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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:…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

Comedian Robin Williams and actress Lauren Bacall died. That news made me sad. Reporters from the Washington Post and the Huffington Post were arrested last night by police who refused to provide their badge numbers. The reporters were covering the ongoing tension between police and crowds protesting the death of an unarmed teenager, who police say resisted arrest, but who witnesses say was shot in the back with his hands…