Friday, August 28, 2015

The Trouble With Collaboration

Chronicle article on the potential problems of collaborating on research writing.

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Research Faculty Forum, Erik Wielenberg "Secular Humility"

Come join us for the first Faculty Forum of the academic year. Here's how Erik describes his talk: 

“Humility is typically seen as a central virtue in the main monotheistic religious traditions. Outside of such traditions, however, humility’s status is more contested. Drawing on work in philosophy and positive psychology, I try to describe a trait that (a) merits the title ‘secular humility’, (b) is a virtue, (c) has some important similarities with humility as understood in the Christian tradition, and (d) requires neither belief in anything like the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam nor the existence of such a deity. I also offer a solution to the humility paradox, which goes like this: if humility is a virtue then it’s a trait everyone should have. But truly amazing people have nothing to be humble about so they can’t – and hence shouldn’t – be humble.”

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Wearable Teaching? College to Experiment with Apple Watch as Learning Tool

Even before the Apple Watch was released, professors and pundits began speculating on whether it and other wearable devices might play a role in college classrooms. On Monday researchers at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus announced that they would be among the first to test the device’s usefulness in the classroom.

The experiment will begin this summer, with eight Apple Watches the university purchased for the project. Penn State plans to expand the research to more students in the fall. We caught up with Kyle Bowen, director of education-technology services at Penn State, to hear more about the project, and his thoughts on the possible role of wearables in teaching and learning. Following is an edited version of the conversation.

Q. I understand a professor there will be experimenting with Apple Watch to measure student learning this fall. Can you briefly describe that project?

A. What we’re looking at in this particular research is how can we use wearable technologies like the Apple Watch to help students think about and reflect about how they learn. We know what the hallmarks are of engaged students: There are years of research that help us understand what an engaged student is and what they look like. But one of the challenges you have is how do you capture those types of activities in a Fitbit-like way — something that is very simple and easy to interact with, to think about reflectively how it is that you’re learning. We’re looking at the Apple Watch as a reflective tool to capture how the students are reacting with their classmates, how they’ve been interactive with their material, how they’re learning and using that to self-inform the student in a number of different ways.

Q. Can you paint a picture of what that will look like for one of the students in this experiment?

A. How it works is, the student will wear the watch and on kind of a random interval the student will get sampled from a series of questions, and will receive a question like, “Have you studied with a classmate recently?” Or, “How much time have you spent studying recently?” Or, “Have you applied something recently from another course to your current class?” So that will be the first step … capturing that piece of information. And we’d have a series of questions like that throughout the day, and when the student would get that question, they could kind of respond to it, or dismiss it and answer it another time. Additionally, the student could … provide a voice feedback, so they could talk to us into the watch about how they've been studying. And we can convert that and actually do some textual analysis after the fact.

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College for the Masses

Interesting NYT article on the benefits of four-year college over community college for marginal students. Read the comments to explore the diverse views on the subject...and the problem of a bachelor's degree for the masses.

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The Numbers Behind the Broadband 'Homework Gap'

Since the dawn of the internet, there’s been much talk about the digital divide – the gap between those with access to the internet and those without. But what about the “homework gap”?

In recent years, policymakers and advocates have pushed to make it easier for low-income households with school-age children to have broadband, arguing that low-income students are at a disadvantage without online access in order to do school work these days. Later this year, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to begin a rule-making process to overhaul the Lifeline Program, an initiative that subsidizes telephone subscriptions for low-income households, so that it would also cover broadband.

In 2013, the Lifeline program provided $1.8 billion worth of telephone subsidies for qualified low-income people. The FCC has not yet provided estimates of how much it would cost to add broadband subsidies to the program, but the debate will undoubtedly focus on overall program costs and how many households would be covered.

How big is the homework gap? A new Pew Research Center analysis finds most American homes with school-age children do have broadband access – about 82.5% (about 9 percentage points higher than average for all households). With approximately 29 million households in America having children between the ages of 6 and 17, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data, this means that some 5 million households with school-age children do not have high-speed internet service at home. Low-income households – and especially black and Hispanic ones – make up a disproportionate share of that 5 million.

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Faculty Achievement Program

Come celebrate the achievements of your colleagues. The program will start around 4:00 pm. Food (heavy hor d'oeuvres) and drink provided, in the hallway, outside the entrance to Social Center B.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Faculty Panel Digital Storytelling Assignments

Sheryl Tremblay, Rebecca Alexander, and Caroline Jetton will discuss the use of digital storytelling assignments in their courses. These faculty members will share the goals of and approaches to digital storytelling assignments along with ideas for student engagement and development. Lunch will be provided.

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Read more articles:

Edudemic: Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling

Center for Digital Storytelling

State Library of Queensland Digital Storytelling Manual

University of Wollongong Digital Storytelling Libguide

Microsoft: Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

Digital Storytelling Resources at DePauw