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Weekend Reading: Congrats to Bowling Green Edition

Reflection of BGSU's University HallCongratulations to the faculty at Bowling Green State University, and especially those active in the Bowling Green State University Faculty Association, for their vote to pursue collective bargaining! The amount of work that went into the vote is mind-boggling, and as their reward, the BGSU-FA gets to prepare for negotiating that first contract–but this is a good day. (Also a good day for the AAUP, which supported the campus in its efforts.)

Here are this week’s links:

  • Kieran Healy may have won the academic nerd merit badge for October 2010. The sociologist (and, of course, Crooked Timber & OrgTheory blogger) was interviewed about his hardware & software predilections at The Setup: But even if TextMate 2 drops from the sky fully-formed and marveled at by all, Emacs will still be there, waiting. It will be there when the icecaps melt and the cities drown, when humanity destroys itself in fire and zombies, when the roaches finally achieve sentience, take over, and begin using computers themselves – at which point its various Ctrl-Meta key-chords will seem not merely satisfyingly ergonomic for the typical arthropod, but also direct evidence for the universe’s Intelligent Design by some six-legged, multi-jointed God.
  • Merri Beth Lavagnino takes a close look at FERPA and other legal/policy compliance issues for social media: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not prohibit instructors from allowing students to use third-party tools as part of course activities. Content created by students when using such tools to fulfill course requirements (e.g., creating blogs on WordPress, posting videos to YouTube) should not be considered “student education records” under FERPA. However, copies of such records that are maintained by instructors in their own files do constitute FERPA-protected “student education records.”
  • This account of what it took to organize THATCamp Bay Area offers an excellent roadmap for getting different constituencies together to work on common problems: This was a completely volunteer effort. No one got paid a cent and any time we committed to it was squeezed in amongst our other jobs and projects. We set out folding chairs, brought donuts, had lunch catered by a local grocery store, chipped in to get a keg. It was a DIY event from the get-go, and like other THATCamps I’ve been to, that constructive atmosphere was very pervasive throughout the weekend.
  • Mike O’Malley has a splendid essay up about peer review in the Google era: Peer review was born in a spe cific his tor i­cal moment–it’s not the final product of human progress, objectively under­stood: we don’t need to preserve it in its present form. We need to make sure “peer review” in the future works for our needs and the needs of the pubic that wants good history.
  • Here’s a smart, refreshingly low-key discussion of multitasking in the classroom (i.e., both the discussion was in the classroom and it’s about multitasking during class): We then moved into a discussion of the effects of multitasking on their learning. Rather than cleave into two sides for or against multitasking, a consensus began to emerge that it was not whether you multitasked or not, but how, when, and why you were doing it that mattered.
  • What does it mean when *everyone* bombs a test? What do you do? The responsibility for student learning is shared, but just as students can learn with a bad professor, sometimes large groups of students can fail despite the best efforts of a great professor. Therefore I have to know WHY the grades were the way they were before you can make an informed decision. Just giving a retest without knowing the “why” will make grades go up and students happier, but it doesn’t really solve the root problem or prepare students for the next exam — and it doesn’t do much service to my college’s stated commitment to Responsibility either.

This week’s video: Sebastian Seung’s TED talk,

Have a great weekend!

Image by Flickr user The Cleveland Kid / Creative Commons licensed

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