Accessing the Digital Public Library of America

Today, May 4, 2013 marks the sixth anniversary of what used to be the “Boles University Blog.”  That fine scholarship and research blog is now folded into this even finer, and richer, and deeper Boles Blogs Blog, and in celebration of promoting online pedagogy and in-person teaching, let’s take a look at the fascinating, and new, “Digital Public Library” of America! Continue reading → Accessing the Digital Public Library of America

Do Modern Research Methods Make Students Stupider?

I grew up a child of the library.  I borrowed books.  I read books.  I researched college research papers.  I did it all in my local public library and my campus libraries.  The library was the safe haven — the Smart Place — it was a niche where I fit in because I created my own intellectual indentations that nobody else could question unless I decided to share what I was thinking.

Children today don’t have buildings called libraries that mean the same thing to them that it means to people of my generation.  Kids today have virtual hangout places like the internets, and if they want to find something to read to reflect upon or research, they just fire up The Google and all their boring inquiries are returned unimagined.

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The Value of Retraction Watch

When I was in graduate school, one of the most important things I divined from the teaching was the massive hole in published scholarly research that doesn’t report what wasn’t found.  Too many educational journals only report new research or confirmed findings.  What’s missing is the public sharing of failures:  “This is what we thought, and here’s how we tried to prove it, but it didn’t work out, and here’s why.”

That lack of “failure to find” in scholarly publications can be deadly to an academic reputation and so there is tremendous pressure to “find something!” that will be meaningful and dramatic and history-staking so you can get that tenure appointment or research grant or university award you so truly covet.

The sad fact of academia is that some researchers are not honest.  They fudge findings and manipulate studies to prove “what they thought” was, indeed, correct and not a failure.  Too many of us make the mistake of believing everything we read in print — we must always be cynical and question proven thought — and that’s why the Retraction Watch blog is one of the most vital tools we have in our thinking arsenal for setting the scholarly record straight after a malicious manipulation of what we think we know makes it in print.

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21st Century Guilds: Companies Pay For Your Education

When you think of the word apprentice, what comes to mind? For me, sadly, the first thing that comes is the image of Donald Trump telling some celebrity that they are fired in an obnoxious tone. The term goes a bit further back than that, however — many centuries before the ridiculous ‘reality’ show came to be. Teenagers were sent to learn a particular trade — they could spend a good number of years learning how to be a proper blacksmith, or a shoemaker, for example.

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Smelling the Fear in Your Sweat

Can you smell the fear in your pits?  If you can’t, you better start to learn to control your frightened scent because some people know how to mark your sweat as a coward based solely on how much you stink.

Continue reading → Smelling the Fear in Your Sweat