To My Professor
By Danielle Schwartz
Michigan State University’s School of Journalism’s next project is going to shake the professor/student relationship.
Students of the Michigan State University School of Journalism, along with editor and professor Joe Grimm, have been writing books that are more widely available to those who are disabled. These books, which are published with the intention of eradicating biases that some may have against certain groups of people, offer supplementary videos with closed captions and audiobooks that are accessible to all people. Numerous guides have already been published, such as “100 Questions and Answers about Muslim Americans,” “100 Questions and Answers About East Asian Cultures,” and expected to be finished in December, “100 Questions and Answers About African Americans.” The guides employ a simple question and answer format in order to appeal to a wide audience and answer common questions that society often ignores.
The impact of the guides within the community can be seen both on and off campus. The MSU police academy has used them to train their officers to interact better with international students, and Blue Cross Blue Shield is currently using the “100 Questions and Answers About Veterans” guide as an educational tool.
To produce the guides, students interview regular members of the community and experts in the field and reference books and official statistics. Oftentimes, the questions proposed in the books come directly from those who have firsthand experience, but this time, the guide will take an even more interactive stance within the educational environment.
Grimm and students are campaigning to create a better learning environment on all college campuses. With the phrase “Dear Professor,” students from any college can submit anonymous comments about both the positive and negative actions and attitudes of their professors. Using this, a guide will be created to educate professors on what they are doing right and wrong.
A major segment of the guide will work to educate professors about their teaching relationships with students who have disabilities, including those who are blind and visually impaired. Grimm hopes to address issues such as conduct with working dogs and assigning readings to those who are visually impaired or blind. Although he believes that teaching students with disabilities makes one a better teacher, Grimm acknowledges that it’s a challenge, and he wants to help professors better understand how people learn under different circumstances.
Anyone can help strengthen the guide and the disability section of the text by submitting your own ideas and suggestions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (@tomyprofessor), and the webpage, www.jrn.msu.edu/tomyprofessor/.
Audiobook Review: The Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern
by Jordan Sickon
After receiving endless recommendations and being pelted by relentless hype, I decided to pick up the Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern. I figured October was a better time than never, with its falling leaves and autumnal atmosphere.
To say the book surprised me is an understatement. This whimsical tale follows the story of two characters chosen to compete against each other in a life-long competition. The problem is, they have minimal information of what they are competing for or why they were chosen.
The novel’s formatting involved multiple points of view and was a bit confusing at the beginning. I felt myself detaching and desperately trying to reattach to the characters whenever a new chapter started. However, the story eventually became clearer as the separate plots began to develop. Though I fell in love with the author’s writing style and detailed descriptions, some parts ran too slow for my taste. I would find myself skimming over paragraphs at a time, looking for something more fast-paced.
The beautiful narration by Jim Dale allowed me to overlook all the flaws I noted. His narration style and voice are perfect for an October read. He is popular for his narrations of the Harry Potter series and he has won multiple awards for his audiobook recordings.
I enjoyed this book to an extent; I just believe it was overhyped. Though most of my comments were negative, the story was well developed and the characters were very intricate. I also was a huge fan of the unique plot and slow burning romance. I recommend it to anyone looking for an October read, because it certainly was the fix I needed!