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.]