Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prof Makes Web Distractions Part of Class

One big complaint about bring-your-own-device (BYOD) learning is the distraction the devices cause. A professor at the University of Pennsylvania is trying to find out just what is possible from that sort of distraction.

“Wasting Time on the Internet” is a creative writing seminar where students will be required to divide their classtime between the Internet and the classroom. Kenneth Goldsmith wants his students to be distracted in hopes they will be inspired to write something particularly creative by the end of the term.

“Creative writing and art is the place where you get to try out … things that might seem a little bit outrageous,” Goldsmith told The Washington Post. “Isn’t that what an undergraduate education is, really? It sounds like a perfect undergraduate class to me.”

Goldsmith admitted he isn’t sure what sorts of writing he will get from his students, but he does have some experience with unusual teaching methods. He has taught “Uncreative Writing” at Penn for years, a class in which students must plagiarize other works to complete assignments.

“Once you take away the forbidden fruit, then they shift their orientation and view it as a creative exercise,” Goldsmith said.

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