Category Archives: Blog announcements

Casting Out Nines has officially moved

A while back I announced that this blog was being folded into the Chronicle of Higher Education Blog Network. I’m pleased to announce that the move has officially taken place. You can check out Casting Out Nines v. 2.0 (or whatever version I’m up to) at

http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/

I want to give the folks at the Chronicle a lot of kudos for the excellent visual design work they’ve done on the new site. It’s minimalist — which I like — but also has some very nice stylistic touches. I hope the content will match the quality of the look.

This post will be the last one made to this WordPress.com site. All future posts will be made at the new place. All the old content that is here at WordPress.com has been (as far as I know) successfully ported to the new site, with the exception of comments that have been made in the last week. I’ll be keeping this WordPress.com site open for archival purposes because it’s no cost to me. But I will probably close comments on all the posts at some point to make sure nobody’s comments end up getting “lost” on this site.

Just a few notes to close things out here:

  • The Chronicle folks are working on having the URL for the WordPress.com site just redirect to the new site, but it turns out there are some issues with that. It’s probably best if you just change the URL in your bookmarks to the new one.
  • Likewise, if you’re reading this blog via RSS, you probably need to change your subscription link. The new link is http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/feed/ for posts and http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/comments/feed/ for comments.
  • There does not appear to be a way to subscribe to CO9’s by email at the new site. There are 33 of you who subscribe this way, and I appreciate that! If I were you, I’d switch to using an RSS reader — they are free and very easy to use.
  • Finally, I want to give a big shout out to WordPress.com. I switched from a self-hosted WordPress site to WP.com back in 2007 after a maddening series of bandwidth issues that happened while I was on the road. I thought at the time that I was downgrading, but actually WP.com has been a fantastic service that’s only gotten better over time. Anybody considering a blog would do well to check this platform out to see what they have to offer.
See you on the other side!
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Changes coming for Casting Out Nines!

My family and I are all settled (well, mostly) here in Michigan, and pretty soon I’ll be in full swing in my new position at Grand Valley State University. I can’t overstate what a delight it’s been, getting situated at GVSU. It is a dynamic and forward-thinking university full of great people and exciting ideas. I haven’t met a single person who isn’t excellent at what they do and generous with their expertise.

I am officially taking CO9s off hiatus, and I intend to pick up the pace on blogging as the semester kicks off. That seems wrong — shouldn’t I blog more when it’s less busy? — but I’ve always seen blogging as both an overflow mechanism (to think more about what I’m doing) and an incubator (to kick off new things by rehearsing them here).

Along with a return to regular posting, I have an announcement that I’ve been waiting a long time to make. Over the next few weeks, Casting Out Nines will be rolled into the blog network of the Chronicle of Higher Education, the leading publication about higher ed in the world. Most higher ed people are already familiar with the Chronicle’s print and online publications. The Chronicle Blog Network will be a new venue of voices on the web, writing about higher education, with a worldwide scope and featuring bloggers from all corners of academia.Currently there are two excellent blogs in the network — Tenured Radical and The Ubiquitous Librarian. Casting Out Nines will be joining them.

Posts from blogs in the network will be promoted to Chronicle readers through the Chronicle’s home page, their e-newsletter, and their social media channels. When you take into account that the Chronicle’s website reaches 1.7 million unique visitors and has 14.3 million page views per month, this means that the posts here will be reaching a much, much larger audience than in the past.

Obviously I am tremendously excited about this. This has been in the works for a long time (almost a year?), and things are ready to take shape now. Over the next few weeks, content from the site will be archived and ported over to a new location hosted by the Chronicle on their servers. It will be a hosted WordPress site, which will allow me to add a considerable number of elements to the site that WordPress.com doesn’t currently allow, like different video formats and MathJax typesetting. And I won’t have to deal with technical difficulties. (Although I am not getting any money for this, I consider having a team of experts handling the technical end of things to be more than enough compensation.)

Eventually, when you type in the usual URL for this site, you will be redirected to the new site on the Chronicle’s servers. This means you won’t need to change any web bookmarks you use to get here. As far as RSS feeds go, you might need to change the address. I’m not certain how this will go. Keep your current RSS feed and if it “goes dark” all of a sudden, check back in on the main site; if it’s been officially moved, there will be an RSS subscription link at the new place you can use to replace the old one.

I should stress that although CO9’s will be officially a Chronicle blog, the Chronicle will NOT be editing my work or telling me what to write about or not write about. Also, none of the blogs in the network will be behind the Chronicle’s paywall. The posts you get and the way in which you get them will be the same as always (hopefully the posts will improve in quality…). But you’ll be among potentially a whole lot more readers and commenters, the whole look/feel of the experience should be improved, and you’ll be able to put my posts into context with others in the network and with the Chronicle itself.

It would be wrong not to say a huge thank-you to all of you. (Bonus points if you can remember the blog when it was called something else… and what that “something else” was.) I hope you stick around for the next iteration.

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Taking a break

The Cook Carillon Tower, Grand Valley State Un...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been pretty quiet around here at Casting Out Nines lately. This is mainly due to two things. First, I’m spending five days a week home with my oldest two kids — the youngest joins us on Wednesdays — and keeping the kids active and engaged doesn’t leave much time for blogging. Second, as you all know, I’m starting a new position at Grand Valley State University in the fall and our big move to Michigan takes place in two weeks. We’re totally uprooting in this move, and preparing for it consumes a lot of time and emotional energy.

I’ve decided that, in light of all this, that I might as well declare the blog to be on hiatus for a month or so until we’re settled. There are a couple of posts that might go up soon — one of them being the last entry in the How I make screencasts series — but otherwise let’s just call it summer vacation here at CO9’s, and things will resume in “back to school” mode later. (“Back to school” time always seems to happen too soon, but that’s another story.)

I do want to mention, because it’s hard to keep it in, that there are some major changes coming up for Casting Out Nines that I am very excited about. These have been brewing for almost a year now and are just about ready to go into place. I can’t really go into detail — nor do I have an exact timetable — but suffice to say that the experience you get here at CO9’s will be better than ever, and it’s more than just another change in the visual theme.

Anyway, that’s it from me for now — follow me on Twitter if you just can’t live without my content (ahem) but otherwise, get out there and enjoy your summer!

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News of the day: I’m moving

I wanted to announce to all you readers of this blog that some big changes are coming up soon for my and my family. This doesn’t really affect the blog, but you might like to know. I’ll be leaving Franklin College, my place of employment for nearly ten years, after this semester to accept a new position as Associate Professor of Mathematics at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. My first official day at GVSU will be August 8, and we’ll be moving up to the Grand Rapids area probably in mid-July.

This has been a truly gut-wrenching decision to make, since Franklin has been extremely good to me for the last 9+ years, and I hope that I’ve done some good for the college and its students as well. It’s also a decision that’s been cooking for months, but for obvious reasons I couldn’t blog about it. In the end, though, I made the choice to go to GVSU for three reasons.

  1. I was really impressed by the university, which is just 50 years old and has an enrollment of 25,000 students — that’s double what it was 10 years ago. It’s an active, dynamic, forward-thinking institution that has all the accoutrements and resources of a large public university but hasn’t forsaken excellent undergraduate education as its primary focus. The math department, in particular, is loaded with talent and intellectual energy, both in mathematics and in teaching, which is rare to see in a big university.
  2. My family really liked the area, particularly those lovely beaches along Lake Michigan just a few minutes away and the small-but-big feel of Grand Rapids. My wife and I honeymooned in the Upper Peninsula and we’ve always felt like Michigan would be a cool place to relocate if it came to that. West Michigan has a low cost of living and a high quality of life, and it’s a great place for us to try to accomplish some personal and family goals we’ve set for ourselves.
  3. Above all, the people I encountered at GVSU — faculty, administrators, students, support staff — have been so kind, generous, and thoughtful throughout this whole process. Being an academic is about having ideas, but being a successful and happy academic is about surrounding yourself with people who support you, believe in you, and make you better at what you do. This is what makes good ideas take root and become great ideas. That’s what GVSU has to offer, and that’s the main thing that made my mind up in the end.
We will really miss Indianapolis, which is a great city and a terrific place to live and start a family. And we don’t look forward to trying to get our house sold in this terrible real estate market. (Referrals, anyone?) But it seems like the right place and the right time to do this, and my family and I are tremendously excited about what lies ahead.
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Bound for New Orleans

Happy New Year, everyone. The blogging was light due to a nice holiday break with the family. Now we’re all back home… and I’m taking off again. This time, I’m headed to the Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans from January 5 through January 8. I tend to do more with my Twitter account during conferences than I do with the blog, but hopefully I can give you some reporting along with some of the processing I usually do following good conference talks (and even some of the bad ones).

I’m giving two talks while in New Orleans:

  • On Thursday at 3:55, I’m speaking on “A Brief Fly-Through of Cryptology for First-Semester Students using Active Learning and Common Technology” in the MAA Session on Cryptology for Undergraduates. That’s in the Great Ballroom E, 5th Floor Sheraton in case you’re there and want to come. This talk is about a 5-day minicourse I do as a guest lecturer in our Introduction to the Mathematical Sciences activity course for freshmen.
  • On Friday at 11:20, I’m giving a talk called “Inverting the Linear Algebra Classroom” in the MAA Session on Innovative and Effective Ways to Teach Linear Algebra. Thats in Rhythms I, 2nd floor Sheraton. This talk is an outgrowth of this blog post I did back in the spring following the first non-MATLAB attempt at the inverted classroom approach I did and will touch on the inverted classroom model in general and how it can play out in Linear Algebra in particular.

Both sessions I’m speaking in are loaded with what look to be excellent talks, so I’m excited about participating. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Gil Strang and David Lay are two of the organizers of the linear algebra setting, which is like a council of the linear algebra gods.

I’ll give Casting Out Nines readers a sneak peek at my two talks by telling you I’ve set up a web site that has the Prezis for both talks along with links to the materials I mention in the talks. And if you’re there in New Orleans, come by my talks if you have the slots free or just give me a ring on my Twitter and I’d love to meet up with you.

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Filed under Blog announcements, Crypto, Inverted classroom, Linear algebra, Math, Peer instruction, Teaching

Just so you’d know

…I’m all done with the ASEE and headed off on vacation in nearby Holiday World. Whatever it is I’ve left out about ASEE, I hope to fill in once I’m back home. If there’s something specific you’d like to know about what I’ve seen here, let me know in the comments.

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Content theft

This blog used to have two different URL’s — castingoutnines.wordpress.com as well as castingoutnines.net. The latter was a holdover from the days I self-hosted this blog, and when the domain name registration period drew to a close in December of last year, I opted not to renew, since I think most people come here from an RSS feed or otherwise use the WordPress.com domain.

Well, that might have turned out to be a mistake, because as JackieB on Twitter informed me earlier this evening, someone has purchased the castingoutnines.net domain name and is using it to plagiarize content from here. I’ve spent about 90 minutes just now going through the “fake” CO9’s site, and all totalled, there were 53 blog posts copied in their entirety from here, and the “About” and “What is Casting Out Nines?” pages. Of course I was not given attribution for any of this.

WordPress.com has this helpful page on what steps to take if your content gets stolen. I’m in the process of putting together a DMCA infringement notice to send to Hostmonster, the service hosting the fake blog. In the meanwhile, I’ve also changed the RSS settings so that only post summaries are put into the feed; I hate these partial RSS feeds, but unfortunately this seems like a necessary anti-scraping measure. I’ve also posted a Creative Commons license over in the sidebar to make the terms of using my posts unambiguous.

Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do to wrest the castingoutnines.net domain name from the registrant (who, according to a whois search, is somebody in Israel), so if you are still using that URL to get here, switch to castingoutnines.wordpress.com. Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.

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