Friday, December 5, 2008

Brain A is listening to a class. / Brain B is working on the web.

How best to use electronic [internet accessible] media materials for instructional purposes

by John Freed, Ph.D.

University College of Chapman University

Walnut Creek Campus

  1. Be very contextual with the material clearly relating it to a specific learning objective for the class.
  2. Be highly selective about the quality of the material itself. Do your homework about the reliability of the particular source for the material as well as the content of the material. Produce your own electronic materials when appropriate from other less accessible media.
  3. Be sure to critically question all virtual authority (Wikipedia case in point vs. Encyclopedia). A very specific assignment focused on this very issue should be incorporated early on with the actual use of an electronically accessible source. [Point out the essential difference between what a university library collects and distributes and what the internet gathers and provides open access to.]
  4. Be very specific and current with the actual hyperlinks that you provide. The goal should be direct connection with a single click. Check them out personally immediately before you direct students to them.
  5. Be sure to supply the “So What” epilogue to the exercise.
  6. Be sure to provide a re-accessible [asynchronous] environment for everything above. This invites an opportunity for review, reflection and later synthesis of the learning. This environment might part of a course-specific BlackBoard site or a more generally accessible professional blog.
  7. Be sure to expand the common-wealth of resources by contributing as well as borrowing – (join a viral academic community such as Rice University’s Connexions or iTunes University or post your own professional blog linked to iTunes or not [CF . Google’s blog creation site --].

Examples Sheet for Instructional Uses of Electronic Resources

1. The Open-Access Instructional Resource project at Rice University:

a. Richard Baraniuk: “Goodbye, textbooks; hello, open-source learning”:

b. Rice University’s Connexions: Sharing Knowledge and Building Learning Communities:

2. Example of Electronic Primary Sources:

Ian Johnston’s The Iliad and links to other class primary resources:

and Ian Johnston’s Translation of Homer’s Iliad reviewed on NPR:

3. Example of a Professor’s Professional Blog – (Expanding instruction beyond the classroom) such as this one.

4. Second Language Learning and Free University Courses:

  1. LiveMocha Free Language Courses: [This site can also be used to refresh learning of Standard English as well as connecting globally to other English Language Learners.]

  1. BBC Spanish Course:

  1. BBC Chinese Course:

  1. General Language Resources:

  1. English as a Second Language Remediation:

5. Guide to University College of Chapman Library Resources:

6. Ubiquitous Web Search Engine and Google Resources such as News, Books, Scholar, etc.

7. All Purpose Developmental Writing Tutorials

a. for Non-Purdue Instructors and Students:

b. for use with Diana Hacker’s Handbook

8. APA (American Psychological Association) Documentation and Style Guide (fifth edition):

9. Academic Integrity (How to avoid Plagiarism):

10. Mathematics / Statistics:

a. Mathematics Tutorials from Beginning Algebra through College Algebra and GRE prep:

b. Basic Statistics (MATU 203)


11. Miscellaneous Microsoft Office Tutorials:

a. MS Word Tutorial:

b. PowerPoint Tutorial:

c. Excel Tutorials:


12. Free alternatives to Microsoft Office software applications.

a. Open Office:

b. Google Docs:

13. Other Free College Course Materials:

14. Study Skills and Adjustment to College:

Final Note: This listing of open-access electronic resources was prepared co-operatively by Chapman University College’s Division of Arts and Science under the project coordination of John Freed. If anyone has any comments on the usefulness of the material here or suggestions for adding other material, please direct them to Dr. Freed at

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lera Boroditsky

Listen to a conversation about the inter-relationships between world languages and human thinking

From Stanford University’s

Entitled Opinions

Host Robert Harrison

Tuesday, November 4, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm, 2008
Guest host Joshua Landy in conversation with Lera Boroditsky about language and thought.

Lera Boroditsky

Listen to the show

Click here for instructions on downloading and listening

JOSHUA LANDY is Associate Professor of French at Stanford University. He has written Philosophy as Fiction: Self, Deception, and Knowledge in Proust (Oxford, 2004) and has edited, with Thomas Pavel and Claude Bremond, Thematics: New Approaches (SUNY, 1994). This is his first appearance as host of Entitled Opinions. He was a guest of the show in 2005, discussing Marcel Proust with Robert Harrison.

LERA BORODITSKY is an assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience, and symbolic systems at Stanford University. Dr. Boroditsky grew up in Minsk in the former Soviet Union. After earning a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Stanford in 2001, she served on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences before returning to a faculty position at Stanford. She also runs a satellite laboratory in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Boroditsky’s research centers on the nature of mental representation and how knowledge emerges out of the interactions of mind, world, and language. One focus has been to investigate the ways that languages and cultures shape human thinking. To this end, Boroditsky’s laboratory has collected data around the world, from Indonesia to Chile to Turkey to Aboriginal Australia. Her research has been widely featured in the media and has won multiple awards, including the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and the Searle Scholars award.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Teaching Philosophy – Newly Revised

As part of a senior administrator application process, I was required recently to expound upon my “Teaching Philosophy” in a short essay. Thank goodness for old hard-drives and a compulsion to back-up files. And voila! Up came “My Teaching Philosophy” written some fifteen years ago in another state. A few nips and tucks and then back to other work.

What I wasn’t prepared for was that in this self-reflection I would see a very different teacher’s face looking back at me. Instead of time tested, knock ‘em dead print and lecture materials that I’d used for more than ten years, I saw dynamic electronic resources plucked from the infinite treasure trove freely accessible through Google.

Instead of stage worthy performance virtuosity, I saw facilitations of the expertise of my students and worldwide collegial partnerships through such agencies as Rice University’s “Connexions” project ( and AsiaNetwork ( Instead of reaching dozens of students per year at my brick and mortar site, I was reaching hundreds of students by re-authoring my classes and transforming them to an on-line modality.

Instead of building fresh neuronal networks in new-to-college students, I was helping older, returning students restructure their denser neuronal networks into different patterns. My earlier Socratic classroom dramaturgy had mellowed to one that allowed both my students and me more time for consideration, genuine dialogue and changes of mind.

Although the “how I teach” has evolved significantly over the years, the “what I teach” relative to the primacy of the liberal arts really hasn’t changed. No matter what the subject, I still emphasize that nearly all contemporary human problems are more failures of imagination, introspection, observation, analysis/interpretation, common sense, cultural memory, integrity, moral outrage, courage to act, or compassion rather than insufficiencies of material means to solve them. And that the ability to absorb, critique and construct new knowledge is our best indicator of truly college-educated individuals. These are the competencies that engagement with the liberal arts provide. I fully agree with Cicero who said over two thousand years ago, "Not to have knowledge of what happened before you were born, is to be condemned to live your life as a child."

The three most significant indicators of my evolution as a teacher over the last fifteen years are 1) to write a “Lecture Epilogue” delivered to the student electronically a week after each class answering the “So what?” questions and including students’ contributions; 2) to focus on “learning by doing” by spending less time on what I am going to say in class and more time on imagining what the students could do to apply their prior learning and demonstrate their understanding of the material -- to become the change that I was envisioning; and 3) to project the learning beyond the classroom by maintaining an ongoing professional blog for my current and former students as well as my colleagues. This “Common-wealth: Art, Media and Western Culture” blog is my way of doing just that --

I also believe that every college class is a writing and critical thinking class and that every college teacher needs to model the highest level of effective communication. Monitoring those ends I wrote the expository writing-across-the-curriculum rubrics that appear on every University College course syllabus template and distribute to all my students and colleagues a brief writer’s guide I wrote entitled “A Survivor’s Guide to College Writing.” As an unsolicited endorsement, my son who had just completed his masters degree in education maintained it was the single most important tool that got him through. Should anyone like a distributable copy, just e-mail me at, and I’ll attach it in reply.

In this brave, new, electronically networked world we’re permitted to act more like teammates than competitors.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Do facts have a built in spin?

It is very enlightening to compare the “truth telling” websites “Accuracy in the Media” ( ) --

and “Media Matters for America” ( --

Question for the day:

Can you figure out which rolls on a liberal bias and which on a conservative one?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Write Your Novel on a Cellphone During Your Commute

Here is a lesson for all us great writer/excusers.

Rin, 21, tapped out a novel on her cellphone that sold 400,000 copies in hardcover.

She wrote her novel while commuting to her part-time job.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't Waste -- Create

photo -- J. Freed
(click on photo to enlarge)

from a Re-Greening the Earth project
at Crissy Field on the San Francisco Bay

Monday, August 11, 2008

Celebration of the Life of Aspasia

painting by Aspasia Neophytos-Richardson
(click on image to enlarge)

Husband Steven and daughter Celine held a moving event that celebrated the life and love of Aspasia on August 10th at Oakland's Lake Merritt Garden Center.

My Chapman Colleague and Friend
Aspasia Neophytos-Richardson

Click here for more images of Aspasia from Steven's slide show.

"You always spoke our languages and made us dance."

photo by J. Freed
(click on image to enlarge)

"Dance for Aspasia"

Friday, August 1, 2008

Free College-Level On-line Courses

(This is a fabulous resource for free
college-level instruction.)

Introduction to Open-Access Instructional Resources

Sample Issue of "Educational Technology"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From the MFA show in San Francisco

I spent the Memorial day weekend in the city and came across the graduate MFA show for the San Francisco Art Institute at Fort Mason. Here are four of the images that caught my eye:

Click on the image to enlarge it.
You Are Your Label.

Click on the image to enlarge it.
Short Cut to a New You

Click on the image to enlarge it.
Matisse in Tiny Clay Figures

Click on the image to enlarge it.
Abstract San Francisco

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Goodbye, textbooks; hello, open-source learning from the TED Conference in Monterey, CA

Richard Baraniuk from Rice University on the Open-Resource Instructional Revolution:

For a link to the talk itself click on TED.

For direct access to Rice University's Open-Resources click on Connexions and share the common-wealth of higher education instruction.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Women Artists Strike Back

[click on image to enlarge]
This is a poster from a recent protest held in Shanghai , China.

For the Rest of the Story
Link to Guerrilla Girls

Sunday, April 6, 2008

SF Outsider Art

photo - S. Alexander
[click on image to enlarge]
San Francisco
Outsider Art

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Zagar on Zagar I

photo- J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
Isaiah Zagar at work in Oakland

Our congratulations to Jeremiah Zagar whose documentary of his father, Isaiah, has just received the Emerging Visions Audience Award from the SXSW Film Festival. "Over the past four decades, artist Isaiah Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals. "In A Dream" is a documentary feature film that chronicles his work and his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Julia. It follows the Zagars as their marriage implodes and a harrowing new chapter in their life unfolds."

For more information about the film click In a Dream.

Julia and Isaiah are our friends.

Zagar on Zagar II

Here is a genuine Isaiah Zagar Mural
in Oakland, CA

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hindu Monkey Gods -- My Mood Today

[click on image to enlarge]
from the current
New York Arts of Pacific Asia Show
Gramercy Park Armory

Thursday, March 20, 2008

DVD – Double Feature Film Pick of the Week

A Julie Delpy Diptych

For the American and French views on relationships compare Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" with Julie Delpy's own directorial debut "2 Days in Paris." They're both smart and entertaining.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stanley Fish and the Neo Know-Nothings

Stanley Fish, the cynical curmudgeon of higher priced education, offered this feeble response in a recent New York Times op-ed piece to the question, “Of what use are the humanities?” Fish concluded, “The only honest answer is none whatsoever. . . . The humanities are their own good.”

I was so angry at his thoughtlessness that I wrote a whole new preamble for my section in the Chapman University College Catalog about why studying the humanities is so vital to perpetuating the very things that make us most human.

Here is what I wrote for Stanley and the semi-literate children who are currently mismanaging our potentially great nation.

Nearly all contemporary human problems are more failures of imagination, observation, analysis, interpretation, communication, common sense, integrity, courage to act, faith, compassion or introspection than insufficiencies of material means to solve them. These are the areas of competency addressed and developed in the study of the humanities. Literary critic Harold Bloom recently asked, "Where can wisdom be found?" Cicero answered him almost two thousand years before: "Not to have knowledge of what happened before you were born, is to be condemned to live your life as a child."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hayden White from Stanford on Why the Humanities

Dr. Robert Harrison's "Entitled Opinions on Life and Literature" is broadcast weekly on
Stanford Radio and available for Mp3 downloads.

The following link is to a very insightful conversation on the importance of the study of the humanities between professors -- Robert Harrison and Hayden White: "On the Vocation of the Humanities."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Candidates' Debate

art piece - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]

The Candidates' Debate

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Lyric Poem from Kyoto

A Post-Card from Kyoto at Rush Hour

A perverse calm even at rush hour

even from battalions of uniformed teens

fearful of awakening warlord emperors

At the Pink Bunny Cafe, a pastel blue

elephant stylized into a ball

wraps around a raspberry bear

Old women squashed

into the shape of a Z

cross the streets glazed with rain

One thousand and one gold lacquered

radiantly female images of Kannon

have manifested erect for 733 years

Another wooden temple so vast

only rope braided from women's hair

could have dragged its enormous beams

A glass geometrical monolith

vaster than Blade Runner's

imagined future contains

The panther train

eager to carry me back to Osaka

leaving maybe a moved pebble at Rengeo-in garden.

poem - J. Freed

Friday, March 7, 2008

Theatrical Film Pick of the Week


To make you feel relieved that you do not live in Buffalo, NY,
or anywhere along I-90 for that matter, watch "Savages."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Silver Palm

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
Silver Palm in San Diego

Three Poems by Carilda Oliver Labra

One of my students introduced me to this fabulous Cuban-born, lyric poet -- Carilda Oliver Labra.

Eve's Discourse

Today, I brutally greet you
with a grunt
or a kick.
Where are you hiding,
where have you fled with your wild box
full of hearts,
and your stream of gunpowder?
Where are you now;
in the ditch where all dreams are finally tossed,
or in the jungle's spidery web
where fatherless children dangle?

I miss you,
you know I do--
as myself
or the miracles that never happen--
you know I do?
I'd like to entice you with a joy I've never known,
an imprudent affair.

When will you come to me?
I'm anxious to play no games,
to confide to you: "my life"--
to let thunder humble us
to let oranges pale in your hand.
I want to search your depths
and find veils
and smoke,
that will vanish at last in flame.

I love you truly
but innocently
as the transparent enchantress of my thoughts,
but, truly, I don't love you,
though innocently
as the confused angel that I am.
I love you,
but I don't love you.
I gamble with these words
and the winner shall be the liar.
Love!. . .
(What am I saying? I'm mistaken,
because here, I wanted to write, I hate you.)
Why won't you come to me?

How is it possible
you let me pass by without requiting our fire?
How is it possible you're so distant, so paranoid
that you deny me?
You're reading the newspapers
passing through
and life.
You're with your problems
of groans and groin,
entertaining yourself with an aspiration to mourning.
Even though I'm melting you,
even though I insult you,
bring you a wilted hyacinth
approve your melancholy;
call forth the salt of heaven,
stitch you into being:
When are you going to murder me with your spit,
When are you going to overwhelm me again beneath the rain?
When are you going to call me your little bird,
your whore?
When are you going to profane me?
Beware time that passes,
Not even your ghosts appear to me now,
and I no longer understand umbrellas?
Every day, I become more honest with myself,
magnificently noble. . .
If you delay,
if you hesitate and don't search for me,
you'll be blinded;
if you don't return now,
infidel, idiot, dummy, fool,
I'll count myself nothing.

Yesterday, I dreamt that while we were kissing,
a shooting star exploded
and neither of us gave up hope.

This love of ours
belongs to no one;
We found it lost,
in the street.
Between us we saved it, sheltered it.
Because of that, when we swallow each other
in the night,
I feel like a frightened mother left
It doesn't matter,
kiss me again and over again
to come to me.
Press yourself against my waist,
come to me again;
be my warm animal again,
move me, again.
I'll purify my leftover life,
the lives of condemned children.

We'll sleep like murderers
who've saved themselves
by bonding together in incomparable blossoming.
And in the morning when the rooster crows,
we will be nature, herself.
I'll appear like your child asleep in her cradle.

Come back to me, come back,
penetrate me with lightening,
Bend me to your will.
We'll turn the record player on forever.
Bring me that unfaithful nape of your neck,
the blow of your stone.
Show me I haven't died,
my love, and I promise you the apple.

My Mother You Are in a Letter from Miami

My mother, you're only in a letter
and in an old scolding that I couldn't find;
stay here forever in the center
of a blooming rose that never dies.

My Mother, so far away, tired
of snow and mist. Wait, I'm coming
to bring you home to live with the sun inside you,
My Mother, who lives in a letter.

You can give a date to mystery,
that would blend with bewitching shadows;
you can be the stone rolled away,
you can evaporate the circles under your eyes;
but remember, your small daughter, Mother.
Don't dare to do all you can do; don't die.

The Boy Who Sells Greens

You have no parents; it’s clear...I know
because of your indecisive look.
I can tell because of your shirt.

You are small but grown up behind the basket.
You respect the sparrows. A penny is enough for you.

The people pass dressed inside with steel.
They don't listen to you...You have shouted
two or three times: "Greens!"

They pass indifferently carrying packages and umbrellas;
in new pants and new yellow blouses;

They walk in a hurry toward the bank and the tedium
or toward the sunset through Main Street. . .
And you're not selling: you do the game of selling;
and although you never played, it comes to you without trying...

But don't get close to me; no, child, don't talk with me.
I don't want to see the site of your probable wings.

I found you this morning around the courthouse,
and what a blow your unhappy innocence has given me!

My heart which was an urn of illusion
is now like wilted greens, like no heart.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Some Great Downloadable Short Fiction

Download some great Mp3 short fiction from The New Yorker.
[right click on DOWNLOAD for the story you want
and choose "Save target as. . ." to your Desktop]

And Now for Something Completely Different

For some really intelligent conversations to download to your Ipod or MP3 Player:

Professor Robert Harrison’s Podcasts from Stanford University:
[click on the show you want from the far left column
then right click on "Download the Show"
and choose "Save Link as. . ." to your Desktop]

Monday, March 3, 2008

DVD Film of the Week

I highly recommend "Paris, Je T'aime" for your next DVD film experience.

Other Sculptures in La Jolla MCASD

Niki de St. Phalle

photos - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]

You are what you wear.

From the Sculpture Garden in La Jolla's MCASD.

Goldsworthy Egg in La Jolla

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
An Andy Goldsworthy Stone Egg in La Jolla

Art from my Vacation in San Diego

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
Growing Goldsworthy in San Diego

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lost Caravaggio Found

[click on image to enlarge]
The Taking of Christ (1603) - Michelangelo Caravaggio
(artist's self-portrait holding lamp extreme right corner)

Here is the story of how this lost Caravaggio was found: The Taking of Christ.
A Post Card from San Diego's Black Beach

Cactus grows leeward.

Naked bodies lie
random and sexless as birds
while the ocean's yeasty arms rush my shoes.

Five pelicans ascend with
the cliff's quick lift
into the child's idea of a squadron.

A pair of Navy jets erupt like steam from a cappuccino machine
heading out low over the Pacific;
wing tips nearly touch like sprinting lovers.

poem - J. Freed

Fafnir, the Dragon Metaphor

Wagner's Siegfried Kills the Dragon, Fafnir
by Arthur Rackham

Siegfried kills Fafnir, the man transmogrified by his selfish greed into the hideous guarding dragon, and liberates the wealth of the gods so that it gets re-distributed freely to his tribe. The poet of Beowulf narrates a similar story.

In our modern rendition, for “Siegfried/Beowulf” read “you, me and Google."

For greedy "dragons" read "textbook publishers and movie production companies."

For "wealth” read “open access intellectual and artistic works” from such sites as Art Museum Networks of the World, Internet Archive and the myriad of others that I will post in future blogs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

photo - J. Freed

Michelangelo's Modern Man

HAMLET: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

taken from the very "best" open-access resource for this and all of Shakespeare's plays --

Caution: Critical Thinking May Be Hazardous to Your Patriotism.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]

Warming Hut -- Golden Gate Bridge

Saturday, February 23, 2008

College Teaching in the Universe of Web 2.0

1. Listen to the speech, “Goodbye, Textbooks. Hello, Open-Source Learning,” given by Richard Baraniuk, a Rice University Professor, at the 2006 TED Conference in Monterey, CA:

2. Exemplar Extraordinaire: Conducting Historical Research: The Case of "Oriental Cairo":

Start »

Summary: This course guides you through how to conduct historical research by conducting a case study on Douglas Sladen's "Oriental Cairo: City of the 'Arabian Nights'" (1911), a work included in the Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA). It introduces some standard research techniques used by historians, such as establishing a subject's biography and placing a work in context, and it also explores how to use library resources such as online catalogs and databases.

Rice University instructors and course web page: David Getman and Paula Sanders: Course Web page.

James' Faith

video - Stacy Alexander

My Friend James

I have my students carefully listen to and transcribe what James has to say in this video and answer the question whether he or they have a greater "faith in the Lord."

Jesus - homeless and

content - on the street

Oakland, California.

poem - J. Freed