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Jul 30, 2005 7:37 pm

More Noted Things ...

"The Truth About Abu Ghraib," Washington Post, 29 July, is, I think, simply a must read. When will we gather up our courage, like a free and democratic people, and face this awful truth about our conduct? Thanks to David Adesnik at Oxblog for the tip.

I'm a little hesitant to do this, because the conversations have sprawled all over the place, but as best I can tell the salient discussions of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel take place at:

Cliopatria, cross-posted from Easily Distracted
Frog in a Well
Brad DeLong
Political Animal
Savage Minds: One, Two, Three
The debate has been lively and it's good to see two fine, young academic blogs, Frog in a Well and Savage Minds, at the heart of it.

David Broder,"Harry Potter and Our Forgotten History," Washington Post, 28 July, argues, rightly I think, that the Harry Potter craze is evidence of"the hunger for a compelling narrative" and that historians should meet that hunger with compelling narratives. They ought not be merely celebratory. They ought, like Harry Potter, raise as many questions as they answer. Thanks to David Merkowitz for the tip.

Reading an article about science education, Michael Winerip's"Hello Justice, Hello Fairness: Teachers Discover Ethics Camp," New York Times, 27 July, and my Offences Are Honored: An Open Letter to Vicki Ruiz and Lee Formwalt" suggested to Dr. History that we need to teach the ethics of doing history more thoroughly. The rudimentary warning about plagiarism on the syllabus is necessary, she suggests, but insufficient.

Will Franklin will host History Carnival on Monday 1 August at WILLisms. Send your nominations of the best history posts since 15 July to him at: willisms*at*gmail*dot*com. Cranky Professor will host the inaugural rendition of Carnivalesque as an ancient/medieval festival on Friday 5 August. Please send your nominations of posts that have appeared in the last three months on the period prior to 1450 CE to him at: professor*at*crankyprofessor*dot*com.

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More Comments:

Oscar Chamberlain - 7/31/2005

For in class exam cheating, you need to elminate all electronics, including cell phones and headphones and any sort of cap that pulls down close to the ears (that might hide a headphone). And just announce it day one. They will be more liekly to accept it as business as usual that way.

One thing I have been lax about is 20 ounce soft drink bottles, but the labels cae removed, a crib sheet tucked on the inside and then the label pasted back. The problem is, I like having a coke during the exam.

I do think a signficant percentage of students appreciate the vigilance, even if they get a bit po'd at having to remove their caps.

Jonathan Dresner - 7/31/2005

The good news is that the same training programs we use for airport security screeners can be used for examination proctors....

Ralph E. Luker - 7/30/2005

I think you do, Miriam. The University of Georgia recently lost a football player because, among other things, he was text messaging during an exam.

Miriam Elizabeth Burstein - 7/30/2005

Does this mean I need to include "turn off your cell phones" in my list of pre-exam instructions? Oh, dear.

Ralph E. Luker - 7/30/2005


Van L. Hayhow - 7/30/2005

"cheatist technologies" I hadn't heard that expression before, but I like it. By the way, how does the text messaging work? Are they using cell phones connected to the internet? Or are they using their computers to type the exams and using wirless means to get on the internet for text messaging?

Donald F. Fleming - 7/30/2005

The Washington Post article on Harry Potter and narrative is by David Broder.

Jonathan Dresner - 7/30/2005

Sorry, but the HTML allowed in comments is somewhat limited. You're pretty much stuck with italics for that.

David Timothy Beito - 7/30/2005

We not only need to teach ethics but to keep up with the latest cheatest technologies. A growing problem among students here, for example, is the use of text messaging to cheat.

Sherman Jay Dorn - 7/30/2005

Now, how can HNN not allow the <cite> HTML entity??

Sherman Jay Dorn - 7/30/2005

Of course, this hasn't been the first time that folk have called for something other than the fragmented texts common in K-12. There are a number of good books on the poverty of K-12 history texts, from Frances FitzGerald's <cite>America Revised</cite to Joe Moreau's <cite>Schoolbook Nation</cite>. Pieces of Jon Zimmerman's <cite>Whose America?</cite> and Diane Ravitch's <cite>Thought Police</cite> discuss the blanching of history texts.

The most criminal texts I've seen were designed for students with learning disabilities, having all of the "design elements" recommended (big type, lots of headers, bold-faced terms, and bullet points) and all of the style of your household cardboard cereal box.

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