Avoid Padding

The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper

Both of the following writing samples demonstrate effective use of grammar, punctuation, and other surface-level matters. Which version does a better job introducing an argument? Version 1: The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper In universities across the country, students start papers in different ways. Some papers start with a statement about life or some abstract quality like truth or justice. Others start with a striking quotation from notable…

1

Want a tech job? Study this. Advice from Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr and more

Students often say they hate group work. I don’t attach a huge amount of points to group work, but I do ask them to collaborate on various projects. Learning how to deal with a team member who isn’t pulling his or her weight, or how to work with a take-charge person who tries to shut out less assertive group members, is a valuable life skill. Critical thinking, self-driven progress in…

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 1.54.54 PM

The News from Ferguson – Live, on Twitter

[I]t turns out that Twitter is not just a place where scholars take notes publicly at conferences, it’s a medium that does a better job than most of including the voices of African Americans, and that matters. To a large extent what has been happening in Ferguson is the result of white folks’ near-total deafness when it comes to the lived experience of being black in America. It’s where news…

image
10

Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?

Because all of my Seton Hill students get iPads and MacBooks, I try to assign ebooks whenever possible, though students are welcome to use paper, too. This study suggests that students who choose the ebook option have a harder time reconstructing the a timeline of plot events. I’ll keep that in mind as we discuss our texts. In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and…

image
1

Confuse Students to Help Them Learn

Confusing sometimes helps cats, so why not students? I’m afraid your cat badly needs to be confused. Confusion is a powerful force in education. It can send students reeling toward boredom and complacency. But being confused can also prompt students to work through impasses and arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the world. “Common wisdom holds that confusion should be avoided during learning and rapidly resolved if and when…

Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position

That’s not an argument. (Yes it is.)

I spent some time this afternoon sifting through lecture notes to create a new handout: Academic Argument: Evidence-based Defense of a Non-obvious Position In everyday language, we may use the word “argument” to mean very different things. In the living room, siblings Charles and Petra argue about what movie to watch. The two groups of protestors chanted slogans and waved signs, arguing about abortion. The prosecutor argued that Wilson was at the scene of the crime, while the defense argued that Wilson…

image
5

Language Log » 25 Questions for Teaching with “Word Crimes”

A little perspective is good. So is genre awareness… anybody who takes this song literally is missing the point of satire. After the apocalypse happens and society collapses, my knowledge of the difference between irony and coincidence won’t help me escape the zombie hordes. While “grammar nerds” are psyched about Weird Al’s new “Word Crimes” video, many linguists are shaking their heads and feeling a little hopeless about what the…