Welcome! I am Jason Nguyen, a graduate student in ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington, and this blog is where I make observations about music, culture, and academic life.

How bureaucracy produces silence whether it means to or not

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For the past two days, I’ve been working with colleagues in the IU Communication and Culture department to figure out how we formulate a response to the recent plans to merge our department, Journalism, and Telecomm into one giant Media School. This is similar to other initiatives around the country, and perhaps should come as no surprise. What did surprise me a little is the extent to which fellow graduates (and I myself) felt like we should do something, but were always somewhat complacent. CMCL grads were in deep on IU on Strike last year–we know what it means to organize and express our opinions. But we weren’t really doing it for this one, and it seemed weird, since the fate of the program was really at stake. Maybe it is  the sense of inevitability, but I think there’s something more going on.

The following is a letter I planned to send to CMCL grad students to maybe light a fire under us. In consultation with some smart friends, I’ve chosen other tactics (check out the Facebook event), but I do think what I had to say might still be interesting.

Continue reading How bureaucracy produces silence whether it means to or not

“You can text in class…if it’s going to ME!” – Student Texts –> Google Spreadsheet. (Semi-)LIVE in the Classroom!

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So in C122 Interpersonal Communication this week, I wanted everyone to submit a greeting of some sort to me, and then we could look at the student responses in aggregate. Basically, this is what I wanted to happen:

Me: Everybody pretend that I’m the friend you want to talk to after class, and text me how you’ll greet them.
Students: [ dutifully texting their messages ]
*magic magic magic*
The Board: [ magically shows all the text messages ]

The solution I came up with wasn’t perfect (it takes a few minutes to update and grab all the texts), but it went pretty damn well. Instructions after the jump. Continue reading “You can text in class…if it’s going to ME!” – Student Texts –> Google Spreadsheet. (Semi-)LIVE in the Classroom!