Friday, April 11, 2008

Wright State Blogathon

Here we are, 11 bloggers blogging, getting first posts up and out.

Since we're talking about social networking, here's a take on what it is . . . in "plain English."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are You E-Handbook Compatible and Ready for a Longterm Commitment?

It's one thing to flirt with the idea of an e-handbook, it's another to start a teaching relationship with one where you invest time and energy in getting to know and use your e-handbook. Sure, the e-book is sexy – everyone's talking about them and how hot and new they are. But is the e-book going to be there for you past first blush?

To help you decide whether to take the e-book plunge, we've created this short quiz.

1. Do you have reliable Internet access?

  • I live online! I always have great high speed access – at work in my office and classrooms; at home; and via wireless in cafes, airports, and beyond. (5 points)

  • I'm online a lot (but still live in the real world), and have high speed access at work in my office and classrooms and at home. (4 points)

  • I have high speed access in my office and at home, but not in the classroom I use. (3 points)

  • I have high speed at the office, nothing in the classroom, and dial up at home (2 points)

  • I have high speed at the office, nothing in the classroom, and not even dial up at home. (1 point)

  • They don't call me Analog Andy/Annie for nothing. What is this thing you call "access" anyway? (No point)

2. Do you already work with your students electronically in any way? (Add one point for each that is true.):

  • I have e-mailed one or more students in my life.

  • I have collected work digitally (handed in on disk; uploaded to course space; done in course space; paper attached to e-mail; etc).

  • My students cite online sources in their papers.

  • I teach students about using online sources.

  • I have used the Web to look for something to use in my teaching.

  • I have sat with students (maybe during office hours, or in a lab, or in class) at a computer to help them revise, edit, search, and do other work for my courses.

  • I have a Facebook or Myspace page my students know about.

  • I have "friended" students in Facebook/Myspace.

  • I use social bookmarking tools such as delicious to share links with my students.

  • I use online writing spaces with my students sometimes: blogs, discussion forums; wikis; chats or related programs, either within or without a course management system.

  • I have used PowerPoint and liked it.

  • I have wished, every once in a while, that I could apply a gentle electric shock to a drowsy or sleeping student. Nothing painful mind you. Just a jolly jolt to get them upright and wide-eyed.

  • I have talked to my students by telephone.

3. Do you want more choices and ways to teach students how to use a handbook to improve their writing?

  • Very much. (5 points)

  • I'm curious enough to try. (4 points)

  • Yes, but finding the time is hard. (1 point)

  • I already have too many choices in my teaching life, and don't need one more right now. (No point)


10 – 15: You're more than ready for a longterm e-handbook relationship

5 – 10: You're shy, but ready to take the first step to see if the e-handbook is right for you.

0 -- 5: You're a wonderful person, but the e-handbook isn't right for you.

Cuyahoga Community College Workshop

Nick Carbone, B/SM and University of Maryland University College

In this session, we look at plagiarism from the inside out: if it's an issue exacerbated by computer technology and the ease of copying and pasting, of surfing and downloading, how can we apply a little pedagogical judo and turn things our way? What are some strategies and moves we can make to flip the issue from something to be worried about to something we can embrace for its teaching opportunities? And heck, sure it's a serious issue, but why not make learning about it intellectually fun?

links we'll be using.

A plagiarism tip from Barclay Barrios:

You can take this tip and do a lot with case studies of people whom, if not brought low by plagiarism, suffered a reputation hit: Doris Kearns Goodwin, most famously. But also, there are probably cases too of people wrongly accused of plagiarism. What's the flip side of the issue? How should students prepare and what should they do to show they did not plagiarize? What safe guards can they take and what good writing habits should they learn and follow? The site's a hoot, and it's funny. And it's also a useful teaching tool, worth showing in class if you can do it, or sending students to look at and write about it for a class discussion on doing one's own work.

What is good about this piece? What does it make fun of? How can you use it jump-start a discussion with your students? leads to "Adventures in Cheating," by Seth Stevenson, a piece that samples term paper mills, and finds --no surprise-- that you get what you pay for (and even that ain't much). I wrote a response to this piece, which again, I find useful for teaching, that began, "Essentially, the free papers stink, and they're recycled. That is, free paper mill sites often carry copies of the same papers."

After having students read Stevenson's essay, do what Kelly Ritter of Southern Ct. State U. had her students do: have them find and then analyze and review a term paper mill site. Have them sample and analyze the papers. What are the sites intellectual property and copyright policies? What do the the sites say about plagiarism and being for 'research'? goes to the Bedford/St. Martin's Plagiarism workshop site. This is a faculty resource where you'll find useful handouts, teaching tips, and reviews of plagiarism detection tools.
After reading Robert Harris's book, The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism (2001, from Pyrczak Publishing); an article on the role of honor codes by Robert Boynton in the Washington Post; and thinking about the many plagiarism discussions that have come up on professional listservs I participate on such as WPA, TechRhet, WCenter, it occurred to me that the first place to begin a better discussion with my students on plagiarism is in my own syllabus. talkingplagy.htm lays out what I use to start the conversation.

See --and add your own contributions to-- CompFAQ's collection of resources at
CompFAQ lets composition instructors contribute their own ideas and resources to the composition community. It doesn't take long to add something.