Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blockbuster Plagiarism???

This situation is a great reminder that plagiarism is not just about copying words from another, but also ideas. It should make for an interesting debate... one you may want to take up in your courses.

(From Yahoo News - Monday February 27 12:57 PM ET)

'Da Vinci Code' Author Accused in London

"The Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown was accused in Britain's High Court on Monday of taking material for his blockbuster conspiracy thriller from a 1982 book about the Holy Grail. The accusation was made in a breach of copyright lawsuit filed against "The Da Vinci Code" publisher Random House. If the lawsuit succeeds in getting an injunction barring use of the disputed material, the scheduled May 19 release of "The Da Vinci Code" film starring Tom Hanks and Ian McKellan could be threatened.

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," sued Random House, which also published their book. Random House denies the claim. Baigent and Leigh claim Brown appropriated their ideas and themes in writing his book, which has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its 2003 publication. Both books hinge on the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child, and that blood line survives to this day. The earlier book set out the notion that Christ did not die on the cross but lived later in France.

Brown, who was expected to testify next week, told reporters outside court that this idea had no appeal for him. "Suggesting a married Jesus is one thing, but questioning the Resurrection undermines the very heart of Christian belief," said Brown, who described himself as a committed Christian. Jonathan Rayner James, a lawyer for Baigent and Leigh, said the case did not relate to the theft of specific parts of text but to the appropriation of themes and ideas. "Brown copied from 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' and therefore the publication of the resulting novel is an infringement of my clients' copyright," he told the court.

James said his case was not an attempt to "stultify creative endeavor" or claim a monopoly on ideas or historical debate.
But Jonathan Baldwin, representing Random House, said Baigent and Leigh were making "wild allegations." He said they were suggesting that "Mr. Brown has appropriated not only the numerous parts of a jigsaw puzzle but the organizational way (Baigent and Leigh) put it together."

"In brief, the complaint appears to be that 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' discloses the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that they had children which survived and married into a line of French kings, that the lineage continues today, and that there is a secret society based in France which has the objective of restoring this lineage to the thrones not only of France but to the thrones of other European nations as well, and that ('The Da Vinci Code') uses some of this idea," Baldwin said. He said Brown referred to "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" in his novel, but the earlier book "did not have anything like the importance to Mr. Brown which the claimants contend it had."

Full article here.
Wikipedia's entry on The Da Vinci Code

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Getting Students to Read: Fourteen Tips

Idea Paper #40 from the Idea Center
Getting Students to Read: Fourteen Tips
by Eric H. Hobson, Georgia Southern University

These Fourteen Tips are specific solutions that teachers can employ when trying to get their students to do their reading assignments. Address each of these in turn and you will boost your students' reading habits and course performance. To read this excellent article in its entirety,
click here.

1. Not every course is served by requiring a textbook.

2. "Less is more" applies to course reading.

3. Aim reading material at "marginally-skilled" students.

4. Use the syllabus itself as a teaching tool.

5. Explain reading assignments' relevance.

6. Assign readings close to their due dates.

7. Preview the reading yourself beforehand.

8. Use class activities that increase compliance and effectiveness.

9. Use class time to focus on the most important passages from the reading.

10. Question students about specific issues found in the reading.

11. Test over reading material.

12. Teach reading strategies overtly.

13. Use Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)to assess compliance.

14. Get assistance where/when needed.

Social Bookmarking

Heard about social bookmarking yet?

Social bookmarking is an increasingly popular way to locate, classify, rank, and share Internet resources through the use of shared lists of user-created Internet bookmark lists, the practice of tagging, and meta-data inferred the use of such tags and their relation to one another.

In such a system, users store lists of personally interesting internet resources, and (usually) make these lists publically accessible. They also classify their resources by the use of informally assigned, user-defined keywords or tags. Most social bookmarking services allow users to search for bookmarks which are associated with given "tags", and rank the resouces by the number of users which have bookmarked them. Many also have implemented algorithms to draw "meta-data" inferences from the tag keywords that are assigned to resources by examining the "clustering" of particular keywords, and the relation of keywords to one another.

Such a system has several advantages over traditional automated resource location and classification software, such as search engine spiders. All tag-based classification of Internet resources (such as web sites) is done by human beings, who understand the content of the resource, as opposed to software which algorithmically attempts to determine the meaning of a resource. Additionally, as people bookmark resources that they find useful, resources that are of more use are bookmarked by more users. Thus, such a system will "rank" a resource based on its perceived utility. This is a more useful metric for end users than other systems which rank resources based on the number of external links pointing to it.

Here are some archtypical and popular examples of this new technology:

Furl stands for Frame Uniform Resource Locator. This highly-rated site allows you to save, search, and share every web page you've ever wanted to keep.

Don't let the pun fool you, this is a seriously useful way to archive websites! It employs a non-hierarchical keyword categorization system where users can tag each of their bookmarks with a number of freely chosen keywords. Del.icio.us has a simple HTML interface with human readable URLs, as well as a REST API and RSS feeds for web syndication.

Similar in function to the other popular social bookmarking sites listed above, iKeepbookmarks prides itself on being easy to use. Even kids can purportedly use it, but you can make good use of it too in a professional or personal sense depending on your needs.

Have you used Technopoli yet?

Methods of teaching and learning are constantly evolving, and it can be a challenge to keep up with every new advance. Technopoli was created by the Ohio Learning Network to help you find the professional development opportunities you need without wasting precious resources, especially time. This tool instantly connects you to advances and announcements in education and is provided by the Ohio Learning Network at the request of other Ohio educators like you. For your information, "Technopoli" is composed of pieces of three words: TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY LISTINGS. See for yourself how it earns its name at Technopoli.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Workshops Headed To The CTLT Near You

CTLT Workshops - Communication for Learners

As teachers, we all have our areas of expertise, and in order for us to engage our students in learning about those areas, we must communicate effectively for our learners. For the Spring Semester 2006, the Center wants you to rethink, retool, and recharge your communication skills. We are offering workshops that will give you opportunities to discuss dynamic instructional communication, communication for assessment and feedback, and teaching techniques and communication tools.

Are you interested in how other faculty members deliver effective presentations? Do you design and use rubrics for student assessment? Will you use podcasting in the future to extend your classroom communication?

Read on for more specific information about this semester's workshop offerings. The Center welcomes your participation-we are dedicated to providing faculty with resources and an environment that facilitates excellence in teaching.

Dynamic Instructional Communication-skills for classroom communication choices, presentations, and discussions

"Delivering Effective Presentations"The best presenters always seek counsel and resources. As presenters we need to first find and focus our messages, but then we need to shape a forceful communication for our learners. Our presentations may take place in a variety of settings on campus, and they can employ a variety of techniques and tools. Colleen Boff, Michael Ellison, Brett Holder, and Gene Poor share their expertise about delivering effective presentations in large lecture halls, mid-sized classrooms, and computer labs.
Monday, February 27, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in 113 Olscamp
Thursday, March 23, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. in 113 Olscamp

"Matching the Media to the Audience and the Message"In all communication we consider the sender, the medium, and the receiver, and in today's classroom the media choices can make our communication faster and richer. With those choices come the responsibilities of analyzing the purpose of our messages and the learners who receive them. Meet with other faculty members in this workshop to discuss the structure, clarity, consistency, medium, and relevancy of your messages to learners.
Wednesday, February 15, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the CTLT (pizza provided)
Monday, March 20, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. in CTLT

"Facilitating Learner Discussions"Planning and executing productive learner discussions can be challenging, but they are definitely worthwhile since they offer learners unmatched experiences in articulating, responding to, and evaluating ideas. Leading discussion, encouraging learner participation, choosing and asking effective questions-all are important components of good discussions. Join this discussion workshop for information about effective facilitating strategies for both classroom and online discussions.
Tuesday, February 21, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. in the CTLT
Wednesday, March 22, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the CTLT (pizza provided)

Communication for Assessment and Feedback - communication that seeks feedback for learners and teachers

"Metacognitive Assessment Strategies"Finding out what students know (or don't know) is an essential part of the educational process, for both the educator and the learner. Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) provide many opportunities for two-way communication between teacher and student as well as function as an introspective metacognitive tool for each student in your course to examine where they've been and where they're going during their guided "educational journey".
Thursday, February 9, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the CTLT (pizza provided)
Friday, March 24, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the CTLT

"Organizing and Communicating Knowledge Visually"For many years, organizations of all types have used organized visual models to convey a complex message in a concise manner. Graphic organizers, mind maps, organizational charts, flow chart and concept maps are only a sampling of terminology used to describe these valuable tools. Join our discussion of the current research regarding concept mapping as a cognitive tool and investigate how to use concept-mapping software such as Cmap or Inspiration to create maps or graphic organizers that focus on your student learning outcomes.
Friday, February 17, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. in the CTLT
Tuesday, March 14, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the CTLT (pizza provided)

"Guiding Authentic Learning Experiences"
Have you ever struggled with evaluating a paper, presentation, portfolio or final project and exclaimed that there has to be a better way? Rubrics can serve as a means of communicating expectations of authentic tasks while doubling as a clear guide for the both student and teacher during the actual creation and assessment of the final product. Ease your apprehension toward incorporating authentic projects by joining us in discussing the purpose and basics of rubric design as well as how they can be employed to assess student growth.
Tuesday, February 21, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the CTLT
Tuesday, April 18, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the CTLT (pizza provided)

Teaching Techniques and Communication Tools-pedagogical strategies and technical tools to facilitate communication

"Collaborative Visual Narratives"Images can quickly convey a message with more emotion and context than a few lines of text. Challenge your students with the integration of images to foster collaborative learning, promote visual literacy, and encourage discussion and debate through the application of a universal medium. Join us as we explore available techniques and tools to find, organize, enhance and display images in order to design a meaningful collaborative student learning experience.
Tuesday, March 28, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the CTLT
Monday, April 24, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. in the CTLT

"Building Shared Reflections"
If you're looking for a new way to get your students thinking, talking, writing, creating and analyzing knowledge, then come explore weblogs (blogs) and wikis! These versatile online tools allow students to reflect on their experiences, thoughts, ideas and conceptualizations with words or images. Both blogs and wikis are fairly new, especially to the education world, but they offer a new dimension to the learning environment and community by extending the classroom experience, social engagements, and critical voice.
Friday, February 24, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the CTLT
Tuesday, April 4, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the CTLT

"Extending the Classroom Experience"
If you could transform the classroom setting so that time and location were not constricting, how would your pedagogical expectations and expressions change? With the advent of networks, both technological and communal, educators now more than ever are able to extend student learning like never before. Be a part of a thought-provoking discourse on the utilization of one of the latest "extension tools", podcasting, to facilitate, enhance and extend student-learning opportunities.
Thursday, March 2, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the CTLT (pizza provided)
Tuesday, April 11, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in the CTLT