Daily Archives: March 17, 2006

Man Versus Machine For “Keeping Up”

I like to think that ACRLog performs two important services for our readers. First, there’s the insightful, powerful commentary and opinion that we deliver in our witty, pithy posts about the issues of the day. Well, at least we try for that sort of thing. Where we perhaps more frequently make the grade is in that other important service – helping our readers to discover interesting new events, worthwhile articles and posts at other blogs, and otherwise helping you to “keep up” with all those things you might not have time to find on your own. Well, when it comes to performing this funneling and filtering function in providing news and information, do we do as well as electronic services you could be using?

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite columnists. Terry Calhoun is the Director for Media Relations and Publications for the Society for College and University Planning. Calhoun writes a regular column for Campus Technology’s IT Trends newsletter. I commend you to subscribe to it as part of your keeping up regimen. Calhoun’s latest column takes up the issue of “man versus machine” in the battle to help us all keep up. Calhoun indicates that his column was inspired by this article in Wired. Like Calhoun I’ve found Google News Alerts rather disappointing because it delivers so many irrelevant results for every decent one it finds. In fact, I’ve stopped used it. My results from creating RSS feeds in Yahoo, Findory, and other engines aren’t much better; far too many irrelevant results no matter how specific I make my search terms. And it’s not just search engines. Search alerts I’ve created in our library databases tend to yield irrelevant results, but certainly not to the degree experienced with search engines.

It is still early in the game when it comes machine-driven keeping up. I’m sure the technology will get better and allow us all to better automate the funneling and filtering process. For now I find it’s necessary to probably subscribe to more newsletters, web sites detects, and feeds than I’d like so that I can do my own funneling and filtering. It’s all about finding and sharing the good stuff with ACRLog readers.

Using Technology To Teach NetGen Students

Have you made the viewing of archived webcasts a part of your continuous learning process yet? If not, you should make a commitment to discover the wealth of learning opportunities that are available right at your desktop. Another excellent webcasted lecture became available recently, and you can begin your exploration of webcasts with this one. Diana Oblinger, Vice-President at EDUCAUSE, was recorded giving a lecture on integrating digital learning experiences into teaching in order to better fit the culture of NetGen learners. It runs about 90 minutes, but the good thing about archived webcasts is that you have the ability to skip around the recording if you hit a section that’s of less interest. The lecture was recorded at Cornell University on February 28, 2006. You can find a brief summary of the presentation here and a link to it actual webcast here. I hope you’ll take advantage of the professional development possibilities offered by webast archives.

Speaking of netgen students, you may recall that one of the characteristics of our changing student population that we often hear about is their penchant for group learning. They like to learn in groups – right. They like to learn collaboratively – yes. Well, the other day I arrived a bit early for an instruction session for one of our undergraduate business classes here, and a few students were already in the room. While I was setting up for my session I couldn’t help but be amused by their conversation. They were complaining bitterly about – you guessed it – having to do another group project. So I broke and in and said, “Wait a minute, everything I hear about you Millennial students is that you really like to learn and work in groups?” Their response – “Where did you ever hear something like that?”. Despite this experience I continue to see many students working in groups in our library – no doubt collaborating on all the group projects our faculty assign.