Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

7 PULSIS Faculty on Research Teams Funded in 2nd Round of Purdue’s Data Science Initiative

7 PULSIS Faculty on Research Teams Funded in 2nd Round of Purdue’s Data Science Initiative

August 22nd, 2019

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Faculty Members - IDSI Funding, Second RoundPurdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Faculty Members - IDSI Funding, Second RoundSeven Purdue University Libraries and School of Information (PULSIS) faculty members are part of three of five research teams to receive funding in Purdue University’s second round of research for the Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI).

According to the IDSI website, the vision for the initiative is “to be at the forefront of advancing data science-enabled research and education by tightly coupling theory, discovery, and applications while providing students with an integrated, data science-fluent campus ecosystem.”

The three research projects with PULSIS faculty members are also are led by PULSIS faculty as the principal investigators.

The PULSIS projects and researchers are as follows:

  • IMPACT Data Science Education: Preparing Undergraduates to Lead into the Future, Libraries and School of Information Studies and College of Science
    PI: Clarence Maybee, PULSIS; team members: Guang Lin, mathematics statistics and School of Mechanical Engineering; Wei Zakharov, PULSIS, Chao Cai, PULSIS; and Jason Fitzsimmons, Center for Instructional Excellence.
  • Building a Data Science Education Ecosystem Resource Collection, Libraries and School of Information Studies and College of Science
    PI: Pete Pascuzzi, PULSIS; team members: Gladys Andino, research computing; Mark D. Ward, statistics; and Michael Witt, PULSIS.
  • Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines, Libraries and School of Information Studies
    PI: Nicole Kong, PULSIS; team members: Bryan Pijanowski, forestry and natural resources; Jie Shan, civil engineering; Dharmendra Saraswat, agricultural and biological engineering; Songlin Fei, forestry and natural resources; Brady Hardiman, forestry and natural resources; Ian Lindsay, anthropology; Michael Fosmire, PULSIS; Ephrem Abebe, pharmacy practice; Vetria Byrd, computer graphics technology; Guang Lin, data science consulting service; Preston Smith, IT research computing; and Erica Lott, Center for Instructional Excellence.

For more information, visit

Preparation and the First Day of School: Insight from John Dewey

August 21st, 2019

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.


An Interview with Jeff Frank, author of “Teaching in the Now”

August 19th, 2019

In preparation for his forthcoming title Teaching in the Now: John Dewey on the Educational Present, we briefly talked to author Jeff Frank about the book, what motivated him to write it, and the reason for advocating for John Dewey’s work in the modern educational landscape.



Q: Could you briefly explain your book, for those who are not familiar?

Jeff Frank: I wrote this book out of appreciation for John Dewey’s thinking on how to create a meaningful educational present for students. Too often, we treat the present as mere preparation to do something rewarding or interesting in the future. When we do this, we lose student interest and engagement. Dewey argues that the best preparation for a meaningful future is learning to live meaningfully in the present.


Q: What prompted you to write Teaching in the Now, and what do you hope to accomplish with the book?

Frank: I wrote this book for two main reasons. First, I worry that we don’t do enough to value the present moment. Schooling can be tremendously interesting, but it loses its interest when we defer meaningful work to the future. Second, I wrote this book for students new to Dewey’s work in the hopes of showing them why they should take him seriously. Though his work may initially appear difficult, I wrote this book in the hopes that it might make it easier to stick with Dewey.

Jeff Frank


Q: What is it that motivates you to advocate for Dewey’s work in such a purposeful way?

Frank: A major motivation for this project is a sense of hope. John Dewey believed that each one of us harbor deep potential, and he also believed that activating that potential was one way to ensure the future of a strong democracy in the United States. My belief, one I share with Dewey, is that we need to do everything we can to make each moment in the classroom as engaging and rewarding as possible for students. Doing this is not only good for students, it is also good for our democracy. By helping students realize their potential in the present moment, we are helping to bring about a better future. My book is meant to aid teachers as they create these types of experiences for their students.


Q: You mention some treating the present as “mere preparation to do something rewarding or interesting in the future”. How do you feel this mentality come about? How have you seen it manifest?

Frank: In many ways, this is the key point. Dewey believes in the importance of thinking about how we acquire habits and what these habits make possible or foreclose. When it comes to “mere preparation,” Dewey might think about the habit many of us get into where we think things like: Once I have X job I will be happy, or Once I have X amount of money I will be happy, or Once I have tenure, or my own classroom I will begin doing the things I truly want to do. For Dewey, we should begin living the life we aspire to, as much as possible, in the present moment. For a teacher, this means trying to create the most engaging environment for students we can, in the present moment, not deferring until ideal conditions are met.

This brings up a related point. Someone may wonder: But aren’t there just some things we just have to learn? To this, I have two responses. First, I coached three sports in addition to teaching high school English, and there are indeed things one must learn before doing more advanced work. For example, if you don’t know how to spin correctly in the discus circle, there is no way to throw as effectively as possible. But there are ways to make the learning how to spin more or less engaging. The same holds true in the classroom Robert Frost, an excellent teacher himself, noted that explaining a joke doesn’t make it funny. The same is true with a poem. Spending time explaining why a poem is interesting in preparation for helping a student enjoy a poem is often counterproductive. A teacher should look for poems that are appropriately challenging and that they think students will actually find interesting, thereby giving students the most meaningful experience of learning in the present.

My second point is this. When we are learning how to do things outside of a school setting, how do we learn best? How do we prepare to cook or ski or develop a passion for music or movies? While some people may spend hours reading about skiing or testing skis out off of the slopes, more often than not we try things out. This experimenting allows us to see what we need to learn in order to improve, and this leads us to develop a passion for figuring things out so that we can make progress.  Or to ask another question, when you want to share your passion with a friend, how do you do it? Do you make them do a lot of preparatory work, or do you try to use your pedagogical creativity so that the first experience your friend has with what you are passionate about makes them want to learn more and engage more deeply with that passion? Dewey would argue that we can approach teaching this way, seeing the goal of teaching as creating the type of present that makes students want to learn more. Far from leaving students unprepared, these are the experiences that instill habits of thinking and acting that make students more able to engage more deeply with their learning in the future.


Q: How would you explain the importance of your book, and your field as a whole, to a lay audience?

Frank: This book is important because it helps teachers and future teachers think about how to create an engaging and educative present for their students. It also makes Dewey’s work more accessible. Anyone who teaches Dewey’s Experience and Education or anyone reading Dewey’s educational philosophy for the first time will—I hope—find something of interest in my book.



Get 30% off your own copy of Teaching in the Now by ordering it from our website with the discount code PURDUE30.

Copyright Office, Libraries to Celebrate Fair Use Impact Feb. 23

February 14th, 2017

Purdue Copyright Office - Fair Use Week 2017“Can I use this copyrighted image in my video… legally?”

That question seems like a relatively easy query, and one that, most likely, you have had to consider if you have ever downloaded content from the web for a class project or a presentation. The answer, though, is not necessarily as simple.

But, before you rush to your computer to edit your video, you may want to take a look at Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, which is referred to as “Fair Use.” Fair Use is so critical to education and libraries that, a few years ago, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) established Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, which set to take place Monday-Friday, Feb. 20-24 this year. Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week raises awareness about the important doctrines of fair use in the U.S. and fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions.

Purdue University Libraries and the University Copyright Office will celebrate the importance of Fair Use with discussions and cake from noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 near the main floor entryway to Hicks Library.

“Join us to celebrate and discuss the incredible impact and benefits of fair use, which we enjoy all year long,” noted Director of the University Copyright Office Donna Ferullo.

Fair Use in Education

Fair use is an exception under the U.S. Copyright Act. It allows copyrighted works to be used without the copyright holder’s permission, provided the use complies with the rules of the exception. It is a four factor test that analyzes the purpose and character of the use; the nature of the work being used; the amount of the work being used; and whether the market for the original work will be impacted by the new work. (For more information on applying the fair use factors, check out fair use on the Purdue University Copyright Office’s website at

“In higher education, fair use is used in both teaching and research. Faculty, staff and students probably apply it on a daily basis, many times without even realizing it. Uses can range from showing a video clip in a classroom to quoting passages from a copyrighted work in a student paper or faculty journal article. The fair use exception is critical to promoting advances in arts and sciences, which is the fundamental purpose of the copyright clause in the U.S. Constitution and promulgated by the U.S. Copyright Act,” Ferullo explained.

In the past few years, there have been some high profile cases in which individuals challenged fair use, and the courts ruled in favor of the exceptions. Three noteworthy cases that impacted Purdue were the Google Library Books Project, the Georgia State e-reserves case and the HathiTrust challenge, Ferullo said. Those specific instances of mass digitization were found to be fair use with some caveats. The courts looked to the intent of copyright and ruled that transformative uses, such as what occurred in those three cases, were the essence of what copyright is all about.

For information on major events around the country during Fair Use Week, check out