First, a travel update as the westward trek continues.
This is the last night on the road for me and daughter Jenny. (Alice and Ian are coming later, after house stuff in Fredericksburg is complete or as complete as we can get it.) The trip has been interesting, enjoyable, and only occasionally fraught. We’ve connected with friends and loved ones along the way. We’ve eaten at Lefty’s BBQ near Crossville, a gift from our GPS’s “nearby food” listings at lunchtime on Monday. We reasoned that a place named “Lefty’s” was worth a look. Our reasoning was sound and the food was delicious. We’ve driven about 200 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway between Nashville and Tupelo, Mississippi. On the parkway we visited Meriwether Lewis’s grave site, saw one of the more impressive bridges we’ve ever seen, and cruised through countryside so brilliantly sun-drenched that the green turned to gold on the trees on every side. In Tupelo we stayed at a pretty ratty HoJo Express (not recommended) but began our Tuesday with a visit to Elvis’s birthplace. That pleasant morning outing was followed by over three hours baking in the flat hot afternoon outside an Atlanta Bread Co. in downtown Tupelo, where the free wifi and my trusty cellphone meant I could continue to transact various kinds of business as we sell one house and buy another. Then, a drive by Faulkner’s Oxford in a driving rainstorm, more rain on the road from Batesville to Vicksburg, and an evening meal of perhaps the blandest Chinese food I have ever tasted.
But we’re here and safe and on our way to Waco today, where we will pause in our travels and make aÂ new home. On Sept. 1, I begin a new job at Baylor University–of which more anon.
What have I learned since I arrived at Mary Washington in 1994?Â I’ll be mulling that answer over for the rest of my life, and thinking aloud about it from time to time here in this space. To begin, I offer this presentation from the UCEA pre-conference on distance learning last March. I was a bit nervous about this talk. I was on a panel of pretty high-powered folks, including the redoubtable Phil Long. I was going to say some things about metaphor and disruption and deschooling and reschooling that might not cohere or make sense. The whole thing was in a bit of a roil in my mind, especially because (in a neat synchronicity) I was going to Baylor later that morning to begin two and a half days of interviews.
For some reason, though, the whole thing just … came … out. It was a strange but welcome experience, as if the talk was giving me instead of the other way around. Whatever its merits, it felt right.
I hope it resonates with some of you, too. What you hear in this presentation represents at least some of what I learned at Mary Washington.