Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bookmarks of Note (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


3rd Annual Medieval Faire Benefiting Relay for Life of Second Life

Unmasking A Cure Relay For Life Team (#38) presents the Third Annual Medieval Faire, running from May 19 though June 18, 2017. The Faire, similar to a real world "Ren Faire", offers medieval tournaments in jousting, sword play, archery, horse racing, chess, Slurbbage, all day Trivia. There are over 80 merchants throughout the Faire grounds; village, travelers' camp and Gotya garden. All of them supporting Relay For Life with items that will be sold for a 100% donation. On the entertainment front, we have ChangHigh Sisters, dozens of live performers and  DJs are all donating their time and talents to Relay For Life. Don't miss this exciting month-long event; try your hand at all the sports, find that perfect outfit or decor item, or enjoy live musicians and dj sets!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Watch out for the COPS!

As many teachers know, COPS is an editing strategy often taught to kids. It stands for Capitalisation, Organisation, Punctuation, Spelling. Are these the things we need to be editing for and why?
In looking at the Horizon Project, I found myself editing these things almost automatically. I also looked at wording or phrasing, and conciseness. What led me to change something? If I felt there was a better way, which I had been taught as the standard way, I simply changed it.
But is this valid? Is it even necessary? Perhaps the digital immigrants such as I need to get out of the way. Perhaps the digital natives don't need any COPS to help them comprehend. Jeff Mason cites Bruno Giussani's blog about an interesting research project The kids only used standard language when it was useful to them. Language is used for commumication. You are using it right now to read my blog post. If you talk about it, you will be using language to orally communicate. If you use pictures or photos, that is yet another language. If you use music, that is yet (and I think often the best, being a musician) another communication.
So why is a standard needed, except to pass school? Is there a standard-form used in the business world, where most of our graduates are heading? Maybe it is more important to emphasize problem solving, critical analysis, and creativity, rather than that standard form of language which was pummeled into my head.
I studied German. High German. My relatives speak (pause as I think of the English term here...) Bavarian. So I had to learn two languages. I'm sure the same is true for other languages except Latin and ancient Greek. Is it cost-effective to teach this way?
Ethnocentrism. Why do I assume that my culture is the dominant one? I have been raised to not even question this assumption, but I find it is not at all Christ-like. I need to examine myself more closely and to become more aware of assumptions that I carry around. And then I need to create an environment for my students to do the same.
As you can gather, I was wrong. Ethnocentrically wrong. I hope to use this experience as a springboard for my learning and through it to become just a little more like He would want me to be.
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Zitierzirkel – You cite me, and I cite you. Like I scratch your back if you scratch mine. 
Seems Zitierzirkel is literally a quoting circle.

Having just watched Professor Moriarty (not related to the one of Holmes fame) I wonder if a discussion about the peer review process might be a good topic for discussion 1 in our Walden forum. This post was written for that discussion.


What are the benefits of the peer review process in academia? 

The peer review process is designed to expose flaws in the study design, report, analysis, or discussion of scientific research. When it works well, it delivers timely targeted feedback – constructive criticism which should be used to improve the research (Lee & Bero, 2006). The benefits of peer review, as our Walden Library reminds us, is to alert readers to study biases and inconsistencies, while ensuring integrity, replicability, and validity of the research. The peer review process is imperfect as the humans who carry it out.

Recently the journal giant Springer reported that 64 papers were being withdrawn due to fake peer reviews (Watts, 2015, August 19).  At a meeting of the AAAS in Washington, DC last month, Shankar presented a poster session in which he said peer review is essential to scientific research. Peer review has been the way things have been done for about 300 years (Weller, 2001). Whether the process can be traced back to the Royal Society of London in 1752 or not (Spier, 2002), the purpose of peer review is “the assessment by an expert of material submitted for publication” (Mulligan, 2015).
I discussed this topic with a colleague in Berlin (SL can be a wonderful place for academic networking). He introduced me to a German term, Zitierzirkel. In short, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.  In his opinion, peer review leads to a small selection of people, who may invite their friends to review their work, and this circle of peers have similar ideas, read the same articles, go to the same conferences, and draw the same conclusions. I had not considered this problem with exclusivity. He referred to Zitierzirkel has a small school of citing and said these people are so obvious in what they do.

Despite my concerns about the peer review process, my colleague thinks the process is fine if   diverse reviewers are used ensuring a broader range of opinions may lead to longer discussions, and better results. But those diverse reviewers still are part of our present generation which seem to have problems with ethics. In the recesses of my memory, are Kohlberg’s stages of moral development.
I would put forth that the real problem with the peer review process has to do with the present generation’s failure to reach Kohlberg’s final stage of moral development.  We are stuck in the age of entitlement (as a fellow teacher from Hagerstown who lives in Frostburg once said). If we get to stage 4 we become stuck in self-absorption, busy taking selfies, and furthering our own careers. Branch (2000) claimed that medical students were not attaining the higher levels of moral development for practicing medicine in ethically sound ways. Lickona (1983) tells us, “research shows, only a minority of adults attain Stage 5” (p.15).
I have outlined some problems with the system, but what are the benefits of the peer review process?


Branch, W. T. (2000). Supporting the Moral Development of Medical Students.Journal of General Internal Medicine15(7), 503–508.
Lee, K., & Bero, L. (2006). What authors, editors and reviewers should do to improve peer review. Nature, 471, 91-94.
Lickona, T. (1983). Raising good children: Helping your child through the stages of moral development. Toronto: Bantam Books.
Mulligan, A. (2005). Is peer review in crisis? Oral Oncology41(2), 135-141.
Shankar, K. (2016, February). Opening the Black Box of Scientific Peer Review: Preliminary Results from the New Frontier. In 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting (February 11-15, 2016). AAAS.
Spier, R. (2002). The history of the peer-review process. TRENDS in Biotechnology20(8), 357-358.
Watts, A. (2015, August 19). Peer review is broken – Springer announces 64 papers retracted due to fake reviews. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from