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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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Jeff Bezos Plan for News: The Washington Post Becomes an Amazon Product

For the past few months, a group inside the Post has been working on a new application that will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine-style, tablet-friendly format. The application will come preinstalled on Amazon’s newly updated Kindle Fire tablet, expected to be launched later this fall with the larger 8.9-inch screen, according to people with knowledge of the Post’s plans. The…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu
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When a Textbook Plagiarizes Your Student’s Work

In a few days I’ll be gearing up to teach my freshman writing students about plagiarism. Not the “terrify them and make them fear punishment from the authorities” speech, but the “why people who work in a community of minds take plagiarism so seriousy” speech. How interesting, then, that I found a textbook published in 2009 that includes whole passages from a handout that a student originally submitted as a…

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Weaving: Breathing: Thinking: The poetics of Emerson’s Nature

Text derives from texere, which means “to weave” and “to construct.” As Emerson states later in the essay, nature weaves texts: “A life in harmony with nature . . . will purge the eyes to understand her text . . . so that the world shall be to us an open book . . . ” (CWI 23). As Emerson writes later in “Goethe,” “All things are engaged in writing…

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Kids Actually Read the Books That Movies Are Based On

If the seasonal fluctuation represents teachers assigning the books during school, then much of the pattern has little to do with kid’s choices, but it does look like the release of the The Hunger Games movie (orange bar) did spark a lot of interest in people reading the books. It turns out that movie releases do in fact spur kids to read the books they’re based on. Just look at…

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Younger Americans and Public Libraries

Millennials are quite similar to their elders when it comes to the amount of book reading they do, but young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Some 43% report reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age…

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Writing for the Godless: Flannery O’Connor on Dogma, Belief, and the Difference Between Religion and Faith

I’m not teaching her time period this term, but I usually throw in some Flannery O’Connor whenever I can. One of the most extraordinary meditations on religion and the role of spirituality in society comes from beloved author Flannery O’Connor, whose writing blended her Catholic faith with strong secular themes of ethics and moral philosophy, and nowhere does her singular spirit shine more luminously than in The Habit of Being:…