Thursday, September 26, 2013

Student Views on Technology in the Classroom: DePauw's Participation in the ECAR Study 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013, at 11:30 am in the UB 231/232

Learn about our students have to say about technology in the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology from this past spring. What do students say they need to succeed academically? Participate in a lively discussion on technology in the classroom with your colleagues. Only information from DePauw students will be presented.


Link to article.

Professional Development Roundtable: Writing Effective Book Proposals

Friday, October 4, 2013, at 11:30 am in Julian 135.

A good idea for a book doesn't sell itself. Whether we are working on a scholarly monograph, a textbook, or a writing a book aimed at a broader audience, we need to be able to persuade publishers to take on the project. This roundtable will feature three of our colleagues who have had success in different realms of publishing.  They will discuss how they approach their projects, write effective proposals, and find the right publisher for their desired audience. Lunch will be provided.


As Slurs and Offenses Multiply, Colleges Scramble to Respond

Responding to incendiary speech from students and community members can be challenging for colleges and universities. How do institutions condemn the bias and prejudice in such acts without impinging on rights to free speech and how do they craft responses and policies that will have a lasting impact beyond immediate incidents?

Link to article.

Keeping An Eye on Social Media

Northern Illinois University recently established reporting requirements for all university-related social media accounts. In an environment where almost any faculty or staff member can set up a social media account affiliated with the institution, many colleges and universities are weighing the risks and rewards of social media engagement, both in an out of the classroom. 

Link to article.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"This is Not An Assessment Roundtable"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 11:30 am in Union Building 231/232.

Too often we think of “assessment” as a series of bureaucratic rubrics designed from above to keep watch on us as teachers. It feels punitive and meddlesome. But really assessment is something that should come from us and be part of the very design of our courses. Are we setting useful and appropriate goals for our students? Are we meeting those goals? How can we make our classes even better, more dynamic, and meaningful experiences for our students (and for us)? This roundtable is designed as a forum to discuss techniques that we might use to explore our own approaches to setting and meeting goals for our students. We will be pulling from Angelo and Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd edition (Josey Bass, 1993) but also hearing form a range of colleagues across campus. 

RSVP here.

"Down the Rabbit Hole: Using the Web to Generate Curiosity-Driven Research"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013, at 11:30 am in Union Building 231/232

Richard Miller (Rutgers University) will conduct a workshop for faculty on using digital tools to enhance writing assignments for students. Miller says that “This workshop introduces teachers to Diigo, a free social bookmarking tool, that allows users to share annotated web pages" and will also discuss general issues of using technology for better student writing.   Lunch will be provided.  Please contact Michael Sinowitz at

"Cultivating Curiosity in These Our Distracted, Polarized, Irate, Ill-Informed Times"

Monday, September 23, 2013, 4:15 pm in Peeler Auditorium.

Richard Miller (Rutgers University) will present a public lecture on the challenges for public education in an era of ubiquitous digital information. Miller describes the focus of his talk this way: “Educators have always worked to unsettle confirmation bias--the tendency we all have to seek out information that confirms our biases. But what are educators to do now that the algorithms of the search engines, the online shopping sites, and the many forms of social media all generate bias-confirming information that seeks us out? This talk will discuss how the shift from a paper-based world to a screen-based world requires a redefinition of both the form and the function of public education.”

On The Value of College

What’s the value of a college degree? Literally. In the September 14 issue of the New York Times, James Stewart (’73) unpacks a new metric for measuring the value of our colleges: alumni income. As Stewart details, the rankings that we have come to know through U.S. News and World Report don’t necessarily align with those put together by, a site that calculates the worth of an institution based upon such metrics as: average earnings of graduates, return on investment, and percentage of graduates holding jobs with “high meaning.” PayScale’s rankings comport well with the growing concern about the cost of higher education and the increasing debt load that many graduates are carrying. But what does tis mean for the way we understand the value of a college education as something more than a stepping stone to a specific career?

Read article here.

"Can the (Writing) Center Hold?"

Richard Miller and Paul Hammond of Rutgers University question the paradigms that have guided our teaching and that are shifting in the age of digital information technologies. As Miller writes: “Web 2.0 technology has underwritten a radical redistribution of expertise. Have a question about an ailment? The cost of an automobile? Comparative mortgage rates? Competing theories of religious freedom? Approaches to reading the Constitution? It's all just a few clicks away on the internet. How can we prepare students to think amidst this depthless flow of information? How do we go about cultivating curiosity? Creativity? Understanding? Composing with new media is not analogous to writing; collaborating with new media is not analogous to co-editing; the creation of the internet is not analogous to the invention of the printing press. Our 2.0 World is not an upgrade of what came before. The paradigm for human communication has shifted. Is there a place for the teaching of writing in the 21st century?” In this collaborative presentation, Dr. Miller and Dr. Hammond explore the possibility of constructing a rich and productive learning environment for the 21st century, one equal to addressing the global problems that have already come to define the new millennium.

Watch Youtube video from Richard Miller and Paul Hammond.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

College Students: Media-Savvy Multitaskers or Scatterbrained Procrastinators?

Current research on digital multi-tasking among college students provides conflicting results about the effects that constant attention to digital devices has on their cognitive abilities. A 2009 study by Ophir, Nass, and Wegner compared “heavy media multitaskers” with others who relied on multitasking less frequently.  The study concluded that heavy multitaskers were less successful at filtering distractions and switching between tasks.  However, a 2013 study by Alzahabi and Becker suggests the opposite.  This research raises important questions about how we engage our students in the kind of work we typically assign - work that requires sustained focus and attention.  Should students be working to adapt to the academy or should the academy adapt to them?

 Here’s a link to a story about these studies.

Abstract of the Ophir, Nass, and Wegnerstudy.

Abstract of the Alzahabi & Becker study.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Technology and Academe: Developing Digital Storytelling and Multiple Literacies - How and Why

Speakers: Donnie Sendelbach, Veronica Pejril, and Jin Kim. Wednesday, September 8, at 11:30 am in Julian 135.

This session will begin with a short discussion of Jason Ohler's Digital, Art, Oral and Written (DAOW) literacies of storytelling and how to develop multiple literacies through digital storytelling projects. Participants will see brief demonstrations of some technologies useful for these types of projects: VoiceThread, Audacity, Pixlr.

Read Jason Ohler's article.

RSVP here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Talk About Higher Education - Academic Freedom

An open discussion of the purposes and limits of academic freedom. Friday, September 13, 11:30 am, Julian 135.

Recent revelations that former Indiana Governor (and current Purdue University President) Mitch Daniels assailed the use of Howard Zinn’s "A People’s History of the United States in Indiana Classrooms" offers us a renewed opportunity to discuss the purposes and limits of academic freedom. Where do we draw lines about what we can and cannot teach in our classrooms? Who gets to draw them? How do we decide what counts as “proper” material for our classes? How do assuage the fears of those who are concerned about propagandizing and indoctrination in the classroom? Most importantly, how do we communicate to the community at large about what we are teaching, why we are teaching it, and what our goals are? This event is designed as an open forum for discussing these and other questions surrounding academic freedom.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Academe's Still-Precarious Freedom

A history of academic freedom, adapted from the book "Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge," by Marjorie Heins.

Read Chronicle of Higher Education - February 8, 2013 article here.

Faculty Forum - Self-Help Literature and Capitalist Culture in Egypt

Speaker Jeff Kenney, September 10, 2013, in the UB 231/232, beginning at 11:30 am.

News coming out of Egypt these days suggests a country at war with itself, and one where progress toward modernization has been reversed. A very different picture of Egypt emerges when one scans the bookstalls that pepper the old downtown area of Cairo, the nation’s capital. At these stalls, personal growth and self-help literature has become the mainstay. The growth in this literature over the past two decades provides powerful evidence that Egyptians are intent on becoming better public speakers, better spouses and parents, better lovers, better workers, better individuals overall in their public and private lives. A main feature of the genre is its focus on the self, not a moral "Muslim self" in line with traditional Islamic medicine and psychology but rather an "enterprising self" that reflects modern psychological insight into the self as a project and capitalist concerns with autonomy and self-reliance. The popularity of this enterprising self attests to the dominance of (neoliberal) capitalism in Egypt, and establishes the groundwork for a spiritualization of class-based lifestyles—two trends that parallel economic and social developments in the West. In the talk, Kenney will outline the contours of his research on self-help in Egypt and what drew his attention to the subject. (This project has been supported, in part, by a New Directions Initiative grant, which allowed Kenney to travel, in January 2013, to Oman, Morocco, and Egypt to survey the depth and extent of the self-help genre in the Middle East.)


Seeking Edge in Academics, Chinese Spend Summer in U.S.

Chinese students are flocking to summer programs to improve their English and learn about American culture.

Read article here.