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A student of mine is writing a story about Twitter on campus for another class. I thought his questions — and hopefully my answers — were worth a blog post:

1) What’s your official title at Oregon State University? What name would you like to be referred by in the article? What’s your age? Finally, how long have you been teaching?

ANSWER: I’m an Instructor in NMC at OSU. Pamela Cytrynbaum. Second reference is always “Cytrynbaum.” I’m 43. I’ve been teaching in one form or another for 12 years.

Now onto our subject.

2) Do you think Twitter is widely used by students on campus? Have you encountered Twitter in any of your classrooms (as an interruption or distraction, perhaps)?

ANSWER: No, I don’t see much use of Twitter on campus at all. In fact, I’ve been surprised at how few students have even heard of it when I raise the question in all of my classes. Very few of my my students — most of whom are new media students — use it. I require my NMC 301 (Writing for the Media Professional) students to learn it and do one assignment where they Twitter an event. It’s important for them to know what it is and how to use it. Once that’s done, it’s up to them to continue or not. Some do.

I think it seems useless to many students. They’ve got texts and Facebook messages coming in…what do they need this shortened social networking tool for? Far fewer students seem to continue on with Twitter after learning it in class than with blogging. I have many students who blog for the first time in my class and then get hooked and build their blogs and keep them going. They see the value in that. I’m not sure Twitter offers enough payoff for the effort. For me, I’ve had lots of fun with it. I use it as storage for all kinds of links I want to keep for classes, to connect with organizations, media outlets, friends, writers, to keep up with their lives and work. I don’t follow anybody who uses Twitter to proclaim an ingrown toenail. I’m looking for actual information.

I’m a working, writing mom. I don’t have one second in the day to waste on that.

3) Do you think Twitter has any potential as a teaching aid? In your opinion, should teachers or campus officials use Twitter to spread information to students?

ANSWER: I can’t speak for any other teachers or tell them what to do. I know from being a Twitter Follower of the Chronicle of Higher Education (and a regular reader) that there are lots of professors arguing for and against the use of Twitter. One story I read was by someone advocating the use of Twitter DURING classes and conference lectures as a way to INCREASE engagement.

Personally, I’d lose my mind juggling that. I’d rather have somebody comment in person so I can see them, hear them, respond one human being to another. But this person argued strongly that for them, Twittering deeply enriched the teaching experience. It’s important to take it seriously, though, and not just ignore or disregard Twitter. There are plenty of stories and surveys that have found Twitter is the top social networking medium for helping people get immediate information on natural disasters, like the Indonesian Tsunami. But, as we’ve seen just yesterday in the news about the swine flu issue, it’s also a mechanism for spreading false or overly-hyped information that can be deeply concerning. Either way, it’s here, and the larger plugged-in world is taking advantage of this technology. We need to check it out for ourselves and make our own choices.

(more…)

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Eight Reasons Plagiarism Sucks
It harms readers, in its heart beats a lie, it corrupts, and five more.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Friday, March 7, 2008

http://www.slate.com/id/2186029/

* APRIL 15, 2009, 10:47 P.M. ET

Bookshelf – Wall Street Journal
It’s Not Theft, It’s Pastiche
College students plagiarize routinely, especially from the Internet.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123984974506823779.html

Cut and Paste 101
Have we created a generation of plagiarists?
http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:_TS1HZtsDG0J:nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/pages/stress-r/Docs/Website%2520Articles/Cheating/Renard%2520-%2520Cheating.pdf+Cut+and+Paste+is+the+enemy&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

From 10,000 Words:

Copy and paste: The enemy of the web?

Friday, December 05, 2008

As a police reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, I gradually became accustomed to local evening news anchors reading my well-researched reports verbatim with no credit. When I made the transition to interactive journalism, copyright infringement became less of a problem as whole multimedia stories are a little harder to lift.

The familiar frustration was brought back in an instant when I discovered, via Technorati, that someone had plagiarized an entire post and its images. While the offending post has since been removed, it did call to question what writers, bloggers and photographers should do when they discover someone else is presenting content as their own.

My initial reaction was to turn to the Twitterverse because, as this post suggests, Twitter is great for asking questions. While waiting for responses, a quick Google search turned up this post on what to do when someone steals your content.

************************************

Katy Weaver. She is editor of the school newspaper, The Barometer wrote this article as a final class project for NMC 301 Writing for the Media Professional.

The full article can be read online here:

http://media.barometer.orst.edu/media/storage/paper854/news/2009/03/10/News/A.Temptation.To.Cheat-3666700.shtml

A temptation to cheat

Most academic dishonesty occurs through plagiarism, but also includes cheating, fabrication, assisting and tampering

Katy Weaver

Issue date: 3/10/09 Section: News

The few sentences on every class syllabus at the beginning of the term can seem forgettable when it’s 3 a.m. the night before a term paper is due. Copy and paste commands are literally clicks away. A few accidentally non-cited sources could push the word count into the professor’s zone of requirement.Plagiarism is a temptation. However, it is also something that students and professors are feeling increasingly concerned about as the internet grows and media resources change.”

***************************************************************************

Check out Lisa Renard’s excellent piece, “Cut and Paste 101: Plagiarism and the Net,” where she explores the impact of new media on teaching and learning, offers a “field guide” on “Internet Cheaters” and identifies “three main types” of internet cheaters.

http://nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/pages/stress-r/Docs/Website%20Articles/Cheating

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Wish I had time to write and think about all the cool new New Media ideas flying around out there…here’s one for my students and me to ponder in class this week:

From NPR Talk of the Nation, Jan. 8, 2009

Talk of the Nation, January 8, 2009 · Social networking, user feedback and Tweeting are now common Web experiences. Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, isn’t surprised. He knows what works online, what doesn’t, and why — and he just might know what’s next.

“When we change the way we communicate, we change society,” Shirky writes. “The tools that a society uses to create and maintain itself are as central to human life as a hive is to bee life. Though the hive is not part of any individual bee, it is part of the colony, both shaped by and shaping the lives of its inhabitants.”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99126586