Tuesday, August 23

Today is Tuesday of WEEK 1 of class. You have some Orientation assignments that are DUE TODAY, Tuesday. If you have not completed those assignments yet, please make sure you complete them today. The Orientation week assignments are mandatory if you are planning to remain in the class. If you did not read Monday's announcements, you should probably do that now, too!

Ning blogs and comments. One of your Tuesday assignments is to post an Introduction about yourself in your blog at the class Ning. You'll be doing more blog posts at the Ning later this week... and then, after the posting assignments for the week are done, you'll have a "Read and Respond" assignment where you'll be assigned some specific blogs of other people in class to read and comment on. Although you do the other assignments for class early (and I strongly encourage you to work ahead as much as you can!), the "Read and Respond" assignment is something you cannot do early, since you need to wait until everybody has had a chance to finish their blog posting assignments for the week, which will not be until the end of the day on Thursday. As a result, the "Read and Respond" assignment will be available starting on Friday - I'll let you know more about that later in the week.

Early Proofreading and Storybook assignments. As those of you who are working ahead turn in your Proofreading and Storybook assignments, I will try to get those back to you either that same day or the next day at the latest. You can check at this webpage to make sure I have received your assignment: Assignment Stack. I publish the list of assignments in the stack like that so you can check to make sure I have in fact received your assignment - if you do not see yourself listed in the stack, let me know so I can track down the missing email.

You can call me Laura. Really! As you've probably seen, I sign all my emails to you as "Laura," which is definitely what you can call me. I'm actually not a professor (just an instructor) - and since I'm going to be calling you all by your first names, it makes sense that you just call me by my first name also. :-)

Tuesday Events on Campus. There will be guided tours of Bizzell Library on Tuesday at 11AM and 4:30PM, as well as tours scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (time/location/details). Find out more about this event and other events happening on Tuesday at the Campus Calendar online.

August 23: International Black Ribbon Day. Today, August 23, is the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, a memorial day designated by the European Parliament and observed also in Canada. The day August 23 was chosen because it is the date of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the alliance (which did not last long) between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. You can read more about the Day of Remembrance in this Wikipedia article. To my mind, one of the most profound examples of the combined terror of Nazism and Stalinism is the massacre that took place at Katyń, a forest near Smolensk in western Russia, where over 20,000 Polish military officers and other Polish prisoners of war were executed. At first, the Nazis blamed the crime on Stalin, and then Stalin blamed the crime on the Nazis, and only recently has it become clear that the executions were in fact carried out by the Soviet NKVD on Stalin's orders. There is a film by the great Polish director Andrzej Wajda about the Katyń massacre, and it is a very personal film for Wajda, as his father was one of the slain Polish officers. I highly recommend the film; you can read a review I wrote about it here to learn more.