Archive for the 'literature roundup' category

Blogs as a Knowledge Management Tool in the Classroom

Nice article by Delaney J. Kirk and Timothy L. Johnson on Blogs As A Knowledge Management Tool In The Classroom (via).

Based on their experiences in a combined 22 business courses over the past three years, the authors believe that weblogs (blogs) can be used as an effective pedagogical tool to increase efficiency by the professor, enhance participation and engagement in the course by the students, and create a learning community both within and outside the classroom. In this paper they discuss their decision to use blogs as an integral part of their course design to contribute to both explicit and tacit knowledge. In addition, suggestions and cautions for using this new technology are presented.

The article definitely repays a close reading. I'll hit a few of the high points here.

Reasons to use a class blog:

  • "using a class blog allowed us to be more effective and efficient in communicating with our students"
  • "We also believed it important for all of our students to participate in class discussions but, despite our best efforts, on many days only a small percentage of the students ever had anything to say."
  • "And finally, and most importantly, we wanted to see our students take greater ownership of their own learning, not only for our classes but in their future lives."

The three main types of blogs they highlight were instructor focused, student focused and community focused:

  • Instructor-focused blogs. "The simplest way to use a blog is as a one-stop source where the professor posts syllabi, announcements, assignments, and links to articles and websites for the students to read. Faculty retain ownership of the site and students are expected to access the blog on a regular basis to obtain class information."
  • Learner-focused blogs. "In this approach, the professor would expect the students to be more active participants in the blog. Learning can occur peer-to-peer in addition to teacher-to-student."
  • Community-focused blogs. "A third approach to using blogs is to involve participants from outside the class itself. Students could be required to find, read, and evaluate blogs from "experts" outside class on assigned topics and then to share this information with their classmates."

The section on nettiquette for students is very good:

Another consideration is respect and privacy for others. In one of our classes, students were assigned a consulting project with local small businesses and not-for-profits. If a student writes disparaging comments on his or her blog, it can have an adverse impact on that organization. In addition, it makes it difficult for the professor to convince other businesses to be involved with projects for future classes. This instructor now advises students to speak of these companies (and their management) in general terms which would not specifically identify them.

Two of the overriding themes that students need to understand when expressing themselves on blogs (or other social media) are common sense and common courtesy. One of our students wrote about a variety of psychological disorders and personal problems which she was experiencing. While this information put into context some of her other classroom performance issues, it was not relevant to the assignment and was certainly more information than she needed to provide.

Some of the things they learned:

  • Blogging invites more students into the conversation
  • Blogging extends the conversation
  • Classroom blogging provides a "safe" mechanism for introducing students to social media
  • Blogging makes the students into subject matter experts
  • Blogging helps students take ownership of their own learning

Some selected advantages:

  • Allows "quiet" students a forum for expressing themselves
  • Promotes learning community between and among students and gives them a feeling of ownership
  • Students may put more effort toward their writing knowing it will be read by their peers as well as the professor

And selected disadvantages:

  • Can create more work for the instructor (developing content, reading student blogs and comments)
  • Students may be uncomfortable sharing information through this medium
  • Student writing might be more casual and sloppy compared to turning in hard copies

4 responses so far

Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, Fall 2009 & Winter 2010

ISTL is a great resource for those of us in science and technology libraries. I'm happy to report on the tables of contents from the last two issues.

Winter 2010

Fall 2009

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Recently in the IEEE: Humanitarian Engineering

A selection of articles from two recent IEEE publications which have special issues devoted to humanitarian service in engineering. Note that most of these articles will be behind the IEEE paywall.

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, v52i4.

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, v28i4.

One response so far

IT Professional on strategic planning

The latest issue of IT Professional (v11i6) has some interesting articles on strategic planning for IT organizations.

2 responses so far

IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine, December 2009

Nov 12 2009 Published by under literature roundup

As usual, some interesting stuff from the December 2009 issue of IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine (v3i2).

No responses yet

IT Professional on Ontologies, OWL, and the Semantic Web

The IEEE Computer Society's magazine IT Professional has a special issue on Ontologies, OWL, and the Semantic Web (v11i5). There's lots of very cool-looking stuff, mostly pretty basic.

A couple of other non-semantic web articles that look worth checking out:

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More books and reports on the future of academic libraries

I haven't done one of these in a while, so there's quite a backlog to clear.



As usual, if you know of any reports or books that I might have missed, please let me know either at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

BTW, here's a list of all the related posts:

And yes, I have been (slowly) working on a master list of all the books and reports I've mentioned in those posts.

2 responses so far

Engineering and Society: Working Towards Social Justice

I've always thought the born-digital, high-quality review articles (called "lectures") that Morgan & Claypool publish as part of their Synthesis product are one of the best products out there. They really get publishing scholarly and professional materials in the digital age.

One of their most interesting lecture series is the Synthesis Lectures on Engineers, Technology and Society.

Three new lectures in that series look to be perfect texts for a broad range of Engineering & Society-type course. In fact, I think a pretty good course along those lines could use nothing but the Synthesis articles.

A few examples of previously published lectures in that series:

These are subscription products, so if you're institution doesn't have them you should contact your local engineering librarian.

It's worth noting that I think Synthesis is a great example of the kinds of things academic libraries should be supporting and promoting. It's hard to imagine a free business model that would work for this kind of fairly unique, high-quality content. It's up to us to decide to spend our money on things that are truly worth it.

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Recently in the IEEE

A bunch of recent journal & magazine issues to catch up on. There's lots of cool stuff to highlight, so I'll only list a couple of articles from each issue. Unfortunately, most of it will be behind the IEEE paywall.

IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, v31i2

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, v28i2

IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine, v3i1

IEEE Security & Privacy, v7i4

IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, IEEE, v31i3 (Special issue on the history of Computer Games!)

IEEE Software, v26i5

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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, April-June 2009

Jun 18 2009 Published by under computer science, literature roundup

Some highlights from the IEEE's very fine Annals of the History of Computing, v31i2. You'll need a subscription to the magazine to access it on the IEEE's site.

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