May 29, 2009

New Blog Location

We have been posting on two blogs as we worked through the transition to the relatively new BGSU blogs system. Now that we’re all set and to reduce confusion or redundancy, here is a link to the new blog site for all future postings:

May 12, 2009

Wikipedia Final Exam: Passed (Journalists Failed)

Below is an excerpt from the article about a college student's inquiry into Wikipedia and journalism in the digital age. What he found out might surprise some of you or even cause a reconsideration of using Wikipedia in the classroom. Read the full article here.

Here are some highlights (quoted here, not "lifted") ;-)
Irish student hoaxes world's media with fake quote 

When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote onWikipedia, he said he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.

His report card: Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked.

The sociology major's made-up quote — which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hoursafter the French composer's death March 28 — flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India.

A full month went by and nobody noticed the editorial fraud. So Fitzgerald told several media outlets in an e-mail and the corrections began.

"The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn't use information they find there if it can't be traced back to a reliable primary source," said the readers' editor at the Guardian, Siobhain Butterworth, in the May 4 column that revealed Fitzgerald as the quote author.

Walsh said this was the first time to his knowledge that an academic researcher had placed false information on a Wikipedia listing specifically to test how the media would handle it.

How do you handle the use of Wikipedia in your courses and/or your own research?

May 11, 2009

Close the Book. Recall. Write it Down.

Teaching and LearningA recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the importance of using recall to learn new concepts and ideas. According to the article, two psychology journals just published papers showing that the strategy of recall works. 

According to the author David Glenn, recall is when students put down the text or notes that they are studying and recall everything they can. Students can either write down everything they remember or day it out loud. This active recall, such as using flashcards and other self-quizzing, is the most effective may to add something to your long-term memory.

These recall techniques, according to Dr. McDaniel, a researcher in the field of biology and teaching techniques, “If you ask people to free-recall, you can generate a better mental model of a subject area, and in turn that can lead to better problem-solving.”

This idea of free-recall has also generated some critiques from educators. Some professors have voiced concerns that recall is simply teaching students how to memorize instead of increases levels of higher learning and thinking. Dr. McDaniel argues that although these techniques may aid students in the often-required tasks of memorization, the free-recall tasks actually help to give students the skills needed apply their knowledge.

Read more by clicking here.

More strategies for effective learning can be found at the University of Memphis Department of Psychology's Principles of Learning page. Topics include
All of these topics provide concrete strategies for faculty and students to use to increase learning. Give them a try!

How do you encourage your students to use free-recall techniques or practice retrieval?