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Episode One (1) -- April 15, 2020
Remote Education in the Digital Age
Since the dawn of the digital age, Remote Education has been used as an alternative way for colleges and universities to be able to reach a student population who are unable to attend in-person classes at a physical location. Many students availed themselves of online classes as a break from the traditional classroom experience, or to better fit in with their busy work/home schedules. Some professors and students eschewed these kinds of virtual classrooms, preferring a more interpersonal environment of the physical classroom. All that changed with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus upon the global stage. Entire colleges and universities shifted to a remote education paradigm practically overnight. Much of the world's office workers and professionals had to familiarize themselves with teleconferencing software such as Zoom, WebEx, or Google Hangouts. Work-from-Home became the new normal, and homeschooling supplanted public education. How has this professional and pedagogical upheaval affected the educational process, and the ways that we think about Higher Education? Join Craig Anderson and Linda Cifelli, as they discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything we know about education.
Episode Two (2) -- April 17, 2020
Since the invention of the Internet, the amount of information publicly available to human beings seems to be growing exponentially by the minute. In the past, this information was curated by journalists, scientists, and educators. The democratization of information by the World Wide Web has placed everyone on an even playing field, and created a reality in which we are saturated by information from loud and conflicting sources. Athough the term "Fake News" has arisen as a way of describing any news that disagrees with one's own worldview; but the larger scope of fraud and disinformation has become a very real threat to the socio-political dialogue on the world's stage. How do we understand the impact of Fake News upon higher education and scholarly research? How can we avoid our own biases when trying to discern the truth about an issue that affects us personally? Join Craig Anderson and Linda Cifelli as they tackle this complicated issue.
Episode Three (3) -- April 22, 2020
Earth Day at the Learning Commons
The first Earth Day was held in 1970, when millions of Americans participated in protests in a collective effort to raise their voices against the impact of pollution on the environment. The first Earth Day preceded passage of such U.S. environmental laws as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency was established at the end of that year. Earth Day is still "celebrated" around the world on April 22nd of each year. At Kean University, the "Blue Goes Green" initiative launched in 2008 heralded Kean's adoption of numerous "eco-friendly" practices, including the use of bio-degradable food containers in the dining halls and print management efforts to limit the amount of paper used in campus computer labs. Kean's Learning Commons currently implements a number of environmentally friendly practices in an effort to support the university's continued dedication to protecting our planet and its resources. Join Craig Anderson, and Linda Cifelli as they discuss this topic.
Episode Four (4) -- April 24, 2020
Virtual & Augmented Realities
Ever since the birth of video games and computer storytelling, people have wondered what it would be like to live and play inside of a computer simulation. In 1938, French playwright Antonin Artaud wrote a book called "The Theatre and it's Double", which coined the term "Virtual Reality". The 1982 movie Tron by Disney Pictures imagine a world in which someone could enter the video game world, and the 1984 novel Neuromancer by William Gibson practically invented the Cyberpunk genre with its depiction of users who plug themselves into "cyberspace" to hack online databases. Until recently, many forms of virtual reality has involved clunky helmets and controllers just to place someone in a limited reality of low-grade graphics. But with the popularity of systems such as Oculus Rift and Playstation VR more people are discovering virtual worlds and online environments. How can these exciting tools be used to enhance education and learning? How immersive will this technology become? Can we ever know that we're not living in a simulation right now? Join Linda Cifelli, and Craig Anderson as they explore these questions on this episode.
Episode Five (5) -- April 30, 2020
Learning Commons Support for Finals Week
While it is hard to believe that we are already approaching Finals Week for the Spring 2020 semester, it is important that Kean students know that, even though they are working remotely, they do not need to "go it alone" in their efforts to ace their exams, papers, and presentations. As we are approaching Exam Week, let's take a few moments to consider the various services available to Kean students through the Learning Commons. Let's discuss options for students working from remote locations to connect with librarians for research consultations, with tutors for exam preparation and maximization of study skills, with writing coaches for feedback on papers you've written, and with public speaking coaches for suggestions on improving your presentations. Join Linda Cifelli, and Craig Anderson as they consider ways that students can put in their best final efforts to close out the semester.
Episode Six (6) -- May 6, 2020
Reading and Viewing for Fun: Learning Commons Resources as Stress-Busters
Kean University students think of the Learning Commons as the place where they can get academic support and research support. They can consult with reference librarians who can help them with their research and with tutors who can help them with their study skills, writing skills, and public speaking skills. The Learning Commons website is the gateway to the Kean's library resources, like books, ebooks, articles, and more. However, student might be surprised to discover that they can also access resources through the Learning Commons that can help them take a break from their studying and writing. For instance, at the end of the Fall 2019 semester, the Commuter Resource Center, within the walls of the Learning Commons, hosted events like pet therapy and yoga sessions. Even though we are all working remotely as we close out the Spring 2020 semester, what services and resources can students utilize to calm their nerves, ease anxiety, and re-energize? Join Linda Cifelli, and Craig Anderson as they discuss how the Learning Commons and its library resources can support your well-being, even beyond your coursework.
Episode Seven (7) -- May 6, 2020
Graphic Novels and Comic Books as Serious Literature
The reading and enjoyment of graphic novels, comic books, and sequential art has long been dismissed as at best, a frivolous pursuit; and at worst, the subject of petty juvenalia. It is true that many early comic books were simply mass-market collections of commercial newspaper “funnies”. Since the early 1970s, however, comics and graphic novels have explored adult genres and literary themes carrying much more gravitas than simple illustrations from the funny pages. As the societal stigma toward reading comics and graphic novels continually decreases, the exploration of these types of media for serious scholarly study becomes more and more relevant in a university setting. But how can graphic novels be used to explore sophisticated themes, adult situations, and complex storylines? Join Linda Cifelli, and Craig Anderson; as they explore the ways in which comic books and graphic novels stand up to serious scholarly scrutiny.
Episode Eight (8) -- May 8, 2020
Career Exploration Information from the Learning Commons
Kean University students look to Kean's Office of Career Services to help them decide on a career, secure internships, prepare for interviews, and get hired for jobs in their chosen fields. The Career Services team also provides essential resume-critique and mock-interview services. During the current uncertain job climate created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Office of Career Service continues to help students remotely with their career journeys. Students should always make sure that they connect with the career experts in the Office of Career Services, even as early as their first year at Kean. Students might be surprised to learn that the library resources available through Kean's Learning Commons could also supplement the information that they can access through Career Services, especially when it comes to preparing for job interviews or exploring various careers. Join Craig Anderson, and Linda Cifelli as they discuss how the Learning Commons and its library resources can support your career exploration.