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Reading: On Burnett, The Radical Impossibility of Teaching

Source

We’re selling bottled sugar water based on our sense of the needs of others. The grounding of teaching – much less Education – is rife with contractions we ignore. Going digital doesn’t change this but can offer a new ground for pedagogy. Maybe.

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Reading: The perennial ‘The Five-Paragraph Essay Must Die’ puffery

Source Slashdot discussions are usually pretty good: sharp, insightful. This one is the equivalent of themewriting. Uninformed, over-determined, mindless recitation of received ideas, with all options removed from the world of discussion. Posturing and posing – the trope of themewriting – passing for consideration. Just as teaching the theme passes for teaching. The discussion needs an intervention. This is your intervention: Read The Plural “I” by William Coles for a considered critique of the deceit of the five paragraph theme and an alternative curriculum. Out of print, so reprints are inexpensive. Or try a library.  Can’t be bothered to read? Try this interview with Coles by John Boe and Eric Schroeder, from Writing on the Edge.
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Reading 15 Sep 2018

  • A Short History of CRAAP – Mike nails the central weaknesses in formula procedures.

    > So let’s keep that in mind as we consider what to do in the future: contrary to public belief we did teach students online information literacy. It’s just that we taught them methodologies that were developed to decide whether to purchase reference sets for libraries.

    Add this: the acronym was created to *teach* how to consider sources; it provides something to practice with, not to use in practice. All such acronyms are training wheels. One an acronym is learned, it should be set aside and insight gained from practice used, not the acronym. – (teaching nonteaching digital_literacy )

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bookmarks for April 21st, 2012

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bookmarks for June 23rd, 2011 through July 29th, 2011

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bookmarks for December 8th, 2010 through December 9th, 2010

  • Christine Brandel: First Year Composition in Twenty Tweets – Three notes: 1. These tweets aren't teaching; they are a teacher asserting her authority. Looks like teaching, but it isn't. 2. They aren't very good tweets. There's nothing memorable in them, nor concision, just reduction to the simplistic. 3. They sanction a misunderstanding of writing, and of teaching and learning. In a tweet, they fail to enact what they assert. And a comment: What do you do the second day of class?  – (teaching twitter nonteaching )
  • 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error – (none)
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bookmarks for August 31st, 2010 through September 1st, 2010

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The University

reminder: you can’t force the brand – in class or out

RideDigital natives, aka Millenials, are defined along marketing lines, an approach which may serve university PR and recruitment (to an extent – as long as you don’t push student expectations beyond classroom realities) but is inappropriate for teaching and learning. Never mind the limited sample that is the basis of characterizing Millennials; and never mind the clear stereotyping of the group. The Chronicle covered all that back in October, 2009. And never mind the mid-20th century Mad Ave mindset behind characterizing a homogenous audience in a time of fragmentation: Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus takes that down a notch. (And see also a marketing perspective on the implications of Shirky’s thesis from Jason Falls.)

Instead, consider this: The Millennial group rates their computer expertise higher than they perform.

Second, consider the argument I’ve heard more than once: “Students don’t need courses that deal with computers or the internet. They’ve grown up with that. They know all that.” The fallacy in that argument should be obvious to those of us who grew up with television.

Third, consider that a university’s marketing perspective often drives administrative decisions on programs and courses, in part directly, and in part through local PR, and by defining The One True Story the university is supposed to tell the world.

Well, it does at my university, anyway.

So, here’s The Read Write Web on So-Called “Digital Natives” Not Media Savvy

Having been born into a world where personal computers were not a revolution, but merely existed alongside air conditioning, microwaves and other appliances, there has been (a perhaps misguided) perception that the young are more digitally in-tune with the ways of the Web than others.

A new study coming out of Northwestern University, discovered that college students have a decided lack of Web savvy, especially when it comes to search engines and the ability to determine the credibility of search results. Apparently, the students favor search engine rankings above all other factors. The only thing that matters is that something is the top search result, not that it’s legit.

The article mentioned is from The International Journal of Communication: “Trust Online: Young Adults’ Evaluation of Web Content,” by Hargittai, Fullerton, Menchen-Trevino, and Yates Tomas. Here’s the abstract, and the link:

We find that the process by which users arrive at a site is an important component of how they judge the final destination. In particular, search context, branding and routines, and a reliance on those in one’s networks play important roles in online information-seeking and evaluation. We also discuss that users differ considerably in their skills when it comes to judging online content credibility.

This is the kind of information faculty and administrators need when designing programs and courses – and even the direction of the university – not the marketing orientation. This is the kind of information that drives course design, class and online interaction, knowledge making, and all the other high-minded features we ascribe to our decisions.

Night in PhilidelphiaAnd, finally, a reminder from Falls – not just for Communications and Marketing but for faculty thinking that Social is this Season’s Black (yeah, including me).

The bad news for marketers is that Shirky’s examples quietly illustrate that we can’t force meaningful social activities. They happen organically, if not accidentally. So instead of trying to build branded communities and produce “viral” videos, our best bet is to just be hanging around when something cool happens and be there, not conducting the train.

Faculty can’t force the social, either. Have some more sushi. I’ll be in the corner, reading.

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bookmarks for July 19th, 2010 through July 24th, 2010

  • Kairos PraxisWiki – Repository of brief articles on CMSs and teaching writing – (wiki twwt )
  • Views: The iPad for Academics – Inside Higher Ed – Solid brief article arguing for the pad as a reader, and looking forward to journals to grow up and start offering a la carte articles to academics, DRM-free. But I'm guessing this is off the mark: I'm putting my $$ on the pad as a good academic machine. "Overall, however, by splitting the difference between dedicated devices and genuine computers, the iPad doesn’t show a lot of promise as a mobile platform for research and teaching. Of course if everyone is always carrying around an iPad already then they might start replacing voice recorders. It's hard to tell. My bet is that tuning forks and compasses are not going away. – (ipad academic teaching library2.0 )
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bookmarks for July 13th, 2010 through July 14th, 2010

  • Consumer Report iPhone4 study flawed | Viewpoints by Bob Egan – The iPhone antenna brouhaha is proving to be a good opportunity for teaching a lot about antennas, testing, and scientific methodology. After the battle is over, it will be good to return to the flak to do a rhetorical study. – (iphone teaching scientific_method )
  • Nixty Launches With Ambitions to Build Something Huge in eLearning – Two points here: Nixty social couse management software that leverages profs, and "the fact is that most people who can afford to go to college in the US want the experience of actually going to college. Those of us who would love to go back to college but don’t have the time to take off from careers or raising families, could use Nixty, but the problem is what I call the “Rosetta Stone dilemma.” I love Rosetta Stone’s software, and I think the approach to learning languages works – but the bottom line is there’s no short cut to the hours you need to put in to really learn a language fluently and I just don’t have those hours." – (de cms socialsoftware twwt )