Stop being a license plate

Why be this: Michigan License Plate

when you could be yourself?

Many of my colleagues (42% of faculty, 45% of staff) have set their ‘Preferred Email Address’ to be their AccessID. While the XY1234 format may be familiar to you, it’s not to those you email, and it brings mystery and adventure to the act of replying to messages. Especially when your correspondent does ‘reply all’. Either they are careful and spend time looking up each AccessID or they are careless and include someone they shouldn’t, leading to possible reprisals, embarrassment, or just plain annoyance. So this is an encouragement to switch your preferred email address to either your own chosen address (mine, for example, is or the automatically-generated first.lastname format (mine is

It’s not hard to do, either. To set a custom email address go here, and to set your firstname.lastname as your preferred email address, go here.

The only extra work involved would be cases where you are subscribed to a listserv–you need either to add your other address as a subscriber (you can set one of them to NOMAIL) or you can set up Wayne Connect to have two personas, so that it keeps track of both addresses for you and it’s easy to switch back and forth between them. Instructions are here.



You can watch your students read their textbooks

For those of us who keep up with privacy issues in education, here’s an interesting story in the Times. There’s an app that keeps track of students’ reading habits with certain electronic textbooks, and sends a report to the faculty member. It pays attention to whether they have taken notes (within the app, of course, not on paper) and how long the text was open (in the electronic reader).

This has raised some questions about privacy, and some folks have been invoking Big Brother (who, as you may recall, paid attention to whether you were doing your physical exercises vigorously enough).

The company who puts this app out claims that nobody has complained about the privacy issues involved. And then, there are the validity questions (like what about the folks who take notes on paper, or in their word processor).

Here’s the article (usual warning about external links, especially the Times…)