Textbook Reading: You’re doing it wrong!

Stack of books

Reading to Learn

Active reading is a planned, deliberate set of strategies to engage with text-based materials with the purpose of increasing your understanding. This is a key skill you need to master for college. Along with listening, it is the primary method for absorbing new ideas and information in college. But active reading also applies to and facilitates the other steps of the learning cycle; it is critical for preparing, capturing, and reviewing, too.

In college, most professors do not spend much time reviewing the reading assignment in class. Rather, they expect that you have done the assignment before coming to class and understand the material. The class lecture or discussion is often based on that expectation. Tests, too, are based on that expectation. This is why active reading is so important, it’s up to you to do the reading and comprehend what you read.

Note: It may not always be clear on an professor’s syllabus, but the corresponding textbook chapter for the topics listed for that week should be read before coming to class.

Person sitting at table with book and notebook open
Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

How Do You Read to Learn?

The four steps of active reading are almost identical to the four phases of the learning cycle—and that is no coincidence! Active reading is learning through reading the written word, so the learning cycle naturally applies.

Active reading involves these steps:

  1. Preparing
  2. Reading
  3. Capturing the key ideas
  4. Reviewing

Let’s take a look at how to use each step when reading.

Preparing to Read

Your textbook as a whole – Start by thinking about why your professor has chosen this text. Look at the table of contents; how does it compare with the course syllabus?

Your chapter as a whole – Explore the chapter by scanning the pages of the chapter to get a sense of what the chapter is about. Look at the headings, illustrations and tables. Read the introduction and summary. Understanding the big picture of the chapter will help you add the details when doing close reading.

Give yourself direction by creating a purpose or quest for your reading. This will help you become more actively engaged in your reading. Create questions to find the answers to in your reading using the headings of each section. You may also have learning objectives listed at the front of each chapter which could be turned into questions or you may have chapter review questions prepared for you at the end of the chapter.

Reading

Take the first question you have prepared and think about what you already know about this question. Jot the question down on paper. Begin to read the chapter and stop when you have found the answer.

Write down the answer in short form. Leave some space for additional notes you may want to add later and add the next questions. Continue reading this way until you are done the chapter or are done studying for this session.

Capture the key ideas

Before you put away your textbook and notes at the end of a reading session, go back through the questions you answered and pull out key ideas and words. You can highlight these, jot them in the space you left below your first answer or note them in the margins.

Reviewing what you read

For each question, cover up the answer and key ideas you have written. Can you still answer the question? Check your mental review against what you have written.

An open notebook on a wooden surface in front of a laptop
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Additional Reading Tips:

The four steps to active reading provide a proven approach to effective learning from texts. Following are some tips you can use to enhance your reading even further:

  • Pace yourself. Figure out how much time you have to complete the assignment. Divide the assignment into smaller blocks rather than trying to read the entire assignment in one sitting.
  • Schedule your reading. Set aside blocks of time, preferably at the time of the day when you are most alert, to do your reading assignments.
  • Read your most difficult assignments early in your reading time, when you are freshest.
  • Get yourself in the right space. Choose to read in a quiet, well-lit space. Your chair should be comfortable but provide good support.
  • Avoid distractions. Active reading takes place in your short-term memory. Every time you move from task to task, you have to “reboot” your short-term memory and you lose the continuity of active reading.
  • Avoid reading fatigue. Work for about fifty minutes, and then give yourself a break for five to ten minutes. Put down the book, walk around, get a snack, stretch, or do some deep knee bends. Short physical activity will do wonders to help you feel refreshed.
  • Make your reading interesting. Try connecting the material you are reading with your class lectures or with other chapters. Ask yourself where you disagree with the author. Approach finding answers to your questions like an investigative reporter. Carry on a mental conversation with the author.

Adapted from College Success, University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing edition, 2015. Original licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike.

Featured Image: Adapted from Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Note: This post was prepared in part for OntarioExtend Daily Extend #oext264 Crank out a Viral Edubait Robot Image.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

One minute video


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The Ontario Extend‘s Daily Extend #oext247 asks us to make an One Minute Video about an aspect of our practice. Mine is a bit more tell than show but I created a one minute video on what to do when you realize that you have a test tomorrow. I love the Emergency Test Preparation Strategy on the Study Guides and Strategies which is based on George Miller’s 1956 The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.

The strategy asks students to first scan their notes and materials and create a list of important topics. Then, to choose five and start with writing down everything that they know about the topic. After accessing that prior knowledge, the student then checks their understanding against their notes and update their study sheets. If there is time, the student can add two more for seven topics and if needed two more for nine but is advised to stop there.

I used PowerPoint to create some slides and recorded a voice over. I exported the slide deck and recordings to a video and then uploaded to YouTube. I added some music in the background and YouTube adds automatic closed captioning. I released it under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

If I was do this for a specific purpose for students, I would re-record the audio as it is a bit low but for today’s purpose, I am considering it good enough because it is Saturday and I have other home things to do! This is also my first official post on my new blog here on my own domain!

Making Sense of Open Education, Final Reflection

Image of desert with open door leading to a dock on a large body of water

Today is the last day of the Making Sense of Open Education Mini-MOOC hosted by Jenni Hayman. It has been a 15 day whirlwind tour of Openness! I wanted to go back to the beginning and review the Course Outcomes and see where I stand in relationship.

Course learning outcomes:
On completion of this open course participants will have expanded their ability to:

  1. Describe the value of open educational practices (OEP) in their teaching and learning contexts
  2. Give examples of appropriate open educational resources (OER) for their practice
  3. Describe user permissions related to each of the Creative Commons license types
  4. Find and curate high quality OER for a course or small project
  5. Connect with other practitioners interested in exploring use of open educational resources and practices in their teaching

These were not numbered in the course, I added numbers to make giving my response easier.

My response:

One: Open educational practices add value to my teaching by allowing me the opportunity to tailor my teaching to the students in front of me now by broadening my awareness of OER sources that can better meet their needs in terms of accessibility and affordability. Beyond the choice of materials, OEP also leads me to consider how students can co-create materials and be curators of learning materials and how participating in this is a better assessment tool and holds more long-term value for student than disposable assignments. Digital Tools give me and my students the opportunity to be creators and give us the opportunity to share what we are learning with others. Because I see value in OEP, I am inspired to take action and advocate for greater openness in others and in my own institution.

Two: Can I give examples of appropriate OER for my practice? Why, yes, I can. I posted a prototype of a unit I am building for my students. It includes chapters from a OER textbook, open source images, and a CC video.

Three: Can I describe user permissions? Yup, let me do so with a Creative Commons licensed image:

Graphic showing various Creative Commons Licences.

Creative Commons licenses by Foter (CC-BY-SA)

Four: Can I curate OER resources for a small project? I did! I collected OER resources on Reflection into a padlet in a recent post.

Five: Have I connected with other practitioners of Open Education? Sure did and will continue to do so. I outlined my growing PLN in a post exploring what my connections look like. I also create a post outlining how I began to use twitter as a tool for connecting.

The Making Sense of Open Education has been a tremendously positive learning experience for me and I encourage you, my reader, to check it out soon as it will be set up as a self directed learning opportunity on Open University soon.

Featured Image photo by santiagotorrescl95 on Pixabay

OER Remix Prototype – Academic Integrity

Overview of hands on a desk working on plan on paper.

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This is a prototype for a unit on Academic Integrity I am creating for my students and in response to both the Technologist Module for Ontario Extend and Day 12 of Making Sense of Open Education.

Here is my plan.

  • I want to adapt two excerpts from an OER textbook.
  • Add original video of my own.
  • Use CC licensed video and images from Unsplash.
  • Link to additional resources
  • Add self-test questions that I create.

Opening

Academic Integrity – The Honest Truth

View of lecture room with students listening.
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

It is vital that students focus on the active process of learning, not just on how to get good grades. The attitude of some students that grades are the end-all in academics has led many students to resort to academic dishonesty to try to get the best possible grades or handle the pressure of an academic program. Although you may be further tempted if you’ve heard people say, “Everybody does it,” or “It’s no big deal at my school,” you should be mindful of the consequences of cheating:

  • You don’t learn as much. Cheating may get you the right answer on a particular exam question, but it won’t teach you how to apply knowledge in the world after school, nor will it give you a foundation of knowledge for learning more advanced material. When you cheat, you cheat yourself out of opportunities.
  • You risk failing the course or even expulsion from school. Each institution has its own definitions of and penalties for academic dishonesty, but most include cheating, plagiarism, and fabrication or falsification. The exact details of what is allowed or not allowed vary somewhat among different colleges and even instructors, so you should be sure to check your school’s Web site and your instructor’s guidelines to see what rules apply. Ignorance of the rules is seldom considered a valid defense.
  • Cheating causes stress. Fear of getting caught will cause you stress and anxiety; this will get in the way of performing well with the information you do know.
    You’re throwing away your money and time. Getting a college education is a big investment of money and effort. You’re simply not getting your full value when you cheat, because you don’t learn as much.
  • You are trashing your integrity. Cheating once and getting away with it makes it easier to cheat again, and the more you cheat, the more comfortable you will feel with giving up your integrity in other areas of life—with perhaps even more serious consequences.
  • Cheating lowers your self-esteem. If you cheat, you are telling yourself that you are simply not smart enough to handle learning. It also robs you of the feeling of satisfaction from genuine success.
Students gathered around a laptop
Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Technology has made it easier to cheat. Your credit card and an Internet connection can procure a paper for you on just about any subject and length. You can copy and paste for free from various Web sites. Students have made creative use of texting and video on their cell phones to gain unauthorized access to material for exams. But be aware that technology has also created ways for instructors to easily detect these forms of academic dishonesty. Most colleges make these tools available to their instructors. Instructors are also modifying their testing approaches to reduce potential academic misconduct by using methods that are harder to cheat at (such as in-class essays that evaluate your thinking and oral presentations).

If you feel uneasy about doing something in your college work, trust your instincts. Confirm with the instructor that your intended form of research or use of material is acceptable. Cheating just doesn’t pay.

Excerpt adapted from College Success by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


Video – this is a rough cut of my video. I plan to clean it up and add design elements, closed captioning and a transcript.

The Value of Academic Integrity

Video by Irene Stewart, January 10, 2018


Plagiarism—and How to Avoid It

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of material from a source. At the most obvious level, plagiarism involves using someone else’s words and ideas as if they were your own. There’s not much to say about copying another person’s work: it’s cheating, pure and simple. But plagiarism is not always so simple. Notice that our definition of plagiarism involves “words and ideas.” Let’s break that down a little further.

Woman's hand writing with a number of papers on a desk.
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Words. Copying the words of another is clearly wrong. If you use another’s words, those words must be in quotation marks, and you must tell your reader where those words came from. But it is not enough to make a few surface changes in wording. You can’t just change some words and call the material yours; close, extended paraphrase is not acceptable.

Ideas. Ideas are also a form of intellectual property. You may this idea in a passage that summarizes the original, that is, it states the main idea in compressed form in language that does not come from the original. But it could still be seen as plagiarism if the source is not cited. This example probably makes you wonder if you can write anything without citing a source. To help you sort out what ideas need to be cited and what not, think about these principles:

Common knowledge. There is no need to cite common knowledge. Common knowledge does not mean knowledge everyone has. It means knowledge that everyone can easily access. If the information or idea can be found in multiple sources and the information or idea remains constant from source to source, it can be considered common knowledge. This is one reason so much research is usually done for college writing—the more sources you read, the more easily you can sort out what is common knowledge: if you see an uncited idea in multiple sources, then you can feel secure that idea is common knowledge.

Distinct contributions. One does need to cite ideas that are distinct contributions. A distinct contribution need not be a discovery from the work of one person. It need only be an insight that is not commonly expressed (not found in multiple sources) and not universally agreed upon.

Disputable figures. Always remember that numbers are only as good as the sources they come from. If you use numbers or any statistics always cite your source of those numbers. If your instructor does not know the source you used, you will not get much credit for the information you have collected.

Everything said previously about using sources applies to all forms of sources. Some students mistakenly believe that material from the Web, for example, need not be cited. Or that an idea from an instructor’s lecture is automatically common property. You must evaluate all sources in the same way and cite them as necessary.

Bulletin board with notes and pictures.
Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

Forms of Citation

You should generally check with your instructors about their preferred form of citation when you write papers for courses. No one standard is used in all academic papers. You can learn about the three major forms or styles used in most any college writing handbook and on many Web sites for college writers:

  • The Modern Language Association (MLA) system of citation is widely used but is most commonly adopted in humanities courses, particularly literature courses.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) system of citation is most common in the social sciences.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style is widely used but perhaps most commonly in history courses.

Many college departments have their own style guides, which may be based on one of the above. Your instructor should refer you to his or her preferred guide, but be sure to ask if you have not been given explicit direction.

Excerpt adapted from College Success by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism: Type of Plagiarism

University of Guelph Library, 2014. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Resources

To learn more, check out the Learning Portal. The Learning Portal shares resources from colleges across Ontario.

Academic Integrity – http://tlp-lpa.ca/research/academic-integrity

How to Cite – http://tlp-lpa.ca/research/citation


Unit would end with self-check or self-test questions to be developed.


 

This is my prototype of materials to remix into a new unit. I am considering combining these into one container although, I am not sure what technology would be best to put this together. I am also not sure if all these resources have creative commons licensing that can be combined. Finally, I am not sure that this would represent a complete picture of Academic Integrity or if I am missing content. If you would like to provide any feedback or suggestions, your ideas would be most welcome.

Western Film Festival

Film still of John Wayne

Making Sense of Open Education, Day 7 is all about the GLAM: Gallaries, Libraries, Archives and museums. At St. Clair College, we have a General Education Course about Western Film:

WESTERNS: FILM AS A LENS TO THE PRESENT

SSC 183G

This course will explore the film genre of Westerns. Major themes and ideas will be examined via the work of selected films, directors and actors. Subjects to be studied via discussion and reflective assignments include the Origins of the Western, Components of the Western, Landscape and Setting, Indigenous Peoples, Women, Directors, Actors, and Films. The course will conclude with a discussion of the place of the Western in contemporary culture: can it still ‘sit tall in the saddle’?

Here are a few Western Film Selections I would use in this course:

 

Featured photo: Publicity photo of John Wayne for film The Comancheros. Public Domain

 

 

 

 

Linking #MakingSense18 to #oext193

Today’s Ontario Extend Daily Extend (193) asked us to imagine how students would react if we only provided feed back and no grades:

After completing the tweet, I turned to  Day 4 of the MOOC Making Sense of Open Education which was to explore Open Education Resources (OER) online. I collected some OER into a Padlet, adding articles, photos, videos and learning resources around helping student use feedback and the concept of reflective practice building on the thought of whether student know how to use the feedback we give them.

https://padlet.com/istewart2/MakingSense18Day4

I selected one photo and one resource to try to make something new. I adapted a photo from Pixabay by stockpic and a four-page hand out from WestEd from their Formative Assessment Insight open course to create this graphic:

 

feedback

I am growing in both my knowledge and my skills through my professional development this spring but perhaps more importantly, I am becoming more naturally open by practice, practice, practice.

Day 1 – Making Sense of Open Education

I am participating in a 15 day MOOC on Open University called Making Sense of Open Education and part of the learning is an activity to complete for each day. This is my first discussion post entry, repeated here so that I can tweet it!


Happy Day 1 fellow Open Education Learners!

For my submission, I found a video about Open Education that explained how one might use OER to learn:

Why Open Education Matters

If this video does not play, please see Why Open Education Matters by Ope Bukola at https://youtu.be/cHQp33rbg5k

This video introduced me to two new resources:

Curriki and P2PU

What I want to learn:

I still feel that I am very new to Open Education and I would like to learn more about finding OER as well as understanding Open licensing. I want to learn about adapting OER and especially how material with different licenses can and cannot work together.

AND if I can find a few new friends along that way, that would be good too!


Featured Image is Course logo by Jenni Hayman licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license

Applying the CRAAP Test

Focusing on OER textbook selection that I made for Porter’s Five Forces, I will apply the CRAAP Test in this post.

Evaluating the Industry in Mastering Strategic Management, 1st Canadian Edition (2014) by Janice Edwards on BC Open Textbooks.

Currency 

This textbook was published in 2014 on BC Open Textbooks and is based on Mastering Strategic Management by University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing in 2011. While this may be bordering on dated, most concepts of Strategic Management have not changed and Janice Edwards added updated Canadian content in 2014.

Relevance

The textbook covers expected models and concepts at the college level for introductory and Intermediate study of Strategic Management

Authority

Janice Edwards, Centennial College
Dave Ketchen, Auburn University
Jeremy Short, University of Oklahoma

A full description of the authors’ credentials are available on the Open Textbook Library Website.

Accuracy

I found the textbook to be free of errors and issues. On the Open Textbook Library, the original textbook was reviewed 7 times between 2013 and 2018 and received a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Purpose

The purpose of the text is to education and inform students at the post secondary level on methods and models of strategic management including the analysis of business problems. This matches my intention and audience.

This post was created for an Extend Activity in the Curator Module.

 

 

 

 

OER for Porter’s Five Forces

Teaching and learning with case studies in the area of Business has been a fascination of mine for some time. Recently, David Tell (@bdt53 ‏) and I have been debating creating an Open Education Resource on the case study method that could be used as a workshop or seminar for Business students at our college. With this in mind, I searched for Open Education Resources (OER) that might be used in this project.

My first attempts were fruitless. I started to large, seeking first if there was a seminar style resource already created. Recalling the suggestion to map out a strategy, I thought about what concepts or tools I would want to have as part of the seminar and turned my attention the Porter’s Five Forces.

Using this smaller piece of a case study seminar, I found:

One chapter in OER textbook: Evaluating the Industry in Mastering Strategic Management, 1st Canadian Edition (2014) by Janice Edwards on BC Open Textbooks.

One article: Boundless: “Porter’s Five Forces” from BUS501: STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT on Saylor Academy

An interview with Mike Porter on his Five Forces model:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJJDKKrRBNM

One instructional video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lmHhQs3HC0

And two graphics or figures, one used as the Feature Image – Figure by MIT OpenCourseWare on Flickr  and a second more detailed figure also by MIT OpenCourseWare on Flickr:

4745487755_664668de2d_z.jpg

The Internet is for Cats

Two cats lounging indoors

Finally, a real opportunity to add more cats to the internet! In the Curator module, the Consider This activity asks me to used different search opportunities to find a picture. I am going to use two methods using four sites.

Method 1: Collections of Free to Use Photos

The first method involves using collections of usable free pictures. Here is what I found using the terms cats and cuddling on Unsplash. Out of 59 pictures I scrolled through to find this one, only 14 had cats and most, only one cat:

wayne-low-477098-unsplash

Photo by Wayne Low on Unsplash

Using the same terms on Pixabay, I found lots of cats!

cats-277116_640

Photo by pogo_mm on Pixabay

Finally, on Pexels, I found lots of cat pictures, but not a lot of cuddling. I had to scroll a long time to find one matching what I was looking for but boy, they were beautiful photos!

adorable-animal-animal-photography-1034832

Photo by Ninz from Pexels

Method 2: Google Search

For the Google search, I will begin by searching for cats and cuddles with advanced setting for free to use or share photos. Rather than just save the image. I prefer to visit the site and check that I am free to use the photo. Google can be wrong. My search took me to a photo on Wikimedia Commons.

Cuddles

By Safina dhiman [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Finally, for the Google search method, I did an image search on the Featured Image for this blog post which is a photo that I took of two of my cats, Lily and Pooshka.

20180520_102627
Lily & Pooshka Photo by Irene Stewart

Here to, I changed the usage rights to filter for reuse and found this photo:

pixnio cats

Public domain photo from Pixnio

While taking my own pictures is always an option, the photos available under Creative Commons and Public Domain are certainly of a better quality. As I learn more about my options, finding appropriate photos is becoming easier.

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