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Handouts and Videos from FYW Orientation

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Welcome to Fall semester. Here are some materials from last week... prc_flyer.jpg

Library Tools for Teaching from August 27, 2012

Selecting the Right Number of Keywords:

Hands-on session for new FYW on August 30, 2012:

What is a scholarly article?

Library Support for FYW on August 31 with all FYW Instructors

They Say I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing handout (ties "templates" with research ideas)

Explore a Topic handout:

Continuum: Magazine of the University of Minnesota Libraries

Used Car Salesman--Library Databases:

The Information Cycle:

Article on research

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Writing a Paper? Try These 7 Research Tips
February 10, 2010 05:39 PM ET | Lynn F. Jacobs, Jeremy S. Hyman

Once in a while you get hit with it: the 15- to 25-page research paper, also called the term paper or semester project. This is your chance to join the community of the 20 percent or so of college professors who are actually doing research. How do they do it? And how can you? Have a look at our seven best tips for doing research like a professor:

1. Start from where you are.
2. Think E.
3. Discover WorldCat.
4. Learn the shortcuts.
5. Use the resources that live and breathe.
6. Learn about ILL.
7. Look for "gateway" sources.

Assignment Idea: Sherlock Holmes

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Have you seen the movie? Did you know the University of Minnesota has over 60,000 items related to Sherlock Holmes? You could have students analyze the letters and other items--what do they say? What do they mean?

Learn more:

FYW blog

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Write or Wrong: Does Technology Benefit the Writing Process?
First Year Writing students at the U of M reflect on successful academic writing in the age of new media

Assignment idea: rating the story

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Take a look:
I think this would be an interesting model for a class assignment/blog. If you had a themed class you could have students build a class bibliography/blog and then have them "rate" the quality of each story. It would be interesting if you could somehow give it a cumulative score so multiple students could give input. I also like how these are categorized (e.g. world, opinion, etc.)--you could do the same by type (academic, popular, etc.) or author (scholar, journalist, etc.)

fgi.jpgIn response to a recent blog post and story on said blog post in Inside Higher Ed (Furor Over Anti-Gay Blog) our data services librarian, Amy West, broken down his arguments and supported counterclaims with data (In response to the "Economic case against homosexuality").

This would be a good model for students to break down an argument paragraph by paragraph and systematically give counter points with evidence. It also would help students learn how to use arguments that go against their own viewpoints effectively. We often talk to studnets who are only looking for information at support their own viewpoints--getting them into arguments in this manner may help.

Selecting a topic...
This used to be one of the steps in the research process that I would breeze over--mention that students should select a topic they are interested in and then go right into keywords and finding sources. A couple of weeks ago I co-lead a session on research and writing and I have now been rethinking this attitude.

I realize there are many challenges in picking a topic--especially for first year students or those new to a discipline:
--might not know enough background information
--might not know how to identify or narrow a topic by different facets of a topic
--don't want to spend time researching a dumb topic (but don't know it might be dumb until they do searching)
--don't know any good journals or authors on the topic
--topic selection is very personal and reflects on them (FY students often want to make "safe" choices) to the other students in the class

If I was asked to do a paper on an engineering topic or on greek history (two things I don't know much about) it would be very difficult. Certainly harder when you add in procrastination.

One idea is to create research communitites. Group students based on their initial topic or even assign broad topic areas (e.g. higher education, sports, history, local issues, gender issues, etc.). Ask this group to collaborate on their preliminary research--maybe create a group concept map [learn more] on the broad topic. Ask them to help narrow their topics and connect those in the concept map.

Later on this research community can share how they are doing research and where are they successful finding sources.

This ideas recreates the same research communities that most faculty and instructors are involved in. Your peers and other sholars form both a formal and informal community--we take this for granted.

Are you involved with a research community? What do you gain from it? How can you recreate such things in your class?

plagiarism resources

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plagiarismtoday.jpgI need to look at these further but these seem like this could be an introduction for students about plagiarism:

Plagiarism Today:

Plagiarism Advice:

Assignment: Baloney Detection Kit

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Have student watch the following:

  1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
  2. Does teh wources make similar claims?
  3. Has the claims been verified by somebody else?
  4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
  5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
  6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
  7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
  8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
  9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
  10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

Then have students create a class Baloney Detection Kit--basically criteria for evaluating information and evidence they use in the class. Post this in the class site and ask students to find two sources (one credible, one not so credible or one website and one newspaper, or one .org and .gov) and apply the detection kit.


Do you use Wikipedia? Do your students? Do you trust the information? Do your students? Do you know how Wikipedia works? Do you students? Have them do research on Wikipedia to understand more of how the entries get created and edited. I have read about many examples of students becoming Wikipedia editors--this might be especially useful in Sci/Tech writing.

Wikipedia to Limit Changes to Articles on People
New York Times
Published: August 24, 2009

"The change is part of a growing realization on the part of Wikipedia's leaders that as the site grows more influential, they must transform its embrace-the-chaos culture into something more mature and dependable.

Roughly 60 million Americans visit Wikipedia every month. It is the first reference point for many Web inquiries -- not least because its pages often lead the search results on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Since Michael Jackson died on June 25, for example, the Wikipedia article about him has been viewed more than 30 million times, with 6 million of those in the first 24 hours....

Foundation officials intend to put the system into effect first with articles about living people because those pieces are ripe for vandalism and because malicious information within them can be devastating to those individuals....

Wikipedians have been fanatical about providing sources for facts, with teams of editors adding the label "citation needed" to any sentence without a footnote.

"We have really become part of the infrastructure of how people get information," Mr. Wales said. "There is a serious responsibility we have."

Read more:

Assignment idea: Editor, Researcher, Copy Editor

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palin_speech.jpgAn interesting look at editing both for grammar and research--Palin's resignation speech--edited by Vanity Fair's editors. This would be an interesting model to have students use for "peer review"--I wonder if you could assign students to take on these different roles....editor, research and copy (and even use the different colors) and do multiple reviews...