Peer Review

Since the more conventional academic publications have changed and online publishing isbecoming more common within academia, consequently, other methods to review and evaluate different academic publications are needed; a “more open mode of publishing requires an open mode of review.” In this first chapter, the traditional peer review system is problematized and Fitzpatrick questions if this system really works the way it is supposed to.

The author narrates from a historical point of view how the peer review method originated during the 17th Century censorship by elite societies such as the Royal Society of London: peer review acted as “a quality control system” allowing the state to control and distribute what they considered “knowledge.” Nowadays, academia has taken over this method/system, keeping it alive and disseminating what academics acknowledge as “scholarship.”

In her critique, she points out how the anonymity of reviewers in this traditional system allows them to have “power without responsibility,” at the same time as the author is excluded of the process. In her proposal, peer-to-peer review, she argues for a more open conversation in the review process in which not just the reviewers but also the author has a voice and participates actively. However, I wonder if allowing this type of shift into the review system will or could change the impact and relevance of academic publications. In other words, how is this public conversation helping academic publications be accessible to a broader audience? If these conversations are still happening within small academic circles, even if more publications are done and accessible online, the “knowledge/scholarship” is distributed to a small and specific audience.

| | | Next → |

Wikipedia and its possibilities

One of the first things that caught my attention when I started the Wikipedia training, and that I have been thinking about since then, is that this project is only working within the United States and Canada (you can contact the Wikipedia Foundation to ask about local resources if you are not within these territories).

Since Wikipedia is accessible worldwide, this made me think about the many possibilities of collaboration (also taking into account this week’s readings) that would be easily attainable if this project extends. For example, the neutrality aspect, one of the five guiding Wikipedia principles, would be achieved by having multiple, and more diverse perspectives; students around the world could offer their viewpoints and provide enriching contributions. I also think that it would be very useful and challenging for students to collaborate with students from different nationalities, and it would be very beneficial to develop critical thinking skills.

Regarding the list of courses that are using Wikipedia, I was surprised by the shortage of translation and language content courses. I definitely hope to be able to use Wikipedia in my Spanish Heritage class next spring semester. The case studies offered by the training are very illustrative and they give us explicit ideas of how it works. Since some of us teach requirement courses where we have to cover specific material, I think that Wikipedia assignments (3-4 weeks assignments) can be easily integrated and built within the required content/syllabus.

How to improve your students’ writing/learning experience

Writing assignments have always caused me many struggles, not only as a student but also as a teacher. Personally, I had to learn how to write academically in English and Spanish (two completely different worlds), so I am aware of the challenge when I am assigning and responding to my students’ writing.

I find that students enrolled in language classes benefit greatly from low stakes writing; having a blog for the class where students contribute on a weekly basis with their ideas and thoughts about many and different topics covered in class (identity, language, ethnicity, etc.) allows them to freely participate and get actively involved. However, I think that the high stake writings are more challenging. I find it useful to elaborate the rubrics as a whole class and assign two drafts before the final version is due. How many drafts do your students submit before the final version? What techniques do you use to improve your students’ writing? On the other hand, I have attended several workshops and read about peer feedback in class. What do you think about it? Does it work with your students? I have tried to integrate it into my class several times but I have not been successful.

Language classes, as many other subjects, are a requirement for College students in which grammar based pedagogy does not have room for critical thinking. Students’ expectations and department policies restrain instructors and adjuncts to use different methodologies – a final common exam must be distributed to all the sections. What can we do to improve our students’ learning experience?

| | | Next → |

Provocation: How the University Works / How does United States Works (Bousquet)

As someone relatively new to the American education system, I am always disconcerted about the corporative treatment of higher education institutions in this country and how politically motivated they are (including public and privates universities).

While this article has been very descriptive as well as critical about the current situation we are facing, I am missing (and I am not sure if it is because the unfamiliarity with the entire background) what type of collaborative action / unionization processes can solve these problems. I feel like there is a need for a more detailed description of the activist movement that Bousquet is looking for when he states “your problem is my problem”: How can student unions get organizational assistance / support to be successful if it does not come from the tenure faculty? What are the alternatives? How it can really work?

I am aware that being at CUNY has given me a specific point of view (and a very narrow perspective) of how the university works in the States. However, just imagining a “renovated future” (even if it an almost impossible future to believe) where only 25% of university staff is non-tenure track faculty (instead of the current 75%), does this future include a coming back to a system where only middle and upper classes had access to the University? What about institutions, i.e. Community Colleges, that serve low-income students? (Being Bousquet a “product” from the CUNY system – City College).