Issue #2 – August 2005

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Technology & the Pseudo-Intimacy of the Classroom: an interview with Jerry Graff

Graff’s interest in ‘teaching the conflicts’ as a way of rescuing higher education from itself has recently been replaced by a profound worry that higher ed is becoming increasingly irrelevant to American culture. We checked in to see what role Graff thinks technology might play in these unsettling times.

Interspace: Our Commonly Valued Unknowing

This thoughtful and somewhat irreverent essay explores the tension between the experience of hypermediation and the ancient need for “interspace,” “a space of comity, the constant readjustments, accommodations, and affordances, the measured motion among several interests,” as a foundation for thought and human coexistence.

Copyright 101

The pervasiveness of digital media has so altered the nature of authorship and ownership that questions of intellectual property have become matters of core concern for our students and our contemporary culture. Lanham argues that these issues require an academic response, and that a basic course in copyright, “Copyright 101,” represents a first step in this process.

Using Technology in Learning to Speak the Language of Film

The availability of relatively cheap and easy-to-use digital technologies now makes it possible to teach film and other media topics using the methods of film and multimedia production. This approach engages students in the language and process of making media and provides them with a critical awareness of how different technologies shape the messages that they communicate.

The Dangers of Just-In-Time Education

The core characteristics of liberal arts education — critical thinking, broad academic interests, and creative, interdisciplinary knowledge — provide students with the intellectual flexibility to successfully negotiate shifting career paths. Training students in the latest software applications at the expense of teaching them critical, creative problem-solving skills ill prepares them for long-term success in the just-in-time labor market.
The traditional humanities seminar focuses on the “major research paper,” which in the college setting is based on the scholarly article. What if we changed the model? After using digital images via PowerPoint in lectures and building course websites for his students, Bob Royalty started to think more about students creating rather than just using these resources. Royalty changed his focus to developing original student research while testing the uses of digital technologies in a travel course, including weekly a digital media lab and a ten-day trip to Turkey.

Discussion Boards in the Seminar Classroom

Discussion Boards have become ubiquitous and are in some respects a “low-tech” application these days, but the full potential of this resource should not be underestimated. John Ottenhoff describes his experiences and shares some interesting conclusions about the way discussion boards can enhance class discussion and shape students’ sense of authority.

Educause Learning Initiatives (ELI)

Our friends at Educause continue to try to provide some content about teaching and learning with technology. The latest ELI (Educause Learning Initiative) resources are a mixed bag.

Teaching & Learning Interchange: Pedagogy in Practice Case Studies

Designed to provide a view into classroom practices that effectively integrate both subject matter content and teaching standards, these case studies have been crafted by a team of experts for new teachers. Content focuses on teaching strategies, curriculum development, and best practices. The site is intended for new teachers and students in teacher education programs.

Robert Bechtle Retrospective & the Pachyderm Project

The San Francisco Museum of Modern’s Art (http://www.sfmoma.org/ ) retrospective on the work of Robert Bechtle explores Bechtle’s life and work through videos of the artist working in his studio, as well as photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, and other primary source materials from his personal archive. A gallery of artworks zoom-enabled for closer inspection shows highlights from the artist’s 40-year career. Accompanying the show is a nifty web application that provides access to a wide range of multimedia materials. This application is a preview of some of the new features that will be available in the 2.0 version of Pachyderm Project (http://www.nmc.org/pachyderm/index.shtml) which is a project being managed by the NMC (http://www.nmc.org)

The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

North by South

The North by South webpage explores multiple dimensions of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to Northern cities. Epic in scale, monumental in its long-term social and cultural impact, the Great Migration stands as the largest internal movement of people in the history of the United States.

Western Civilization Webography

Professor T. Mills Kelly, Associate Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and several colleagues have created an impressive  Webography with student reviews of resources for western civilization courses.