The Fishbowl task in the classroom

I have been thinking a lot about class participation since so many forms of it require students to be self motivated to be actively engaged. So, I looked up to get some ideas from McKeachie (2006) and came across what he calls the “Fishbowl” method (p. 48). In it, the class is divided into a smaller group and a larger group. Then the larger group observes the participation of the smaller group.
I also found a more structured version of the fishbowl activity online where students are graded for observing and participating.  There appear to be a plethora of links online to more structured variations.  I wonder if it could be effective with less structure.  Perhaps not rearranging the chairs but instead having smaller groups of observers and those being observed throughout the class.  For example, could a group of three be observed by a group of three.  Then the class split up that way.

I haven’t found any comments online on the effectiveness of this technique or its variations but I am interested how well it could be routinely and effectively implemented or if it is limited by the very structure it imposes.

McKeachie, W. J. (2006). McKeachie’s teaching tips: strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (12th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Screencasting example correcting a student writing assignment

Here is a screencast ESL example of an instructor using a screencast for correcting grammar on a writing assignment.

I found this in the article, “Show me!  Enhanced Feedback Through Screencasting Technology” in the TESL Canada Journal Vol 30 No 1, 2012.

Saving Citations Part II : Zotero

I have been using Zotero for saving my references which is under a general public license so there is no cost to use it.  There are a couple of great features it has.  For one, it can be web accessible for the actual citation but then I can store attachments locally.  Storing attachments locally is great since I can store the article pdf and also my notes with it (e.g. class summary papers I wrote on the article).  Second, I can just enter the ISSN, ISBN or DOI of the article or book and it will enter all the bibliographic information.  Finally, it will export to BibTeX so I don’t have to enter APA article information in my papers (i.e. that is done automatically).

the WERTi project for textual enhancement

Here is a link to WERTi (Working with English Real Texts)

To use it.  Click on the type of English text you want enhanced.  For example, on the left side you can click on articles.  Then select the type of enhancement desired such as highlighting.

Here is an example of a Washington Post technology article: Limit not a word in Apple’s vocabulary

Here is another example from my blog: Unburritable

Although it doesn’t work with every website, it does work with the Washington post website and Word Press blogs.  Thus, if an instructor was keeping a blog with examples for students to read, they could give an un-textually-enhanced link and another one with the textual enhancements.

Here is a presentation with more examples of textual enhancements on the web using WERTi.

Inline APA Bibliography entry in LaTeX

Here’s another inline bibliography example but not using apacite:

The apacite package must be v.6 2012/2 or newer for it to compile correctly.

Below is what the example looks like after it is compiled:

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 7.07.02 PM

For this a bibtex file is needed and the main tex file.  I have included both files below in their entirety.  Just copy and paste them into the appropriately named file and they should compile.  Also, comments are provided to identify the important pieces of information.


% the next two packages are needed for this example.
% bibentry is for the inline bibliography example
% apacite is the package
% Important to use apacite v6.01 [2012/02/25] or possibility newer
% It didn’t work initially for me with an older version
% Below is from the apacite documentation for v6.01 [2012/02/25
% 8.4 bibentry
% bibentry is a package that allows including a complete reference list entry in the text
% (or a footnote, which is arguably more common). Previous versions of apacite were
% incompatible with bibentry, but I believe this has been xed now. However, the
% APA reference format, which uses periods to separate the elements of a reference
% list entry and not commas, does not appear to be very suitable for in-text use,
% so this is most likely only useful for footnotes that do not contain any other text.
% Also note that the nal period of the reference entry is not suppressed.

% The next few lines are to include header information
\lhead{My Name}
\chead{Inline Bib Entries}


% The next line is needed before the inline bibliography
% don’t worry that it says no bibliography.
% A bibliography can still be included later

\section{Inline Bibliography Example}
% command for inline bibliography

% below is included since I don’t have any citations in this document
% if I had citations, I wouldn’t need it.

% My APA bibliography style and then the final bibliography command


%% This BibTeX bibliography file was created using BibDesk.
%% Created for at 2013-01-26 19:02:33 -0600
%% Saved with string encoding Unicode (UTF-8)

Author = {Sample, Person},
Date-Added = {2013-01-27 01:01:59 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2013-01-27 01:01:59 +0000},
Journal = {Journal of Sample},
Month = jul,
Number = {1},
Pages = {71–86},
Title = {This is an article for a sample Bibliography},
Volume = {116},
Year = {2010}}

Author = {Sample, Person2},
Date-Added = {2013-01-27 00:42:36 +0000},
Date-Modified = {2013-01-27 01:02:26 +0000},
Journal = {Journal of Sample},
Month = jul,
Number = {1},
Pages = {71–86},
Title = {This is another article for a sample Bibliography},
Volume = {116},
Year = {2010}}