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Posts tagged ‘students’

This is a guest post by Jeff Frank, author of Teaching in the Now: John Dewey on the Educational Present.

This commentary offers insights from John Dewey about how to approach the start of the school year so that students are prepared to do the type of work we hope they will do in the future. The meaning of preparation is central to Dewey’s philosophy of education, and this commentary aims to make his thinking available to teaching and teachers.


 

John Dewey hoped anyone concerned with education would regularly ask what appears to be a simple question. What is the meaning of preparation?

The question appears simple, because we are often told, as students, that we are doing something in order to be prepared for something in the future. Why do we learn addition? So we can do multiplication in the future. Why do we learn multiplication? So we are prepared for upper-level math.

At almost every stage of education, when a student asks why they are learning something, they are told that they are learning that thing so that they are prepared to do some other thing in the future.

In some ways, this way of justifying education makes sense. It is hard to do an advanced skill without the requisite background knowledge, understanding and skill. And yet, Dewey wants us to wonder if there are better ways to think about preparation. He wants us to think about the hidden costs of justifying a student’s present learning in terms of future gain.

One way of seeing Dewey’s point is to think about how teaching works when we are adults. To take a simple example, when we want a friend to like something that we care about, we generally don’t tell them they have to do a lot of preparation work to get there. If we want them to enjoy hiking—for example—we find the easiest hike with the biggest payoff. If we want them to enjoy cooking, we find a recipe they can cook and that will surprise them by its deliciousness.

Dewey wonders if school can approximate this way of teaching, at least some of the time.

As a college professor and former high school English teacher, I work hard to find readings that are immediately interesting to students and that are challenging enough to allow them to do more difficult reading in the future. Instead of seeing the beginning of the semester as merely preparatory for a later point in the semester or a course further along in their college study, I believe—with Dewey—that the best way to prepare a student to do good work in the future is to let them begin doing that work now, in whatever form they can.

This is most certainly not to say that everything a student does in class needs to be fun or easy. Rather, Dewey wants us to be honest, asking ourselves the hard question: Is my classroom, in this very moment, actually preparing my students for more effective and engaged work in the future?

Here is another way of looking at the problem. If a student is so disengaged by their experience learning a subject that they want nothing to do with it again in the future, can we actually claim that they were being prepared in that classroom? Even if a student was successful in terms of getting a good grade in the class, if they aren’t interested in learning more about the subject in the future, can we say that they’ve received a good preparation?

It is easy to dismiss Dewey’s vision of teaching as asking too much of schools and teachers, but before dismissing his thinking on the educational present out of hand, I just want us to think about small changes we can make to invite our students into our subject. If our students were adults who we didn’t have the power of grades and discipline over, how would we teach our subject? If we really want each of our students to keep engaged with our subject into the future, how would we teach?

These are the types of questions Dewey would have us ask, and these are questions that are worth asking again at the start of this school year.

Before the rush of the school year begins, we might take the time to think about the students we see leaving the classroom at the end of the year. What are they passionate about, and what are they empowered to do?

With this vision in mind, think about how to get them there. If Dewey is right, we don’t have engaged confident learners leaving our classrooms if they’ve never experienced engaging learning experiences that give them confidence. And he would encourage us to think about how we can create this type of present for students, from the first day.

Too often the first days of school feel like re-learning what it means to wait until something interesting may happen. We should work to break this habit of waiting and introduce something interesting early. Make the first days an invitation to do meaningful work in the present instead of sending the message that meaningful work must always wait.

“Make the first days an invitation to do meaningful work in the present instead of sending the message that meaningful work must always wait.”

We went into teaching to share our passionate interest in learning with students, and we shouldn’t wait to do this work. Give yourself permission to live in the fullness of the present with your students from the start of the school year, trusting Dewey’s insight that this is also an effective and engaging way to prepare students to live more fully in the future.

School leaders and policymakers are invited to do the same type of thinking. Much of the work that is justified in the name of preparation does not prepare students for a future of deeper engagement with the material they are learning in schools. At the start of the school year, we can do more to create an educational present that prepares students for good work in the future because they are doing good work now.


 

Jeff Frank is an Associate Professor at St. Lawrence University and author of the book Teaching in the Now: John Dewey on the Educational Present. His work has appeared in the Teachers College Record, Educational Researcher, and several philosophy of education journals.

You can get 30% off Teaching in the Now by entering the discount code PURDUE30 when you order from our website.

 

Purdue Libraries to host the prominent EDC Program for GIS Research

Purdue University has recently been designated an Esri Development Center (EDC Program) by Esri, the developer of the ArcGIS mapping and spatial analytics software. According to Esri, the program provides special status and benefits “to a select few leading university departments that challenge their students to develop innovative applications based upon the ArcGIS platform.” The opportunity to participate in the EDC program will augment GIS (Geographic Information Systems) research and activities currently conducted at Purdue University.

As an EDC Program, faculty and students gain special access to Esri’s training and support application platform, which connects users from any field of academic research. As a member of the program, Purdue University students and faculty can benefit from exclusive professional development in data integration and geospatial analysis and training.

This fall, Purdue Libraries will sponsor the EDC GIS Development Contest, in which students participating in the EDC program will have the opportunity to compete for Purdue University’s EDC Student of the Year Award.

According to Assistant Professor and GIS Specialist at Purdue University Libraries Nicole Kong, the winner will have the chance to be internationally recognized at the annual Esri Developer Summit. All Purdue students are eligible to participate in the EDC Program and GIS contest, and the winner will be announced on Purdue Libraries’ annual GIS Day event, which is set for Thursday, Nov. 9 in Stewart Center, room 214.

“Purdue University was selected to participate in this prestigious program based on outstanding teaching and research in GIS. The EDC Program provides a centralized place to connect developers and GIS users across disciplines, which will promote many fruitful collaborations,” Kong noted.

More information about the EDC Student of the Year Award Contest will be forthcoming. For more information, contact Kong at (765) 496-9474 or via email at kongn@purdue.edu.

Andrew Whitworth

Andrew Whitworth

Later this month, the Purdue Libraries Seminar Committee will present “Xenophilia: How the Love of Difference Is Essential for Information Literacy,” a lecture delivered by Andrew Whitworth, director of teaching and learning strategy, Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, U.K.

Whitworth’s talk, which is set from 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29 in the Purdue Memorial Union’s West Faculty Lounge, will focus on the notion of “xenophilia” and how it can support information literacy practices. Online registration is available at https://purdue.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1MTFxeCG7hEppVb.

“We should see information literacy as a set of practices that emerge as practitioners in various settings learn to navigate ‘information landscapes.’ As with real landscapes, while these may come in particular types, each is essentially unique; thus, information literacy—the ability to make critical judgments about the relevance of informational resources—is a set of context-specific practices,” Whitworth explained.

According to Whitworth, although this view compels attention to the role of brokers and boundary zones that allow dialogue between different contexts, in these zones, different practices are negotiated and shared visions can potentially emerge.

“What is required to make best use of these zones is not an information literacy focused on searching strategies, but on an openness to difference and variation—thus ‘xenophilia’: the love of difference,” he added.

Whitworth’s presentation will expand on the notion of xenophilia—not only how it can be defined as a moral and ethical principle, but also as a pedagogy and a feature that can be designed into information systems.

“In a world where political currents took notable shifts toward insularity in 2016, it may be one basis for practical strategies of resistance to these trends,” Whitworth said.

Whitworth, whose scholarship focuses on critical theory and education, information practice and information literacy, mapping of information landscapes, and workplace and community learning, is the author of two books on digital and information literacy, “Information Obesity” (2009) and “Radical Information Literacy” (2014). He is also a co-author of the 2012 “Moscow Declaration on Media and Information Literacy.”

For more information, contact Clarence Maybee, associate professor and information literacy specialist, at (765) 494-7603 or via email at cmaybee@purdue.edu.

The book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects," was printed in Spring 2017 and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

The book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects,” was printed in Spring 2017 and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

The research paper is a fact of life in college. If you have completed a college-level class, it’s almost guaranteed you have received a syllabus that instructed you to format a paper according to a particular academic style and directed you to turn in a double-digit-page composition citing at least three-to-five (or more) sources. While many college students get hung up on the number of pages required, it’s likely there are just as many who lament how many sources—and about their type: primary or secondary—they will have to read and consult to meet the minimum source-number requirements for the assignment.

But for students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross, associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer, an archivist in Purdue Archives and Special Collections (ASC), the oft-dreaded assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk for the inevitable undergrad research paper assignment. According to Harmeyer, the book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects” (which is also available as an e-book via e-Pubs, Purdue Libraries’ open access repository) was printed this spring and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

In the 2016 course, the students, through honing their writing, sought to understand the history of Purdue University and to recover the student experience at the turn of the 20th century. Harmeyer added the course also provided students with a way to learn about primary-source research and gain hands-on experience working with the collections and artifacts stored in the ASC.


Students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross, associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer, an archivist in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue University Libraries.

Students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross (far right, seated), associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer (left, next to Bross in foreground of photo), an archivist in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue University Libraries.


Neal Harmeyer, Purdue Archives and Special Collections

Neal Harmeyer, Purdue Archives and Special Collections

“Over the course of the semester, we asked the students to go through the collections, pick an object—a photo, a personal memento of some sort, or a document, perhaps—and then ask and answer three questions: 1. What is in front of you? 2. What do you think about what you’re seeing? and 3. What could this mean? We used this approach as a scaffolded step of deliberation and archival research methodology to help inform their writing,” Harmeyer explained. “From the class, 10 of the 13 students agreed to have their works published. The book, ‘More Than a Memory,’ provides a snapshot of the sources they found and the final outcomes of their individual research.”

Each student who agreed to have their work published received a few copies of the book to keep and to share. Their individual compositions included the image (a scan or photo) of the object they each chose, a little bit of background about themselves, and about 900 words or so about their research, their insights, and the object itself.

Extending Student Writing and Research

According to Bross, when she was first approached about teaching the class, she knew she wanted to have students research issues/topics that would matter to them, that would feel “real.”

“Having students dive into special collections is a sure way to give them that experience,” Bross said. “I’ve asked students to do archival searches for years, so I know they respond well to such assignments, and I think it’s especially important for students to know something about the history of Purdue,” she added.

Kristina Bross, associate professor of English at Purdue University and director of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Honors program.

Kristina Bross, associate professor of English at Purdue University and director of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Honors program.

The collaboration between Bross and Harmeyer that went into the spring 2016 course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 and the book, “More Than a Memory,” was not the first time they worked together to instruct students in this particular Honors course. In 2013, they co-taught the course with the same title, and through their students’ research, they published “Little Else Than a Memory: Purdue Students Search for the Class of 1904,” also printed by Purdue University Press.

“I had been somewhat involved in the course in 2013, but when one of our archivists took a position at another institution about halfway through the semester, I took over her role as co-instructor,” Harmeyer said. “While students in that class implemented a similar project, for the 2016 version of the course, Professor Bross and I planned to focus more on teaching students about archival research and primary-source research. One of our objectives was to get them more accustomed and familiar with the various research avenues they may need to undertake, for whatever their disciplines were, as we had majors enrolled from across the various disciplines in the 2016 version,” he added.

Bross noted the ASC provided a fruitful learning laboratory to accomplish the goals of the course.

For Purdue University students who were enrolled in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199, he oft-dreaded research paper assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk.

For Purdue University students who were enrolled in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199, he oft-dreaded research paper assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk.

“The Purdue Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Division is ideal for undergraduate research, not only because it’s local, but also because its faculty and staff are so knowledgeable about Purdue’s history and our collections. In addition, they know how to introduce archival research to undergrads and help them understand the stakes involved in the work they are doing. Having a co-teacher from the ASC makes this course possible—and Neal is simply terrific in that role,” Bross said.

“The interdisciplinary part of the course title is represented by the Archives and the primary sources, and the writing part is Professor Bross helping the students hone their writing,” Harmeyer added. “Over the course, she assigned the students primary sources, dating back centuries, such as diaries and first-person accounts, along with secondary source materials, and she asked them to write about and respond to those. So the two things met in the middle—our idea was they would learn about writing along the way, they would learn about research along the way, and at the end, they would have a research paper.”

As part of the research and writing process, the students also contributed to a blog (see http://ascblogs.lib.purdue.edu/spring2016-honors19903/), “a site devoted to the sharing of undergraduate archival research and scholarship.” The blog was a fundamental component of the course; during the semester, the students composed three responses to their findings, which in turn were posted on the site, Harmeyer said.

“This blog allowed us to see their work in progress. Through it, too—because we encouraged comments on the site—they were able to communicate with one another and experience feedback from the larger community, as well. This site also enabled students to get their research out and think more critically as they were writing,” Harmeyer explained.

“The blog posts were just as—perhaps more important than—their final publications,” Bross added. “Neal was absolutely central to making the website excellent. It was interesting asking them to write about their individual processes, as well as to represent their findings. If we get the chance to teach this class or another like it, I want to think some more about the best way to use in-process digital media to publish their work.”

According to Harmeyer, ASC personnel are committed to keeping the blog site available for future research purposes.

“Not only do the final essays showcase the students’ work, but the research they compiled and shared on in their papers and through their blog posts, also serve as secondary sources. Later, students may be able to build and use their research.”

Harmeyer noted he thinks the course will be offered again, with the Purdue Archives and Special Collections again serving as a laboratory for Purdue students who enroll in it.

“For many of them, it was only their second semester in college, and I could see the light-bulb moments expressed in their faces and in their words: ‘Wow, this is hard… but interesting.’ Overall, I think most of them had that feeling and were extremely rewarded by it.”

Download the full text of “More Than a Memory” at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/sps_ebooks/9/

Hicks Study Break Spring 2016 with therapy dogsTake a break from the stress and grind of finals preparation at the Hicks Undergraduate Library later this month with the bi-annual Study Break events slated for prep and finals weeks. The first event will kick off at 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, with Caring Paws, which will provide students with the opportunity to interact with therapy animals.

The full schedule is listed below.

Prep Week

  • 7-8 p.m. Mon., April 24 – Caring Paws: Students will have the opportunity to interact with therapy animals;
  • 6-8 p.m. Tues., April 25 – Chair Massages;
  • 6:30-7:30 p.m. Weds., April 26 – Therapy Dogs International: Students will have the opportunity to interact with therapy dogs; and
  • 6-8 p.m. Thurs., April 27 – Craft Night & Popcorn Bar: Create your own stress ball and enjoy the popcorn bar!

Hicks Undergraduate Library Study Break Event, Spring 2016Finals Week

  • 7-8 p.m. Mon., May 1 – Caring Paws: Students will have the opportunity to interact with therapy animals;
  • 6-8 p.m. Tues., May 2 – Craft Night & Popcorn Bar: Bury your stress–decorate a pot and plant a seed to take home. Enjoy the popcorn bar!
  • 6:30-7:30 p.m., Weds., May 3 – Sidewalk Chalk and Bubbles: Watch your stress away float away by blowing bubbles, and tap into your inner artist and decorate sidewalks around Hicks with chalk; and
  • 6-8 p.m. Thurs., May 4 – Chair Massages.

Other activities to take place at Hicks on an ongoing basis during the two weeks of Study Break: lego building, art relaxation stations, and bubble wrap.

All events will be held in common areas unless otherwise noted.

Hicks Undergraduate Library Study Break Events Spring 2017

2017 Purdue Libraries Video Contest winners joined Dean of Libraries Jim Mullins and Purdue Federal Credit Union (PFCU) Vice President Jeff Love for a special presentation of their awards. The Purdue Libraries Video Contest was supported by Purdue Federal Credit Union.” Pictured left to right: Jing Yao, Xiaoping (Mary) Zhu, Jim Mullins, Jeff Love, Jacob Russell and Tre Bennett.

2016-17 Purdue Libraries Video Contest winners joined Dean of Libraries Jim Mullins and Purdue Federal Credit Union (PFCU) Vice President Jeff Love for a special presentation of their awards. The Purdue Libraries Video Contest was supported by Purdue Federal Credit Union. Pictured (L to R): Jing Yao, Xiaoping (Mary) Zhu, Jim Mullins, Jeff Love, Jacob Russell, and Tré Bennett. (Not pictured: Preeya Sharma.) Photo by Teresa Brown.

Five Purdue University students showed the many reasons why they love Purdue Libraries in the Purdue University Libraries’ fourth annual “Why I Love Purdue Libraries” video contest.

The contest, which was announced last fall and is supported by the Purdue Federal Credit Union, was open to Purdue students and received several entries for the 2016-17 competition. All entries were judged by members of the Undergraduate Student Libraries Advisory Council.

Three videos – first, second, and third place – were selected as winners of the first $1,000 prize, second $750 prize, and third $500 prize. Five students (two on the first-place team and two on the third-place team) produced the videos. They include:

  • First Place – Jacob Russell (junior, information systems management) and Preeya Sharma (junior, finance): each will receive half of the $1,000;
  • Second Place – Tré Bennett (senior, computer graphics technology): $750; and
  • Third Place – Jing Yao (sophomore, industrial management) and Xiaoping (Mary) Zhu (sophomore, business management); each will receive half of the $500.

View the winning videos on the “Why I Love Purdue Libraries” 2016-17 Video Contest YouTube Playlist at www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfiLH31ZZsO3OYQLsVaRwApmrk4APRMmk

Or watch them below…