Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

The fine folks at Justia (my favorite legal website) yesterday announced a new free service that contains information on recently filed  federal civil cases.

From the press release:

“The Federal District Court filings are categorized by State, Federal
District Court and Legal Practice Area, and include the presiding judge
and cause of action information for each case. The database includes
over 300,000 Federal District Court civil cases filed since January 1,
2006, and is updated multiple times each day.

Visitors can subscribe for free to RSS feeds of new cases that meet
specific criteria, or to RSS feeds for customized searches. For example,
with an RSS feed, visitors can track new Federal Court patent cases,
cases that are filed in a specific court or cases filed against a
particular company.”

In my research classes, I often speak with the students about paid databases, and how one day they may be replaced by information that is freely available on the Internet. Based on this announcement, I’d say that day is getting closer than any of us realize.

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As the father of a sixth-grader who attends (and loves) a charter school, I’m in favor of school choice. But this article makes me think that maybe too much choice is not necessarily the best thing for these kids.

Home Schoolers Content to Take Children’s Lead – New York Times

As the number of children who are home-schooled grows — an estimated
1.1 million nationwide — some parents like Ms. Walter are opting for
what is perhaps the most extreme application of the movement’s ideas.
They are “unschooling” their children, a philosophy that is broadly
defined by its rejection of the basic foundations of conventional
education, including not only the schoolhouse but also classes,
curriculums and textbooks.

In some ways it is as ancient a
pedagogy as time itself, and in its modern American incarnation, is
among the oldest home-schooling methods. But it is also the most
elusive, a cause of growing concern among some education officials and
social scientists.

As a prof who has been teaching online for eight years now, I always love these kinds of articles where the writer suddenly “discovers” this thing known as learning online. From today’s Washington Post:

Bostic will get her MBA in August from the University of Maryland
University College, part of a dual master’s degree she is pursuing. She
has never met a professor, has never sat in a classroom and has checked
out the Adelphi campus only once, long after she had enrolled. In fact,
until recently, the 28-year-old graduate student had been studying from

Bostic is among an extraordinarily fast-growing number
of students nationwide and worldwide who are turning to online degree
programs to complete or advance their educations while they work,
decisions that are driven by economics as well as by a society that is
increasingly mobile.

Excellent article in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education by Linda Kerber, President of the American Historical Association, about the importance of preserving our nation’s historical record. In the article she discusses three recent incidents where the government has withdrawn information that was previously accessible to the public, and the impact that this will have on future generations.

The more the integrity of the national records is compromised, the more
flawed will be the history we write and the history we read. Memoirs,
personal papers, news reports — many are important sources for
historical scholarship, but they are written by individuals who,
however fair-minded, have their own perspectives that can skew the
historical narrative. None are substitutes for the archival record.

Read the whole thing here.