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How Not to Be a Jackass at Your Next Academic Conference

Okay, I confess, I was once in the audience at an MLA session about medieval drama, when someone brought up a relevant computer simulation, and there was a disagreement over how to interpret the results. I raised my hand and said, “I created that simulation,” and weighed in on one side of the debate. It all happened very fast, and I didn’t think to consider how it might have looked.

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Writing School Papers: Does Your First Version Say It All?

My colleague Mike Arnzen talked about the writing process with the Voice of America. Michael Arnzen teaches English and heads humanities studies at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. Mr. Arnzen is also an award-winning author. He says he understands the desire to write something and be done with it. “We’ve all been there. We feel we’ve done (something) good enough, and can’t we move on with our lives?” But he…

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Why I Still Blog

I particularly value blogging because of the visibility of older content. Facebook and Twitter don’t make it easy for you to contextualize links pointing to something relevant you posted a month or a year or decade ago. It may seem right to ask, after so many years: what is left to discuss about blogging? We all know what it is. We all know what it does. What used to be…

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Does the phrase “based off of” make you shudder… or shrug?

When I first started noticing the phrase “based off of” in student papers, I thought it was just a careless typo. But I’ve noticed it more and more in online writing and in casual speech.

Saying “based off of” may be related to the phrase “flying of off,” as it seems to mean something like “is now different from, but was once more obviously similar to.” By contrast, “based on” may be taking on the meaning “still directly connected to.”

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One Does Not Simply: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Internet Memes

When we envisioned a journal of visual culture issue on ‘Internet Memes’ over two years ago, we sensed that the best way to be generous to our subject matter was to not presume to know what it would look like. Academic publishing – characterized by its long review periods and labored revision processes – habitually plays tortoise to the internet’s hare. Entire online communities can rise, flourish, and evaporate in…

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Open Source College Math Book

One day last year, David Lippman got an interesting Google Alert. 1,300 miles away, fellow math professor James Sousa had created free video tutorials for almost every example question in David’s basic math textbook. James did all of that without asking for David’s permission: David had already given permission by licensing his work under a Creative Commons license. David loves getting that kind of news. He’s dedicated his career to…

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Professor Sees Parallels Between Things, Other Things

“By drawing parallels between things and other, entirely different things, I not only further my own studies, but also encourage young minds to develop this comparative methodology in their own work,” said Windham, holding his left hand up to represent one thing, then holding his right hand up to represent a separate thing, then bringing his hands together in simulation of a hypothetical synthesis of the two things. “It’s not…