Recent Comments

March 12, 2014 - 08:38

Thanks for this post. It is interesting to see how plagiarism in the US compares to that in Romania (from Monday's post) by the numbers.

I don't find a great deal of plagiarism in my classes. As you have discussed above, I usually encourage students to build projects that cater to their individual academic interests. For instance, in my introductory writing courses, I assign students to research the kinds of writing they will do in their disciplines or future careers. This includes interviewing someone in their field so that that have a variety of sources. I look over drafts of major writing assignments before they are due so that I can see how they are doing and know that they are not writing the whole paper the night before. I think both of these help students create original work that will be relevant to them after my class.

Anecdotally, when I have caught students plagiarizing, I generally ask them what happened. Most students are honest about what they have done. They usually say that they are over-committed (work, sports, or family commitments got in the way of writing) or they confess that the class is a little beyond what they feel they are capable of. I try to turn these into discussions on budgeting time and seeking out resources. As a grad student, I mostly teach introductory courses. I wonder if plagiarism decreases once students get into advanced course work and graduate work. 

March 12, 2014 - 00:23

This is a really interesting way of thinking about plagiarism and what it means. In my mind I have always considered plagiarism as taking someone's exact words and claiming that they are your own. I realize that is a very basic way of thinking about it but I feel like it one that we need to take into consideration when having this discussion. I think the idea of just copying words full cloth has become so synonymous with plagiarism that it makes it harder to have any other conversations about the idea of taking ideas and not just the words.

You talk about the line between common knowledge and plagiarism and I wonder how much consideration students have for that line. In my mind if I am doing research and I see the same basic concept being discussed everywhere I look I am going to be more inclined to treat it as common knowledge but I would still be weary of not citing things. I feel that our culture has moved so far from the idea of common knowledge and into the realm of capitalistic ownership of ideas that it makes of trigger happy so we feel the need to cite everything even if it doesn't seem to really merit it.

March 10, 2014 - 09:50

Thank you for sharing your study, and I think it's a valuable one for teachers as they work to prevent plagiarism among their students. I found it particularly interesting that one of the main causes behind plagiarism was the level of teacher control. If students felt their teacher wasn't checking their work, they took the opportunity to plagiarize. It makes me wonder whether this was true of students in non-digital teaching contexts (which are rare anymore), or among students before the digital age. Was student plagiarism caused by teacher control in an era when the copy/paste function wasn't available? Teacher control seems to be a variable that isn't entirely connected to digital texts, and I'd be interested to see a comparative study in order to track the impact of digital access to information and the ease of copying.

March 3, 2014 - 11:47

"Our attention-or lack thereof" is a perfect way to introduce this best practice for data visualization. By implementing principles of design like contrast, repetition, etc. as used in more traditional art practices, I think we really can capture the interest of the viewer and help them to better understand the data presented.  This is a really interesting way to look at this process, and to conceptualize how we can mix research with art to be "noticeable, impactful, or memorable." This post has certainly inspired me to look at my data from a narrative view, and to find better ways to catch attention rather than just displaying research. 

March 1, 2014 - 09:22

Your comments actually remind me of my first statistics courses. It was there that I learned that there are graphs and charts better suited to particular kinds of data (none of which was related to the Swiss International Style). We covered similar questions in a course on Visual Rhetoric. I think it is really important to remember how we easy it is to manipulate images and to look for ways that information in privileged in different data visualization. 

February 27, 2014 - 10:18

I love your idea for students to work together across disciplines to fully grasp not only their personal research topics, but also the coding requirements necessary to visually express their research. I feel that a lot of humanities research is lost to those that consider themselves "visual learners" because of the lack of data visualization in the field, but that these tools could help bring humanities research to light in a way that eliminates some of this segregation of departments. From my own limited research alone, I have run into many issues with the organization of my data and how long it takes to search through everything, etc., and I think many early scholars like myself could really benefit from these kinds of tools. I wonder, would it be difficult to train instructors in the Processing programming language so that they can share this knowledge with their students? I think that could also open up new teaching opportunities and be an exciting class that many students would love to take, if it could be offered as such. 

February 26, 2014 - 22:01

What I would really love to see is lots of folks writing more about their process and their methods. That is, lay out some issue they are interested in and then try out various tools and write out what they get from their use of them. That is, have them do some show and tell about what they are getting out of them and share their work for the broader community to respond to and discuss. 

February 24, 2014 - 16:52

Dr. Akdag Salah, I really appreciate this quick introduction to an interesting and unique method of conducting humanities research. I think it's important to explore methods for distilling complex information in ways that will lead to further analysis and communication. 

My immediate question was this: if humanities scholars don't ask about the parameters, what do they ask about first? I thought I might take a guess based on my own reaction: my first thought was that these diagrams ultimately demonstrate hierarchies in the approaches analysts take when examining art. There's a great deal of interpretation at work in the design of a diagram, and the way a diagram is organized says a lot about the assumptions of the designer. Maybe I wonder about that first because I'm located in the humanities; I ponder ways to interpret the diagram itself as a work of art . 

This interdisciplinary reaction to your visualizations reminded me of an article I recently read called "Boundary Objects as Rhetorical Exigence: Knowledge Mapping and Interdisciplinary Cooperation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory" by Greg Wilson and Carl G. Herndl. In it, they identify a boundary object as a "strategy that articulates the work, knowledge, and information produced by a remarkable range of people" (Wilson and Herndl, 2007, p. 134). I see these visualizations as boundary objects, inviting humanities scholars to view their work from scientific perspectives while inviting those in the sciences to apply their studies to humanities subjects. It appears to be an opportunity to apply scientific approaches to art analysis, using diagrams that can be clearly understood by those in the sciences, thereby opening opportunities for interdisciplinary research and analysis. 

February 22, 2014 - 11:18

The subject of maps and cartography and “truths” as relates to visualizing information reminds me of feminist methodologies of remapping histories, theories, and rhetorics, methodologies that call for “recharting the plains, valleys, and borders” of the artifacts we study and the spaces/places that contextualize them as well as the “accounting for all the pockets of as-yet-unaccounted-for activity” (Glenn, 1994). Glenn, of course, talks more specifically of remapping and regendering rhetoric; however, the general notion of maps as a way of exploring and then visualizing concepts transcends metaphorical language when we ask students to use mapping applications to visualize information. And, Chapman gets to the heart of this in the second part of his post. I appreciate his careful acknowledgment of the need to keep in mind the power dynamics and differentials at play when knowledge and information are presented as objective “truths.” As such, asking students to map or visualize data presents an opportune moment for exploring with them notions of truth, objectivity, and authority and power by discussing the potential for coexisting and sometimes competing ways of knowing rather than a need to arrive at a particular truth or even truths. Part of asking students to visualize information asks them to engage in practices of visual rhetoric and should, perhaps, involve asking them to think about the rhetorical power wielded, both wittingly and unwittingly, through the use of these visual tools and the artifacts they produce. Doing so seems the pedagogically sound, even responsible, thing to do. 

Glenn, C. (1994). Sex, lies, and manuscript: Refiguring Aspasia in the history of rhetoric. College Composition and Communication, 45, 180-199.

February 18, 2014 - 16:06

I agree that in many ways we should be having a better conversation about the best practices for this kind of research. A criticism of the digital humanities in general could be the focus on production of new tools and methods over the critical analysis of what those products can do. This stance begs me to ask a question that Kenneth Fitzgerald mentioned on Friday. We create all of these visualizations, but what rhetorical structuring goes into that? If visualization is in many ways a solution looking for a problem, how can we assess some of the assumptions with that solution?