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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Best tea ever... in my opinion, at least

London Fruit Tea

My favorite: Rosehip with Hibiscus

Ahhh, good... :)

Crazy but fun...

Somebody gave me this crazy book: "Uncle John's Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader." I know, I know -- sounds nasty but, hey, highly productive -- load up on trivia while taking care of business. :)

Anyway, this is what I learned (um, outside of the place of business):
  • In Salem, West Virginia, it is illegal to leave home without knowing where you're going. But it's not fun!!!
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes is legal in Carmel, California... but you need a permit. Uh-oh, busted!
  • Detroit law prohibits a man from scowling at his wife on a Sunday. Hey, it should be an universal law; and not only on Sunday!
  • In Victoria, Australia, you need to be a licensed electrician to change a bulb. OK, will remember!
  • In Jonesboro, Georgia, it's against the law to say, "Oh, boy." Boy, oh, boy! I broke this law on numerous occassions since I used to work in that area.
  • In Paulding, Ohio, it's legal for a police officer to bite a dog. Arrrooogh!
  • In Huntsville, Alabama, you may not move your bed without a permit. Hmm, watch out Dixie girls!
  • In Michigan, it's against the law to put a skunk in your boss's desk. Darn!
  • The average adult has about 46 miles of nerves. Apparently, a good length of my nerves has been damaged during this semester if I am reduced to reading this kind of trivia! :)

Friday, April 28, 2006

My Day Today

  1. Woke up at 4:15 a.m. in order to arrive on-time to a morning meeting in a town several hours away.
  2. Stopped for breakfast. I am not a breakfast person but wasn't sure if there will be a chance to get anything until after 2:00 p.m. Unfortunately, the only choice in this sleepy town is McDonald's. But, hey, they have TWO speakers -- ah, only one is open and it's barely lit so it's difficult to see the screen!!! I don't visit the golden arches often so maybe it is quite normal...?
  3. Meeting -- interesting, actually... Lots of important stuff about my upcoming trip to Nigeria and Cameroon. Great group this time -- many people from my subject area and they enjoy talking to each other! Our seminar director is originally from Nigeria (I am not as scared of going there since she knows what she is doing), very organized (another sigh of relief), and very nice (ugh, sounds vague -- but you know what I mean...)
  4. Drove home -- ah, back roads in our area are so scenic... Also, listened to an interesting book on CD.
  5. Arrived home, totally exhausted... Did not get to bed until late last night and woke up too early... I deserve a nap!
  6. Took a nap... ah, luxury!
  7. And here I am... Not too bad for Friday!

Thursday, April 27, 2006


If anybody reads this, I would like to know if your students ever say "akss" instead of "asks" and "testes" instead of "tests." Sorry but those two words have the same effect as a nail scratching the board. Shivering... :)

Oh, well, I am sure my accent irritates people, too. :)

Another Meme

Interesting... Considering my Eastern European background and the fact that I did not speak English until age 16. :)

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

20% Dixie

10% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


I don't even know if anybody will read this but here it is anyway...

Accent: Ukrainian
Booze: None
Chore I Hate: Cleaning bathroom floors. Yuck!
Dog or Cat: Two cats
Essential Electronics: Laptop, Digital Camera, Cell Phone
Favorite Cologne: Ellen Tracy
Gold or Silver: Depends on a piece of jewelry; lean towards gold.
Hometown: Izmail
Insomnia: Rarely
Job Title: Assistant Professor/Teaching Assistant (huh, two hats)
Kids: None
Living arrangements: Two-story Victorian house, built in 1900
Most admirable trait: Friendly and relaxed; reliable.
Overnight hospital stays: None
Phobia: None
Quote: I love quotes -- here is one that comes to mind: "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Mark Twain
Religion: Christian
Siblings: One brother and one sister (both younger).
Time I wake up: Usually around 6:30 a.m. on weekdays(only because I have to teach 8:00 a.m. classes); around 9:30 a.m. on weekends.
Unusual talent or skill: Speak Russian and Ukrainian (not really unusual but can't think of anything else at the moment)
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Collard Greens
Worst habit: Biting my lip when nervous.
X-rays: Teeth, lungs
Yummy foods I make: Lots of good stuff; see my recipes if you like.
Zodiac sign: Virgo

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Confession... sort of...

What do you do to celebrate the end of each semester?

I make a batch of Tiramisu (my favorite dessert). Not that I need it -- I desperately need to lose weight gained over the past five years (from size 6 to size 14!!!) but I need that energy. And so I stay away from it for the entire semester only to give in at the end of each semester. Hey, at least I don't eat the entire batch -- I share with equally desperate colleagues. :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mmm... Luxury...

Did not wake up until 9:20 a.m. -- and would have slept even later if one of my colleagues did not call and ask to cover her class tonight. Oh well, it was time to get up anyway; plus, I would rather help her than baby-sit a sick husband (who just had surgery) like she does.

Had a leisurely mug of coffee, gently swinging on my upstairs balcony and checking a never-ending stream of email. Nice -- can get used to this schedule!

OK, we interrupt this pleasant daydreaming to list things to do today:

*Finish grading -- is there really a light at the end of this tunnel?

*Teach two classes (4:00 p.m. for my colleague and 6:00 p.m. regularly scheduled)

Not bad -- I can do it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

From a student's essay...

"Self-esteem and attitude are two things that you need to have under control to be successful in today's business world. Without these two traits, you will only be able to mop floors at the jail."

Hmmm... What do you think? :) Should I direct student X from my previous posting to apply for a jail janitor position?

My Day... Pros and Cons

(1) Did not go to bed until 2:30 a.m. this morning (finishing a final exam for one of my classes -- last assignment, yeah!!!) and had to be up at 6:30 a.m. for 8:00 a.m. class (I am so not a morning person and four hours is definitely not enough... yawning...).

(2) Morning was fine -- one class, several meetings with students, cleaned my Inbox, etc. Routine -- just what I need while still half asleep. :)

(3) Meeting with a VP of Student Affairs and infamous former/future student who is obscessed with taking my online classes (just go away and leave me alone, please!!!) but thinks that everything must evolve around her and everybody is wrong except one person (guess who?). She is a psycho, all right, and it looks like I am stuck with her this summer (look forward to it -- yeah, sure). I had another problem with her two years ago (hurry up and graduate, would you?) and made a stupid mistake of bending and actually allowing her to make up some assignments. This summer, she is not getting anything extra -- no matter how much she talks behind my back, pouts, complains, or whatever else her sick mind invents (sorry, I usually keep my cool but this student is sooooooooooooo annoying). OK, deep breath, smile! :)

(4) I created a very simple website for one of my grad classes and will actually use it this summer with my own students. Last night, I emailed the link to my students and asked them to check it out (hoping they would fine any errors I missed). Surprise, surprise -- twenty (yes, twenty) students replied so far!!! Wow, most of my students are wonderful people and I am reminded once again why I am using my business degree in the world of academia and not in the world of big bucks.

(5) Now, I am semi-relaxing (listening to my favorite music and grading papers) on the upstairs balcony of my house (I own -- umm, paying for -- an old Victorian, built in 1900; it has character and I absolutely love it; a swing on the upstairs balcony -- best place to relax).

(6) And tomorrow I can sleep as long as I like -- don't have to be anywhere until 4:00 p.m. Mmmm.... luxury!

Interesting link for anybody teaching or planning to teach online...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

If grading drives you crazy...

Michigan Requires Online Attendance

Hmmm... Very interesting! Very beneficial, too, I think.

Michigan Requires Online Attendance
This morning Jennifer M. Granholm, the governor of Michigan, signed a bill that will require all high-school students in the state to take at least one course online before they can graduate. This is apparently the first such requirement in the nation [hope other states adopt this policy].

The provision was included in abill that toughened the overall state high-school-graduation standards [wholeheartedly agree]. The online course students take does not have to be for credit, but observers expect many students to take Advanced Placement courses via the Web.

Lawmakers initially questioned why they needed to require students who grew up on video games and the Internet to take online courses. In the end, they decided that making students conduct some of their education over the Internet would better prepare them for college and the workplace, which relies more and more on online tools.

For more information on this topic, see an article from The Chronicle by Dan Carnevale. information about this list, including archives and how to unsubscribe,please go to the ITFORUM web site:

Friday, April 21, 2006


OK, I am extremely busy this week, dealing with a lot of different things and planning everything very carefully. One project was due today and I set time aside to finish it this afternoon. Huh, thanks to that mysterious intuitive sense, I checked the deadline again this morning and, to my horror, discovered that this project is actually due by noon. The reason I didn't see it before is because deadlines are posted in two different places, one with just a date and another with a specific time.

Pushing mountains of papers off my desk, I raced to finish the project, improvising as I went along; my project even makes sense, I think, I hope. Good thing I work well in very stressful situations or I would have been admitted this morning.

Submitted the project at 11:30 a.m., ran to my car, and broke all speed limits (any police officers are out there? missed a chance to write a very substantial speeding ticket!!!) to get to my 12:00 noon class; it takes one hour and 10-15 mins to get there. Made it in 50 minutes, even in pretty heavy noon traffic!

Only to discover... Our instructor is out of town and we are meeting with other grad students; therefore, it would not matter that much even if I missed class today, considering that I did not learn anything new (I am usually very organized and find out things on my own just fine; don't need people to hold my hand unless it's pretty difficult stuff, thank you very much!) Oh, well... It's always nice to see other grad students and exchange news.

Got home around 4:00 p.m. Surprise, surprise -- deadline for the project was extended until Monday because many students couldn't finish on time (um, did not submit it on time and forced the instructor to extend the deadline)!!! Honestly, I am not even going to attempt any changes -- sick and tired of that project; my average is over 100 (with extra points) anyway and I don't really care at this point.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! What a day!!! On a positive note, look forward to completing another projet due Monday -- this one is fun and I will be able to use it next semester. So, I am going to make a nice cup of coffee and get to work...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reasons for looking forward to May...

  • Working on a project with my advisor and can't wait to collect more data. It's so much fun and I am learning so much! Yeah, if somebody told me even a year ago that collecting data would be fun...
  • My sister is graduating from college and we are going on a mini-vacation: wonderful beach, luxury hotel (free, too -- drained my points but well worth it), lots of shopping opportunities... My laptop stays HOME! :)
  • No grading for three whole weeks!
  • No whining students for three whole weeks! I love teaching but everybody needs a break, right?
  • No grad courses until August -- I do want to graduate ASAP but 14 credit hours this semester... while working full time... um, too much... I really need a break...
  • Sleep all you want and/or can deal!!!
  • Closer to my trip to Africa in July (it's getting real -- after six shots and two prescriptions). My family and friends think I am nuts. Maybe they are right... :)
  • I found a great novel -- nothing serious, just easy reading (by Karen Kingsbury, if anyone is interested)

Ideas, anyone?

I am designing a professional development workshop for our local teachers and would love to hear what is being done elsewhere. We are trying to establish a program for K-12 teachers who need PDUs (professional development units -- not to insult anybody but just in case) and can't take college courses for some reason; this program will be offered through our Continuing Education department.

I am personally interested because I am working on a research proposal for determining whether older teachers (in terms of experience) are using less technology and, if so, why and what can be done to help them utilize technology more frequently and effectively.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sunny Tampa... and loads of work :(

I am attending another conference this week. Because I am an officer, yesterday was a day filled with meetings -- from 7:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.!!! If I had to attend one more meeting, I would collapse, I think. This morning, I didn't have to attend anything until 10:30 a.m. so I slept in (didn't get up until 8:00 a.m. -- pure luxury!!!), had a leisurely breakfast, attended one more meeting (last -- yes, yes, yes) and now guiltily sort through a mountain of my own assignments, papers to grade, etc. Oh well, I have until 6:00 p.m. tonight -- have to attend a banquet which is actually fun.

On a bright side, the weather is gorgeous and I had a chance to sit outside for about thirty minutes. My room is on the 27th floor and view is absolutely breathtaking -- we are right on the bay. Although Internet connection is outrageous ($2.95 for 15 minutes -- oops, I am complaining again), down comforter and pillows feel like home. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sorry, complaint department, please...

Student's Email (errors preserved for your enjoyment or lack of):
"Will you forward this email to your online students or any of your student
who may want to sell thier books for next quater. I sign up for your online classes for next quarter and would like to purchase the books if they are interesting selling. They can contact me through email. Thank you in advance for your help."

My Response:
"Sorry, I would rather not get involved in book sharing. However, post your request on bulletin boards around campus."

Student's Response (yes, in all caps):

My Response:
I did not reply. Why waste my time?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Crazy or what???

  • 6:00 p.m., landed in a state capital (United 20 minutes early? Wow!)
  • 6:30 p.m., still waiting for luggage (serves me right -- broke my rule for not checking in bags)
  • 7:00 p.m., finally heading home (4 1/2 hours of pure boredom ahead)
  • 10:30 p.m., almost home (in a middle of nowhere)
  • two deer run out on the road -- I slam my brakes and stop, barely missing stupid creatures (I do like animals -- when they don't run in front of my car)
  • a fraction of a second later -- another deer slams into my car
  • Ahhhhh -- don't you see my car??? I already stopped -- cross in FRONT of my car, not THROUGH my car
  • Pitch dark, nowhere to pull over, don't know the extent of the damage...
  • Drive another 20 minutes -- pure agony, not knowing just how bad the front of my car looks...
  • Civilization -- finally! OK, fender is shattered, headlight is barely there, hood is cracked; overall, drivable -- the light bulb is intact.
  • 11:30 p.m., arrive home -- totally exhausted, still high on adrenaline from a near tumble all over somebody's cotton field
  • Clean out my car so it's ready to be taken to the body shop in the morning (now, I am full time graduate student so you can imagine the amount of "stuff" traveling with me)
  • Call insurance and submit a claim
  • Tossing and turning, manage to get a few hours of sleep
  • Take my car to the shop and get a rental
  • Teach one class (8:00 a.m.)
  • Wade through my mailbox, answering emails and sorting them into appropriate folders
  • Register several students for classes
  • Grade a huge stack of papers
  • Ready to go home (huge sigh of relief)!

To be continued... (have to be in Tampa tomorrow by 8:00 p.m.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Publishing Tips

I attended an interesting (for me -- I am a greenhorn in writing and publishing articles) workshop. Here are some things that were discussed (most of them are simply common sense but somebody may find them useful):

Tips from Emerging Scholars

Submit more articles than required.
Don’t be discouraged – conflicting reviews are common.
If guidelines not clear, press on – look for examples, talk to colleagues, etc.
Service – you don’t get any credit usually; so just do the minimum.
Work with good authors – to polish papers, get ideas, etc.
Be humble in your field – there is nothing that has not been studied yet; being humble shows that you respect your predecessors and willing to make your own contribution.
There is always something to learn.
Studying is also a good way to build contacts.
Narrow down your field and build an “aura” – so you are known for this specific area.
Write articles with only one major point – it’s OK to have a short article; people remember them better and appreciate them for being succinct but helpful.
Keep your family on the forefront.
Talk to tenured faculty about what they did to get there.
Quality NOT Quantity; although a certain number of articles is expected.
Peer-reviewed journals – the higher rejection rate of that journal the better.
At least some should be first-author.
National/International journals are preferred.
Make sure there is evidence of a research program.
Examine current periodicals to see trends.
Serve as an ad hoc reviewer – “inside” information on the process.
Discuss research with colleagues to get new angles.
Working on a team leads to more publications.
Schedule time during the week for writing – and don’t accept any interruptions.
Find a place where you won’t be interrupted.
Stagger course assignments so you won’t be stuck with too much grading; when you are writing the paper, one week’s interruption will cause you to forget details and lose concentration.
Early publishers (those who publish before earning a Ph.D.) tend to be more productive.
Don’t be discouraged by reviewers and publishers; sometimes their comments sting -- make changes and try again, in a different journal, if necessary.
Be resilient, develop tough skin, and keep trying until your article is accepted.
When writing a dissertation, think about journals where articles can be published.
When you find an interesting article, file it with an appropriate label for future reference.
When writing an article, create a concept map for a paper and flow of information.
Office is not a very productive space – “hide” somewhere else.
Social functions are important BUT limit to only a few important “shows of face” and concentrate on writing; number of papers is more important than being “very nice.”
Good lit review is publishable.
Read, read, and read! Gather ideas as you are reading and jot down thoughts for further development later.

Tips from Editors

Quality is very important.
Revision, revision, revision…
Start early and publish before you graduate – experience is very important.
Do set pieces aside and come back later to look with a fresh eye.
Check guidelines before submitting – initial impression counts!
Be careful with relying on reported reliability with a measurement; just state it was reliable in a previous study.
AERJ has a review rubric – check and anticipate criticism.
Check guidelines and requirements BEFORE you write the article.
Listen to the editor when deciding about changes to be made – he/she is going to make a decision whether to publish or reject a manuscript. Even though reviewers can make good or bad comments, editor may or may not agree.
Yeah, here it is again – develop a thick skin and persevere.

Native? Not really...

OK, it happened to me again. As I was walking around San Francisco on Friday and Saturday, at least three people asked me for directions. Sorry, I just arrived like two hours ago...

It's weird but happens on a regular basis. Last year, I was in Thailand and Cambodia. Now, I look anything BUT Oriental; still, I was asked for directions. One person asked me how long I lived in Cambodia. Ah, as of yesterday?

I wonder if this happens to anybody else. Maybe it's because I don't act like a tourist -- don't wear those cheesy t-shirts with "I love (location)" emblazoned on them, stop and gawk at something that catches my interest, walk with my eyes glued to a map, etc. Personally, I think those people miss so much. Instead, I find at least some info about the location and leisurely walk around and enjoy the sights as well as people.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Online Course Orientation

Since I am teaching mostly online, I am very interested in your experience with or thoughts on online course orientation. Should we make it mandatory? How do we get the message across to students about the importance of learning the requirements before attempting assignments?

I am currently designing a research study that would measure the effects of online course orientation on course performance. If you happen to visit my blog, I would love to hear your comments. Many thanks!


As I was driving to work this morning, I caught a report on NPR about a researcher who "watered" plants with an assortment of alcoholic beverages. His findings? Plants are not as likely to "tip over" when kept on this "diet."

Just something silly to wake me up -- I am literally falling asleep after getting only a couple snoozes last night (this morning?) since I did not get home until very late and had to finish some urgent stuff.

Look forward to my trip to Conference A! :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What's the matter with me?!

Blame it on the end-of-semester blues or time change -- I am totally unproductive this week. There is a growing pile of things to do but I don't have any energy left. I know I will complete all necessary tasks but there is a paper that I really want to finish by Monday even though it's not critical.

On a bright side, the weather is gorgeous today. I think I will take my laptop outside and try to absorb some sun energy. :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Daylight Saving = Sleepy and Unproductive Students

You had to see my 8:00 a.m. class students today -- none of them had eyes fully open, our usual lively discussion was replaced by deathly silence, and even good students did not finish their assignments. Can't blame my kids, though -- I was barely awake myself!

But, of course, someone has a rationale for this crazy ritual adopted around the world:

"Just as sunflowers turn their heads to catch every sunbeam, so too have we discovered a simple way to get more from our sun." Quoted from

Catching sun? Are you people kidding? More like losing! Give my hour of sweet dreams back!

Walking to Siberia?!

I love traveling but walking to Siberia? No, thank you! :)

To Do List

  • Complete homework and take one quiz for class A.
  • Write one paper and one online reflection for class B.
  • Write a research proposal and develop a presentation for class C.
  • Keep working on a project for class D.
  • Grade a stack of papers.
  • Update grades.
  • Run a number of errands before leaving for conference on Thursday.
  • Attend a conference (three days).
  • Create a final project for class B.
  • Grade more papers.
  • Attend another conference (four days).
  • It's a Friday afternoon and I am finally home after a two-week marathon.
  • Take a long relaxing bubble bath, play with cats, and get some sleep.
  • Attack a mountain of stuff that accumulated over a two-week period.

We only have three weeks left -- not counting this week! I can do it, I can do it, I can do it...

Waiting to the last moment... then begging for help

"I have tried to do the Exam for a week now and I know that I amemailing you at the last minute but i had to keep trying since I had until11:59 tonight to complete it so I took advantage of it but everytime that Iloaded the Exam itsaid data invalid."

Sorry, lack of preparation on your part does not constitute for emergency on my part. Especially if you were NOT online for the past four days and logged in at 10:00 p.m. last night to meet 11:59 p.m. deadline.

My response: "I am sorry but I cannot accept late assignments. See your course syllabus, please. Thank you!" I am staying cool, I am staying cool, I am staying cool... :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Summer Registration

Today is a first day of Summer registration and I have been bombarded by student requests since 7:55 a.m. this morning -- phone rings non-stop, my Inbox is full, and students are waiting outside. I stopped counting the number of students I have registered -- will count folders later.
  • My enrollment numbers are pretty good; one section is almost closed. Not bad at all for the first day.
  • Several students prepared their own schedules so I only had to type in data. Impressive for our students! :)
  • Several students were really getting on my nerves -- takiiiiiiing their time to make choices. Come on, this is not a supermarket! There is a line waiting outside! I was good, though: took a deep breath and just smiled patiently.
  • OK, another dose of patience is needed here! As I was leaving at 5:00 p.m., totally exhausted, another student waltzed in and started telling me all about her life while shuffling through papers and producing a list of classes she wanted to take. And here I am, standing with my bag and a stack of papers, about to turn lights off... How about asking if I had time? If I did this to any of my own teachers, please forgive me!
  • I am determined to end with a positive story!!! Another student came today and I persuaded her to pursue a two-year degree rather than just earn a certificate. She just couldn't believe it was possible. When we discussed several possibilities and I outlined a very doable way of reaching her dream, you had to see that wide smile! I was reminded once again why I love teaching! :)

If anybody else stumbles across this blog, I would love to hear about your experience with registering undergraduate students. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I just heard from one of my students and wanted to share the good news with anyone who stumbles upon my blog. This student finished ALL assignments in one of my online courses.

Now, you may think it's an easy course with quick and easy assignments. However, this is a math course and my assignments are relevant and helpful but also demanding. Because most assignments are password-protected and have limited access, I make all of them available on the first day of class so it's possible to work ahead.

Nevertheless, most students just barely meet deadlines; some miss (or ignore?) deadlines. This student worked hard and submitted excellent assignments, too. Now all assignments are completed! What a rare occurrence! I will tuck this story away for my "blue" days.

Echoing your posts...

Many blogs describe our busy daily schedules. Alas, teaching is 24/7 occupation. Every semester, I promise myself to reduce the number of assignments or, at least, amount of feedback to be given to students. Nevertheless, I always end up trying something new, thus increasing instead of decreasing the amount of work. Long sigh........

Well, see below:

Artist: Alice In Wonderland Song: Very Good Advice Album

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it,
That explains the trouble that I'm always in,
Be patient, is very good advice,
But the waiting makes me curious, And I'd love the change,
Should something strange begin, Well I went along my merry way,
And I never stopped to reason, I should have know there'd be a price to pay, Someday...someday, I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it, Will I ever learn to do the things I should? Will I ever learn to do the things I should?

Hello, World!

Having observed other bloggers for quite some time now, I decided it's time to join. I am intrigued by the number and quality of interesting topics and would like to be able to respond as well as contribute by posting my own thoughts and stories.

A little bit information about me... Alice is a fictional name, of course. However, it does describe my personality. I am a professor at a small liberal arts college and love to explore new topics, approaches, and places as well as meet new interesting people. Consider this situation... “What if I should fall right through the center of the earth... oh, and come out the other side, where people walk upside down."

On a personal side, I love reading (fiction, mostly), traveling (often to places described in my favorite books), and cooking (easy but fun is my motto here).

Look forward to meeting new people and learning new things!

avandia class action