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Stack of Books
Posted on Monday 1 July 2013 at 6:32 am

Class and The Continuing Saga of the BBC Radio Apocalypse

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Today is the first day of my summer class. I love teaching and haven't done so in just over a year because I love it too much and had to cut back some if I ever hope to finish my dissertation. I'm super excited to be back in the classroom again. The only problem at the moment is that there are exactly 3 students in my class. Technically, summer classes are supposed to be cancelled with anything under 5 but the college is letting me go ahead for the moment with three and reduced pay for me. If more add, fantastic. If not, as long as no one else drops and it goes to two before the end of this week, it'll be OK. We're playing monopoly today, well stratified monopoly with people starting with different amounts of money and playing by different rules to represent the class and other hierarchies, so maybe that will convince them not to drop? On the other hand, they have to read a 300 page book this upcoming weekend for class next Monday so maybe they'll all run screaming.

Sorry I didn't get my usual BBC Radio post up on Sunday. All the time I'd usually spend on it got eaten up by trying to figure out what to do with the death of Radio Downloader and with final class prep stuff I just didn't have any extra time to give to it. Hopefully I'll be able to do it today, but I'm not sure. I'm still working on figuring out exactly what I'm going to do with no RD and no Radio iPlayer DRM downloading for the next six months at least. I posted here about everything I was thinking and I think a combination of torrenting from radioarchive.cc and recording the livestream is the way to go for things not available at AudioGo. I can do a more tightly focused post explaining step-by-step how to do both if people want.

Speaking of AudioGo, I went there this morning to buy something and download it. The search is very buggy at the moment. If I search for things on the US version, it will tell me they don't exist. Then if I search for them on the UK version, it will find them and if I go to the page then change uk to us in the address bar, they exist on the US page. That's not the main problem though. When I went to the main page, I noticed on my usual web browser, Firefox, that the middle splash ad wasn't ever loading. I didn't think anything of it but then apparently the java extension in my Firefox is screwing up so I couldn't get the downloader to open and let me have the program I just bought. I used Chrome, whose Java appeared to be fine, to get the download and it not only worked but the splash ad on the front page of AudioGo also loaded for me there. It was an announcement that AudioGo will soon be merging with DownPour, an audio book vendor. I have no idea what this will actually mean, but given all the other recent moves by BBC Audio / Radio, I suspect it will suck and screw me over somehow. For a start, this new place appears to operate on a subscription plan that supposedly gets you reduced rates though yo can still buy individual titles without a subscription. I hate that kind of setup. Additionally, I'm worried this will mean a decrease in the release and availability of radio programs, an increase in the cost of new programs, a loss of my existing library at AudioGo, a loss of my existing reward points at AudioGo, etc. Who knows? Maybe everything will be transferred in this merger, prices and availability will remain the same or get better, etc. I just seriously doubt it and am not in the mood to give BBC any benefit of the doubt at the moment.


failte_aoife at 11:21 am on 01 July 2013 (UTC) (Link)
*ugh* that doesn't sound good. I do have an audible-subscription, mainly because they have audiobooks that are a lot more expensive elsewhere (George Martin-audiobooks are 30+€ in other stores and 10€ at audible) or actually not available elsewhere (the Morse-audiobooks). I think the basic idea is great but they go totally over the top with their DRM (they have special files that only some players can read so I actually had to get a new one as my old one wasn't one of them) which is somewhat annoying :/
bratty_jedi at 3:09 pm on 01 July 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I love the current AudioGo setup because I can download everything, play everything on my computers or iPhone without problem, and play everything from my online library without downloading them if I'm away on some other computer (like if I'm working in the school library on one of the public computers). I'm sure the files have DRM, they almost have to, but I've never had any problems moving them around and listening to them on my devices so I'm not sure. I just hope nothing in this change over screws that up and I'm just really tired of BBC messing with everything at the moment.
donutsweeper at 1:16 pm on 01 July 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Stratified monopoly sounds FASCINATING.
bratty_jedi at 3:05 pm on 01 July 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Stratified Monopoly is fun. There are a few different ways to approach it. The way I do it is to play on the rigged class-based rules for a while, exact amount of time depending on how long you've got total. I think we had about an hour and ten minutes to play today so I did the rigged rules for 45 to 50 minutes. Once you've been going on the rigged rules, you talk for a few minutes about how great it is to be rich and how much it sucks to be poor then switch to everyone playing by standard monopoly rules. You don't reset property or money in hand at the time or anything, you just reset the rules so everyone gets the same amount for passing go, gets out of jail on the same rules, etc. from that point forward. After doing that for a while, 20 minutes or so today, I think, you talk for a few minutes about whether it made any difference. Were people who started off poor able to catch back up once the rules were reset or not so much? Would they ever be able to catch up when so much property was bought up before the rules were reset? The idea is to think about (1) how much of our lives are shaped by how much money our parents had when we were born and (2) since this is a class on US History from 1877 to nowish, if in 1877 women couldn't vote and anyone not white couldn't do lots of things, etc., but we've changed the rules over time to make things more fair, does that matter or is it impossible to ever catch back up if the rules were against you for so long. I do make sure to say that it isn't a perfect analogy and isn't meant to be one, but it is a way to springboard thinking about those ideas and asking those kinds of questions.

The rigged class-based rules that I use are pages 4 and 5 of this PDF, which has a bunch of other stuff in it on discussion questions or writing assignments to give the students based on their experiences playing it and the like. I typed up my own one-page handout of all the rules and quick 1/3 or so page cheat sheets for each player of just his or her class's rules but I don't have that posted anywhere publicly accessible.
donutsweeper at 3:57 pm on 01 July 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Oh cool! I think there are a lot of politicians who could learn a lesson from that.

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