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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Look at the Open Syllabus Project and College Education | Education - Parentology

“The top-ranked texts, other than textbooks and writing manuals, are overwhelmingly “classics” that would look at home in a curriculum written 50 years ago,” Joe Karaganis, project director and vice president of the American Assembly at Columbia University says.

Photo: Parentology

The college syllabus has always been a go-to guide for any college class. From homework to recommended reading, anything you wanted to know about a college class could be found in the syllabus. Now, researchers at the American Assembly, a non-profit group at Columbia University, are taking the information from college syllabi to learn more about what professors are teaching around the world.

The Open Syllabus Project takes a look at what books are being read and taught in college courses. The goal is to use this information to not only help professors but also students...

How Can the Open Syllabus Project Help 
Professors and Students? McClure believes the information found in the Open Syllabus Project can help professors find new readings to go along with what’s already been selected.

“It could also be useful as a way to avoid the “typical” choices, and design really innovative and unusual courses,” McClure adds.

Source: Parentology

Why professors shouldn't ban laptops and other note-taking devices in classrooms | Career Advice - Inside Higher Ed

Follow on Twitter as @karenraycosta
Banning laptops or other note-taking devices from the classroom is an extreme stance that isn’t right for every student, argues Karen Costa, facilitator at Faculty Guild and a Massachusetts-based adjunct who teaches college success strategies to first-year students.

Photo: Pexels
Every few months, Edutwitter features debates about whether handwriting or laptops are the better option for note taking. People on both sides take firm and definitive stances, as they should. “I’m not sure” and “It probably depends” are tweets not destined for viral fame. Stronger proclamations and less cool heads prevail in that space.

My intention in this essay is to identify the nuances of note taking, however, and then to circle back to suggest some strategies that classroom instructors will actually find useful.

I have been teaching note taking to college students since 2006. I’ve also been training faculty members on how to teach note taking to students for about a decade. Finally, since our knowledge of how people learn best is constantly evolving, I’m currently studying in the field of mind, brain and education science. What follows is the best of what I know about note taking in college classrooms...

Let’s not forget ourselves, either. Faculty members are doing some of the hardest, most emotionally and mentally draining work of the modern era. I saw a recent post online that compared the stress level of teaching with that of air traffic controllers. We have to be savvy and thoughtful about where we invest our energy. Note taking is important. What’s even more important is how we help students to use those notes for deep learning and long-term success.

Source: Inside Higher Ed  

Math can be imaginative and meaningful, so let's teach it that way | Beyond Local -

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
Read the original article.

Photo: Peter Taylor
It doesn't have to be a boring subject, argues Peter Taylor, Professor, Queen's University, Ontario.

Photo: Pexels
Alice in Wonderland enthusiasts recently celebrated the story’s anniversary with creative events like playing with puzzles and time — and future Alice exhibits are in the works. The original 1865 children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, sprung from a mathematician’s imagination, continues to inspire exploration and fun. 

But is a connection between math and creativity captured in schools? Much discussion across the western world from both experts and the public has emphasized the need to revitalize high school mathematics: critics say the experience is boring or not meaningful to most students. Experts concerned with the public interest and decision-making say students need skills in critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration

Mathematicians, philosophers and educators are also concerned with the excitement and energy of creative expression, with invention, with wonder and even with what might be called the romance of learning

Mathematics has all the attributes of the paragraph above, and so it seems to me that what’s missing from high school math is mathematics itself... 

Student engagement
In the 1970s, the extraordinary mathematician and computer scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Seymour Papert, noticed that in art class, students, just as mature artists, are involved in personally meaningful work. Papert’s objective was to be able to say the same of a mathematics student. 

I had a parallel experience in 2013 when I was the internal reviewer for the Drama program at Queen’s. I marvelled at students’ creative passion as they prepared to stage a performance. And they weren’t all actors: they were singers, musicians, writers, composers, directors and technicians...

Stanford University Graduate School of Education mathematician Keith Devlin advises parents to ensure their child has mastery of what he calls number sense, “fluidity and flexibility with numbers, a sense of what numbers mean, and an ability to use mental mathematics to negotiate the world and make comparisons.” But for students embarking on careers in science, technology or engineering, that is not enough, he says. They need a deep understanding of both those procedures and the concepts they rely on — the capacity to analyze and work with complex systems.


The 21 New Skills You Can Now Learn on LinkedIn Learning | New Courses - The Learning Blog

Paul Petrone, Editor - LinkedIn reports, Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge.

Photo:  Learning Blog - LinkedIn Learning
And, at LinkedIn Learning, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, each week, we add to our 14,000+ course library. And this past week was no different, as we added 21 new courses covering everything from programming foundations to user experiecne to business ethics.

The new courses now available on LinkedIn Learning are:

Additional resources  
Want to see what else we offer?
View all of LinkedIn Learning's 14,000+ courses today.

Source: LinkedIn Learning

Reading in a Digital World: New Spotlight | Education Week

Editor’s Note - Amid rapid growth, schools are finding ways to best implement technology to teach reading in innovative ways. 

Download Now (PDF)
In this Spotlight, discover what we still don't know about digital reading, how reading should be taught in a digital world, and how digital reading impacts student comprehension.
Download Now (PDF)

Source: Education Week

Monday, July 29, 2019

Mathematical insights through collaboration and perseverance | Mathematics - MIT News

Jonathan Mingle, MIT News correspondent inform, “Patience is important for our subject,” says math professor Wei Zhang. “You’re always making infinitesimal progress.”

Wei Zhang
Photo: Jake Belcher
Wei Zhang’s breakthrough happened on the train. He was riding home to New York after visiting a friend in Boston, during the last year of his PhD studies in mathematics at Columbia University, where he was focusing on L-functions, an important area of number theory.

“All of a sudden, things were linked together,” he recalls, about the flash of insight that allowed him to finish a key project related to his dissertation. “Definitely it was an ‘Aha!’ moment.”

But that moment emerged from years of patient study and encounters with other mathematicians’ ideas. For example, he had attended talks by a certain faculty member in his first and third years at Columbia, but each time he thought the ideas presented in those lectures wouldn’t be relevant for his own work.

“And then two years later, I found this was exactly what I needed to finish a piece of the project!” says Zhang, who joined MIT two years ago as a professor of mathematics.

As Zhang recalls, during that pivotal train ride his mind had been free to wander around the problem and consider it from different angles. With this mindset, “I can have a more panoramic way of putting everything into one piece...

Conversations and patience
Bridging other branches of math with number theory has become one of Zhang’s specialties.

In 2018, he won the New Horizons in Mathematics Breakthroughs Prize, a prestigious award for researchers early in their careers. He shared the prize with his old friend and undergraduate classmate, and current MIT colleague, Zhiwei Yun, for their joint work on the Taylor expansion of L-functions, which was hailed as a major advance in a key area of number theory in the past few decades.

Source: MIT News

15 Fascinating Facts About Haruki Murakami | Bustle

Haruki Murakami seduces the reader.

Photo: deliberateeye via Flickr
Haruki Murakami is a shining star in the literary world, but there is still a lot that isn’t commonly known about the perennial Nobel Prize favorite (and never the winner) — so who is Haruki Murakami? summarizes Stephanie Topacio Long, writer and editor.

As revered as he is, he mostly seems to avoid the limelight and even writers’ circles; in fact, he once admitted to the Paris Review that he had no writer friends. Instead, he has kept busy with his own work and is constantly adding to his list of books — much to the delight of his global fan base.

Not surprisingly, Murakami is as unique as his work. His writing career basically started on a whim, and it quickly turned into one of acclaim. He gained a devoted “cult” following, and within the decade, that popularity expanded exponentially. Murakami has become an important global figure, and his books have sold millions of copies around the world, in dozens of languages.

Below are 15 fascinating facts about the great Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

Source: Bustle

10 Surprising Facts About Ernest Hemingway | Book Corner - Mental Floss

Ernest Hemingway was talented personality. 

Photo: Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ernest Hemingway was a titan of 20th-century literature, converting his lived experiences in multiple wars into rich, stirring tales like A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, notes Scott Beggs, veteran of writing about culture for a decade.

The avid sportsman also called upon his love for the outdoors to craft bittersweet metaphorical works like Big Two-Hearted River and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Old Man and the Sea. Here are 10 facts about the writer known as Papa, who was born on July 21, 1899.
Read more... 

Additional resources
Ernest Miller Hemingway - The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954 by The Nobel Prize 

Source: Mental Floss

Sunday, July 28, 2019

How a culmination of 3 women's interests led to downtown Greenville's specialty bookstore | Greenville News

Editor's note: How did Greenville County’s historic courthouse become Main Street’s specialty bookstore? And where did the name M. Judson come from? Here’s a look at the history behind the café and bookstore from an article published in The Greenville News in October 2014.

Courting a bookstore
The vision a trio of entrepreneurs has for a specialty bookstore in downtown Greenville has found a home in what has long been a signature piece of downtown's history.

M. Judson, a local and independent book store, is officially open.
The Greenville County Family Court building — a relic of the World War I era next to the Westin Poinsett hotel — will be the home for the new bookstore venture known as M. Judson, a project now two years in the making.

The project will be a blend of bookstore and café, providing a cultural gathering place for authors and readers, said Ashley Warlick, a Greenville author.

She has joined with a local magazine publisher and a longtime bookstore owner to realize the vision that city leaders said has long been needed...

A specialty bookstore the likes of M. Judson has long been on the "bucket list" of projects the city has wanted to see downtown, Mayor Knox White said.
For more than a decade, the city has wanted a bookstore to fill in the cultural puzzle of downtown's Central Business District, much like other bookstore's in the hearts of great American cities, White said.

Source: Greenville News 

The Book Bus, an independent bookstore on wheels, brings the joy of reading to those who need it most | Book Bus - Roadtrippers Magazine

After Melanie Moore retired from teaching, she filled a 1962 Volkswagen Transporter with books and hit the road, says Morgan P. Vickers, junior editor of Roadtrippers Magazine.

Though it’s mobile, The Book Bus remains in and around Cincinnati on most days.
Photo: courtesy of Melanie Moore

Two years ago, Melanie Moore looked out her kitchen window and saw a 1962 Volkswagen Transporter. The vehicle had been sitting in her driveway for years, but she suddenly saw it in a new light. Moore was in the middle of reading Christopher Morley’s 1917 novel Parnassus on Wheels, the story of a fictional horse-drawn bookseller.

Moore, a newly retired schoolteacher of 25 years, always dreamed of opening her own bookstore. She was even in the process of signing a lease for a brick-and-mortar store when Parnassus on Wheels fell into her hands.

Moore opened up the first chapter and read: “As he spoke he released a hook somewhere, and raised the whole side of his wagon like a flap. Some kind of catch clicked, the flap remained up like a roof, displaying nothing but books—rows and rows of them. The flank of his van was nothing but a big bookcase. Shelves stood above shelves, all of them full of books—both old and new.”...

Though the Book Bus is an independent, mobile store, Moore often partners with coffee shops and community markets across the greater Cincinnati area to set up a pop-up shop for a day or two. In the winter months—or during a heatwave—businesses like Wyoming Community Coffee invite Moore to park the bus in front of the building and bring some boxes of books inside to sell. During the warmer months, Moore still partners with local businesses, but instead opens the cotton flaps, displays her books in the sunlight, and invites customers to spend time walking around the bus, taking in all it has to offer...

Even though Moore had to retire from teaching in order to pursue her dream of opening a bookstore, she didn’t have to sacrifice any of her passions in the process. “I get to do it all—I get to have the teacher side and the book side,” Moore says. “But, meeting the kids and getting to see them excitedly hold the books in their hands—that’s my favorite part.”

Source: Roadtrippers Magazine

10 Books Stanford Business School Professors Think You Should Read This Summer | Business Books - Inc.

This reading list from the Stanford professors will keep you entertained and make you smarter by Jessica Stillman, freelance writer based in Cyprus. 

Photo: Rey Seven/Unsplash
Attending Stanford's Graduate School of Business to learn from the school's celebrated professors will cost you more than $50,000 a year. Don't have that kind of cash? Fear not--you can still learn at least a little from these top minds in the world of business. 

The school's Insights newsletter helpfully hit up GSB professors for their top suggestions of what to read this summer. All it takes to be a little smarter come September is filling up your beach bag or e-reader with some of their picks.

Source: Inc.

100 Great Books for an Ambitious Teenage Reader | Picks - Slate

Dan Kois, editor and writer at Slate recommends, The list I gave my daughter this summer.

 Photo: Getty Images Plus.
On last week’s episode of Mom and Dad Are Fighting, Slate’s parenting podcast, I mentioned that this summer I’ve given my daughter Lyra a 100-book reading list. Lyra’s an avid reader who has long sped through books, but she’s been reading less and less as she moves into adolescence—shifting her attention to the internet, to her own writing, and to games. While there are a lot of great things about all those distractions, I didn’t want her to lose touch with the excitement of finding and loving a new book. So I made up this list and told her the only thing I require of her this summer is that she needs to read 25 of them. (So far she’s read about 15.) 

The list is made up of a mix of classics and contemporary books, short stories and novels, plays and comics, literature and trash. Some of them are books I loved dearly when I was 14...

I’m posting the list here in case it’s useful to other parents of other advanced teenage readers. If you try a similar stunt some summer, you should adapt the list so it includes books that are important to you and that seem like they might appeal to your kid. And you should definitely include some wild pie-in-the-sky reward should your child read all 100. Lyra’s gotten me to agree that I’ll take her to Disneyland if she pulls that off. She thinks I hope I don’t have to do it—but of course, I really hope I do.  

Source: Slate

6 New Books We Recommend This Week | Book Review - New York Times

Follow on Twitter as @GregoryCowles
Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times by Gregory Cowles, Senior Editor, Books. 

The venerable Spanish novelist Javier Marías, answering our By the Book questions this week, disavows the concept of a “national literature.” Readers who agree with him may take heart from the example of David Szalay, whose novel “Turbulence” tops our latest list of recommended titles: Szalay was born in Montreal, raised in Beirut and London, and now lives in Budapest, and his novel (set largely in airports and on airplanes) is just as global and deracinated as that background might lead you to expect. On the other hand there’s Campbell McGrath, a poet who is every bit an American writer, and whose substantial volume of new and selected work, “Nouns & Verbs,” closes out this week’s recommendations. In between we have a novel set in a small English village; an intellectual biography of the French mathematician André Weil and his sister, the philosopher Simone Weil; a close look at Greenland and its journey to the center of climate science; and a history of Theodore Roosevelt’s rise that’s also about the rise of American dominance in the 20th century.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times  

The Booker Prize longlist includes a book that is just a single thousand-page sentence | Culture -

And the rest of the week’s best writing on books and related subjects by Constance Grady, Staff Writer at Vox.

Ancient books displayed in Arqua Petrarca, Veneto, Italy.
Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images
Welcome to Vox’s weekly book link roundup, a curated selection of the internet’s best writing on books and related subjects. Here’s the best the web has to offer for the week of July 21, 2019.
  • At Slate, Dan Kois has put together a list of 100 great books for an ambitious teenage reader. Personally, I think Lloyd Alexander is a better fit for the 8-to-12 range than for high schoolers, but half the fun of reading lists like this is to quibble with them.
  • The New York Times profiled Sarah McNally, of New York’s McNally Jackson mini-chain of indie bookstores, to find out how she spends her Sundays. There’s the requisite protesting-too-much about how she works too hard and isn’t a role model, but try and tell me this isn’t aspirational:


Why do priests study philosophy? | US - Catholic News Agency

This study, which might seem impractical, is fundamental to seminarians’ understanding their future education and the people with whom they will interact as pastors, according to the Congregation for Catholic Education, continues Catholic News Agency.

Photo: Raphael's The School of Athens (1511)
Philosophy does not teach its students the Bible. It does not teach one how to minister to a congregation. It does not teach one how to distribute the sacraments.
Despite this, seminarians are required to study between two and four years of philosophy, depending on their diocese and seminary, before they transfer to a major seminary to study exclusively theology, taking up time during which they could study pastoral ministry or theology...

Philosophy already dealt with issues such as those, requiring deep thought and logic in order to make conclusions, as seen within their papers, and so the transition from philosophy to theology was smooth, Fr. Harrison Ayre, a priest of the Diocese of Victoria, believes...

“Philosophy actually gives you these critical tools to get to the root of the problem,” Fr. Ayre said. “It gives you those critical and rational tools to be able to do that with people, so it's very helpful in that regard.”

Source: Catholic News Agency

Heraclitus: The weeping philosopher | Op-ed - Dong-A Ilbo

A white-haired man clad in black is weeping sadly. 

Photo: Heraclitus by Johannes Moreelse
He is praying earnestly with his hands clasped in front of a giant globe. The strong light that shines from the left against the dark background highlights the man’s deep wrinkles and tears streaming from his closed eyes. Who is he and why is he weeping?

The man in the picture, painted by 17th-century Holland artist Johannes Moreelse, is Greek philosopher Heraclitus. “Good and bad are one,” “Life and death, young and old are alike,” “We cannot enter the same river twice,” are some of the philosopher’s famous quotes. His riddle-like yet philosophic words had a great impact on later generations such as German philosophers Nietzsche and Hegel...

Many artists painted the philosopher as a symbol of sadness and loneliness, but Moreelses’ painting is the most well-known. Having passed away at 31 years, the artist did not leave many paintings behind but he was brought into the spotlight of this painting for his bold composition, strong light and shade contrast and outstanding character expression‎.  
Additional resources
Heraclitus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 

Source: Dong-A Ilbo

Saturday, July 27, 2019

How to Solve Any Math Problem With an App | Calculators - Lifehacker

Take a look at these free and cheap calculator apps below, suggest Nick Douglas, Staff Writer, Lifehacker.

Photo: John Moeses Bauan
iOS/Android/Desktop: Default calculator apps suck. They work like a traditional handheld calculator, which only displays one value at a time and can only do basic math. If you want to do anything more than calculate a tip, you’re better off with these free and cheap calculator apps...

Fake calculators These apps are for cool teens who want to hide things from their parents because their family has trust issues.
Read more... 

Source: Lifehacker

Executives are not comfortable with analytics platforms, and still prefer their spreadsheets | Big Data Analytics - ZDNet

AI and advanced analytic tools are present in most enterprises, but so are data silos and spreadsheets by Joe McKendrick, author and independent analyst.  

Photo: Michael Krigsman
For close to two decades, vendors, analysts and pundits alike have been predicting the death of the spreadsheet, as executives, managers and professionals move on to connected, intelligent analytics platforms to aid in their decision-making. It's 2019, and guess what? Everyone still loves their spreadsheets.

A recent study of 1.048 executives out of Deloitte finds most companies are not mature when it comes to business analytics; and 62 percent still rely on spreadsheets for their insights.  While 76 percent of survey respondents report that their analytical maturity has increased over the past year, most are still using traditional tools such as spreadsheets (62 percent) and business intelligence programs (58 percent, combined)...

They also see data analytics as something everyone needs to build into their jobs. It's time to "eliminate the idea that only highly-skilled mathematicians or data scientists are the only ones responsible for business analytics," they state. Spread accountability broadly and train all employees about the role of analytics in their respective jobs.

Source: ZDNet 

Using AI to Help Students Learn "How to College" | Connections - EDUCAUSE Review

Artificial intelligence can help students learn "how to college." This sets them on the path to graduation and to success far beyond the college or university.

Dawn Medley, Associate Vice-President of Enrollment Management at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI writes, From before our students even set foot on—or return to—our campuses, we are helping them learn "how to college." In doing so, we are setting them on the path to graduation and to success far beyond our college or university.

Photo: PhonlamaiPhoto / iStock / Getty Images © 2019
Wayne State University, much like the city in which it is located, is undergoing a transformation. In six years, the Detroit-based university has increased its graduation rate from 24 percent to 46 percent. That makes Wayne State one of the fastest-improving higher education institutions in the country. I have been fortunate to be a part of this team since 2016, when I was hired as Wayne State's associate vice president for enrollment management. Over the last few years, we have learned much about how to address the problems holding our students back. Across so many of our initiatives, one common lesson stands out. This is also a thread that, unfortunately, binds many US public colleges and universities together in their struggle to make good on the promise of higher education.
What is this lesson/thread/problem? We don't teach students "how to college."...

Clearly, we must teach students how to better navigate college as a system. Consider the following common scenarios:
  • A teenager, the first in her family to be accepted into a college, grows frustrated with the byzantine financial aid process and simply gives up before her first day of class.
  • A sophomore struggles to find an affordable place to live off-campus.
  • A working mother repeatedly skips class because she is unable to find short-term care for her children.
As higher education institutions across the country become more and more diverse, students are increasingly facing these kinds of barriers...

"W the Warrior" is not a passive assistant. When records indicate that a student has yet to submit an important document (e.g., a high school transcript), the chatbot will message the student, offering both a reminder and further assistance. When students approach the chatbot asking for help, W assists them by providing not only answers but also guided questions. Machine learning allows W to provide better answers to students' questions as more students interact with it.
Read more... (PDF)

Source: EDUCAUSE Review 

Unlocking the Quiet Moment: Cell Phones, a Surprising Tool | Effective Teaching Strategies - Faculty Focus

In-class activities can be a great way to foster student engagement in the classroom by Bryan J. Coleman, MBA, Author at Faculty Focus. 

Photo: Faculty Focus

Depending on the activity, the results can vary greatly. Sometimes they can fall flat, but every so often an activity manages to hold the students’ undivided attention.

This leads to what my friend Tom refers to as “The Quiet Moment” – that moment where the entire room is silent and the students are all actively engaged in the material, researching and problem solving.  There is magic in that moment, when the gears are turning in their heads and they’re using the tools you’ve set them up with to learn on their own.  I never get tired of it and aspire to have it happening as often as possible.

Recently, I’ve found that an unlikely tool can help unlock these moments. The cell phone, ubiquitous in modern society, has the potential to become the bane of an educator’s existence.  It provides endless distraction, especially in courses that may be perceived as “dry” material.  I should know; I teach taxes.  Even in a class of all accounting majors, I tread a fine line between fostering engagement and putting people to sleep. So, I am in prime territory to fall victim to runaway cell phone use.

In a Teaching Professor article, “Cell Phone Use and Abuse: The Details,” several statistics illustrate the proliferation of this device...

One technique that I employ from time to time in class is this: rather than lecture on a given topic, which in my class may be a certain tax deduction or credit, I will present the class with the topic and then provide multiple situations where this item may or may not apply.  Then I tell them to pull out their phones, research the item, and decide for each situation whether the tax deduction or credit applies.

Source: Faculty Focus

Friday, July 26, 2019

For whom does the bell toll? PhD students, naturally | Campus - Otago Daily Times

The bells are ringing out for the University of Otago's doctor of philosophy students, says Elena McPhee, Reporter, Otago Daily Times.

Photo: clipartmax

The university has created a new form of celebration for when students hand in their theses.

Human nutrition PhD candidate Claudia Leong (29) got to ring the campus bell earlier this year, and said that it was good to have her friends there to see it.

''It's like a happy feeling, a sense of accomplishment to be able to complete it,'' she said.

The bell-ringing celebration began in March, when the university decided to introduce something more substantial than the usual chocolate fish when students handed in their theses...

It was lost for many years before being returned to the university and set in its new home, the quadrangle between the geology and university clocktower buildings.

A staff member made a recycled rimu mallet with which to ring the bell.

Source: Otago Daily Times 

Biking through my PhD | Career Column -

This is an article from the Nature Careers Community, a place for Nature readers to share their professional experiences and advice.  

Overcoming my initial struggles after leaving China to start my PhD has been like riding a bike, reports Shuxuan Zheng,  PhD student in virology at the Department of Medical Microbiology at University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Shuxuan Zheng with her bicycle in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Photo: Henrick de Buhr
Having flown halfway around the world, I finally arrived in the Netherlands to start work on my PhD at the medical microbiology department of University Medical Center Utrecht.

I was delighted to think of all the things I would see and experience in this new and different world. That was until I saw the one thing that absolutely terrified me — a bicycle.

I had never learnt to ride a bike. Growing up in Qingdao, a hilly, seaside city in China without cycle paths, biking was dangerous. The local laws discourage it for safety reasons. Now, my Dutch neighbour was telling me I had to learn. She sold me a second-hand bike and pointed me to the car park. I upgraded my insurance and started practising.

It took me a week to learn and a month to feel comfortable cycling. Now, after half a year, I am starting to enjoy it...

All that changed on the day I met Robert Jan Lebbink and Emmanuel Wiertz, my PhD supervisors. In the Netherlands, respect is based on your work, not on unnecessarily formal ‘civility’. I know that I can just wander into their offices and ask a casual question without worrying about causing offence. This shift has been transformational for me and has made me much more comfortable at work.
Read more...  


Lessons in listening: Loosen your grip on life | Op/Eds - Addison County Independent

Laura Wilkinson, Nurse Practitioner and Integrative Health Coach at Middlebury College recommends,This past weekend marked my family’s annual pilgrimage to Oak Hill, N.Y., for one of the best kept secrets in the Northeast — Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. 

Photo: clipartmax

This is the weekend when we join a community of 7,000 on the Walsh family farm hilltop and set up an encampment overlooking multiple music stages featuring iconic old-timers such as Del McCoury, as well as up and coming bluegrass talents from around the world such as We Banjo 3, an Irish double brothers quartet. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will.

Like many bluegrass-loving folk, the anticipation that precedes this event rivals nothing less than that of Christmas. On Jan. 3, the “early bird” tickets went on sale. On Valentine’s Day, the initial line-up was announced. By mid-June the stage schedule was released and the buzz increased. During this time, I am also receiving the countdown texts from one friend or another, with just the number of days until the festival begins: 67, 48, 27… Two weeks before the official hoedown, the frequency of our friends’ banter-filled emails and texts rev up as the details of the camping, packing, and food procurement are finalized...

In reflection, here are a few fundamental elements that contribute to my post-festival bliss.

Source: Addison County Independent

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The $60 Gadget That’s Changing Electronic Music | Magazine - The New York Times

The Swedish company Teenage Engineering has won over kids — and professionals — with a revolutionary idea for a synthesizer: Make it simple, according to Ryan Bradley, writer in Los Angeles. 

Photo: Lernert and Sander for The New York Times
Derrick Estrada, an electronic musician who performs under the stage name Baseck, had just showered and was nursing a cup of yerba mate in the back room of the Los Angeles home that a musician friend dubbed the “synth flophouse.” It was 10 a.m. on a recent Thursday; very early, he explained, for a house full of musicians.

Estrada had promised a demonstration of a remarkable new instrument, one that had changed the whole way he made music. Two walls of the room were dedicated to racks of synthesizers — row after row of buttons and knobs and unwieldy wiring, a veritable museum of advanced technology spanning decades and costing thousands of dollars. Estrada ignored all of it. Instead, he plucked a small device from the spot where it was hanging from a hook. It looked like the exploded innards of a calculator, with a splat of knobs and buttons. There was no keyboard. Estrada plugged it into a set of speakers, held it in both hands and hunched over it slightly, as if handling a phone while texting, and began to play...

Estrada was playing a Pocket Operator, a device released four years ago by a Swedish company called Teenage Engineering. To date, the company has made nine different models of the same basic design, and it has sold more than 350,000 of them worldwide, making the Pocket Operator one of the most popular synthesizers in history. The Korg M1 — famous for producing the sound of Seinfeld’s slap bass and Madonna’s “Vogue,” and one of the best-selling and most influential synths of all time — is estimated to have sold 100,000 fewer units over nearly twice as much time. The “portable” version of one of the Pocket Operator’s earliest forebears — the telharmonium, constructed more than a hundred years ago — cost more than $5 million to build in today’s dollars, weighed 200 tons and required a team of specialists to achieve peak performance. A Pocket Operator costs about $60 and fits in the palm of your hand.

Annual Children's Choir Camp teaches music and more | The Advocate

About 60 members of the Livingston Parish Children’s Choirs spent July 15-18 exercising their singing skills at the annual summer camp at the Revival Temple Church.

Photo: clipartmax
Youngsters, ages from entering kindergarten through seventh grade, participated in several daily sessions learning how to sing in groups and preparing for their summer concert, which was presented to the public in the church’s main sanctuary July 18.

The camp was led by retired music teacher and longtime children’s choirs director Barbara Walker...

Walker uses music to teach lessons. For example, the children were practicing singing a song that had keep smiling as its major theme. After a few lines, Walker stopped the group and told them, “You should learn to keep smiling through the day no matter what your feelings are. Even if you are hurting, you should try to keep on smiling. Life is not perfect all the time, but it won’t do you any good to go around looking like you just ate a sour pickle. Life will get better, and if you smile, other people will smile with you and we’ll all make each other feel better.”

Source: The Advocate

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

How do distance learners connect? | Education - Phys.Org

In a typical college classroom, social connections are formed through face-to-face interactions, writes Jessica Hallman, Marketing Communications Specialist at Penn State University.

Researchers from the College of Information Sciences and Technology found that creating computer-supported collaborative learning environments could help online learners build community and increase the likelihood that they would remain in their academic program.
Photo: Adobe Stock/rocketclips
Through informal chats before and after class, group project meetings, and other exchanges, students are able to build community with their classmates and peers that often enrich their academic experience. 

But how do distance learners connect?
In a recent study, a team of researchers from Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology found that creating computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments could help students identify common characteristics and life experiences they share with peers, which can build community and increase the likelihood that students remain in the program.

"The is missing ," said Na Sun, doctoral student in the College of IST and lead researcher on the project. "Unlike face-to-face contact, it's hard to reach out to others when you can't see them. That kind of presence and sense of community is very important."

To conduct their research, the team recruited more than 400 Penn State World Campus students to join an online community they created using Slack Workspace. Then, they developed a chatbot to prompt discussion topics and facilitate connections among users...

"When learners feel [connections as a result of] this social integration, it is more likely that they will want to stay [in the program]," she said. "It's very important for us to build this social integration, not only on the instructor side but also on the technology side. The whole ecosystem should work together for this belongingness for online learners to feel like they are part of the community and that people are supporting them."
Read more... 

Additional resources
Na Sun et al. How Do Distance Learners Connect?, Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '19 (2019). 
DOI: 10.1145/3290605.3300662

Source: Phys.Org