Cameras and Masks: Sustaining Emotional Connections with Your Students in an Age of COVID19

There are some sound pedagogical reasons for turning cameras on. Thus, I suggest sharing those reasons with the students before giving them the choice of what to do about their cameras. Explain why you are making your request. For example, being able to see students’ faces gives instructors a quick and easy way to discern whether students are finding the material engaging, at least in smaller classes. One instructor told me that “I asked students to turn their cameras on to say hi to their classmates at the beginning and end of class, and those were the best moments of the class.”

The phrase “debate begins” in the headlines of multiple stories on coronavirus does not mean sneaky journalists copy-pasted a press release

If you encounter the same story on different news sites, that does not mean you caught sneaky America-hating fake news “journalists” in the act. A meme I recently encountered shows three slightly different coronavirus headlines, all of which use the phrase “debate begins.” Text shared along with the meme suggests the repetition means the story…

How hate and misinformation go viral: A case study of a Trump retweet

On Sunday night, President Donald Trump retweeted a video of a violent incident on a New York City subway platform. The video shows a Black man pushing a white woman into a train car and is captioned “Black Lives Matter / Antifa.” The problem? It is over a year old and has nothing to do with either Black Lives Matter or Antifa. It, in fact, shows the actions of a mentally ill man with no known ties to either group.

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

In August, 2000 I was blogging about poetry, presidential wordplay, home-schooling, online learning, and a search engine you may have heard about.

In August 2000, I was blogging about Top 10 Tips for Writing Poetry (which I’ve updated over the years and is the most popular page on my site today) Richard Lederer’s presidential wordplay (“I predict that at the end of the campaign. Gore will be bushed and Bush will be gored. Then we’ll have either…

Video Tips for Students: Don’t do what I’m doing!  You can’t see my eyes, the background is distracting, you’re looking up my nose and the lighting is awful.

You might have been asked to submit a short video assignment. Don’t do what I’m doing! You can’t see my eyes, the background is distracting, you’re looking up my nose and the lighting is awful.  This short video demonstrates some quick tips that will greatly improve a video submission assignment. Your instructor and your classmates…

Given a chance to explain his support for a YouTuber who warns about alien DNA, Trump abruptly ends press conference

After mounting a half-hearted defense of a woman who says masks don’t work, that there’s a cure for COVID-19, and that doctors make medicine from DNA from aliens and that experts are working on a vaccine that makes you immune from becoming religious, Trump ends a press conference by walking out of the room. Background…

No, Trump’s tweet about “Heritage, History, and Greatness” is not a quote from a speech Hitler gave in 1939

Trump really did tweet “This is a battle to save the Heritage, History, and Greatness of our Country!” Plugging those words into Google Translate yields “Dies ist ein Kampf um die Rettung des Erbes, der Geschichte und der Größe unseres Landes!” I could be wrong, but I think Größe in German just means “physical size,”…

Capitalists Tell Facebook They’ve Had Enough

It started as a murmur of dissent, but over the weekend the campaign to persuade brands to boycott Facebook ads for the month of July turned into a major crisis for the social media giant. It began badly on Friday when Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, announced it was joining the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which had already been backed by Verizon, Patagonia, and Ben and Jerry’s.

Minneapolis Police Injure, Arrest Journalists Covering Protests

Throughout the protests over the death of George Floyd, journalists have been injured and arrested covering the unrest. That trend continued Saturday and there were examples across the country but journalists on the ground in Minneapolis expressed dismay at how law enforcement officials seemed to be targeting members of the media. In the Friday night…

Microsoft lays off journalists to replace them with AI

Microsoft is laying off dozens of journalists and editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations. The layoffs are part of a bigger push by Microsoft to rely on artificial intelligence to pick news and content that’s presented on, inside Microsoft’s Edge browser, and in the company’s various Microsoft News apps. Many of the affected workers are part of Microsoft’s SANE (search, ads, News, Edge) division, and are contracted as human editors to help pick stories. Robots will now pick news stories for MSN and Microsoft News.