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Two Unrelated Bytes

I’ve got a couple of very unrelated “possibilities” to pass along.

  • Easels or “flip chart” stands.  A few of you–especially those teaching IF-related courses this fall–have asked whether we have any specific recommendations on flip chart stands.  I think Jeff spoke about this briefly in Madison and generally recommended getting higher quality easels rather than “economy” or “light duty” ones.  I asked him about this again recently and he said that the $30-$60 stands really aren’t worth it.  You have to go to $90-$140 or so to get something that will adequately support a flip chart while you are writing on it (as well as being portable).  I also looked around a bit online.  It seems a key component is to get a stand that either includes a “flip chart holder” (also referred to as a “pad retainer” or “t-bar”) or has a solid rectangular (often a reversible dry-wipe) board in order to hold and support the 4 corners of the flip chart.  Office Depot has some for about $110 that include the cross bar, Office Max has a “Quartet” stand for about $90 that looks ok (at least from the online picture).  And Staples has an “Iceberg” Portable flip chart easel (solid plastic board) for $160.  Also, on Amazon I found a Quartet brand “Standard Magnetic Dry Erase dual purpose writing board flipchart for $114.
  • Michael Sandel’s “Justice” course. Some of you have probably already heard of this (via recent news reports), but I thought I’d post this reference to the video availability of  Michael Sandel’s “Justice” course from Harvard just in case you hadn’t heard of it and might be interested.

I find it interesting not as an example of student-centered discussion (there isn’t any in this large course), but rather–

  • for its overall discussion content–justice, both as applied to specific modern and latter-day examples and for discussion of its underlying, philosophical (or in our lexicon, conceptual) issues, and
  • less significantly but still of some interest, an example of the changing way that universities, professors, and students relate to the world–via webcasts and other shared means of discussion.

In addition to viewing the weekly class sessions (actually filmed a couple years ago) through this website, you can also watch the TV broadcasts on your local PBS affiliate.  In Madison, the show airs (most inconveniently) on Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m.  I’m not sure about re-broadcasts.  Check your local listings if interested.

Pete S.