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February 13, 2009

Monologues vs. Arguments

Monologues are generally boring. This is true both in teaching and in
writing. In the classroom, student questions and comments add life. Most
of us HAPSters find discussions, and maybe even arguments, an enjoyable
classroom experience. The same is frequently true for writing. As a
professor, I'm supposed to digest 50-page research papers that shed light
on new ideas and programs, but after about ten pages I usually want to ask a
few questions or hear what others think. The Internet has now provided a
means to do just that - send comments and ask questions while reading.
On-line newspapers now provide space for readers to publish their comments
after reading an article. Granted, the comments are frequently just noise,
but sometimes there are gems that transform your thinking.

Over the next year I hope to write a few articles for the HAPS EDucator that
will prompt readers to write comments, i.e., articles that promote
conversation. We'll first publish the articles in both the HAPS Educator and
also on the HAPS List-serve (where they can be read or quickly deleted).
Readers will then be invited to go to a web site where they can post and
read comments. At first, the site will be hosted by the University of
Minnesota, but eventually we hope to move it to the HAPS Web site.

So please read the following piece (evolution! - that frequently brings
controversy) and then go to the web site to post and read comments.