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iPad Research

May 26, 2011

On the heels of yesterday’s post on eBooks, I should mention Chris Brady’s excellent post on iPad use in research. I’ll quote the take away, but I encourage you to read the whole post:

I am an administrator as well as an academic, but the former takes precedence over the latter and includes a LOT of travel. This year, thanks to the iPad and Sente, I have been able to read dozens of articles, annotate them, and collaborate with my research assistant. The result is that as I move into the summer when I will finally be able to actually do some writing and real research, I have a running start. For me, that makes all the difference in the work.

eBook Querries

May 25, 2011

I’ve been doing some research on creating eBooks. My department has a grant to compile an electronic version of one of our core texts that is currently in the public domain. We want to create a dynamic interface that would allow students and faculty to annotate the texts and see each other’s glosses, as well as toying with ideas of a wikiality. Ultimately, it should be in a format available to all students and be free to use. I’ve also been informed a pony would be nice.

I had hoped that Flat World Knowledge could help. They are focussing on fully-editable, open textbooks. However, you need to start with one of their base texts and can’t start with your own manuscript (even if it’s in the public domain).

At the moment the best solution I can think of entails a custom install of WordPress with added enhancements. The actual text would occur as a series of static WordPress pages. The traditional blog component would allow, perhaps, for students or professors to note textual connections to current events. WPMU deve’sWiki plugin would cover the wiki issues, though I might go with a free or opensource alternative. But most importantly (to me, at least) would be Highlighter, a little plugin that allows folks to comment intext. People can even begin comment strings and have conversations on a particular line of text (perfect for our intended applications). I’d like to restrict intext commenting to the static pages, but I’m unsure if I can do this without making my life too complicated.

Ideally, I’d love to see a more portable dynamic format. The current technology seems to require that we use a website to correlate student work and interactivity. While this allows those with an iPad to still the view the text as a “book,” the experience won’t be much different than reading a blog for most students. I’d love to bring this kind of functionality to a truly portable format (Sony eReader, Kindle, etc.), but the technology doesn’t seem to be there.

I hope to post on this as the project comes together, but I’ve got ask: does anyone have any better suggestions on a format?

I am worried about my grade…

May 24, 2011

I’m glad to say I haven’t had this conversation this past semester, but I have had very similar negotiations over my years of teaching.

A Little Mood Music for the Day

May 21, 2011

Virtual Magic Bowls

May 18, 2011

Interesting new resource for those interested in Aramaic incantation bowls: The Virtual Magical Bowl Archive.

The aim of VMBA is to provide an environment that will allow collaborative work on material that is otherwise difficult to access or unavailable. The material within this archive consists, at this stage, of parts of three collections: The Moussaieff Collection, The Dehays Collection and The Barakat Collection. By providing access to this material to a number of scholars and their students we aim to encourage the production of critical editions of these texts and their publication. A single portal providing access to a shared virtual environment where this can occur provides a convenient forum for collaboration between a small group of scholars from different institutions spread in a number of countries.

They only have a few texts posted to the public at the moment, but this looks like an interesting project.


Apocalypse News

May 16, 2011

Today’s Metro had a full two-page article on Camping and his claims of impending doom. Here’s a snip:

May 21 ‘Doomsday’: Is the End Near?

You’ve seen the billboards.

You’ve been handed the pamphlets.

You’ve heard the people shouting warnings outside subway stations — the end of the world is this Saturday.

Now meet their leader: Metro interviewed Harold Camping, the man responsible for the nationwide warning of Judgment Day, May 21.

The article had a quick little interview with Camping. When questioned about his earlier prediction of 1994 his answer provided this nugget: “In 1992, I saw in that time, 2011 was likely the end. I also noticed that 1994 could have been the date. My research was incomplete at that time.”

One wonders what his excuse will be on Sunday.

Existential Star Wars (in French!)

May 10, 2011

It seems that Vader is Sartre, and Luke is Kierkegaard.

A Mean God Makes Better Students

May 5, 2011

I just recently ran across an article from last week LA Times:

Study links willingness to cheat, viewpoint on God

A new study on the link between one’s view of God and willingness to cheat on a test is the latest example of social scientists wading into the highly charged field of religion and morality.

The study, titled “Mean Gods Make Good People: Different Views of God Predict Cheating Behavior” was peer reviewed and published earlier this month in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.

In line with many previous studies, it found no difference between the ethical behavior of believers and nonbelievers. But those who believed in a loving, compassionate God were more likely to cheat than those who believed in an angry, punitive God.

“The take-home message is not whether you believe in God, but what God you believe in,” said Azim Shariff, a psychologist at the University of Oregon. Shariff conducted the study with psychologist Ara Norenzayan, who had been his doctoral advisor at the University of British Columbia.

Read the rest of the article here. The emphasis is mine.

I’m not quite sure what to do with this data as an educator, but it again shows that issues of plagiarism and cheating go far beyond simple issues of education and awareness.

Biblical Studies Carnival

May 4, 2011

What with all the sci-fi goodness that comes with May the 4th (be with you), I almost forgot to mention that Dr. Jim Linville has the latest Biblical Studies Carnival up over at his site. Jim’s contribution is a regular bacchanalia of biblical and New Testament studies, pepper and seasoned with pictures of kittens with poor grammar and random swipes and Jim West. Did I mention unicorns and Dr. Who? Really. The carnival is epic.

May the Fourth Be with You

May 4, 2011

Happy Star Wars day!