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Contents contributed and discussions participated by D. S. Koelling

D. S. Koelling

How Self-Expression Damaged My Students - Robert Pondiscio - The Atlantic - 47 views

  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
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  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
  • But good writers don't just do stuff. They know stuff. They have knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose and provides the ability to create examples and analogies. They have big vocabularies and solid command of the conventions of language and grammar. And if this is not explicitly taught, it will rarely develop by osmosis among children who do not grow up in language-rich homes.
D. S. Koelling

Extract Images from a PDF file | Sciweavers - 73 views

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    "Process and convert PDF to other useful formats"
D. S. Koelling

The Liberal Arts Are Work-Force Development - Do Your Job Better - The Chronicle of Hig... - 35 views

  • Now consider that, according to the American Association of Community Colleges, about half of all freshmen and sophomores are enrolled at the nation's 1,300 two-year colleges, and many of those students transfer to four-year institutions. For a large percentage of people who earn bachelor's degrees, then, the liberal-arts portion of their education was acquired at a two-year college. Next, factor in all of the community-college students who enter the work force after earning two-year degrees or certificates, and whose only exposure to the liberal arts occurred in whatever core courses their programs required. The conclusion becomes obvious: Two-year colleges are among the country's leading providers of liberal-arts education, although they seldom get credit for that role.
  • Employers rank communication and analytical skills among the most important attributes they seek in new hires, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Perhaps those of us who teach those very skills at community colleges should embrace the integral role we play in preparing the nation's workers rather than rejecting the idea of work-force development as somehow beneath us.
  • More important, this new perspective could have a positive effect on student success. If we come to see ourselves as preparing students not just for transfer but ultimately for the work force, students may be more likely to understand the relevance of the skills that we teach them and better able to use those skills for some purpose other than just getting a passing grade.
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  • Clearly, one of the best things we can do for students is to require them to write—a lot.
  • Require lots of writing. As the management guru Peter Drucker argued, communication is the one skill required of all professionals, regardless of field. "As soon as you take one step up the career ladder," he said, "your effectiveness depends on your ability to communicate your thoughts in writing and in speaking."
  • Focus on critical thinking. A common complaint of employers, as reflected in the NACE survey, is that many workers have difficulty thinking for themselves. They may be thoroughly trained, having mastered all of the concepts in the textbooks, but, inevitably, situations arise that weren't covered in the books. When that happens, the ability to think critically, independently, and creatively becomes indispensable.
  • Bring the real world into the classroom. Another strategy we can adopt, if we want our courses to be more relevant, is to make our class discussions, case studies, experiments, and assignments as real-world-based as possible. For example, in my composition courses, I not only allow students to choose their own essay topics, but I also encourage them to write about issues related to their prospective majors. I also assign reading (in addition to the old textbook standbys) from newspapers, popular magazines, even the Internet.
  • Make the connection. Take advantage of every opportunity to connect what students are doing in class with what they will be doing some day as employees. My students hear the term "the real world" so much that, by the middle of the term, they're starting to roll their eyes. But it's important for them to understand that the work we're doing now in class isn't just a series of meaningless exercises, another set of hoops for them to jump through on their way to a degree. They're going to have to do these things for real one day—describe processes, do research to find solutions, draw comparisons—and my course may be the last time anyone ever actually teaches them how.
D. S. Koelling

Collaboration and Ownership in Student Writing - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher E... - 47 views

  • Blau and Caspi learned two things: first, that in general students felt that collaborating with partners improved the quality of drafts. On the other hand, the students mostly felt that their edits improved other people’s drafts, whereas other people’s edits worsened their own drafts. Blau and Caspi posit that a sense of ownership of the draft was pedagogically useful–that students’ perceptions of the overall quality of their work increased as they felt responsible for it. As a consequence, they conclude that the best way to reap the benefits of collaboration and psychological ownership of writing is to have students make suggestions to one another’s drafts, but not to edit one another’s writing directly.
D. S. Koelling

Embracing the Cloud: Caveat Professor - The Digital Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Ed... - 37 views

  • My work as chief privacy and security officer at a large public university has, however, given me pause to ask if our posture toward risk prevents us from fully embracing technology at a moment of profound change.
  • Consequently, faculty members are accepting major personal and institutional risk by using such third-party services without any institutional endorsement or support. How we provide those services requires a nuanced view of risk and goes to the heart of our willingness to trust our own faculty and staff members.
  • The technologically savvy among us recognize that hard physical, virtual, and legal boundaries actually demark this world of aggressively competitive commercial entities. Our students, faculty, and staff often do not.
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  • But can we embrace the cloud? Can the faculty member who wears our institution's name in her title and e-mail address, to whom we've entrusted the academic and research mission of the institution, be trusted to reach into the cloud and pluck what she believes is the optimal tool to achieve her pedagogical aims and use it? Unfortunately, no. Many faculty and staff members simply use whatever service they choose, but they often do not have the knowledge or experience needed to evaluate those choices. And those who do try to work through the institution soon find themselves mired in bureaucracy.
  • First we review the company's terms of service. Of course, we also ask the company for any information it can provide on its internal data security and privacy practices. Our purchasing unit rewrites the agreement to include all of the state-required procurement language; we also add our standard contract language on data security. All of this information is fed into some sort of risk assessment of varying degrees of formality, depending on the situation, and, frankly, the urgency. That leads to yet another round of modifications to the agreement, negotiations with the company, and, finally, if successful, circulation for signatures. After which we usually exhume the corpse of the long-deceased faculty member and give him approval to use the service in his class. We go through this process not from misguided love of bureaucracy, but because our institutions know of no other way to manage risk. That is, we have failed to transform ourselves so we can thrive and compete in the 21st century.
  • But our faculty and staff are increasingly voting with their feet—they're more interested in the elegance, portability, and integration of commercial offerings, despite the inability to control how those programs change over time. By insisting on remaining with homegrown solutions, we are failing to fall in lockstep with those we support.
  • Data security? Of course there are plenty of fly-by-night operations with terrible security practices. However, as the infrastructure market has matured (one of the generally unrecognized benefits of cloud services), more and more small companies can provide assurances of data security that would shame many of us even at large research-intensive institutions.
  • If higher education is to break free of the ossified practices of the past, we must find ways to transfer risk acceptance into the faculty domain—that is, to enable faculty to accept risk. Such a transformation is beyond the ability of the IT department alone—it will require our campus officials, faculty senates, registrars, and research and compliance officers working together to deeply understand both the risks and the benefits
D. S. Koelling

Online Courses Should Always Include Proctored Finals, Economist Warns - Wired Campus -... - 34 views

  • Online economics students do not absorb much material from homework and chapter tests during the semester—perhaps because they expect to be able to cheat their way through the final exam.
  • she has noticed that her online students perform much worse than their classroom-taught counterparts when they are required to take a proctored, closed-book exam at the end of the semester.
  • Ms. Wachenheim’s findings parallel those of a 2008 study in the Journal of Economic Education. That study found indirect evidence that students cheat on unproctored online tests, because their performance on proctored exams was much more consistent with predictions based on their class ranks and their overall grade-point averages.
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  • Those include insisting on a proctored final exam and reminding students of that exam “early, often, and broadly, so students are ever-conscious that they will be responsible for the material in an unaided environment.”
D. S. Koelling

Helping First-Year Students Help Themselves - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Educ... - 1 views

  • According to a yearly national survey of more than 200,000 first-year students conducted by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, college freshmen are increasingly "overwhelmed," rating their emotional health at the lowest levels in the 25 years the question has been asked. Such is the latest problem dropped at the offices of higher-education administrators and professors nationwide: Young adults raised with a single-minded focus on gaining admission to college now need help translating that focus into ways to thrive on campus and beyond.
  • Many young adults weren't taught the basic life skills and coping mechanisms for challenging times.
  • The consequences for students who lack those skills have become increasingly clear both on campus and after graduation. At Pitt, where I teach, and at other institutions, student-life administrators have noticed a marked decrease in resiliency, particularly among first-year students. That leads to an increase in everything from roommate disagreements to emotional imbalance and crisis. After graduation, employers complain that a lack of coping mechanisms makes for less proficient workers: According to a 2006 report by the Conference Board, a business-research group, three-quarters of surveyed employers said incoming new graduates were deficient in "soft" skills like communication and decision making.
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  • Parents and high-school educators certainly have a role to play, but college administrators and professors cannot abdicate their role as an influential socialization force to guide young adults toward better self-management.
  • The way to combat the decline in emotional health among first-year students is to offer them opportunities to build such self-efficacy from the start.
  • Teaching interpersonal skills of self-presentation is also essential, as it makes students' interactions with roommates, professors, and professional colleagues flow more smoothly. By following suggestions popularized by Dale Carnegie during the Great Depression—to think in terms of the interests of others, smile, and express honest and sincere appreciation—my Generation WTF students report being happily stunned by more-successful interviews, better relationships with family members, and more-meaningful interactions with friends.
  • While much of my advice seems revolutionary to them, adults from previous generations know that I'm simply teaching a return to core values of self-control, honesty, thrift, and perseverance­—the basic skills that will allow those in "emerging adulthood" to get on with life.
D. S. Koelling

5 Myths About the 'Information Age' - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Ed... - 0 views

  • 1. "The book is dead." Wrong: More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—"Super Thursday," last October 1—800 new works were published.
  • 2. "We have entered the information age." This announcement is usually intoned solemnly, as if information did not exist in other ages. But every age is an age of information, each in its own way and according to the media available at the time.
  • I mention these misconceptions because I think they stand in the way of understanding shifts in the information environment. They make the changes appear too dramatic. They present things ahistorically and in sharp contrasts—before and after, either/or, black and white. A more nuanced view would reject the common notion that old books and e-books occupy opposite and antagonistic extremes on a technological spectrum. Old books and e-books should be thought of as allies, not enemies.
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  • 4. "Libraries are obsolete." Everywhere in the country librarians report that they have never had so many patrons. At Harvard, our reading rooms are full. The 85 branch libraries of the New York Public Library system are crammed with people.
  • 5. "The future is digital." True enough, but misleading. In 10, 20, or 50 years, the information environment will be overwhelmingly digital, but the prevalence of electronic communication does not mean that printed material will cease to be important. Research in the relatively new discipline of book history has demonstrated that new modes of communication do not displace old ones, at least not in the short run.
  • 3. "All information is now available online." The absurdity of this claim is obvious to anyone who has ever done research in archives. Only a tiny fraction of archival material has ever been read, much less digitized. Most judicial decisions and legislation, both state and federal, have never appeared on the Web. The vast output of regulations and reports by public bodies remains largely inaccessible to the citizens it affects. Google estimates that 129,864,880 different books exist in the world, and it claims to have digitized 15 million of them—or about 12 percent.
  • Last year the sale of e-books (digitized texts designed for hand-held readers) doubled, accounting for 10 percent of sales in the trade-book market. This year they are expected to reach 15 or even 20 percent. But there are indications that the sale of printed books has increased at the same time.
  • Many of us worry about a decline in deep, reflective, cover-to-cover reading. We deplore the shift to blogs, snippets, and tweets. In the case of research, we might concede that word searches have advantages, but we refuse to believe that they can lead to the kind of understanding that comes with the continuous study of an entire book. Is it true, however, that deep reading has declined, or even that it always prevailed?
  • Writing looks as bad as reading to those who see nothing but decline in the advent of the Internet. As one lament puts it: Books used to be written for the general reader; now they are written by the general reader. The Internet certainly has stimulated self-publishing, but why should that be deplored? Many writers with important things to say had not been able to break into print, and anyone who finds little value in their work can ignore it.
  • One could cite other examples of how the new technology is reinforcing old modes of communication rather than undermining them. I don't mean to minimize the difficulties faced by authors, publishers, and readers, but I believe that some historically informed reflection could dispel the misconceptions that prevent us from making the most of "the information age"—if we must call it that.
D. S. Koelling

Challenging the Presentation Paradigm with the 1/1/5 Rule - ProfHacker - The Chronicle ... - 2 views

  • 20 slides at 20 seconds per slide, a Pecha Kucha is, as Jason writes, necessarily “SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE.”
  • In addition to the time constraint of the Pecha Kucha, your presentation must also follow the 1/1/5 rule. That is, you must have at least one image per slide, you can use each exact image only once, and you should add no more than five words per slide. The formal constraints of this rigid format call for discipline, focus, practice, and paradoxically, creativity.
D. S. Koelling

The Creativity Killer: Group Discussions - David Sherwin - Life - The Atlantic - 76 views

  • Yes, group activity can provide the impetus for better framing of problems, which can lead to original solutions. But creativity is the "end result of many forms of intelligence coming together, and intelligence born out of collaboration and out of networks," to quote one of my co-workers, Robert Fabricant. When we collaborate with different kinds of thinkers, sometimes from different cultures and backgrounds, we individually struggle with ingrained behaviors that reduce our likelihood of manifesting creativity.
  • Instead of holding an hour-long meeting with a facilitator at the whiteboard, pen poised to capture ideas called out, what would happen if every person in the room were provided five minutes to generate ideas individually?
  • When we lose track of time in group discussion, we are often crafting an enjoyable group experience at the cost of surfacing everyone's unique perspectives and voices. We risk filling the time with consensus, rather than exploring divergent, multi-disciplinary viewpoints. It is in the friction between these views that we explore new patterns of thought.
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  • this kind of teamwork requires knowing when not to work in teams. This sounds obvious, but we constantly struggle with the belief that we must be inclusive to succeed. When to diverge and when to converge: that is the question.
  • A useful tool to combat open-ended group dialogue is "timeboxing," the use of short, structured sprints to reach stated goals for individuals or teams.
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    A case for rethinking how we generate ideas.
D. S. Koelling

Font Size May Not Aid Learning, but Its Style Can, Researchers Find - NYTimes.com - 110 views

  • Is it easier to remember a new fact if it appears in normal type, like this, or in big, bold letters, like this?
  • Font size has no effect on memory, even though most people assume that bigger is better. But font style does.
  • New research finds that people retain significantly more material — whether science, history or language — when they study it in a font that is not only unfamiliar but also hard to read.
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  • “So much of the learning that we do now is unsupervised, on our own,” said Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, “that it’s crucial to be able to monitor that learning accurately; that is, to know how well we know what we know, so that we avoid fooling ourselves.”
  • “Studying something in the presence of an answer, whether it’s conscious or not, influences how you interpret the question,” Dr. Bjork said. “You don’t appreciate all of the other things that would have come to mind if the answer weren’t there. “Let’s say you’re studying capitals and you see that Australia’s is Canberra. O.K., that seems easy enough. But when the exam question appears, you think: ‘Uh oh, was it Sydney? Melbourne? Adelaide?’ ” That’s why some experts are leery of students’ increasing use of online sites like Cramster, Course Hero, Koofers and others that offer summaries, step-by-step problem solving and copies of previous exams. The extra help may provide a valuable supplement to a difficult or crowded course, but it could also leave students with a false sense of mastery. Even course outlines provided by a teacher, a textbook or other outside source can create a false sense of security, some research suggests. In one experiment, researchers found that participants studying a difficult chapter on the industrial uses of microbes remembered more when they were given a poor outline — which they had to rework to match the material — than a more accurate one.
  • a cognitive quality known as fluency, a measure of how easy a piece of information is to process.
  • On real tests, font size made no difference and practice paid off, the study found.
  • And so it goes, researchers say, with most study sessions: difficulty builds mental muscle, while ease often builds only confidence.
  • To test the approach in the classroom, the researchers conducted a large experiment involving 222 students at a public school in Chesterland, Ohio. One group had all its supplementary study materials, in English, history and science courses, reset in an unusual font, like Monotype Corsiva. The others studied as before. After the lessons were completed, the researchers evaluated the classes’ relevant tests and found that those students who’d been squinting at the stranger typefaces did significantly better than the others in all the classes — particularly in physics. “The reason that the unusual fonts are effective is that it causes us to think more deeply about the material,” a co-author of the study, Daniel M. Oppenheimer, a psychologist at Princeton, wrote in an e-mail. “But we are capable of thinking deeply without being subjected to unusual fonts. Think of it this way, you can’t skim material in a hard to read font, so putting text in a hard-to-read font will force you to read more carefully.” Then again, so will raw effort, he and other researchers said. Concentrating harder. Making outlines from scratch. Working through problem sets without glancing at the answers. And studying with classmates who test one another.
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    Students' raw effort improves learning [No surprise there, huh?]
D. S. Koelling

A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education, Part I - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher E... - 40 views

  • at least 45 percent of undergraduates demonstrated "no improvement in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills in the first two years of college, and 36 percent showed no progress in four years."
  • What good does it do to increase the number of students in college if the ones who are already there are not learning much? Would it not make more sense to improve the quality of education before we increase the quantity of students?
  • students in math, science, humanities, and social sciences—rather than those in more directly career-oriented fields—tend to show the most growth in the areas measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment, the primary tool used in their study. Also, students learn more from professors with high expectations who interact with them outside of the classroom. If you do more reading, writing, and thinking, you tend to get better at those things, particularly if you have a lot of support from your teachers.
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  • Increasingly, undergraduates are not prepared adequately in any academic area but often arrive with strong convictions about their abilities.
  • It has become difficult to give students honest feedback.
  • As the college-age population declines, many tuition-driven institutions struggle to find enough paying customers to balance their budgets. That makes it necessary to recruit even more unprepared students, who then must be retained, shifting the burden for academic success away from the student and on to the teacher.
  • Although a lot of emphasis is placed on research on the tenure track, most faculty members are not on that track and are retained on the basis of what students think of them.
  • Students gravitate to lenient professors and to courses that are reputedly easy, particularly in general education.
  • It is impossible to maintain high expectations for long unless everyone holds the line in all comparable courses—and we face strong incentives not to do that.
  • Formerly, full-time, tenured faculty members with terminal degrees and long-term ties to the institution did most of the teaching. Such faculty members not only were free to grade honestly and teach with conviction but also had a deep understanding of the curriculum, their colleagues, and the institutional mission. Now undergraduate teaching relies primarily on graduate students and transient, part-time instructors on short-term contracts who teach at multiple institutions and whose performance is judged almost entirely by student-satisfaction surveys.
  • Contingent faculty members, who are paid so little, routinely teach course loads that are impossible to sustain without cutting a lot of corners.
  • Many colleges are now so packed with transient teachers, and multitasking faculty-administrators, that it is impossible to maintain some kind of logical development in the sequencing of courses.
  • Students may be enjoying high self-esteem, but college teachers seem to be suffering from a lack of self-confidence.
D. S. Koelling

A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education, Part 2 - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher E... - 43 views

  • But, in the past few generations, the imagery and rhetoric of academic marketing have cultivated a belief that college will be, if not decadent, at least primarily recreational: social activities, sporting events, and travel.
  • Increasingly, students are buying an "experience" instead of earning an education, and, in the competition to attract customers, that's what's colleges are selling.
  • a growing percentage of students are arriving at college without ever having written a research paper, read a novel, or taken an essay examination. And those students do not perceive that they have missed something in their education; after all, they have top grades. In that context, the demands of professors for different kinds of work can seem bewildering and unreasonable, and students naturally gravitate to courses with more-familiar expectations.
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  • Students increasingly are pressured to go to college not because they want to learn (much less become prepared for the duties of citizenship), but because they and their parents believe—perhaps rightly—that not going will exclude them from middle-class jobs.
  • At most universities, a student is likely to be unknown to the professor and would expect to feel like a nuisance, a distraction from more important work.
  • As academic expectations have decreased, social programming and extracurricular activities have expanded to fill more than the available time. That is particularly the case for residential students, for whom the possibility of social isolation is a source of great anxiety.
  • College has become unaffordable for most people without substantial loans; essentially they are mortgaging their future in the expectation of greater earnings. In order to reduce borrowing, more and more students leave class early or arrive late or neglect assignments, because they are working to provide money for tuition or living expenses.
  • As students' anxiety about the future increases, no amount of special pleading for general-education courses on history, literature, or philosophy—really anything that is not obviously job-related—will convince most students that they should take those courses seriously.
  • But at the major universities, most professors are too busy to care about individual students, and it is easy to become lost amid a sea of equally disenchanted undergraduates looking for some kind of purpose—and not finding it.
  • we need to make "rigorous and high-quality educational experiences a moral imperative."
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    ". . . we need to make 'rigorous and high-quality educational experiences a moral imperative.'"
D. S. Koelling

Teaching to the Text Message - NYTimes.com - 50 views

  • learning how to write concisely, to express one key detail succinctly and eloquently, is an incredibly useful skill, and more in tune with most students’ daily chatter, as well as the world’s conversation.
  • A lot can be said with a little — the mundane and the extraordinary. Philosophers like Confucius (“Learning without thought is labor lost. Thought without learning is perilous.”) and Nietzsche were kings of the aphorism.
  • I’m not suggesting that colleges eliminate long writing projects from English courses, but maybe we should save them for the second semester. Rewarding concision first will encourage students to be economical and innovative with language.
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    College English prof advocates teaching students to write concisely with text-like assignments.
D. S. Koelling

From Lab to Red Carpet - NYTimes.com - 24 views

  • If anything, stories like Ms. Portman’s show that great success, like DNA, is constructed of a few basic building blocks: tenacity, focus, and the old Woody Allen line about just showing up.
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    Actors who were also good students
D. S. Koelling

Shared Governance Is a Myth - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 14 views

  • It takes years of rank and the bitter­sweet experience of extensive committee service to realize that faculty influence on the operation of the university is an illusion, and that shared governance is a myth.
  • Committees report to administrative officers who are at liberty to accept, reject, or substantially alter faculty recommendations.
  • One would think that faculty senates exercise jurisdiction over a range of college life and policy. In reality, the right of many senates does not extend beyond making recommendations to the president, who is under no obligation to accept them.
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  • A more probable source of this way of doing business is the residue of an old ideal of the university. Such survivals of previous practices are not unusual in social life. Physicians, for example, experience a struggle between two competing understandings of their field: the prevalent view that treating patients is a business, and the residue of the old ideal that it is a calling. Ministers live the same ambiguity. Faculty committees constitute the respect that today's university pays to the old notion that it is a community of students and scholars. The impotence of the committees is acknowledgment that at this time in history, institutions of higher education are business ventures, in certain ways similar to factories.
  • If education is primarily a business, managers hire the faculty. If universities are communities of students and scholars, faculty members hire the managers.
  • The growing disempowerment of the faculty is accelerated by the distance of governing boards from campus processes.
D. S. Koelling

Six Steps for Checking Your Facebook Privacy - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher Edu... - 72 views

  • The goal of the workshop was to help students become aware of how much they share on Facebook and to help them make conscious decisions about what they would share.
  • Unfortunately, Facebook changes its interface on a semi-regular basis, so I thought it might prove useful to share the six steps I walk students through to help them check the various places where Facebook has tucked its different privacy settings. And yes, you read that correctly: there are six different steps for locking down your Facebook privacy settings.
D. S. Koelling

Writing in College - 1. Some crucial differences between high school and college writing - 55 views

  • you will be asked to analyze the reading, to make a worthwhile claim about it that is not obvious (state a thesis means almost the same thing), to support your claim with good reasons, all in four or five pages that are organized to present an argument .
  • They expect to see a claim that would encourage them to say, "That's interesting. I'd like to know more."
  • They expect to see evidence, reasons for your claim, evidence that would encourage them to agree with your claim, or at least to think it plausible.
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  • They expect to see that you've thought about limits and objections to your claim.
  • This kind of argument is less like disagreeable wrangling, more like an amiable and lively conversation with someone whom you respect and who respects you; someone who is interested in what you have to say, but will not agree with your claims just because you state them; someone who wants to hear your reasons for believing your claims and also wants to hear answers to their questions.
  • We also know that whatever it is we think, it is never the entire truth. Our conclusions are partial, incomplete, and always subject to challenge. So we write in a way that allows others to test our reasoning: we present our best thinking as a series of claims, reasons, and responses to imagined challenges, so that readers can see not only what we think, but whether they ought to agree.
  • And that's all an argument is--not wrangling, but a serious and focused conversation among people who are intensely interested in getting to the bottom of things cooperatively.
  • So your first step in writing an assigned paper occurs well before you begin writing: You must know what your instructor expects.
  • Start by looking carefully at the words of the assignment.
  • When most of your instructors ask what the point of your paper is, they have in mind something different. By "point" or "claim" (the words are virtually synonymous with thesis), they will more often mean the most important sentence that you wrote in your essay, a sentence that appears on the page, in black in white; words that you can point to, underline, send on a postcard; a sentence that sums up the most important thing you want to say as a result of your reading, thinking, research, and writing. In that sense, you might state the point of your paper as "Well, I want to show/prove/claim/argue/demonstrate (any of those words will serve to introduce the point) that "Though Falstaff seems to play the role of Hal's father, he is, in fact, acting more like a younger brother who . . . ."" If you include in your paper what appears after I want to prove that, then that's the point of your paper, its main claim that the rest of your paper supports.
  • A good point or claim typically has several key characteristics: it says something significant about what you have read, something that helps you and your readers understand it better; it says something that is not obvious, something that your reader didn't already know; it is at least mildly contestable, something that no one would agree with just by reading it; it asserts something that you can plausibly support in five pages, not something that would require a book.
D. S. Koelling

Why Undergrads Aren't Writing Enough - Brainstorm - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 49 views

  • When it comes to writing-heavy courses, students don’t want to take them and teachers don’t want to teach them. When it comes to writing assignments in non-writing-oriented courses, students don’t like them to run too long and neither do teachers. Writing is just too much work for both sides. For every upper-division class in the humanities, 25 pages of finished out-of-class writing is a proper minimum. But for most students, that sounds like a daunting total—and an unjust one. For teachers handling three or more classes with 25 or more students, grading all those pages conscientiously (which means giving substantive feedback) keeps them up all night three weeks every semester. For those lucky teachers on a 2-2 load with 25 students or less per course, they feel the publish-or-perish mandate and all those pages of student prose turn into a road block.
  • When it comes to writing-heavy courses, students don’t want to take them and teachers don’t want to teach them.
D. S. Koelling

Google's Bing Sting - NYTimes.com - 37 views

  • Google says it caught Microsoft copying its search results and incorporating them into its own Bing service.
  • Short version: Google suspected that Microsoft was recording what Internet Explorer users typed into the Google search box and which search result they were clicking — and then using that information to adjust Bing’s results. To test this theory, Google engineers set up a sting operation.
  • Microsoft doesn’t deny its sleazy tactic; its bizarre defense is simply that the ripped-off Google results represent only one of many data points Bing considers.
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