Oversight Lacking

The diploma operations thrive in part because of a lack of centralized oversight of higher education in the US. The Department of Education leaves the job of accreditation to a group of nongovernmental agencies, which in turn grant institutions the authority to award degrees

Challenges & Difficulties

learning about games can be challenging for multiple reasons. For example, prior videogame experience often interferes with students' abilities to reason critically and analytically about games. Students also have difficulties articulating their experiences and observations.

The Search Decade

We can find today more information more quickly than ever before. The same will be true tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. The power of this capability is limited only by how we use it.

It's the paradox of search.

Delicious December 12.16.09 - 12.22.09

Reshaping Learning From The Ground Up
"Teachers are wonderful, and there are hundreds of thousands of them who are creative and terrific, but they are operating in a system that is completely out of time."

A Brave New Medium: Facebook versus World of Warcraft
"With widespread adoption of the home computer and, consequently the internet, all the necessary technology for systemic interaction in everything from commerce to storytelling has arrived."

Learn To Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem
"It was supposed to be the blockbuster sequel to Duke Nukem 3D. Instead, Duke Nukem Forever became the biggest videogame that never was."

Network effects \ How a new communications technology disrupted America’s newspaper industry—in 1845
"Telegraph firms would establish a new monopoly over news delivery, and would sell early access to the news to the highest bidder. Papers would be unable to compete. Circulation would decline and advertisers would flee. The democratisation of news would be undone."

Republicans, resistance and the triumph of unreason
"How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality?"

Delicious December 12.9.09 - 12.15.09

The Many Users of Twitter
"Used both as a business tool and a way of keeping up with the latest tabloid gossip, Twitter has overcome all the critics who thought that a 140-character blogging service had no future."

UMWeb 2.0 | UMW webifies its world
"UMW Blogs represents a notable example of the power of collaborative effort among faculty, learning technology specialists, and institutional IT support in responding to the challenges of teaching, learning, and scholarship in the digital age."

"We have been harassed in your stores, rejected in your communities online, and treated with disrespect on your online services and your advertising. We have seen commercials and art that some of us find offensive."

Open Access Encyclopedias
"a number of academic institutions are quietly trying to do what Britannica and others say can’t be done: build online encyclopedias that are rigorous, scholarly, and free to access."

"While some look at it as a learning-style model, it is intended as a problem-solving wheel that represents phases of learning--from reading and exploration, to reflective writing, to visualization of the content learned, to attempts to try it out."

Sexualization in Video Games
"There's a reason our games are filled with snarling, emotionless (aside from their totally straight love for their buddies) bros and women being crushed under the weight of their hypersexualized characterization."

"The distribution of concerns illustrates another crisis, a cultural crisis: the tendency to focus on short-term parochial gains, a core element of our socioeconomic institutions and their ideological support system."

"When used as a tool for ubiquitous learning, text messaging and tweeting wouldn't be tools of distraction, but a means of engagement for this generation of gadget-obsessed teens."

"It’s not that load times are unacceptable; it’s that there needs to be some kind of organization behind them so that the player isn’t going to spend most of the game irritated by them."

"The paradox in every part and sentence of the post-apocalyptic narrative- - evoking even as it denies - is repeated as if fractally by The Road as a whole."

au fait

As I wait for the approval of university lawyers before uploading anonymous feedback gathered from ENG 252, 298 and 513 students to Scribd, my current focus is on the design and development of materials for ENG 111 College Rhetoric and both sections of ENG 345 Technical Writing (one is mixed mode, the other face-to-face). Despite the differences in focus for 111 and 345, students will be required to perform similar coursework. Because of this and dwindling time before next semester starts, I want course materials to be as universal as possible.

Already uploaded to Scribd are blogging guidelines and a grading contract for all courses. The latter document, though, gave me some pause. I was unsure about how/where to include expectations for blogging, just how it should factor into a "B" grade. I paused on this because, as Ethan Watrall stated on Twitter, I want blogging in particular to be a "first tier" assignment. Instead of just facilitating in-class discussion or working as a form of drafting (as it did last semester), I want blogging to be just as valued and viable as the larger/longer assignment sequences. But how to do that?

As I perused the grading contract in its current form once more, I realized that I need not change anything. Perhaps this reveals some pedagogical naivete, but all I see that I need to do now is make sure students understand what is meant by "assignment." There are different kinds of assignments, of course; some will be completed in four weeks, but others won't. Rather than a writing project to be completed in the span of four weeks before moving on to another writing project, blogging will be a semester-long endeavor, the production of a substantive record of critical thinking and engagement. Blogging doesn't need a special set of requirements in the grading contract. What's already in that document covers it plain and simple.

Delicious Every Other Day 12.8.09

The Myth of Wikipedia Democracy
'The Wikipedia elites may be partly to blame for the site's diminishing participation. In a survey conducted this year, nearly a quarter of respondents who declined to contribute to Wikipedia said they were "afraid of making a mistake and getting 'in trouble' for it," among other reasons.'

Facebook now has 350m users - and there's no point in advertising to them
"Facebook is the most glaring example of an unsolved puzzle: how to convert social networking into a sustainable business."

How our brains build social worlds
"During any kind of social interaction people unconsciously imitate each other, or else show the appropriate complementary action and reaction. When this happens, the parts of the brain that unconsciously respond to the actions of others create a form of resonance."

Philip K. Dick's Defense of Video Games
"Philip K. Dick’s fiction is a defense of the validity of video games because despite the fact that they are not real, his stories argue that there is still something valid in the artificial."

Will e-books spell the end of great writing?
"How much have our perceptions of reading and writing changed now that you can craft a novel on a laptop and scroll through it on a Nintendo games console? This Christmas could be the moment when our idea of curling up with a fat novel are transformed for ever."


All genre categories presume ideal readers, people who know the conventions and secret codes, people who read them in the "right way." Many of us – female fans of male action shows, adult fans of children's books, male fans of soap operas – read and enjoy things we aren't supposed to and we read them for our own reasons, not those proposed by marketers. We don't like people snatching books from our hands and telling us we aren't supposed to be reading them.

Delicious Every Other Day 12.3.09

Learning to Play: The Potential of Gaming in the Classroom
"After learning what videogames could do for a classroom full of students, I soon found myself responsible for both designing and teaching a college composition course over the next three semesters. I knew then what I had to do."

YouTube: the People's University of the Internet
"Education has been slower than other sectors to respond to the digital revolution but through YouTube it is catching up."

Facebook profiles capture true personality
"Online social networks such as Facebook are being used to express and communicate real personality, instead of an idealized virtual identity, according to new research from psychologist Sam Gosling at The University of Texas at Austin."

Your Life Is Online
"People are committing all kinds of personal data to online repositories, through the likes of social networks, online commercial activities and behavioural tracking systems. These collations of data can say a lot about who we are - at the time of record - or (possibly) the image we wish to project of ourselves."

The Over-Prompting of Young Writers
"The obstacle is that one prompt doesn't fit all because kids need to make personal connections to their writing topics."

Skip the Sub and Teach with Twitter
"I thought to myself, 'How can I still be a presence in my classroom when I can't be there?' I could create movies of my own teaching, of course. But that wouldn't be interactive. And it would require my sub to run the technology of the room, and that is its own challenge. So I decided that I would try an experiment -- Twittering with each class period."

My Hilarious Warner Bros. Royalty Statement
"we all know that major labels are supposed to be venal masters of hiding money from artists, but they’re also supposed to be good at it, right? This figure wasn’t insulting because it was so small, it was insulting because it was so stupid."

Delicious Every Other Day 12.1.09

The New Writing Pedagogy
"Grammar and spelling are not emphasized, because the focus is on communicating with peers in fast microposts, but Allison says he works with students to self-assess and then eventually grades the bigger discussion pieces that include quotes from many different online resources and multimedia."

Anatomy of a Search

When I teach research methods in the classroom, I often concentrate on doing real-time, live searches based on suggested topics from the class while narrating some of the ideas and choices I’m thinking about as I go from one resource to the next."

The Rise and Fall of Media
The most popular books of the holiday season have become cat toys in a price war between online and offline retailers. Newspapers still hang onto a portion of seasonal ads, but the retail chains that place them have consolidated into a much smaller cohort, and much of their spending is bifurcated between old and new media marketing. Magazines intended to help the reader primp for Christmas parties are, in many cases, half as big as they were just a few short years ago."

UC Irvine takes video games to the next level
Once ridiculed within university halls as merely a nerdy pastime, computer games are being promoted to a full-fledged academic program at the Irvine campus, a medium as ripe for study as the formats before it: film, radio and television."

How many virtual war crimes have you committed?
Perhaps games could take into account the legal ramifications of a player's actions in their epilogues. If he or she goes around torturing people and laying waste to civilian areas, the game’s ending might change from the soldier flying off into the sunset a hero to a court room scene in which a judge lists off his criminal indiscretions, lecturing how the ends don't justify the means before passing sentence."

Psychology of Cyberspace - The Online Disinhibition Effect
"As you move around the internet, most of the people you encounter can't easily tell who you are. System operators and some technologically savvy, motivated users may be able to detect your e-mail or internet address, but for the most part people only know what you tell them about yourself. If you wish, you can keep your identity hidden. As the word "anonymous" indicates, you can have no name - at least not your real name. That anonymity works wonders for the disinhibition effect."