Thursday, December 18, 2008


gone gallery

when USF means university of san francisco

for years and years and years, a google search for USF gave the university of south florida - with its 46,000+ students, its four campuses, and its beefy $1.8 billion annual budget - top billing. yet as michael robertson has been saying since 2007, there's really only one USF. these days, as some of my students from intro pointed out last week, the real USF is back on top.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

students saving money

this semester, for the first time ever, i included the following rule in intro to media studies:

Starting Tuesday (September 2), no drinking out of non-reusable containers. Be creative with your thirst-quenching solutions.

i wasn't sure if it was going to work, but i knew it was worth trying. on the first day of classes, i announced, "if you're thirsty, get a thermos and fill it with delicious california tap water. if you need caffeine, get a mug and fill it with coffee." then i paused and took a refreshing gulp or two out of my beloved blue bottle and said, "ahhhh."

throughout the semester, there were only a few infractions - a plastic water bottle accidentally brought to class, a can of red bull smuggled (unsuccessfully) into the back of class - but overall the students easily abided.

last tuesday was the last day of class for fall semester. we ate. we talked excitedly about our wikipedia project. we watched a few youtube clips, including human tetris, lemon baby, and guy vomiting on live tv news.

and then, before i left the room to allow students to fill out teacher evaluations, i asked them to take a moment to think about how much money we saved. i asked: "if i hadn't banned plastic bottles and aluminum cans and paper coffee cups, how many of you would have bought and brought to class a soda or bottled water or a latte?" i then asked the students to consider that intro met twice a week for the last fifteen weeks. the students sit in rows so i asked each row to calculate their totals. i walked over to the chalkboard and began adding up our totals.

the morning class saved $812.50

the afternoon class saved $1,528

in all, my students saved $2,340.50, a pretty nice chunk of change.

"imagine," i think i remember saying to my students, "how much money you'd save if you did this with all of your classes for your remaining time here at USF?" and i think i remember smiling upon hearing the distinct buzz of many brains calculating collectively.


gone gallery

Saturday, December 06, 2008

good food: a book display in gleeson library

good food: slow food, cooking, gardening, organic farming, and food, currently on exhibit in gleeson library, is my kind of book display. designed by USF librarian and summer garden crew member sherise kimura, the display includes books about food, growing food, cooking food, and the politics and pleasures of food.

there's something here for everyone. for those interested in growing, there's w. hensel's gardening for beginners and barbara pleasant and deborah martin's the complete compost gardening guide. for those interested in cooking, and for those interested in expanding their repertoires, there is gerry g. gelle's filipino cuisine, copeland marks' the exotic kitchens of peru, ruth reichl's the gourmet cookbook, and corby kummer's the pleasures of slow food. for those with a nursing and nutritional interest, there is reader's digest's foods that harm, foods that heal and the american dietetic association's complete food and nutrition guide. and for those of us who like to read and eat and read about what we eat, there's barbara kingsolver's animal, vegetable, miracle, marion nestle's food politics and what to eat, and a suite of michael pollan books, including the omnivore's dilemma (which i'll be assigning in my spring seminar eating san francisco).

the book display also includes an excellent four-page reading list of relevant gleeson library books, cookbooks, and guidebooks. a free holiday gift for readers!

the great thing about book displays at libraries is that the materials circulate freely. interested in learning how to compost? want new, delicious recipes? looking for some foodie-related winter-break reading? go to the library and borrow a book for free.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


gone gallery

new reviews in cyberculture studies (december 2008)

each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies publishes book reviews and author responses.

the book of the month for december 2008 is:

Playback: Simulierte Wirklichkeiten / Playback: Simulated Realities
Editor: Sabine Himmelsbach
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag, 2007
Review 1: Claudia Costa Pederson

stay tuned - there's lots more where that came from.

Monday, December 01, 2008

final group project: editing USF’s wikipedia page

tomorrow, i’ll hand out the final group project to intro to media studies students.

Final Group Project: Editing USF’s Wikipedia Page
Intro to Media Studies
Professor Silver

Two weeks ago, we began reading and thinking about USF’s wikipedia page. In class, we talked about ways we would edit and add to the page. We brainstormed topics that could be researched and written, and discussed sources worthy of citing. Last week, with help from Phoebe Ayers, we learned how wikipedia works and how people like you and me can edit the pages. For your final project in Intro to Media Studies, you will work in groups to significantly add or edit the University of San Francisco and San Francisco Dons wikipedia pages.


1. You must join a group of two or more students.

2. You must create your own wikipedia account.

3. By the end of today, a member of your group must post a brief description of your topic to our USF WikiProject page.

4. Your group project assignment is to add significantly to the University of San Francisco and San Francisco Dons wikipedia pages. Your addition should abide by wikipedia’s three main rules: neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research.

5. Your group contribution should also be interesting - to you, to your group, and to others.

6. Back up what you add and edit with at least five good references. If you are unsure about what makes a good reference, ask your group. If your group cannot decide, ask me.

7. At least three of your references must come directly from Gleeson Library. Please do not underestimate requirement seven. Group projects that do not adhere to this requirement will receive failing grades.

8. If you are lucky, other wikipedians will edit and interact with your work. This is a good thing. Work with not against them.

9. As a group, write a three page essay about your contribution, your references, and who did what. Group-edit your essay until it has zero errors.

10. Print out one copy of your paper and turn it in at the beginning of class on Tuesday, December 9th. Also, turn in your journals.