Monthly Archives: July 2012

Theory anxiety

Last week I got a phone call from an anxious student. I get lots of these calls each year. Luckily for me, most problems research students encounter have happened before so processes or tools exist to solve them. I like to think of myself as a mountain guide. All I have to do is help […] … learn more→

Managing the Games franchise is an Olympian feat

Tell me something I don’t know about the Olympics! This statement, levelled at me at a dinner party last week, is the most recent incarnation of enquiries about my research into the Olympic Games. Always a topic of intense interest, many people are confused about the focus of my work: “You research the Olympic Games? […] … learn more→

World in serious trouble on food front

In the early spring of 2012, U.S. farmers were on their way to planting some 96 million acres in corn, the most in 75 years. A warm early spring got the crop off to a great start. Analysts were predicting the largest corn harvest on record. The United States is the leading producer and exporter […] … learn more→

White van man jumps pond

The ABC television network has announced that in 2013 it will air a sitcom called Family Tools. Previously, the show was called Comeback Jack; before that it was called Red Van Man, and before that, it was called White Van Man. And therein lies a tale. Like many American comedies, including All in the Family, […] … learn more→

Dropping out of MOOCs: Is it really okay?

I’m starting to get more than a little grumpy about MOOCs, what with all the hype about the revolutionary disruptions and game-changing tsunamis. I’m tired of the mainstream media punditry and their predictions that Stanford University’s experiments with online education (and by extension Coursera and Udacity) will change everything; I’m tired of Silicon Valley’s exuberance […] … learn more→

Do we need to write and publish so much theory?

In addition to novels, I always bring a stack of scholarly books on our annual summer vacation. I bring books in my field, books not in my field, books in fields I might be ready to explore, books I might like to teach and books that I read so that I will be a better […] … learn more→


I did not see this coming. is offering to pay up to $2,000 per year towards educational costs for its warehouse employees if they pursue Associate’s degrees in certain high-demand fields, including fields like aircraft mechanics that have no obvious value within the company. I had heard that Amazon was giving up its fight […] … learn more→

When courses are free online, what’s left for universities to sell?

When some of the world’s most prestigious universities – including Harvard and MIT in their edX venture or Stanford and Princeton through Coursera – start putting courses online for free, it tells you one thing for sure – whatever they are selling, it is not their course content. Australian universities are watching the movement in […] … learn more→

\’No DH, No Interview\’

I tweeted that proposition, \”No DH, no interview,\” during the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, at the University of Victoria, in June, and I was surprised by the response, which I\’ll get to shortly. It was my second visit to the summer institute; the last time was in 2008, when I described it as \”Summer Camp […] … learn more→

Leading the way toward a fossil free-future

Green innovations may have finally hit the mainstream. No longer the pet project of left-wing politicians, scientists and starry-eyed optimists, environmentally friendly technologies are now being proposed by organizations around the globe. Many of these concepts are truly revolutionary, and give insight into how society will evolve beyond the age of fossil fuels. The Bahrain […] … learn more→