Monday, December 26, 2011

And Here We Go: Copyright

Canadian Faculty Union Warns That Student Postings of Lectures Could Violate Copyright Law

December 21, 2011, 1:30 pm
The faculty union at the University of Manitoba, in Canada, sent an e-mail message to its members this month alerting them to a popular Web site where students are sharing course materials, including what the union calls professors’ “intellectual property.”
In the e-mail, the union defines intellectual property as “lectures, course notes, laboratory materials, exams, and other works created by members for their class,” which cannot be published without the author’s permission. The e-mail encourages members to warn their students that posting any of the above materials is prohibited by law.
Students can legally share their own notes from a class, but taping a professors’ lecture and posting that to a Web site is a violation of copyright law, argued James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, in an article in the Winnipeg Free Press.
The Web site, LocAZu, is open to any university student in Canada with an e-mail address and is run by various students.
The union’s office is closed for holiday break so members were not available to comment.
This entry was posted in Campus PiracyLegal TroublesOpen AccessStudent Life. Bookmark the permalink.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Am I Failing to See how This App is Different from Facebook Groups?

New Academic Social Network Looks Beyond the Course, and Beyond Facebook

December 6, 2011, 1:59 pm
Jon Corshen, CEO of a new academic social-media network, says students don’t want to be friends with their professors on Facebook but are left with few alternatives for interacting with instructors on the Internet after class time ends. So he created a space on the Web for students and professors to “meet up” outside the classroom.
In two years, Mr. Corshen and his team have raised $7-million in venture capital, from Granite Ventures, Omidyar Network, and other investors. The Chronicle caught up with him to talk about the ideas behind the online academic platform, known as GoingOn.

The full article is HERE.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So You Think You Can Learn

In a 2010 piece on HASTAC* Duke Humanities professor Cathy Davidson reflects on reality TV, authentic learning, peer grading, crowd-sourcing instruction to students, and more.

Here's an excerpt:

"I'm not a big television watcher, have almost no interest in most reality shows, but am addicted to "So You Think You Can Dance."   It's not only because I love dance (although that helps), but also because it is a rare example of how excellent, rigorous feedback can contribute towards a goal of excellence, not only for the individual involved but for a larger community.   It is also a rare example of people with extraordinary talents in one area learning to adapt those talents to parallel (but quite different) areas.  In other words, it is a fantastic counter-model of teaching and learning, expertise and specialization, than one finds in traditional learning models, many of which I find, frankly, impoverished, enervating, uninspiring, and unproductive.  There.  I've said it."

Read the article:

*HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science,and technology Advanced Colaboratory:

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I have been using Ning this semester for my Shakespeare class. The way it generally works is that I post a discussion and then students respond. Besides responding, there is little interaction beyond the occasional comment among them in the forums unless I specifically request it by saying something like "This Ning is worth 20 points: 10 for the response and 5 for each comment. Extra commenting is done out of the goodness of your heart."

Or so I thought until I read this week's reflections, which were specifically about using Ning/the usefulness of the Ning assignments. (By now the students know me enough to know that they can be--oh, so ever!--honest about what hey think of my methods/tools, etc.) I was happy to hear they thought the Ning was very useful overall in terms of making them think in creative ways, keeping them on track, etc.

What surprised me was that they reported reading each other's posts A LOT more than what their actual comments indicated (and I did not ask for a report about their activity in any way--it just came up when  they said "it was fun to read XXX's post on YY"). In fact, if it had not been for this reflection, I would have described the Ning assignments  as "Socratic dialogue" types: Me and My Pupils. But no. 

This led me to wonder: Do I care too much that I can show proof that my students are engaged? Is the current focus on assessment leading my pedagogy so that I make my students jump through unnecessary hoops just for the sake of having that data, that quote to prove that something useful is going on in my class?  Why can't I be just satisfied with their lurking? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Agenda 9 December 2011 10:00-01:00 B123

Community 2.0 Agenda
9 December 2011
10:00-01:00 B123
Printable Version

10:00-10:10 Welcome!
10:10-10:40 Developing & Evaluating Effective Connective Learning Networks HERE.
10:40-11:30 Report-out and Discussion HERE.
11:30-11:40 Break
11:40-12:50 Twittering with Justin Rogers-Cooper
  • Introduction 
  • Field Work
    • Group A (Justin, Vera, Michelle,Rebekah, David ):  “C” Building cafeteria, 3d floor
    • Group B  (Jason, Aaron, Ingrid, Judith): “C” Building cafe, first floor
    • Group C (Maria, Rudy, Ari, Luke, Priscilla) : Food vendors in front of “B” and/or “C”  building.
  • Discussion of Twitter feed
  • Group Work: one-paragraph blog entry that uses the tweets but expands on them as per the previous discussion
12:50-01:00 Reminders
  • Next Meeting: Wednesday 2/29/12 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Homework:
    • Write a "Best of Class" blog entry. 
    • Use the list we created together today to self-critique your activity and then revise it by the February meeting. Then post a blog entry covers the following:
    1. What is the revised activity?
    2. What are its goals? (use Bloom’s Taxonomy)
    3. Describe what types of connections are being made. (Across courses, across disciplines, with the wider college community, with the world?)
    4. How are these connections meaningful?
Be prepared for a hands-on run-through of your activity!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


FACT: 99% of browsers in the student computer lab block blogs.

SUGGESTION: if your class is working on blogs, please ask the lab tech to change the setting at the podium and reboot all computers (otherwise, there would be a few students who can view blogs and a few others who a remarkably random fashion).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flip-Class: A Short Thought following CUNY-IT
For many years now, I have been teaching what I considered an "inverted class", meaning what in a traditional classroom would be "classwork" and "homework" are inverted so that what would usually happen in class (lecture, small group discussion, activities, cross-evaluations, and Q&A) become "online homework" (or, now, "anywhere work") and what would usually be "homework" (primary writing, individual assignments, and revisions, and so on) become "class work" (or "lab work").

One of the presenters at CUNY-IT called this a "flip class" and they have some interesting data to support how well it works (details to follow). It seems to me that many of our recent posts are speaking to the desire to "flip class".

OK, "flip class" sounds like a work-out routine, but why not?

I think this could be one of our major focus points for the Spring seminars. Thoughts?

Good Blog, Bad Blog

I have had two very different experiences with blogs in my 2 classes this semester: the Good Blog and the Bad Blog.

The Good Blog

My ESL099 class was quite active on the blog.  Students practiced a variety of writing skills while using the blog, including summarizing, doing research, writing reports, citing sources, practicing key art vocabulary, and giving opinions.

Students for the most part worked on blog posts during class and lab and also worked on things they hadn't finished at home.

The Bad Blog

My ELL101 class was not as active on the blog.  It seemed to be difficult to encourage students to do their blog posts, even though it is listed as 20% of their grade on the syllabus!  The students sometimes seem overwhelmed by the many subtopics introduced in the course, but also seem to not do much homework outside of class, whether it is reading the text, catching up on missed work, or posting on the blogs.  The one thing that prompted many students to do any work was to call it "extra credit."

I feel as though I didn't promote the blog enough, but also reacted to students' lack of engagement with it by requiring fewer and fewer posts on it.  My great intentions of having interesting extensions to class through discussions on the blog seemed to slowly die and now I haven't given them a blog post assignment in weeks.  I will give them one more assignment, a reflection on the blog use, and will have to see if anyone does it!


I think that I did not have the same opportunity with my ELL101 class as I did with my ESL099 class.  At the start of the semester, I had one of my two class days located in a computer lab, which would have allowed for interactive activities, blogging in class, and other benefits of having the computers.  I was moved after one or two days because of a need from the office of student disabilities, so I reworked my class and modified all the curriculum I had been designing to use in the computer lab.  I think that not having a lab during class makes a big difference in whether or not the students actually use blogs.

To make the blog more visible in the class, I could have highlighted student work on it and shown some of the students' posts in class.  I did this during the first few weeks, but then lagged in doing that, as I assigned fewer blog posts and students were less active on the blog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Increasing LaGuardia's Graduation Rate

I have been heartened to read about your experiences incorporating technology  into your classes. It seems to have a positive  impact on the students who embrace it-even if somewhat reluctantly at first. As I've said in previous posts, my interest is in sharing information with my fellow 2.0ers that contribute to students' academic and career success. For many students that means graduating from LaGuardia before transferring to a senior college or entering the job market. Community colleges are the "mobility makers" in today's economy. They play a significant role in helping working and middle class people compete in an economy that is knowledge based.

President Mellow has set a goal of increasing LaGuardia's graduation rate by 80% from 26% to 47%. There are several college wide groups working to make this a reality. I am serving on two of these groups and there are a few others in the 2.0 community also involved in this effort

You may be surprised to learn what happens to CUNY community college students. For every 10 students who entered a CUNY community college in 2004, six year later: 6 dropped out; 1 was still enrolled; 2 earned an Associate's degree and 1 earned a Bachelor's degree. It's not because community colleges are insufficient in any way; we are significantly underfunded, students come to us under prepared, and students' lives are complex with competing demands for their time and attention making attending college a challenge.  Embedding student-center technology in the classroom seems to both engage and challenge students. 

I would like to hear your ideas-what do you think it will take to raise the graduation rate? Here is a link to the article, "Mobility Makers"  published by the Center for an Urban Future.

Moby Dick: An Illustration for Every Page

"Because I honestly consider Moby-Dick to be the greatest novel ever written, I am now going to create one illustration for every single one of the 552 pages in the Signet Classic paperback edition."

This doesn't have to do with connecting classes, really, but upon learning of illustrator Matt Kish's project, I thought of Nozomi and her blogging art students:


Community 2.0 on CUNY Commons!

From CUNY Academic Commons onGoogle +
After going to the presentation about the Commons at the CUNY IT Conference yesterday, I decided to start a blog in the Commons that mirrors the work we are doing here.

If you are curious, the first draft of the blog is HERE.

Right now there is only a feed with 10 latest posts, but we plan to do a "best of the posts" summary every now and then also.

To be an author on this blog, just shoot me a mail. You will need to join the Commons with your LAGCC mail address.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Student-centered technology

Last week students in my ENG 101 class reflected on the use of blogs. I have had this kind of activity before, and in the past I have tried to summarize what students report. But I am not certain anymore (in light of my recent presentation on 2.0 tools in composition) if summary is the best way to report such data.

For instance, a student wrote "I am not sure if my classmates do or not but I do go through each and everyone’s blog after we submit our writing. It is so great to read the writing that has come from the person sitting right next to you. Assignments have been pretty tricky and awesome at the same time but it is wonderful to see how everyone’s writing has progressed over the past 2 months." I could report this student as one of 25 (or maybe 3 or 4 of 25) that reads all of their classmates' blogs. She would be together with the following who stated: " These blogs gave us the opportunity to check out others' writing and view both weaker and stronger writers than ourselves. By seeing how our classmates write and reflect their thoughts can help us see how to become better writers and how we also make similar mistakes. I've visited many of my classmates' blogs and I have to say that many of them are strong writers and very intellectual people. They have the capacity to get all the points across and write a well organized essay. Their text to self and text to world connections were always on point. Unfortunately though, I didn't get as much love back, because not many people commented on my blogs. Perphaps many were too lazy and did not even bother to write or read others blogs. I mean it's understandable, who has time to do more than their own work, people have busy lives." But such reporting would miss the point, which is that these students set for themselves goals and practices not initiated by the instructor.

With no guidance or requirement to post to all others or to read all other blogs, these two turned the class into a more demanding and more rewarding experience. Granted, students can always choose to work on more than the assigned work, but this experience had the unique quality of not being teacher-directed yet still meeting the particular outcomes and objectives of the course, just at a more advanced level. They read more models for the assignments they had already worked on, provided more critique for them, and interacted with the ideas of as many peers as they wished. The student who reported that he did not get "as much love back" continued to provide feedback even after it was obvious there were not many following his example. Why he did and others did not is entirely a different (and hugely complex) issue but the key is that he set a pace for himself and because of blogs he was able to keep at that pace and on track. Students without blogs can also choose to do extra work, as I mentioned, but will that work be as relevant to class work as that already assigned? In these cases, it was. So, as I now look at these reflections, I explore more how students shaped the class for themselves rather than whether they went after the goals I had set for them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How my students feel about Facebook

Since it's close to the end of the semester and I'm in a reflective mood, I thought I would share some comments my ENG 101 students made about using Facebook in class. This was one of 7 questions I asked them to answer on a class evaluation survey. I will ask my 102 students to complete a similar survey in class on Monday. You can see the whole thing here:

Responses were overall quite positive and there are some good suggestions regarding future use (like incorporating more online interaction by having them comment on each other's posts). I was somewhat worried by the admission that they would do their homework while chatting online but I guess that's to be expected. At least they were doing their homework! The question is: Did you find our use of a class Facebook page to be helpful? If so, how? If not, what would you change?

Here are their responses:

Yes because it updates me on what i missed in class and anything i didnt have the chance to jot down on the assignments needed to be done. I dont think i would change much at first i wasnt comfortable with everyone being able to read my post but it turned out to be for a good purpose because it gave you the chance to see others opinions.

yes it was helpfull keep in contact whit the teacher if we have any questions and know about the h.w in time.

yes it was convinient for class informal writing

yes i did very helpful made me work harder because i was afraid of what others might say about my writing so it made me think more critically which is good.

yes i did because im always on facebook and having something educational to do on ity was a great experience

In the start of the course i completely hated the idea of Facebook but towards the end i learned to like it however, i think that people should comment more each others posts and and a discussion in class.


yes, it gives me a lot of informations. also i can see my classmates feedback inside so that i can learn from my classmate and develope my idea in my artical.

yes, it was easy to compare and contrast with other class mates.

i found it helpful because it was a easy way to get the articles and other news about the class more directly.

yes , and this very smart idea to do the homework . becasue almost everyone of this class spent many times on facebook .so while i was chatting i was doing the homework

our use of a class facebook page is helpful because we can share the idea.

Yes, it is more easy to learn something from other students. It is really helpful for me.

It is very much heplfull. The reason is, I did not have to be worry about submitt my work in ontime.

yes, I was able to review other classmate work.

This was helpful for the fact we were able to read each others work. This is a good idea but maybe facebook shouldn't be it because not many of us have facebook.

yes, it helped me keep up with assignments.

I didn't see much use to it, I would prefer all the online writings to be done in class. It does however offer a new learning experience, something different to students which is always a good thing.

Yes its helpful, because if you missed class you could go on the facebook page and see what homework you have for next class and what you missed.

yes i did its a good way to see each others thoughts and to compare and very easy to access

yes! it's very simple and you can share your ideas and get new interesting ideas from some one else.

Because i could learn and get ideas from other people's comment

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh, Yeah: CUNY Commons in a Box!

The CUNY Academic Commons Announces The Commons in a Box Project


The CUNY Academic Commons is proud to announce the establishment of The Commons in a Box, a new open-source project that will help other organizations quickly and easily install and customize their own Commons platforms. With generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the CUNY Academic Commons team will launch the free software project by assembling new and existing WordPress-based community and collaboration tools into a single installation package. The Commons team is delighted that the Modern Language Association will take part in the initial phase of development by using the new platform to create an MLA Commons for its 30,000+ members.

Over the past two years, the CUNY Academic Commons has been lauded for its creation of a robust academic social network that connects faculty members, administrators, and graduate students across the diverse twenty-three colleges in the City University of New York system. Built on the popular open-source platforms WordPress, BuddyPress, and MediaWiki, the network has cultivated a strong sense of community among its members by providing public and private spaces in which they can connect to one another and share their academic and administrative work. As the project has progressed, the development team of the CUNY Academic Commons has regularly shared its own work with the wider WordPress community, releasing highly rated extensions that have been downloaded over 100,000 times.

The CUNY Academic Commons team has consulted regularly with a range of institutions both within and outside of the CUNY system that have expressed interest in creating similar sites for their own communities. The core features of Commons-style networks enjoy broad appeal as institutions look for ways to penetrate institutional silos, to mitigate the effects of geographical distance, and to produce collaborative, public-facing scholarship that can help demonstrate the value of intellectual life at a time when funding for higher education is increasingly being called into question.

In contrast to projects that seek to build online communities through the kinds of proprietary and commercial social-networking platforms that routinely mine user content for advertising and other purposes, the Commons in a Box software will provide a framework for networks that are controlled by institutions and their members, and it will foreground the principles of open access, user privacy, and non-commercial sharing of intellectual work. Educational groups, scholarly associations, and other non-profit organizations will be able to leverage the Commons in a Box to give their members a space in which to present themselves as scholars to the public, to share their work, to locate and communicate with peers, and to engage in collaborative scholarship.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The 9/11 Memorial Park

Art in New York

A. Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Describe what happened in NYC on September 11th, 2001.
  • Explain why NYC created the 9/11 Memorial Park.
  • Analyze the effects of 9/11 on NYC in the context of Visual Arts.
  • Write about Landscape Architecture in the language of Visual Arts.
  • Evaluate resources on the LaGuardia Library Website for their research paper.
B. Reflective Description
The class visited the 9/11 Memorial Park before Thanksgiving. Writing about the park is one of the paper assignments for the course. We already visited a few 9/11 exhibitions and discussed artists and their artworks related to 9/11 this semester. However, this will be the first time for them to write about architectural elements, so I prepared "Tips for the Papers" on the official course blog. Square, Name, or Pool are research topics that I suggested for students, but they can also find another research point.

C. Conclusions
I booked this group ticket two months ago for the class to visit the "king" of all Arts in New York. The main concept was that students can only see this landmark now, not before, and this is something that symbolizes NYC of "our/their generation." It is new. For me, this field trip was personal, as well, because I was a LaGuardia student on September 11th, 2001 and experienced 9/11 on campus. In any case, I was afraid that the weather will be horrible and yes, that's right; it was terrible. Worse comes to worse, it was a Friday schedule on Wednesday [not to mention it started to rain as we entered the park!]. Nevertheless, students came and they mysteriously enjoyed the field trip. I also received a video from a student in this course. This monument opened on September 11th, 2011, and it is beautifully done.


An interesting discussion in the Chronicle about FERPA:

Keitai Kids: Youth, Culture and Social Media in the USA and Japan

An interesting video lecture on the World of Mobile that the seminar may be interested:

Keitai Kids: Youth, Culture and Social Media in the USA and Japan

"In the Mobile World, everything happened in Japan will happen for the rest of the world. Japan is the most leading country in Mobile. In anywhere else I present about mobile things, I will have a Japanese example..."
---Tomi Ahonen, one of the world’s leading experts on business implications for mobile technology and author of
The Insider’s Guide to Mobile.

[This sold-out lecture at Japan Society New York from last month was part of the New School summit "Mobility Shifts" Oct 10-16, 2011, and above quotations were in Ahonen's lecture; he urges all educators and change management professionals to prepare for helping their people to overcome troubles with the changes because these are biggest economic opportunities of all our life time.]

Cell phones (keitai), mobile media, and social media have transformed the lives of youth in Japan and the United States in extraordinary but very different ways. How does this impact education and youth culture in each country today, and what are the possibilities for the future? Do these issues look different in other parts of the world? Shin Mizukoshi, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tokyo and a leading authority on digital culture in Japan, and Tomi Ahonen, one of the world’s leading experts on business implications for mobile technology and author of The Insider’s Guide to Mobile, discuss youth, education and social media. Moderated by R. Trebor Scholz, writer, artist, professor and director of the Politics of Digital Culture conference series at The New School. [Text from Japan Society Website.]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflection Blog Post Assignment

Today in class, in addition to completing the Community 2.0 survey, I had students do a "Reflection Blog" considering their experience in this class using the blog.  We will not have any more blog assignments, as students now need to focus on revising essays and preparing for the in-class essay final exam.

The Assignment (on our class blog):

The students' reponses were very interesting (posted on their own blogs) and it is helpful to consider the difficulties students have had (with home computers, for instance), how they view the blogs, and what blog activities they liked.  The students are very candid - some say they didn't really enjoy using blogs.  Others surprised me by saying they often looked and and edited their blogs outside of class or looked at other students' blogs a lot.  By and large, students enjoyed reading other students' blogs and posting comments as their favorite activity on the blogs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Retrotech: Like Email . . . but On Paper.

As we approach the end of the semester, I started to realize that I had a lot of my Basic Writing students who needed me to check special assignments I had given them, double-check essay revisions, and so on. One of the great things about an online grade book is that the students can see everything. One of the downsides of an online grade book it that students can see everything (and some obsess about it). My general answer when they ask me to look at something during class is "Email it to me."

I have decided I hate email. Email is no longer e-mail but e-everything: memos, announcements, advertisements, chit-chat, rants and raves, and a plethora of other junk I would rather not deal with. So, asking students to "email me" is rather like asking them to add their work onto a pile of other things I would rather not deal with and that, therefore, might get lost.

I decided to go retro-tech. I bought a pack of bright pink index cards. Now, when a student has an issue that does not require my immediate attention (such as double-checking a grade or re-reading a blog entry or an "off topic" question) they grab a pink card and put their name on it with the relevant information and hand it to me. When I have a chance (in class or at home) I go through the stack and respond as needed.

I must admit that I felt immediately less stressed about checking my email for student requests and the students also felt that they did not have to "follow up" every few minutes to see if I had checked my email. The card was in the "pink stack" and they knew that I would get to it.

So, back to my motto: The right tool for the task and the teacher. Like many of our students I may be "over" email as a useful communication tool (for my class especially) and sometimes, going lo-tech for what should be a simple task is the best.

Website discussing Twitter and the Classroom

An interesting blog/project site I found out about from a friend on Facebook!  This post discusses the use of Twitter in the classroom.  The link to resources and videos looks promising, though I haven't explored all of it yet!

There are other interesting things on this site, too.  Many reviews of technology use, such as QR codes in the classroom,  and thematic sets of resources on topics like Steve Jobs and Occupy Wall Street.

Writing self-efficacy, Web 2.0, Multilingual Writers, and Attention

Hello, All!
As you may remember, I am conducting a study to consider how the use of Web 2.0 platforms in classes might affect (improve?) the writing self-efficacy of multilingual writers. To unpack that briefly:

Web 2.0 platforms have the potential to conflate the reader/writer dichotomy (e.g., you're either one or the other) to a reader-writer identity (e.g., you read, you respond/you write, someone else responds), my hope has been that by incorporating blogs into my coursework, students who self-identify as poor academic writers might have the opportunity to experience the satisfaction of having their own writing read and responded to--and seeing how others write, respond, and develop their own and others' ideas over the course of a course.

If there is a certain "satisfaction" or "payoff," does it translate into improved writing self-efficacy--the belief that they can approach a challenging writing task and persevere through its completion?

I say "multilingual" writers to include the traditional category of "ESL" students as well as Basic Writers who may be bidialectal (albeit, their perception of another dialect may be that it is "broken"), and resident ESLs (a/k/a Gen 1.5) whose language/literacy competencies are difficult to cleanly categorize. These are the students that populate our classrooms at LaGuardia with monolinguals in the minority. "Multilingual" in this sense is not only from a teacher's perspective (wow! look at the range of language experiences/competencies in this class!) as well as students' perspectives as they read each other's writing and make accommodations for communication.

Now that it's getting toward the end of the semester, I'll ask those of you who asked your students to fill out my questionnaire in September/October, to ask them fill it out again in December:

I'm excited to see the results, but already thinking about how I will tweak the study going forward to consider pedagogical issues (those rich, complex variables that fill a class each semester!) I hadn't anticipated beforehand. These have helped me to unpack my assumptions further.  A big one includes attention, which I've mentioned on this blog previously, and will continue to elaborate in further posts. I don't mean this as in "Pay attention, guys!" as if it were as simple as that. But based on emerging studies about the brain, the Internet, and learning, I understand much better that asking students to use Web 2.0 platforms is not as simple as allowing students to use something they are used to in their so-called out-of-school literacies. (I know this is obvious to you guys as you have been developing and implementing and grappling with the consequences of your own amazing Web 2.0 pedagogies! But I'm beginning to understand this more deeply.)

It's been fantastic reading about what you're doing and I'm eager to talk/write/read more about how integrating Web 2.0 has challenged and addressed your own pedagogical goals. To be continued...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for the lovely "submit" and "ask" buttons on our blog!

Dear Community 2.0 of fellow LaGuardians,

I originally wanted to write this post on Tuesday, but after approving the posts Rudy's MAT115 students submitted to the blog, I decided to wait until today. Why? To allow a steady stream of queued posts on our blog.... I must admit that I love the queue feature and I will certainly share its advantages and disadvantages (there are some, of course) at our December meeting just a couple weeks away. Yes, this Fall I 2011 session is flying by non-stop!

At any rate, the reason of this post is to report that the majority of the posts (see here, here, here, here and here) having been very positive, except for this one. We expect more submissions from MAT115.1592 in the next two weeks, along with the end of Fall I 2011 surveys. We have learned that a couple students want to vlog (video blog post), as well. Needless to mention, Rudy and I can't wait to use our nifty iPhone to record and post within minutes via our friendly user Tumblr app. Can you tell we love our gadgets and technology?

In the meantime, Rudy has graciously appointed himself as the one in charge to answer all "Math Questions" on our MathBlogLagCC. I would have volunteered, but I really would not want to disappoint the Intrawebs and Intranets Binomial Gods.

We hope the questions come more often as last sessions midterms and final exams are just around the corner.

Until the next post!

Mrs. De León

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Beyoncé and Plagiarism

Art in New York

A. Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

B. Reflective Description
Beyoncé was just accused of Plagiarism for her dance moves last month and I played the media coverage on the case before discussing Plagiarism with my class. Most students already knew how to cite sources since my course is a graduation requirement, but they did not know about Beyoncé's case. I wanted to introduce the MLA basics in a unique way but did not want to waste any class time for it, so I decided to do both at once. In this semester, for the first time in my teaching career, I am allowing my class to cite blogs, Facebook posts, and tweets for final papers.

C. Conclusions
Surprisingly, I think many of my students did not know about Beyoncé to begin with. Or were they confused because their "high art" instructor suddenly started to talk about a trivial pop culture phenomenon? In any case, this lecture actually worked fine as a regular art topic even though students were already experienced with the MLA System.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The State of Things...

Next Stage

The news is spreading about the mathblog. We are beginning to see comments and questions from students across courses. Our reponses to these questions will be very useful not just to the ones asking them but anyone who visit the mathblog site. We anticipate a greater participation from students across other courses as the words get out about the site and the inevitable finals.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog or ePortfolio? 2

Okay...I've got three arguments. Three ideas on the way to an argument about what we need to do.

1) Blogging.
Here is the first idea of a successful blogging: what it means to be a successful implement of "blogging" in a college-level course. No, not a "blog" but a condition of "blogging" among students that we are trying to create. This is what we mean by building an online community.

This semester, I required all students in all of my classes to start a blog. I wanted them to become independent thinkers. This project is unexpectedly going well.

2) ePortfolio.
The idea of ePortfolio. When you think about ePortfolio, you might think about an online portfolio that organizes uniformed contents, something like the Interfolio or the SlideRoom. This is not what I mean. I mean ePortfolio that separates a student from all others, something that helps my students stand out in a crowd.

The closest concept may be a digital artist's book. For me, the idea of blogging has always been associated with an expansion of ePortfolio, right from the beginning.

What I did not know was that my students had something else on their mind.

3) Trust and Independence
My painting students teamed up two weeks ago and told me that they wanted to continue with blogs only---no more ePortfolio---.

Let me go back to the point (1) above for a second. I worked very hard in the beginning of the semester to convert all of my students into bloggers. This project is unexpectedly going well. It IS successful---SO SUCCESSFUL that they are now protesting the use of ePortfolio.

After close discussions with them, I now have a better idea of what is going on. Yes, there is a lesson.

What should I do now? I would like to offer an overview of what would be pros and cons of in this environment. Blackboard is another system that can be replaced by Blogger, so I considered it when making the list below. Hope this is helpful.

Easy to use "like Facebook" (quoted from my student.)
Students can access their own sites forever after graduation (quoted from my student.)
A link to an ePortfolio can offer an expansion of the ePortfolio system.
Less down time during the midterm and the final.
More freedom in customizing the service.
Students will be able to evaluate and analyze two online systems on their own even before instructors ask them to do so.

Blogs may be blocked on a corporate computer if students work at major corporations.
Textbook copyright issues.
No Grade Center.
No SafeAssign.
No Usage or Log-on Tracking.
Students can protest ePortfolio and/or Blackboard by learning a more intuitive user interface.

(Recommendation or Things that would happen in the near future)
Offer students an option of purchasing access to ePortfolio forever, even after two years of graduation. This is a business opportunity!
Develop a more intuitive user interface for ePortfolio [but I heard there was a long way to arrive the current "Digication" era].

Catching up - and Blogs about Internet Memes

Catching Up

I apologize for being behind on blog posts.  I was completely overwhelmed by conferences for a few weeks and then "the attack of the meetings" the past few weeks.  I have perused Community 2.0 and hoped to have interesting posts about what my students were doing online, but did not do much online work with them the past few weeks.

I did some online searches for ideas and resources and saw some interesting activities on various wiki, blog, and online community sites.  Slowly the rusty 2.0 gears started turning...

To get back into the swing of things, I combed through everyone's blog sites to see what you are all doing and get some inspiration!  From posts by Ximena and Jason and comments by Justin Rogers Cooper, I was inspired to have students do some reflective blog-writing about blogging in our lab class tomorrow.

I also really liked some of the activities Luke is having students do in both classes.  Some of his prompts made me consider what things "out there" on the Net would interest my students.  And then certain Facebook posts I saw today (including ones by Maria) sparked my slumbering blog imagination...

Pepper Spray Everything, the Internet Meme

I wanted to try something edgy and follow a popular Internet meme trend - the Pepper Spray Cop!  I will have students contemplate and write about the newest viral sensation, the "Pepper Spray Everything Movement" and consider whether this is art or not:

Stay tuned for comments on how this activity worked with my class!

How It Went:

The student posts about the pepper spray cop meme were very interesting.  Their ideas about whether or not the meme images were art and whether or not it was a form of plagiarism were varied and led to an interesting discussion of what can be considered plagiarism, particulary when it is so easy to copy images found online.

Online course information - including a good explanation of plagiarism

I also came across this site which has information for students who are doing online courses or using online tools.  Some of the information is pretty useful.  I liked this explanation about academic honesty and plagiarism:

Has anyone used Wikia?

I have just ran across an article on Wikia and how it provides semi-private college wikis:

Does anyone have any experience using Wikia?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy International Men's Day !!!

Learning Objectives:
comprehension, analysis

My 101 students connected to one another online as part of larger assignment. They were divided into small groups and each group was assigned an article that relates to our discussions of Fast Food Nation. Four specific tasks were defined: 1) summarize the article, 2) note who was interviewed for the article and decide whether or not they are "reliable" sources, 3) choose two important quotations and explain their relevance, and 4) prepare two discussion questions for the class. Group members chose their tasks and posted their work on Facebook. Once the initial assignments were posted, they were assigned "partners" and asked to read and respond to their partner's post. They were also told to prepare class presentations.

How it went:
Most of this went really well. Students did a great job with their assigned tasks and the presentations were terrific. They succeeded in dissecting and analyzing a possible research source and practiced their public speaking skills. The class got an overview of 6 resources and many have chosen to use some of the articles in their upcoming research essays. The part that didn't go so well was the online connection, mostly because the instructions I provided were confusing to them. A few did a wonderful job but most did not, which tells me that the fault lay with the prompt, not with them. Their comments were short and vague and not particularly useful. I would certainly do the larger assignment again but need to rethink the online connection. I may have been trying to force something for the sake of experimentation when it really doesn't belong and may end up cutting that part entirely.

On an unrelated note, I'm having technical issues with Blackboard SafeAssign and could use some advice. Many students trying to post are getting error messages saying that the system is overloaded. I planned to return comments on Monday so wanted to grade this morning and afternoon. Since most essay aren't up yet, I'm already several hours behind schedule and am afraid I won't have time for all of them tomorrow. So, what do I do? Give them an extension? Accept essays via e-mail (which will be very confusing for me)? Make them keep trying and hope they upload in time for me to read them?

Friday, November 18, 2011

What's a College Degree Worth?

Lately I've been reading about the long-term impact globalization and technology have on today's students, particularly when it comes to achieving their career aspirations and earning potential. I'm also serving on a college-wide committee that's looking at ways to increase LaGuardia's graduation rate. These two issues are linked; students cannot get ahead if they don't have a college degree and the first step for many is graduating from LaGuardia.

In today's economy a college degree is one key to economic opportunity. A report published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, "The College Payoff," reveals that the median lifetime earnings of those with a Bachelor's degree is $2,268,000 while those with a high school diploma have a median lifetime earning $1,304,000. Quite a difference! In addition to a college degree, race, gender and choice of major also have an impact on income and upward mobility. I have attached a link to the article-I think you will find it interesting and the information may be useful as you talk with students about their career choices.

De León, Johnson & Kato's cool things!

This exercise has been a fun and challenging way to work together. We haven't managed to meet face to face, but managed to email each other several times to complete our task.

Rebekah's cool thing is that her blog has homework descriptions right there, so students do not need to go to blackboard for details. We also like that she posted her mid-semester survey on her blog. Nozomi’s did gave her mid-semester survey in her class because her students are not tech-savvy and made it in a manner that the class can finish it in a minute. Overall, we were pleased that the three of us always prefer a student-centered approach like me.

Nozomi's cool things are the way she mixes the use of ePortfolio (ePortfolio is required for Art and Design majors) and blogger. This exchange allows her students to exchange digital images on each other's course blogs. Nozomi also asked students to do an optional museum visit and in return students began posting about their visits—all thanks to the new online exchange--blogger! Nozomi finds blogging as another platform for students to communicate with her. Nozomi was able to respond to their requests for assistance, though the downside was that some students did not reply back to her outreach posts afterwards.

Ingrid's cool thing is that she posts mathematical problems on her MathLaGCCBlog. I have never seen that before, and I think that students would find problems posted on a blog rather than in a book or on a blackboard are different and interesting, and more engaging. In addition, there is information about online tutoring and an invitation to ask questions on the blog, encouraging students to use online services to learn more.

It comes as no surprise that posting homework assignments on our blogs is a pretty darn cool idea. It provides us with freedom and efficiency to send our students straight to the task without having to worry about Blackboard’s wonky ways and high traffic during midterms and finals.

Open Invitation

We have extend an invitation to all Mat 096 and Mat 115 students to join us
in open discussion on Tumblr. Students are permitted to post any mathematical
questions and are free to provide solution(s) to anyone else's question. We have
set up some guidelines for students to follow and our method of responding.

Our goal is to develop a larger group of math followers. As final exams are
approaching,we hope to see more activities on Tumblr.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here We Go...

Georgia Tech Wipes Class Wikis From Web

November 17, 2011, 12:34 pm
The Georgia Institute of Technology has stripped, at least for now, more than 10 years of class work from its collaborative-learning Web sites, known as Swikis.

Following a student’s complaint to the university that his name was listed on the Web site of a public course, Georgia Tech officials decided on Monday to remove all Swikis other than ones from the current semester, said Mark Guzdial, a professor in the School of Interactive Computing, who is a co-creator of the Swikis.
He reported the development on his Computing Education blog this week. (The tech journalist Audrey Watters picked it up on her blog.)

In his post, Mr. Guzdial recounts how he and two Ph.D. students created the Swiki, or CoWeb, in 2000, so that students would have a place to “construct public entities on the Web.” The Swikis served intentionally undefined purposes, such as providing a forum for cross-semester discussions and a home for public galleries of student work. “All of that ended yesterday,” he wrote, because of Georgia Tech’s concerns about Ferpa, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

In a letter to faculty, posted on the university’s Web site, Zvi Galil, dean of the College of Computing, says Ferpa “prohibits the release of student names in connection with any particular classes in which they have been enrolled.” Under the university’s interpretation, that includes the Swikis, because students’ names are listed on the Web sites. The step was taken to make sure that students’ information was protected, a university spokeswoman said in an e-mail to The Chronicle.

Steven J. McDonald, general counsel at the Rhode Island School of Design, said that because students themselves are not subject to the provisions of Ferpa, if they are the ones posting the material, and not faculty members, then they are acting outside the confines of the privacy act. It would be as if a student were to post something from class to YouTube, he said.

Jochen Rick, one of the Ph.D. students who helped create the Swikis, acknowledged via e-mail the potential privacy concerns. But “to me, Georgia Tech’s interpretation of Ferpa implies that their students are not capable of reasonably and actively managing their privacy,” he said. “That’s a pretty low assessment for a group of tech-savvy adults.”

Other people upset by the university’s decision have taken the conversation to Twitter by creating a hashtag, #FERPANUTS, to discuss the issue.

Brendan Streich, a spokesman for the College of Computing, said in a phone call that the Swiki content, while not visible to the public, is not lost forever. The university, he said, would repopulate any Web page at the request of a professor, but only after removing any Ferpa-sensitive information. Since that includes names, it remains unclear how the university would go about this under its interpretation of the law.