Monthly Archives: July 2012

Women Can’t Have it All, and It’s Better That Way

On July 4, 2012, I published this post on the Black, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos. It is the second post in a series on Women at Work, in response to Anne Marie Slaughter’s piece.

“When I was in graduate school, I played in Princeton University’s summer softball league for a team named “Leviathan.” I was one of very few women regulars on any team in the league, a league of not necessarily highly athletic but nonetheless ferociously competitive graduate students…

When I went up to bat a few innings later, suddenly the same teammate had I pulled out of the fight yelled, “Go Mighty M!” Energized, I smashed a line drive right over the head of the left fielder who, seeing a woman at the plate, had mistakenly come in too close. My teammates cheered loudly and the nickname stuck. On the field, I often did seem mighty. I wasn’t afraid of breaking up a fight, colliding while trying to catch a fly ball, tagging someone out who is sliding, or barking at any guy who said anything improper to me. Having played high school softball, I also hit the ball harder and threw the ball harder than almost any woman in the league, earning me the respect of all the men. I proudly wore my league shirt with “Leviathan” on front and “Mighty M” on the back for many years, and enjoyed many glorious wins with my teammates followed by pizza and beer at Conti’s.”

Read the full post at Black, White and Gray.

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Women Can’t Have it All, but We Could Have it Better

On June 27, 2012, I published this post on theBlack, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos, the first post in a series on Women and Work.

“I congratulate Princeton Professor and former Dean Anne Marie Slaughter for her frank piece published in the Atlantic entitled “Why Women Can’t Have it All.” Talking about what keeps people from realizing their dreams of successful careers and joyful families is often taboo (see my previous post on women’s vocation in the world), but Slaughter provides an important personal and sociological reflection on what influenced her to want to spend more time with her family….

Of course, Slaughter’s article is much more complex than this chart shows, and I recommend you read it in full. But I have found that making charts like this help me organize ideas, and can serve as handy reminders for my resolutions. So here you go.

In the near future, I hope to post my own reflections on Slaughter’s piece. Those responses would tentatively be entitled “Women Still Can’t Have it All, And It’s Better that Way”. I don’t have it all in my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Read the full post at Black, White and Gray.

Here’s to My Students: You Make Teaching a Joy

On June 20, 2012, I published this post on the Black, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos, the fifth and final post in a series about teaching Sociology of Religion Online.

“Yesterday I finished teaching a 5-week online course in sociology of religion. As I remarked in earlier posts in this series, there were many ups and downs… I wrote a personal note to each student in my summer class with their final paper grades and final course grades. The two heartfelt replies I got were both rom non-traditional/transfer students, who had really done the most work out of anyone in the class. One of them, Angelique, sent me this video interview with her about her experiences being a single mom and going back to college:

Read the full post at Black, White and Gray.

How Effective is Online Learning? Insights from Sociology of Religion Online

On June 6, 2012, I published this post on theBlack, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos, the fourth post in a series about Teaching Sociology of Religion Online.

“Earlier in this series of posts about my experience teaching sociology of religion, I wrote about the promise of delivering lectures online and the challenges I faced in actually doing it. Today I’ll explain how I finally created my first narrated presentation on YouTube, how I got small group discussions going on Elluminate, and how my 8-year old nephew taught me about online teaching all the while teaching me about the correct usage of metaphors and similies…

What amazed me was that making the narrated presentation was the easy part. It took longer to save it in the right format and upload to YouTube than to record my explanation of the slides. But thanks to Keynote and YouTube, the file is now compressed so students (or any viewers, including you) can see it without any problems. My previous problem was not in making the recording presentations, but sharing them.  Thanks to my Mac, and lots of encouragement and tech support, I found success at last!..”

Read the full post on Black, White and Gray.

Three Things I Love about Teaching Sociology of Religion Online

On May 23, 2012, I published this post on theBlack, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos, the third post in a series about teaching Sociology of Religion Online.

Here I am again, spending my “free” time thinking how much I love teaching sociology of religion online…

Front CoverFirst, now that I have overcome my initial technical challenges and anxieties, teaching online is fun. In Martin Seligman’s bookFlourish, he recounts how teaching positive psychology made him realize that learning is deeper when it is engaging. I delivered my second ever online lecture this week, and I was in the flow (to borrow Seligman’s colloquial term for one dimension of flourishing–engagement). In my online lecture, my video and audio streamed live to 15 students while they watched a screen streaming the course website which I spent many hours designing. As I scrolled seamlessly through my carefully constructed website, it seemed beautiful. Engaging. Fun…”

Read the full post on Black, White and Gray.

The Ups and Downs of Teaching Sociology of Religion Online

On May 18, 2012 I published this post on theBlack, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos, the second post in a series about teaching Sociology of Religion Online.

“I’ve just finished my first week of a hybrid in-person/online course in sociology of religion to undergraduates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Of four days we met this week, two times we met in class, one day I assigned a video and a podcast, and the fourth day we met synchronously (at the same time) for a short lecture and class discussion. Thus far, my experience has been both exhilarating and frustrating. Let’s start with the exhilarating.

First, I have flipped the order in which I present material to students and it definitely captured their attention better than before. I used to assign heavy readings, give a lecture, and then give them a podcast, video or interactive quiz to reinforce what the readings and lectures said. Although I’m using the exact same material as when I taught sociology of religion in the classroom, now for each topic we will cover I firstassign a video, a podcast, or an interactive survey and require that students write a blog post in response. Once they are excited about the topic, then I assign them sociology texts that put the topic into a broader context using history, ethnography, and survey data, and I have students write short assignments applying sociological theories and concepts to the  specific topic we covered…”

Read the full post on Black, White and Gray.

Teaching Sociology of Religion Online

On May 11, 2012, I published this post on theBlack, White and Gray blog hosted by Patheos, the first post in a series about Teaching Sociology of Religion Online.

“Next week, I start my first online course in sociology of religion at the University of North Carolina, and I’m about as nervous about it as when I first entered the college classroom 5 years ago as a new professor. Despite my trepidation, I agree with New York Times columnist David Brooks who wrote in a recent column that online education can certainly be done easily and quite poorly, but that when top schools start adopted online education, amazing things could happen…”

Read the full post on Black, White and Gray.