On Stephen Hawking, Vader and Being More Machine Than Human

In one version of Hawking’s eulogistic story, we praise the smartest person in the world, the brilliant physicist, one of the greatest cosmologists of our time. He fits perfectly well with our conception of how science and its heroes work: To be a genius all one needs is a powerful – a “beautiful” – mind. And indeed, because of his disability, Hawking embodies the mythical figure capable of grasping the…


Mother 3: My Mom, and Me

Thoughtful, powerful, personal analysis of a computer game. Blogging this as an example of “new games journalism,” so I can have it handy the next time I teach Video Game Culture and Theory. When someone you love dies, your view of the world takes on an air of mysticism. You find meaning in places you wouldn’t normally look. The unexpected scent of a favorite flower in your loved one’s bedroom;…


Neil Gaiman’s Journal

This is great advice for everybody. I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make…


A Message from Hester Prynne (Student Video)

Have I mentioned lately that I have awesome students? For a “Creative Critical Presentation” in my online American Literature survey, English major Tyler Carter created A Message from Hester Prynne,  a 9-minute video that explores Hester’s psychology and spirituality, through music, dance, poetry, and cinematography. All the technology Seton Hill offers to its students would be worthless, in my opinion, if we could not point to projects like this one,…

Opting Out of the ‘Rug Rat Race’

When you talk today to teachers and administrators at high-achieving high schools, this is their greatest concern: that their students are so overly protected from adversity, in their homes and at school, that they never develop the crucial ability to overcome real setbacks and in the process to develop strength of character. American children, especially those who grow up in relative comfort, are, more than ever, shielded from failure as…

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 11.10.23 AM

Dozens of Plagiarism Incidents Are Reported in Coursera’s Free Online Courses

“If we really are trying to teach the world, including people from other cultures, we have to take a responsibility to educate people about plagiarism, not just vaporize people for it,” said Mr. Severance, who is also a clinical associate professor of information at Michigan, in an interview on Wednesday. –The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu

If in question, have more GOOD than BAD? University of Georgia Student Journalists Walk Out

My students and colleagues sometimes wonder why I don’t approve the Seton Hill student paper before it’s published, or give students grades on their published work. Student journalists at the University of Georgia resigned en masse rather than relinquish editorial control to an “editorial director” and nonstudent staff. In a draft outlining the “expectations of editorial director at The Red & Black,” a member of The Red & Black’s Board of…

‘I’m Not Paying for Your Opinion’

Students also need to learn that being offended is an emotional response, not a rational one. If you don’t like something I’ve said–or, as in this case, something somebody else said–don’t just get upset about it. See if you can formulate a cogent rebuttal. That, too, is a key element of critical thinking. Finally–and most importantly–students should understand that they are in fact paying for our opinions. That’s not to…