June 2009 Archives


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Faculty and instructors often lament the fact that students seem unable to evaluate the sources they find and as a result often cite sources that are not appropriate in their writing. I am working on finding resources to help.

1. CARS Checklist:

Here is more: http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

What do you think?

"Primary Recommendation: Campuses should initiate discussions involving administration and faculty about modifying current practices and/or its intellectual property policies such that the university retains a set of rights sufficient to ensure that broad dissemination of the research and scholarly work produced by its faculty occurs."


archives.jpgWith a world of materials from art, images, books, and reports to maps, blue prints, letters, and more, Archives and Special Collections at the U will broaden a student's experience in any class. By sharing their experiences with the benefits and challenges of using archival material, a group of archivists will help you explore the possibilities of using primary materials to enrich the classroom experience.

Register for this workshop: http://www.lib.umn.edu/registration/#eventidXX287

Is it time to learn Zotero?

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Why do I want to learn Zotero?
7 Things you should know about Zotero (PDF)

How do I use Zotero?
View our archived workshop
Zotero Basics (58 min)
An introduction to the *free* Firefox extension that allows you to collect, manage and cite your research citations with ease.

Find out more at Zotero.org.

I would be happy to share what I know as well if you want to set up a one on one consultation. Email me.


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I tripped across this today:


What do you think? How can it be used in teaching? it gives both news of the day but then the colors indicate where news is happening--e.g. world, health, technology. Interesting example of multimodal information.

No more librarians in school libraries?

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seattletimes.jpgFrom the Seattle Times:
"Bellevue School District's decision to eliminate all of its high-school and middle-school library programs is a scorched-earth policy it will soon regret, writes Michael Eisenberg, dean emeritus of the University of Washington's Information School. Research skills are critical to student success in the 21st century."

"...But information literacy and research skills don't teach themselves. Librarians do it. They collaborate with classroom teachers to ensure such skills are woven through the curriculum. They also build rich collections and services in their physical and online libraries. They're also the only educators specifically trained to teach information and technology skills."


Scary times, scary times...

Search strategies in Plain English

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If you aren't familiar with Commoncraft, get ready for a short, easily-understandable explanation. They started with Web 2.0 tools and have expanded. Here is a great explanation for searching for web sites.

So how can we rif on this for explaining library searching?

More JSTOR....Arts & Sciences VI Collection

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jstor.jpgNew E-resource: JSTOR Arts & Sciences VI Collection

JSTOR Arts & Sciences VI Collection

JSTOR offers multi-disciplinary and discipline-specific collections that include complete runs of journals as well as select monographs, transactions, and conference proceedings. JSTOR also offers a small set of additional collections providing access to primary and secondary research materials including: pamphlets, manuscripts, letters, oral histories, government documents, images, 3-D models, and more.

Note: JSTOR does not include the most current issues of journals--there is usually at 2 to 5 year delay.

Have you been to your public library today?

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As I try to figure out at time when I can get to the public library to return a very overdue book I wanted to post this relatively good story about libraries in the "troubled economic times." Something about Matt Lauer talking about Library is strange...

I have to say this quote might have to be posted somewhere..."forget the trendy restaurants and nightclubs, these days it seems the Library is the real place to be..."

Have you been to your local public library lately?

Certainly this is not "new" but this video may help start a discussion in class about these issues...

--and how the frustrations can be avoided or minimized. How can we minimize student's frustration with research? Is there a certain amount of frustration that you have to go through? What are students failure points?

Why give it away?

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commercialJournals.jpg From Inside Higher Ed, Who Profits From For-Profit Journals? talking about the American Association of University Professors meeting.

“Corporations use unpaid academic labor for knowledge production and consumption,” he said, noting the peer-review process, the writing and research that go into producing publishable articles, and unpaid editorial posts. “Why is there this continuation of working for corporations for free? It doesn’t make any sense.”
So why would professors and universities continue to buy into a model of publication that is taking advantage of them and their resources? Complacency, Engel-DiMauro said. Because it is simply the way things have always been done in higher education – and because tenure is so dependent on high-profile publication.

But while professors who slave away over their publishable, peer-reviewed articles may think it is in their best interest to submit to the large – increasingly expensive – high profile commercial journals, Devakos said the most compelling reason for faculty members to utilize other types of journals is, surprisingly, self-interest.

“The easier your research is to find, the more likely you are to be cited,” she said, adding that open-access models of publishing allow academics’ literature to be searchable on Google.

Do you read open access journals? Have you published in an open access journal? If you want to more on this issue--go to the Transforming Scholarly Communication page.

The Millionth Word?

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web2.0.jpg"The one-millionth entry into the English language may be a sign of the times, but as words go it's a bit on the bland side - and, one could argue, not even a word. Quibbles aside, the Global Language Monitor announced on schedule early yesterday its choice for the milestone millionth word: Web 2.0. The Monior, "...which declares a word to have entered into wide use when it has been cited 25,000 times across many sources, communities and geographical locations, estimates a new word is born every 98 minutes."

--And the millionth word is ... hardly a word at all

Is it writing with 140 characters?

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Twitter Goes to College: Students and professors use the micro-blogging service to communicate inside and outside the classroom
By Zach Miners

"Bringing sites like Twitter into an academic environment is a teaching style that has seen a fair share of criticism. Some say that restricting users to 140-character blurbs ruins students' writing skills and destroys their attention spans."

Do you have a twitter account? Let me know, I am kategreatmpls on Twitter--but I don't tweet too much yet...What is your experience?


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mcsweeneys.jpgDoes this sound like an interesting course? To take? Or to teach?

ENG 371WR:
Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era

Course Description:
As print takes its place alongside smoke signals, cuneiform, and hollering, there has emerged a new literary age, one in which writers no longer need to feel encumbered by the paper cuts, reading, and excessive use of words traditionally associated with the writing trade. Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers.

Instant messaging. Twittering. Facebook updates. These 21st-century literary genres are defining a new "Lost Generation" of minimalists who would much rather watch Lost on their iPhones than toil over long-winded articles and short stories. Students will acquire the tools needed to make their tweets glimmer with a complete lack of forethought, their Facebook updates ring with self-importance, and their blog entries shimmer with literary pithiness. All without the restraints of writing in complete sentences. w00t! w00t! Throughout the course, a further paring down of the Hemingway/Stein school of minimalism will be emphasized, limiting the superfluous use of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, gerunds, and other literary pitfalls.

What is next for Course Management Systems?

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How do you organize your course materials and grades? Do you use WebVista or Moodle? Or a blog? Or something else? How well do these work to teach writing?

Here is a short video, "Can Web Tools Replace Blackboard" that raises questions about these systems and future developments:



What do you think?

Executive Order from California

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I am afraid I do not know much history of how this came to be but I can certainly support the intent of the order (if only California wasn't in such a debt crisis some of these might have had more of a change for increased funding)..but it certainly looks good on official executive order paper...

WHEREAS ICT Digital Literacy is defined as using digital technology, communications tools and/or networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information in order to function in a knowledge-based economy and society; and

WHEREAS Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Digital Literacy is a defining component of California's competitiveness for a knowledge-based economy and is growing in importance to attract capital investment that will generate higher quality jobs; and

WHEREAS a California ICT Digital Literacy Policy would support a framework and continuum of digital literacy skills, benchmarking, and metrics consistent with globally accepted standards, and would ensure accountability for assessing progress and success; and

WHEREAS ICT Digital Literacy skills are vital to California's ability to compete successfully in a global information and knowledge economy; and

Read more at http://gov.ca.gov/executive-order/12393/

What is zotero?

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Zotero seems to be a buzz word these days...in case you want to know a little bit more about it....here you go: