells me that they are getting the check out in the next few days and that I should have it this week. She says she has checked and the process for the check has been released (whatever that means).

She also had an explanation for what caused this nightmare. Apparently someone in the Urbana office has been out on extended sick leave for three and a half months. The customer-savvy Comcast people in Urbana have just been piling things on this person’s desk and no one is taking care of them.

In other words, anyone looking for a refund or whatnot from the Urbana Comcast is probably in the same situation I am. Every time I called and asked for my refund, they just added another request to this huge pile that no one is taking care of.

Of course, that only explains 3.5 of the 5+ months delay, but it’s better than no explanation.

The conclusion so far
Comcast’s corporate office may care, especially if you splash a lot of complaints all across the Internet.

Comcast’s Urbana, Illinois office doesn’t care in any way at all. No company that cared could allow customer service requests to sit for 3.5 months.

@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-13

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-12

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-11

  • Flagging plagiarism, Blackboard's SafeAssign helps faculty stop cheating – Southern Illinois, Edwardsville – http://bit.ly/8umz4k #
  • Survey shows many incidences of plagiarism go undiscovered – The Mac Weekly http://bit.ly/4IdJvc #
  • A Brief History of Standardized Testing – TIME http://bit.ly/6E36UW #
  • Clueless Publishers – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/7NmI0Y –commentary on delaying e-books until 4 months after hardcover release. #
  • Stimulus for Student Grades – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/6SAiF2 -Fort Hays State pays $5 for each credit students earn w/ a C or higher #
  • Not Textbooks. Think Curricular Resource Strategy, Part I | From the Bell Tower – Library Journal http://bit.ly/7lAPhe #
  • Survey: 58 percent of teens consider access to social network sites when accepting jobs — chicagotribune.com http://bit.ly/73oh7k #
  • The Wild Things were my Yiddish relatives | The Jewish Chronicle http://bit.ly/4Bjq8m –Sendak's backstory for the famous picture book #
  • With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them | Public Agenda http://bit.ly/8TCMY1 –the 1st of 3 reports on young Americans' views on higher ed #
  • No More Fancy Fonts – Inside Higher Ed "!" http://bit.ly/5j7jQ3 –on creativity and syllabus writing #
  • Old West lessons change students' lives – The Denver Post http://bit.ly/5Czdeb –applying cowboy ethics to the classroom #
  • SF Bay schools phase out gay-friendly curriculum | The Associated Press: http://bit.ly/4ooDED #
  • Christmas In School? Separate Church, State — Courant.com http://bit.ly/5cXWgV #

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2009-12-10

  • In the Midnight Hour – Inside Higher Ed http://bit.ly/8f0Is9 #
  • Students let it flow at writing workshop | South Bend Tribune: http://bit.ly/6lHHJO –on Southwestern Michigan College's Writing Olympics #
  • U. of South Florida Promises a Laptop for All Athletes – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/5khlbf #
  • Library of Congress Newspapers on Flickr | http://bit.ly/5XlZWL –Expansion includes illustrated & visual content from historic US papers #
  • A New Wiki: “The Evaluation of Digital Work”| ProfHacker.com http://bit.ly/4TTcJO #
  • New Content-Sharing Site for Student Journalists Tries to Fill UWIRE Void – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/4DJq9R #
  • Online University, Struggling to Attract Students, Loses Investors as Well – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/7b8rOn #
  • Best of Edutopia's 2009 Technology Coverage | Edutopia http://bit.ly/4AAaTB #
  • Oxford University to reform voting rules for poetry professor post | Books | The Guardian http://bit.ly/78MUI4 #
  • Plagiarism Charges Against University President Are Irrelevant, Court Says – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/7i2OyC #
  • Untagged or Under Arrest: Police Set Up Facebook Account to Catch Underage Drinkers – Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/8cXyAD #
  • Despite Ray Bradbury’s Efforts, A California Library Closes – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/6p0QLC #
  • The Endless First Chapter – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/83960x –on reading practices and distractions #
  • For homeless college students, each day brings tests of will – washingtonpost.com http://bit.ly/5ZMpzT #

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Bits Post: Warning: No Yelling in the Food Court

Try this incredibly simple but quite useful analogy to reach students who are struggling with issues of audience and style. Soon they’ll be speaking to, and not at, their audience.

Does Comcast Care, Part 2

It’s now 5 months and a day. Still no $300 refund check. Still no explanation for why.

12/08/09:
After I tweeted and blogged about the situation, Detreon, the most recent Comcast rep I’ve communicated with, left a comment on my first blog entry about the problem:

Our regional offices were closed yesterday evening when we last corresponded, but I’ve asked that someone reach out to you this morning to make this right. We will be in touch!

Okay, I figured I would give them time to make this phone call or email contact. They seemed to be trying.

Detreon tweeted at 3:15 pm to ask if I’d gotten the message. He misspelled my first name. I didn’t reply. I was hoping to hear from the regional office, as he said, and I got busy with other things.

Sadly, there was no contact from the regional offices.

12/09/09:
5:24 PM, I get an email from an Oakbrook, Illinois rep, Mary:

Thank you for contacting our executive office with your questions and concerns. We value your business and appreciate the opportunity to resolve your issue as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, our attempts to contact you at (217)***-**** have been unsuccessful. At your earliest convenience please contact us to address your service and billing concerns to ensure efficient resolution.

Office Contact number: (800) 630-2140 ext. 82334
Office Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday

We look forward to hearing from you.

Right. There’s a shock. You cannot reach me at the phone number that is no longer mine. Please note that I have given them the correct phone number every time I’ve talked to someone, including in my last message to Detreon.

Of course, by the time I get home and find this message the office is closed.

5:26 PM, More confusing, Mary has left a message on my phone here in Virginia as well, also. So she has the right phone number and after sending her email, she called the right number.

Her message refers to my “refund request.” Why can’t they just tell me if this check has been cut or will ever be cut? It’s still a “request” so I’m assuming there’s no check yet.

Again, they’re closed, so there’s nothing I can do right now.


Sigh. I have a receipt that shows a $300 credit. I have been told over the past 5 months by repeated customer service reps that there is indeed a credit on my account.

Yet 5 months and 1 day later, I still have no indication that Comcast has any intention of sending me this money. How can $300 be so precious to a company that is making a $37,000,000,000 bid for NBC? Just 300 little dollars. 0.0000000081081% of your bid.

To me however, $300 would be a 535% increase in my checking account balance. It matters desperately to me.

I know that my account with you has been messy with you Comcast. My life was turned upside-down last fall when I had to move to Virginia to help take care of my mother. My finances got very confused, and I was late paying you. But you have your equipment back, AND you had me pay for that equipment. I don’t have a job right now. $300 matters to me. You said it was due to me. Over and over, you have told me a check would be on the way. Will it ever be?