Conversations on the evolution of social media, learning & the web

I’m a retired professor. At Sheridan College I taught writing (for a variety of purposes), the structure of poetry, reading (using Thomson’s Understanding Teenagers’ Reading), computer & web use for business, and the structure of story in popular movies (using Seger’s Making a Good Script Great). At the University of Toronto in Mississauga, I taught public speaking and presenting (rhetoric using Heinrichs’ Thank You For Arguing), and podcasting, using class wikis and other web resources.

Below you can read some of my latest thoughts on learning, the web, social media, aging, spiritual struggles, and other observations. If you want to dig deeper, I invite you to join the conversation for more posts and thoughts.

learner, web wanderer, edu-web-consultant, speaker


Civility In Toronto – Wonderful

Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing several acts of civility in Toronto, of people politely being helpful to strangers. This is the kind of city I love being in.

  • Someone with a senior’s ticket in a subway station without an attendant. A stranger, seeing the ticket in the token-only station, asks if the senior knows there’s a station with an attendant a couple of blocks away, then walks with her up the stairs and points the way.
  • Two people standing,

Read more Civility In Toronto – Wonderful

Trump Mania

I watched the American 2nd debate, and it sparked all kinds of reactions in me. Watching Trump make his (what I knew intellectually were baseless) accusations with his emotional tone so strong, I felt a sick fear that people would buy what he said, just because of the way he said it. I saw him pacing around and looming over Hilary when she was speaking, and recognized two things:
– The normality of this kind of male behaviour, and
– Why I thought it was normal;

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Grocery Shopping in the Digital Age

Grocery shopping is different than it was even 10 years ago. When I decide to go shopping, I have a different set of steps, some parallel to my old pattern, and some entirely new.

First, find a recipe. I used to browse cookbooks, but now I’m more likely to go to Google with a very rough idea of what I feel like eating. If nothing I find appeals to me, I might think of a recipe I already have. I might go to my Evernote collection of recipes,

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40 Years Teaching College Composition


I’ve been fully retired for a year and a half now, and I deleted all my teaching files a couple of months ago, so I can’t pass along any specific course materials. For Labour day, though, I’m going to share the distillation of my 40 years of teaching college composition and other language skills to college and university students, and my studies on how people learn to write from two advanced degrees in mid and late career.

1. Many community college students come in already resistant to taking English,… Read more 40 Years Teaching College Composition