Tag Archives: GERD

Selling Myself Long

Been attending sessions by Meri Aaron Walker about online methods to get paid for our expertise. Meri coaches teachers about those issues.

MAWSTOOLBOX.COM

There’s also a LearnHub “course”: Jumpstart Your Online Teaching Career.

Some notes, on my own thinking about monetization of expertise. Still draft-like, but RERO is my battle cry.

Some obstacles to my selling expertise:

  • My “oral personality.”
  • The position on open/free knowledge in academia and elsewhere.
  • My emphasis on friendship and personal rapport.
  • My abilities as an employee instead of a “boss.”
  • Difficulty in assessing the value of my expertise.
  • The fact that other people have the same expertise that I think I have.
  • High stakes (though this can be decreased, in some contexts).
  • My distaste for competition/competitiveness.
  • Difficulty at selling and advertising myself (despite my social capital).
  • Being a creative generalist instead of a specialist.

Despite all these obstacles, I have been thinking about selling my services online.

One reason is that I really do enjoy teaching. As I keep saying, teaching is my hobby (when I get paid, it’s to learn how to interact with other learners and to set up learning contexts).

In fact, I enjoy almost everything in teaching (the major exception being grading/evaluating). From holding office hours and lecturing to facilitating discussions and answering questions through email. Teaching, for me, is deeply satisfying and I think that learning situations which imply the role of a teacher still make a lot of sense. I also like more informal learning situations and I even try to make my courses more similar to informal teaching. But I still find specific value in a “teaching and learning” system.

Some people seem to assume that teaching a course is the same thing as “selling expertise.” My perspective on learning revolves to a large extent on the difference between teaching and “selling expertise.” One part is that I find a difference between selling a product or process and getting paid in a broader transaction which does involve exchange about knowledge but which isn’t restricted to that exchange. Another part is that I don’t see teachers as specialists imparting their wisdom to eager masses. I see knowledge as being constructed in diverse situations, including formal and informal learning. Expertise is often an obstacle in the kind of teaching I’m interested in!

Funnily enough, I don’t tend to think of expertise as something that is easily measurable or transmissible. Those who study expertise have ways to assess something which is related to “being an expert,” especially in the case of observable skills (many of those are about “playing,” actually: chess, baseball, piano…). My personal perspective on expertise tends to be broader, more fluid. Similar to experience, but with more of a conscious approach to learning.

There also seems to be a major difference between “breadth of expertise” and “topics you can teach.” You don’t necessarily need to be very efficient at some task to help someone learn to do it. In fact, in some cases, being proficient in a domain is an obstacle to teaching in that domain, since expertise is so ingrained as to be very difficult to retrieve consciously.

This is close to “do what I say, not what I do.” I even think that it can be quite effective to actually instruct people without direct experience of these instructions. Similar to consulting, actually. Some people easily disagree with this point and some people tease teachers about “doing vs. teaching.” But we teachers do have a number of ways to respond, some of them snarkier than others. And though I disagree with several parts of his attitude, I quite like this short monologue by Taylor Mali about What Teachers Make.

Another reason I might “sell my expertise” is that I genuinely enjoy sharing my expertise. I usually provide it for free, but I can possibly relate to the value argument. I don’t feel so tied to social systems based on market economy (socialist, capitalist, communist…) but I have to make do.

Another link to “selling expertise” is more disciplinary. As an ethnographer, I enjoy being a “cultural translator.” of sorts. And, in some cases, my expertise in some domains is more of a translation from specialized speech into laypeople’s terms. I’m actually not very efficient at translating utterances from one language to another. But my habit of navigating between different “worlds” makes it possible for me to bridge gaps, cross bridges, serve as mediator, explain something fairly “esoteric” to an outsider. Close to popularization.

So, I’ve been thinking about what can be paid in such contexts which give prominence to expertise. Tutoring, homework help, consulting, coaching, advice, recommendation, writing, communicating, producing content…

And, finally, I’ve been thinking about my domains of expertise. As a “Jack of All Trades,” I can list a lot of those. My level of expertise varies greatly between them and I’m clearly a “Master of None.” In fact, some of them are merely from personal experience or even anecdotal evidence. Some are skills I’ve been told I have. But I’d still feel comfortable helping others with all of them.

I’m funny that way.

Domains of  Expertise

French

  • Conversation
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Culture
  • Literature
  • Regional diversity
  • Chanson appreciation

Bamanan (Bambara)

  • Greetings
  • Conversation

Social sciences

  • Ethnographic disciplines
  • Ethnographic field research
  • Cultural anthropology
  • Linguistic anthropology
  • Symbolic anthropology
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Folkloristics

Semiotics

Language studies

  • Language description
  • Social dimensions of language
  • Language change
  • Field methods

Education

  • Critical thinking
  • Lifelong learning
  • Higher education
  • Graduate school
  • Graduate advising
  • Academia
  • Humanities
  • Social sciences
  • Engaging students
  • Getting students to talk
  • Online teaching
  • Online tools for teaching

Course Management Systems (Learning Management Systems)

  • Oncourse
  • Sakai
  • WebCT
  • Blackboard
  • Moodle

Social networks

  • Network ethnography
  • Network analysis
  • Influence management

Web platforms

  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Ning
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Jaiku
  • YouTube
  • Flickr

Music

  • Cultural dimensions of music
  • Social dimensions of music
  • Musicking
  • Musical diversity
  • Musical exploration
  • Classical saxophone
  • Basic music theory
  • Musical acoustics
  • Globalisation
  • Business models for music
  • Sound analysis
  • Sound recording

Beer

  • Homebrewing
  • Brewing techniques
  • Recipe formulation
  • Finding ingredients
  • Appreciation
  • Craft beer culture
  • Brewing trends
  • Beer styles
  • Brewing software

Coffee

  • Homeroasting
  • Moka pot brewing
  • Espresso appreciation
  • Coffee fundamentals
  • Global coffee trade

Social media

Blogging

  • Diverse uses of blogging
  • Writing tricks
  • Workflow
  • Blogging platforms

Podcasts

  • Advantages of podcasts
  • Podcasts in teaching
  • Filming
  • Finding podcasts
  • Embedding content

Technology

  • Trends
  • Geek culture
  • Equipment
  • Beta testing
  • Troubleshooting Mac OS X

Online Life

Communities

  • Mailing-lists
  • Generating discussions
  • Entering communities
  • Building a sense of community
  • Diverse types of communities
  • Community dynamics
  • Online communities

Food

  • Enjoying food
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Vinaigrette
  • Pizza dough
  • Bread

Places

  • Montreal, Qc
  • Lausanne, VD
  • Bamako, ML
  • Bloomington, IN
  • Moncton, NB
  • Austin, TX
  • South Bend, IN
  • Fredericton, NB
  • Northampton, MA

Pedestrianism

  • Carfree living
  • Public transportation
  • Pedestrian-friendly places

Tools I Use

  • PDAs
  • iPod
  • iTunes
  • WordPress.com
  • Skype
  • Del.icio.us
  • Diigo
  • Blogger (Blogspot)
  • Mac OS X
  • Firefox
  • Flock
  • Internet Explorer
  • Safari
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Maps
  • Zotero
  • Endnote
  • RefWorks
  • Zoho Show
  • Wikipedia
  • iPod touch
  • SMS
  • Outlining
  • PowerPoint
  • Slideshare
  • Praat
  • Audacity
  • Nero Express
  • Productivity software

Effective Web searches

Socialization

  • Social capital
  • Entering the field
  • Creating rapport
  • Event participation
  • Event hosting

Computer Use

  • Note-taking
  • Working with RSS feeds
  • Basic programing concepts
  • Data manipulations

Research Methods

  • Open-ended interviewing
  • Qualitative data analysis

Personal

  • Hedonism
  • Public speaking
  • GERD
  • Strabismus
  • Moving
  • Cultural awareness

Textured Away

Not my usual type of blogpost, but… Why not?

Been using dry granular textured vegetable protein (TVP) quite a bit, recently. Versatile, cheap , durable, easy, and quick. Better tasting than I remember. Still not that tasty by itself, of course, but it takes the flavor of whatever you add to it. In other words, it “carries” taste instead of contributing much to it.

Been mixing TVP with different spices and other ingredients. With soy, garlic, and ginger. Or with chili spices and onions. Even with homemade gravy or with store-bought BBQ sauce. Works really well on a tortilla. Easy to use in soups.

Perfect for quick snacks. With my GERD, eating small portions several times a day is very beneficial. My TVP snacks tend to fill me just enough to feel satiated without feeling full.

Since I’m a meat eater, I ‘ll probably start mixing TVP with meat products. My perception is that, with TVP, I can cut on fat a bit while having enough protein to make it feel like a meal. Given my girth, this practice might pave the way to other neat things in my nutrition and health.

At the same time, it’s not like I’ll go full-TVP all the way. I like to vary my diet as much as possible.

Unfortunately, I don’t find TVP in the USDA’s Nutrients Database. No idea why, actually.

Ah, well…


GERD and Stress

[This entry is about a health condition which causes some distasteful and potentially disturbing effects. Apologies in advance for the details!]

Been suffering from GERD (“gastroesophageal reflux disease” or “acid reflux”) for about ten years at this point. Heartburns are a fairly big part of it but there are other symptoms, especially after a lot of reflux episodes. GERD is very common. But it's not frequently discussed. Perhaps because its symptoms are so repelling and are unlikely to be mentioned in polite company.
GERD is easily treated, including by surgery. Haven't had surgery myself. At one point, my condition was bad enough that we feared it might lead to cancer. Things have gotten a lot better since then.
Overall, my condition has been quite stable for a long while (thanks to some well-known medication). There are days however, like today, during which things aren't as good. Not because of pain. It can be quite painful at times (like when you get a horizontal bar of pain in your back). But it's also causing a generally displeasing overall state. Had a rather acute episode today. Woke up with almost a mouthful of acidic bile. And there wasn't anything special from the past day which might have led me to expect this episode (like eating before going to bed or sleeping in too horizontal a position). But it hurt and the effects are still with me, ten hours after waking up.
One thing about GERD, for me, is that it stresses me out. And vice-versa: stress is likely to cause a reflux episode in me. It's quite annoying but it's also potentially damaging. A seemingly simple situation may become a big problem under GERD symptoms and too high a level of stress and acid reflux is likely to change my mood. It's not at all like hypochondria, AFAIK, but it's a psychosomatic connection between mental state and physical condition. It's no less real than any other physical condition or mental state, but there's a clear connection between the two.
The upshot is that stress has become a known state to me. In my experience, and it really does seem to make sense, it has little to do with having a lot to do or even with being in a hurry. But it does have to do with situations of “double-bind” in which you feel trapped. Those types of “darned if you do, darned if you don't” situations we all know on occasion. For me, it's difficult to think straight during GERD episodes. And stress caused by double-bind situations will likely generate an acid reflux episode in me. Kind of a vicious circle. It's easier if the source is physical (if the GERD starts the pattern) as it's then possible for me to convince myself that things are fine and it's best to just wait for the GERD symptoms to pass. But it's still very inconvenient.
Another aspect of GERD, which can be especially “gross,” is that it's often associated with IBS or “irritable bowel syndrome.” Not that they're intimately linked but with GERD, IBS symptoms are frequent. Haven't had IBS diagnosed in my case but it does sound as if it were the same symptoms. In such situations where IBS is apparently caused by my GERD, it's an overall uneasy feeling which is tolerable but quite annoying. Ah, well…

Life is still good.

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