Posted by: karenhcc | August 5, 2011

Lessons on Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty slide 1

PDF of a PowerPoint presentation

Academic Honesty and International Students

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation as a PDF, coming to you from Google docs.

Created by: Danuta Hinc, Lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park


This presentation was originally created by Danuta Hinc for Howard Community College students, but later on adapted for UMD, College Park. 

Teaching academic honesty to international students is a challenge. It needs to take into account not only our globalized world but also the different schools of learning and teaching practiced today.

This Power Point presentation addresses those complex issues  by differentiating between the Western school of Aristotelian Rhetoric and  Eastern Confucianism.  It also explains the proper ways of asking for permissions and explains copyrights honored under US law.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Academic Honesty - Scenarios & Penalties, an activity

Academic Honesty
Scenarios & Penalties –
An Activity

Created by: Elisa Roberson, Assistant Professor at Howard Community College

CORRECTION (03.24.2013): The material in this post (below) was developed by professors Lisa M. Burns and Renée Gravois Lee at Quinnipiac University. The original document from which the text in this post was copied without attribution until today, “50 Ways to Jumpstart Academic Integrity Discussion in Your Class,” is available at this website:

Scenario 1:

Today in class you took an exam. After you leave this class, you are asked about the
content of the exam by a friend who has the same class later today.

Scenario 2:

Your just took a test worth 20% of your grade. After taking the test, you overheard three students bragging about cheating and how well they had done on the test.

Scenario 3:

It is two days before your paper is due and you haven’t started. What are some honest ways to resolve your predicament?

Scenario 4:

Your roommate reviewed your paper and: circled errors, corrected errors, rewrote a few sentences, rewrote several large passages and gave you ideas for how to better construct your argument.
Which of these actions are OK or not? Is collaboration OK?

Academic Integrity
Rank Classroom Misconduct

_________ Signing an attendance sheet for a friend.

_________ Lying about being ill to ask for a make-up exam on a later date.

_________ While writing a required “In Class Essay”, you access your email to retrieve portions of the essay that you wrote and edited at home.

_________ Handing in an English Essay that you purchased online.

_________ Lying about a sick relative to get an extension on a paper.

_________ Saying that your friend’s mother died to justify turning in an assignment late.

_________ Your roommate is making money by writing papers for other people.

_________ A group member is not pulling her/his share of the project weight, but takes credit for the group “A”.

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | June 28, 2011

The 9th Annual Maryland Academic Leadership Conference

On April 29th this year I presented “Using Blogging in English Writing Assignments to Promote Global Competency” at The 9th Annual Maryland Academic Leadership Conference that took place at CCBC.

The main focus of my presentation was on how to use social media/blogging in classrooms to promote better student engagement and, of course, global competency.

The first assignment presented an opportunity to use blogging as a personal inquiry and expression.  In this assignment students are encouraged to explore who they are as individuals and perhaps comment on current events related to the subject.  They can set up personal blogs or form small groups responding in one blog that focuses on matters of personal importance.  These personal blogs are closed to the public and offer access only to those who are either assigned as administrators or selectively invited contributors.  And this is why I cannot refer to any examples for the purpose of this post.

The second assignment presented an opportunity to use blogging as a platform for community engagement.  I have used it in my writing classes as an open forum for my students and guest speakers.  Here is an example of an assignment that involved a guest speaker, Tim Singleton. The comments in this post contain original haiku written by my students in the workshop and responses with suggestions by Tim Singleton.  This assignment was a part of a bigger project, an essay, Defining Freedom and Confinement.

The third assignment offered an opportunity for my students to connect with people from all over the world.  Here is an example where my students exchange ideas of how they understand “Labeling people” with a student from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.  This blogging exchange was a “live” introduction to, again, a bigger project on intercultural similarities and differences discussed in a research project revolving around global issues.

“The people in Baru were as wealthy as any community I have ever known.  They had no cash, but instead they had abundant fresh food, comfortable homes, fantastic views, family and friends, and no stress.  This was paradise.  They had no electricity, and they didn’t need it.  They had a central well for fresh, clean water, and they had plenty of time to fetch it.  Gathering water was a pleasant social event. A few villagers had battery-powered radios, and they could receive faint signals from Cartagena, so they heard the news, but their primary interest was the daily novellas — radio soap operas — not the hard news of political strife, war, and famine in far off places.”

Reading this excerpt from Exhaust the Limits by Charles F. ‘Chic’ Dambachmade me melancholic.  I imagined people with smooth faces, untouched by stress or grievances.  I imagined children running barefoot in a hot summer day.  I imagined old people sitting in a shade and smiling while watching the running children.  I imagined crystal water, pale blue sky and a basket of yellow fruits.  I imagined life lived with accordance to the elements of nature, close to the earth and sky.

And I knew that this paradise is lost for many.  Here is a list of 10 ongoing military conflicts.

And here, according to, are the places you can go to escape global conflict, to experience the paradise enjoyed by the people of Baru.

Charles F. ‘Chic’ Dambach is President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.  He has served as President of the National Peace Corps Association, Operation Respect and other national organizations. He was a national champion athlete and Olympic Game official, and he is an award-winning public speaker. He is a passionate and inspiring advocate for peace.

I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Chic at the 2011 CityLit Festival in Baltimore. Here is a video of the conversation. I will interview Chic in greater length on June 19 and post it on the blog. I hope to learn more about how to end armed conflict and make the world more like Baru.

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | June 1, 2011

Major Assignment for ENGL-084

Created by: Yvette Patton, Instructor at Howard Community College

Major Assignment 1: Most Admired Person

Directions: In this assignment, you will write a paragraph about someone who has had a positive influence on you or on someone whom you admire.  Therefore, you should choose someone who you believe has either had a positive influence on you, on others or both.

  1. Choose a person.
  2. Brainstorm positive characteristics/means of influence of this person—using the planning guide provided.
  3. Narrow to three major means of influence.
  4. Present to the class the person and the three areas of major influence—if possible a picture too.
  5. Be ready to discuss what we all as humans need—look for influences in common.
  6. Write a paragraph starting with one sentence about who the person is and that he or she has influenced you.  Continue your paragraph with three or four sentences describe three ways in which the person has influenced you.  Finish your paragraph with a wrap-up thought regarding this person or how you were changed or how you might change someone else or how people in general can influence people—any new thought but related to the topic sentence.
  7. Be sure your work is in proper MLA format by the final draft.


Primary goal: To learn the basic format for a traditional, American-style paragraph.

Secondary goal: To reflect and learn from others of the differences and especially the similarities we have in our past influences and what we feel is important.


Due dates

February 3: Topic sentence/outline —due in class

February 8: First draft due—end of class

February 10: Revise paragraph—optional draft can be handed in at the end of class

February 15: Re-revise paragraph—draft due by the end of class

February 17: Edit paragraph—final draft due by the end of class

Major Assignment 2: The Narrative Paragraph/Summary


Directions: In this assignment, you will write a paragraph summary of a narrative.

  1. Journal regarding a story from your childhood or a recent moral story.
  2. Listen to various examples of stories with a lesson from around the world—as presented in class by the teacher.
  3. Work together to turn more detailed stories into summaries.
  4. Think of the story of which you wrote in your journal or choose another story (perhaps from folklore).
  5. Try to remember the details of the story you choose—brainstorm by thinking through the story in your mind, writing about it on paper (if you haven’t already) or telling someone else the story.
  6. Write an outline of a summary of that story.
  7. Write a one paragraph summary of that story, bringing together the details into five to seven sentences.
  8. Be sure to have the following three parts to your SUMMARY: A beginning sentence that clear gives readers the basic character(s) and setting; three to five sentences that summarize the story; a final sentence that impacts the readers—either surprises them by the actions at the end or tells them of a character’s future behavior or impression as a result of the experience.  REMEMBER THIS IS NOT SHORT STORY WRITING; YOU SHOULD WRITE A SUMMARY OF A STORY—A SUMMARY OF A NARRATIVE.
  9. Your work may be read to the class—so be sure to have a clear and organized summary.
  10. Be sure your work is in proper MLA format by the final draft.
  11. Please sure time order signals.
  12. Please use at least one compound sentence.
  13. Discuss with the class how stories seem to overlap various countries and cultures, how stories change, how stories serve different purposes in various places, how stories of our childhood may influence our thinking or how our thinking influences our stories.

Primary goal: To learn and practice to write a good summary of the basic events of a narrative.

Secondary goal: To consider the effects our—especially childhood—stories have on us as well as how cultural thinking affects the stories.  Importantly, after considering the details of our own thinking, to consider how other people’s ways of thinking can sometimes be different and that we sometimes take for granted what is “normal.”


Due Dates

February 22: Begin first draft—have at least topic sentence by the end of class.

February 24: Complete first draft by the end of class.

March 1: Revise paragraph—draft two due by the end of class.

March 3: Edit paragraph—final draft of Major Assignment 2 due by the end of class.

Major Assignment 3: World Views and Forming a Topic Sentence

Directions: In this assignment, you will read two viewpoints on a world topic from one of the library databases.  You will then determine your opinion and develop a clear topic sentence.  Then you will write a paragraph based on that topic sentence.

  1. Learn about the topic: Water.
  2. Learn about both sides of the issue: Should water be privatized?
  3. Brainstorm and think through your own opinions on the topic.
  4. Narrow your information to one small arguable point.
  5. Develop a clear topic sentence.
  6. Come up with three facts or reasons to support your topic sentence—make your point.
  7. Your work may be read anonymously to the class—so be sure to have a clear topic sentence and three clear points.
  8. Be sure your work is in proper MLA format by the final draft.
  9. Add in a direct quote–perhaps as a wrap-up statement to give your paragraph greater authority.
  10. If you use a direct quote, be sure to document properly as studied in class.
  11. Be ready to discuss both points of view.
Posted by: Danuta Hinc | June 1, 2011

Going More Global in the Classroom

Going More Global in the Classroom

by Yvette Patton

When Danuta announced at the Fall 2010 ESL “Let’s get going back to work” session that there would be a professional learning group about globalization in the classroom, I was interested right away.  I didn’t know, however, what to expect to discuss, what I would learn nor whether or not I myself could contribute well enough to warrant my attending.  Yet I’ve discovered in my—let’s just say—post-35 time of life that I’ve got to throw myself into certain situations in order to grow.

It was definitely the right decision to join the GLOBAL FPLC.  I have laughed, learned and—I believe—contributed.   I have learned from every single member without a doubt.  Better than caffeine, I have left each meeting mentally stimulated and physically energized.  Most importantly to my own classroom work, being a part of Danuta and Elisa’s Global FPLC has inspired me to revamp my English 084 curriculum to make it more obviously global.  I write now in order to bear witness to the influence of HCC’s Global FPLC and hopefully in my small way inspire others that it is hugely beneficial to consider globalizing at least part of any course‘s curriculum.

After having been a part of the Global FPLC for the fall semester 2010, I decided to rethink my major assignments.  Since I teach ESL and because culture is one of my own great personal interests, my curriculum was already quite global.  Nevertheless, after guest speaker and English teacher Stacy Korbelak acquainted us with HCC’s new Program of Global Distinction, I decided to rewrite my assignments to make the wording more specific and directive as to some global learning goals I thought would benefit my students.

Since the classes had already been published, I never contacted Stacy regarding the Program of Global Distinction, yet I feel satisfied that my curriculum now has more of a unified, thematic goal, which will provide the students not only with grammar and organization of thoughts in paragraphs but also hopefully with mind exercises that will help them in their critical thinking and people skills in preparing them for life in the 21st century.  I believe that deliberately incorporating global aspects into any classroom will give students vital tools necessary to succeed in the future, and also that the global aspects serve to enhance the traditional curriculum.

Because of the manner in which the world is developing and coming together, I know that it is vital that as an institution we all work toward the common goal of educating our students in a more global direction.   I have also come to realize that not only is it possible to teach various aspects of globalization within any subject area, but that it is also uniquely beneficial to the students.  Different teachers have diverse opportunities for enriching the students’ thinking, and all traditional course work can be given new life and more fully engage students when teachers take the time to consider the world at large and all of the people who live within it.

I have been impressed with this philosophy by the various members of our Global FPLC who represent many subject areas—from Nick Clemens in Science and Technology to Yi Man in Business, to Virgilio in World Languages, to Karen Evans, in Professional Technology, to Elisa Roberson in English and Danuta Hinc and I in ESL—there are distinctive possibilities within each of our fields—for educating the students and for continuing to edify each other.  I myself can only provide examples of what I have done in my ESL classroom so far—and I am, of course, a continual work in progress.  Yet I will share a couple of the assignments that I rewrote last for last semester in case others who may be hesitant can see how easy and beneficial it is to incorporate global aspects into one’s curriculum.

In my case, first of all, I rewrote the format of each of my five major assignments to not only include overall instructions, and a detailed list of directions and due dates but also an overall goal, which included a global aspect.  For example, for my Major Assignment One, I wrote for the Overall Goal, “While practicing writing a strong paragraph with the elements in traditional order (i.e. topic sentence, three supports, a wrap-up sentence), to reflect on what we as humans have in common as our universally important needs and valued lessons.”  Maybe it sounds a little “hokey,” and I could work further on the wording as I continue to “go global” in my classroom; however, having an actual global goal, helped me—maybe more than my students—to be sure to focus on a specific global facet as I also began to teach them how to organize a traditional American-style paragraph.  We can wait forever to be perfect, or we can just jump in as Nike has been telling us and just “do it.”

My first assignment was already about a student’s most influential person in his/her life.  I had adapted this assignment from the high school classroom to English composition to ESL English composition to the paragraph format of English 084.  Since I use this as my first major assignment, I already had a detailed planning guide that helped students brainstorm and then narrow their focus into a plan for a paper—in this case one paragraph.  I also provide an example of the planning guide myself—on my own grandmother—so that they would have an concrete example of what to do as well as so that they could see me open and even a little vulnerable regarding a person in my life with the hope of inspiring them to set themselves free to let their impressions flow.

Especially as most of us teach various subjects at different times, we are already comfortable with adapting, borrowing and incorporating.  In my case, I now just needed to tweak the assignment a little more.  Though I have sometimes called this assignment, “Most Influential Person,” this time I called the assignment “Most Admired Person.”  For my basic directions I wrote, “In this assignment, you will write a paragraph about someone who has had a positive influence on you or on someone whom you admire.  Therefore, you should choose someone who you believe has either had a positive influence on you, on others or both.”  After choosing a person and brainstorming positive characteristics/means of influence of this person, the students were to narrow their brainstorming list to three major means of influence.

Most importantly, what I did differently this time was to have each student present to the class the person he or she choose and the three areas of major influence—if possible a picture too—most everyone likes to see a picture.   We could, thus, in a basically efficient way learn about different backgrounds and at least as importantly, to recognize our similarities.   I wanted students to have a concrete feel for relating to each other regarding the basics in life we have in common: Having someone cherished, the fact that others have influenced us, certain attributes we have in common that we consider important—as well as to help engage the students at the beginning of class, to create vulnerability in order to make students more receptive to learning, to help bond us as a class and to use this platform as a collective learning/planning guide.

I had the students make short presentations—supposedly two to three minute—the time had to be monitored closely.  Most pragmatically regarding the traditional curriculum itself, I knew that narrowing the topic to three aspects of support is never easy at first, especially since the ESL students come from various academic backgrounds, which hold different means of expressing communication.  I thought that together, the class could help each person in organizing and narrowing information into what is needed for one paragraph.  Not least of all, I wanted to build a connection with my students and to open the students to sharing.  I believe that vulnerability is a good state for learning.  I believe as Amy (Dr. C) wrote in a blog article “Vulnerability in the Classroom” on the site Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning on February 11, 2011 that vulnerability “is an essential part of building trust and authenticity in the teaching relationship.”

Though I believe that being vulnerable is extremely useful, at the same time, the vulnerability aspect concerned me a little as I knew that some students would choose to talk about someone, who could evoke strong emotion.  Sure enough, one beautiful young woman from Ethiopia stood in the midst of us and told about her mother, who had died a few years ago.  She both read and talked from her brainstorming list about how her mother had provided for her basic needs with the warmth of a safe place to be.  As she told us that her mother had always made sure she felt loved, the young woman got tears in her eyes.  When she shared that her mother had been an example of a strong woman through her own character of a woman of purpose, faith and integrity, she could barely finish speaking, and the rest of the class rose—literally, a couple of students stood up—to try and support her.  Everyone was visibly moved.  I had to gently help her wrap up her presentation while protecting her dignity as well as I could.

Some people might see such vulnerability as a risk in the classroom, yet I think one simply needs to be aware of the possibilities of the success of encouraging inner tapping.  Obviously, like other possibly controversial topics, a teacher needs to remain calm and professional and ready to guide students appropriately into a general point.  Along with the stories of the others, in this case, her testimony, though painful, definitely helped ensure the meeting of all of my goals for this task, as she had been a part in demonstrating taking a long list of attributes and narrowing them into three major statements; the class, moreover, willingly became involved in helping her come up with the three major topics, in a context, additionally, in which they were emotionally moved.  As they continued to work together to narrow and organize each topic, I know everyone couldn’t help but partake in the added benefit of relating to the mutual feelings we share in some regard regarding those we love.

Another particularly effective topic I conceived specifically for English 084 and my new Global intent was the narrative summary—in this case using primarily folklore.  In English 084 we are supposed to teach a narrative paragraph as well as a summary—or how to summarize.  Since this is an expository writing class, the writing of a story within one paragraph to me lends itself best as a summary of a story as we don’t have the space to develop characters and give extensive plot details—so I combined the two genres.

I began thinking of a direction for our stories, and knew, first of all, that we needed to work with stories that to begin with were workable lengths in the time frame of a semester class packed with the directive to teach grammar and the format of the paragraph leading into the concept of an essay.  Secondly, we use what we have in our everyday lives, and I have two rather young children; therefore, I thought of my collection—of global children’s books—I have maybe thirty or so.  I had been calling them the “international collection,” yet many of the stories are of children and other people of interest to children of various backgrounds in the United States itself, while some are of people from other parts of the world; likewise, some of the authors are American, while others are “international.”

Working with one of my best advisors, my seven year old daughter, I narrowed my choices to three books.  One of the finest of them is titled “It Could Always Be Worse” by author/illustrator Margot Zemach.  I later discovered that the Zemach had won numerous awards such as the American Library Association Notable Children’s Books; Caldecott Honor Book, Picture Book; New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Books of the Year; New York Times Outstanding Books of the Year; and the Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List.  At the time I only knew that my daughter and I liked the simple story set apparently in an Eastern part of the world resembling perhaps Russia about a man unhappy living in a crowded one-room hut with his wife and six children.  As the poor man follows the advice of his holy man, his life for a while gets worse and worse—all captivatingly depicted by Zemach in hilarious scenes until at the end the man learns to be content.

I decided to scan each of the pictures into a PowerPoint, carefully giving the author/illustrator/publisher proper credit—which allowed another opportunity for discussing the importance of information literacy.  I have the PowerPoint for anyone, who would like to have it.  I can assure you that it went over well to read the story to the students while showing each picture on the big screen.  The students laughed—again, they were engaged.  And again their reactions highlighted the fact that we are all much more alike than different while at the same time, it was interesting to see that the students arrived at varying shades of interpretation of the story’s moral or theme.  In order for a class to digest some of the observations that can be subtle for the students, the teacher does need to guide discussion and help point out and bring the students to notice varying observations and leave with some new realizations.

Furthermore, in regards to the traditional assignment’s requirements, previous to sharing the story, I had introduced the concepts and distinctions between summary, paraphrase and direct quotation—again tying into the importance of information literacy.   Then, like the previous assignment, we worked together as a class.  After discussing the story as well as two other stories I’d read to them, collectively we create an outline of the story’s main points—to create a summary. Also perhaps important to how this assignment goes over with varying classes, I was careful to use three books depicting people from distinctive backgrounds so as to be unmistakably unbiased and again to illustrate the universality of humanity.  Though I was glad to be able to show three books of varying backgrounds, the book which I had scanned into PowerPoint was clearly the most effective of the three I choose.  Next semester I plan to scan in at least a second story.

In any case, after having become engaged in the concept of narrative, with their minds apparently thinking about stories of their childhoods, and having acquired the idea of summarizing a narrative in one paragraph, the students were now prepared to choose their own stories.  The basic assignment was to “to write a paragraph summary of a narrative.”  At this point, I had them use their journals to free write about a story from their own childhoods or a favorite folklore story.  As they begin to share what they had written, it was especially interesting to all of us to learn how many of our childhood stories are each various versions of the same story adapted to a particular culture for diverse reasons.  We then discussed how stories overlap various countries and cultures, how stories change, how stories serve different purposes in various places, how stories of our childhood may influence our thinking or how our thinking influences our stories. Who knows with which of these ideas the students were most impressed; however, for sure we had all stimulated our thinking and opened our minds to the way the stories and their impacts differ yet are similar, and they had all learned the basic of summarizing, which was an essential aspect of my assignment.

The publication of Danuta’s novel almost certainly motivated the further lesson for this assignment that story is an important medium of influence.  This point I also discussed in another class period with my students as I have come to realize that we are constantly inundated with information.  We have come a long way since 1980 and the launch of CNN’s 24-television news coverage.  I remember, for example, in 1991 being fascinated—not as much horrified because we mostly saw flashing lights—by CNN’s coverage of the First Gulf War as reporters in Baghdad described what they saw from their hotel rooms.   Soon enough CNN had cable competitors for around-the-clock news, and we are now so “informed” that we have become oversaturated even insensitive to world events.  Sometimes, it is only through narrative which develops human characters for our imagination that we can engage, move, sway certain segments or even most of the population to remember that we are not each other’s “other” as Danuta alludes to in the title of her novel.  Thus, for this reason as well, the introduction or inclusion of art such as story is useful in the classroom as a means of instruction and an idea to inspire future exploration.

The topics of conversation of our Global FPLC also opened my mind to new avenues of thought and influenced my other major assignments for English 084 as well as many of our class discussions.  For example, the Global FPLC members felt that water was the major issue of the 21st century.  In discussing how we could implement such current topics into the classroom, Elisa encouraged us to use the library data base—even for English 084, so I came up with an assignment called “World Views and Forming a Topic Sentence.”

For this assignment, the students had to read two viewpoints on the topic of water and whether or not it should be privatized—here in the US or anywhere—and determine an opinion and then develop a topic sentence based on the opinion with which they agreed.  I also encouraged them to use a direct quotation to give their paper authority or to help provide a wrap-up statement—and used that opportunity to teach them how to incorporate and cite a direct quotation, hinting at what they would be learning further in composition.  I stated that the overall goal was: “To practice gathering information and assessing it with an open mind to more than one point of view; then to be  able to form one’s own, thus, educated opinion and be able to express that opinion clearly as a topic sentence, supported by clear evidence in a well-organized paragraph.”  Perhaps that sentence could be written more concisely, but, again, it’s all a work in progress.

Globalization is the hot topic right now, because it is the reality of this quickly shifting time period as the world’s people are interspersing and interacting—like it or not.  I personally find it exciting, but it is also challenging and essential to address and for which to prepare.  We humans have passed stories along since the beginning of time, and human aspects of life naturally interest students, so when we talk about tying in Global aspects into our classes, we are really talking about tying in human aspects—human stories in a way.

It is with this opportunity in mind that we educators need to come together—or individually while inspiring each other—to both properly equip our students to operate in this new world and to enrich our traditional curriculum.  This skill of becoming comfortable with all human beings is as essential–or more essential–as critical thinking in literature and forming organized essays and deciphering statistics.  Furthermore, because it is really just overall life–a part of all of life, it is a topic–or a philosophy–that should be incorporated into all areas of studies–not just taken as a side course or offered in a philosophy class.  As Barak Obama explained on January 25, 2011 in his State of the Union Address, the new generation will not be able to go and get a factory job that supports a middle class life or work one’s way up in a bank without a college degree.  Because so many human tasks are rule-based—jobs for which human beings can “construct a representation of the required information . . . and to express the processing as deductive or inductive rules,” much of our traditional work is being done now more and more by computers or through off-shoring (Levy 165).   Because we live in this fast-moving, quickly changing, post-industrial age, as Obama said, in order to compete we need to “out-innovate, outeducate, and outbuild the rest of the world.” United States citizens will need higher education, but they will also need to be able to have broader people skills that include people from many places; thus, without incorporating the reality of the necessary skills of this world, we will not be preparing our students for successful, complete, full—even competitive—lives after graduation.

I am just a humble teacher.  I have gone from teaching high school for ten years as a medium-sized fish in a small pond to a fish as small as maybe a minnow in a much bigger pond, more like a sea—at CCBC and now here at HCC; I realize that I do not have the credentials of a wise sage.  Yet the beautiful thing about working in an environment of educators is that we are all here because we know that working in our own small, medium-size or larger spaces—we can make a difference.  Therefore, though I am only one voice amongst many more eloquent voices adding to this important conversation, I am writing of the little changes that the Global FLPC have inspired in my work, in hope of persuading someone who has not yet done so to take three or four hours in Starbucks, your home library, or wherever it is that you hide from your children, your spouse, and/or your other responsibilities, and rewrite at least one assignment for the coming semester.

Overall, I would suggest making clear handouts with the specific, traditional learning goals of a particular task and then adding a clear additional goal with a global dimension.  I believe that using human topics in common to all of us and opening students up to those around them, will not only educate our students in a vital area necessary for their futures, but also engage them in a way that will only further and deepen their experience in the subject areas that we have been teaching all along.

Works Cited

C., Dr. Amy.  (2011, Feb. 11) Vulnerability in the Classroom.  (Web. Long comment). Center for

Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  Retrieved from

Levy, Frank and Richard J. Murnane.  “How Computerized Work and Globalization Shape

Human Skill Demands.”  Learning in the Global Era: International

Perspectives on Globalization and Education.  Marcello M. Suárez-Orozco, ed.

Berkeley: Univ. of CA Press, 2007.

Obama, Barak.  “The State of the Union 2011: Winning the future.” The United States House of

Representatives. State of the Union Address.  25 Jan. 2011.

Zemach, Margot.  “It Could Always Be Worse.”  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1996.

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | March 25, 2011

Log: March 11, 2011 Learning in the Global Era (3)

 by Yvette Patton

Before we began, Yi brought in a large platter of beautiful turkey/cheese rolls and bottles of water.  Having something good to eat helps us have optimal energy to discuss all that we try to cover in our meeting.

Our assigned reading for this gathering was “Mind, Brain, and Education in the Era of Globalization” and “Social Conduct, neurobiology, and Education” from the book Learning in the Global Era: International Perspectives on Globalization and Education (Marcelo m. Suárez-Orozco, editor).

Inspired by the assigned reading topic, our co-chair Danuta brought in a PowerPoint that Dan Pendick had created and used in the HCC workshop on memory entitled How does your memory work? that he presented during the Diversity Week in February.  Dan is the editor of  Memory Loss &  the Brain magazine for Rutgers University.

Using the slides, Danuta gave us “quizzes” or memory tasks that illustrated the manner in which memory functions and provided us with tricks that we can use to increase our memory ability.  The information was useful to use personally and also as ideas that we may consider using with our students to help them optimize their learning retention.

Following Danuta’s PowerPoint, our other co-chair Elisa pointed out that the reading had made her think about how we need to bring our students from what she described as “soft knowledge to hard knowledge.”  She made the point that many students are now educated in using PC language and also in actually respecting one another as different individuals from various background.  She said that at this time we need to provide them with more specific skills—such as other languages, understand of different body language and manners, and appreciation of specific cultural details— to lead them to the next level of being able to communicate with each other on a more meaningful level.

Elisa then showed us a PowerPoint on Egypt.  She had created the PowerPoint some years ago after a three month study tour with her husband—for graduate school.  She told us that interestingly all tours of Egyptian antiquity are guided by the royal family—another example of how power can direct opinion and offer it as fact.  One of the most interesting parts of Elisa’s presentation was of the inside of the pyramids—informing us that in contrast to what many believe, when entering a pyramid, one goes down into the ground rather than up into the pyramid.  She also showed us again the Sphinx and pictures of how the sculptors had been re-doing the nose to look less typically “African” than the original Sphinx had looked.  She then showed us a statue of the beautiful Nepherteri—one of the principal wives of Ramses the Great of the 13th century BC.

Next to the temple that Ramses had built for Nepherteri, he had commissioned the enormous Abu Simbel Temples in Nubia (now part of Southern Egypt) on the Lake Nasser.  Especially stirking, Elisa demonstrated the Egyptians advanced culture by showing and telling us about the most holy place inside the monument in which the sun only shines on equinox.

Abu Simbel This is the same monument which at the previous meeting Danuta and Elisa had described to us as having been entirely relocated—cut up and put back together—in 1968 high above the Aswan High Dam on a human-created hill.  The temples had to be relocated so that they would not have been submerged in the artificial water reservoir—Lake Nasser—formed after the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.  The moving of this monument—and many other historical monuments—is only one part of the major interruptions to people-kind and to nature as a result of the manipulation of natural water supplies, a topic we had discussed in greater length at the previous meeting.

Overall, by the end of this meeting, we had thought about how it would be helpful to not only use various techniques in our teaching to help students remember material but also to give students methods which they can use themselves as lifelong learners.  We had also pondered that much of our society has become good at the first step in accepting other people, and that now it would be good to think of ways (hard knowledge) to move to the next level in being able to really communicate with other people such as learning new languages, and understanding other people’s manners and non-verbal communication.  Furthermore, we continue to study history as a guide to seeing patterns from which we can try to learn lessons for our increasingly global world and to try to come up with applications for practical use today.

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | February 25, 2011

Log: February 28, 2011 Learning in the Global Era (2)

by Yvette Patton and Karen Evans

On February 25 five of us—Danuta, Elisa, Karen, Virgilio and myself—attended our Global FPLC meeting.  Karen brought a generous selection of wonderful food and introduced us to Blue Italy water.

We began by discussing the chapter called “Nurturing Global Consciousness” from the book we have chosen called Learning in the Global Era: International Perspectives on Globalization and Education, Marcelo M. Suáez-Orozoco, editor.  Elisa made the point that students often feel unable to help with global problems.  She then provided us with an example of how a small problem and even its solution can affect people’s lives by discussing the history of the Nubian people and the dam low on the Nile.  She told us how the moving of this dam forced many people far up the Nile River.  She also told us about how the Great Sphinx of Giza—commonly referred to as the Sphinx—that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile was being restored when she was on a study tour there; she pointed out especially how the nose was being reconstructed in a much more narrow profile than it had been originally.  We talked about how people in power change history.

Virgilio—who has a an undergraduate degree in Agronomy, a masters degree in animal science and a PhD in nutrition—then told the story of when he worked years ago with the first world food meeting during the time of Kissinger.  He told us how The World food Council was created and that he had participated in it.  While a part of the organization, he created a fund for agriculture and development.  He also took part, along with people from northern European countries, in creating techniques with which scientists can predict lack of crops and, thus, prevent famines.

We talked about how we believe that water will be the topic of the 21st century.  Virgilio said that when people made dams around the world, they, in essence, “damned” the world.  He said that though dams collect water and may seem to be good in some respects, these dams can also destroy life next to where life goes into the sea, because the same water that has been there for years and years has pesticides and other pollutants that kill sea life.  Virgilio mentioned dams built in China as examples.  He said that the civic leaders were not thinking as comprehensively as they should have been.

We concluded that often, leaders consider only one aspect of life such as the economy and not other areas of concern such as the environment.  Furthermore, though often making choices for reasons of power rather than for reasons of sustainability of life, people, who control water, control life.

Danuta mentioned the name of a novel by Anne Michaels, The Winter Vault, she had been reading which tells the story of the Aswan Dam and how its construction changed the lives of the people of the region and the environment in a devastating way.

Karen then told us about submitting a paper, as a graduate student, on a topic related to facilitating student eLearning, to the EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network) Research Conference in 2008.  When it was accepted for presentation, she was was then invited to become a delegate of the US to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and to share and discuss that paper at the Fifth EDEN Research Conference at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.  When she attended, Alan Tait, President of EDEN from 2007-2010, introduced the workshop with a description of the 5th anniversary of UNESCO’s Declaration of Human Rights and the right to education for all human beings in the world.  He provided data collected by UNESCO about the number of people in countries around the world that are no closer to obtaining an education than they were 5 years ago, despite political efforts throughout history.  He said that a brief look at the list of attendees to that year’s workshop illustrated the increasing interest in distance education (DE) and e-learning: 118 people, from 36 countries, with 14 from countries outside of Europe.  It was also the first-time ever for China to present and participate.

After noting the increasing interest from developed nations of the northern hemisphere he went on to say that distance education has played the role of the pathfinder, and it should strive to play the role of paving the way for emerging partnerships between distance education and governments.  He stated that it was the duty of governments to ensure access to education for their citizens, and that governments should be held accountable.  He went on to say that international laws and agreements are already in place to legally support a person that may choose to sue a government if the education system provided to them was not adequate.

Mr. Tait described his vision for distance education to supplement attendance-based education. He continued his visionary opening session by adding that emerging distance education and e-learning partnerships should cross political boundaries and hemispheres, between developed and undeveloped nations.  He stated that education is the number one tool to fare better in these changing times, and through distance education and E-Learning training, services will be made available to help the poorest countries that are not able to face this on their own.

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Additional presentations then encouraged institutional learning communities to establish themselves, to help to teach everyone that education is a human right, and to work together to begin to meet some of the educational needs of the rest of the world.

UNESCO’s Priorities for the XXI Century (Feb 14, 2011) feature=channel_video_title
From UNESCO’s YouTube channel:

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

We could have used more time to discuss our topics (book chapters) “Nurturing Global Consciousness” and “Understanding Cultural Patterns”; nevertheless, our minds were stimulated with thoughts of the larger world and how each problem needs to be seen with a view for the multiple aspects involved.

map above:

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | February 12, 2011

Diversity Week at HCC, Spring 2011

Danuta Hinc and Anna Bialas are co-facilitating a workshop, The Katyn Massacre during the Diversity Week at Howard Community College.

Please, join us:

Monday, February 14th at 6:00PM-8:00PM in the Kittleman Room

Wednesday, February 16th at 12:00PM-2:00PM in the Monteabaro Hall

A viewing “Katyn” directed by Andrzej Wajda, will be followed by a discussion about the historical events portrayed in the movie. Katyn was a massacre of Polish Army officers, state administration officials, and Polish intelligentsia during World War II. For over 50 years, the truth about Katyn was not revealed to the world. For Poles, Katyn is a symbol of criminal politics of the Soviet system.

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | January 9, 2011

AFACCT Conference 2011

When you try to pick out anything by itself, you find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

~ John Muir

Who Am I As An Individual, As A Member Of A Community, And As A Citizen Of The  World?

Created by: Danuta Hinc

To see the Power Point presentation, click here.

Students, often struggling with the transition to college, respond strongly to images and exploring the idea of the self. The “Who Am I?” writing assignment suggests ways to use images to assist students in discovering who they are as individuals, as members of various communities, and as citizens of the world.

The assignment, which can be employed in a variety of disciplines, is designed to help students find their voices and to realize that they can comfortably and confidently make the choice of offering who they are as individuals to the college community, and to the world.


A previous version of this post about HCC participation in the recent AFAACT conference described a workshop presented by HCC instructor Elisa Roberson entitled, “Using Systems Thinking to Educate Effective Global Citizens.” The post neglected to state that the workshop described was originally developed by Other sources of this presentation included:;;

We regret this omission.




by Sharon Yoder
Sharon is an Adjunct Faculty at Allegany College of Maryland:

Scuttling to a new web: Reflections on globalization as a new semester begins

Invigorated by the winter air during my rush between buildings, I stepped into H-44 only seconds before class starting time. My eyes swept the room, its lifeless walls and desks now transformed with the energy of 25 individuals who sat waiting, their faces filled with anticipation, curiosity, hesitancy, trepidation, and a few sparks of humor.

At this first moment, each person sat alone, as an isolated individual, but as the semester progresses, these 25 individuals and I will become a new “we,” affirming each others’ identities and forming an interrelated web of relationships.

Before the semester ends, we will find our connections extending beyond the four walls of H-44 into our community and around our world. The writing that we do here will enhance our identities as members of a globally connected society.

The vibrations that begin within our classroom’s relational web will travel out and out, circling our world, and possibly scuttling back to H-44 on some wintry day in the future.

Danuta and Elisa’s AFACCT Presentation 2011
by Yvette Patton

For anyone who was unable to attend Danuta and Elisa’s presentation at this year’s Association of Faculties for the Advancement of Community College Teaching (AFACCT), I will try to describe it for you so that you can experience it a little yourself and to see if you are interested in gleaning some of their ideas for your own classes.

On January 6, right after breakfast and directly off the dining room floor, our FLPC chairs Danuta Hinc and Elisa Robison gave a presentation at this year’s AFACCT conference held on the Essex campus of Community College of Baltimore County on January 6 and 7. AFACCT is an organization of full-time and adjunct faculties from the 16 community colleges in Maryland. The theme of this year’s conference was “A Global and International Perspective for Maryland Community College Faculty.” In keeping with this theme, Danuta and Elisa’s presentation was about students as global citizens, making the point that all individuals—and thus all global issues—are in some way interconnected.

Before the presentation even began, Danuta and Elisa played “Stand by Me,” featuring the Santa Monica street performer Roger Ridely and others from the multi-media charity art project, Playing for Change: Songs Around the World. The music caught immediate attention, though people kept eating breakfast until the last second, making us wonder if they would indeed have attendees. There was no reason to fear, however; whether it was the draw of the catchy music or the description of the topic of Danuta and Elisa’s presentation in the AFACCT program, soon Danuta and Elisa’s audience was overflowing the assigned space. In fact, more than 50 people attended their session, which is surely more than any other individual peer session—certainly much greater attendance than any of the other break-out sessions I attended—and I attended two full days of sessions.

Once we had the handouts distributed, Danuta began by introducing herself and Elisa. Danuta next presented a PowerPoint she has used in her own classroom. The PowerPoint is called, “Who Am I as an Individual, as a Member of a Community, and as a Citizen of the World?” Danuta showed various images designed to evoke student exploration of him or herself, leading to how every individual is also a member of various communities and a member of the human race at large. Her slides began with questions such as “Are you your skin?” while she showed captivating pictures such as a man tattooed over his entire back and arms juxtaposed with a picture of people of various shades of skin. Another question she asked was “Are you your hair?” while she displayed a picture of a young girl with wild, blond hair static –electrified in all directions over her head followed by a picture of a dark-haired woman whose thick hair was tied into one mass seeming to create a giant hat. Danuta continued showing an assortment of pictures, while asking the audience if they identified themselves with various aspects of life such as sports, hobbies, jobs, religion, parenting, and their ethnicities.

Danuta also showed pictures of various people around the world in different circumstances of life—poor, rich, young, old and in between; she asked the audience if they identified with any of these people from around the world. I remember especially a picture of a young mother carrying her small child; the woman was holding her skirt as she made her way through a muddy, water-filled street lined with shacks made of mud, wooden boards and rags; the metal roofs were crushed or sliding toward the flooded road. Danuta also showed pictures of herself and her family members from when she was a child and from her life now—such pictures in which one’s students are especially interested. She then followed her presentation with an exercise in which she asked the audience each to visualize him or herself as his or her index finger, using the activity to show that we can indeed train ourselves to empathize with others outside of ourselves if we will focus on developing our consciousness.

Danuta designed her overall lesson to help students become comfortable and confident as individuals of the college community and as citizens of the world. She uses her PowerPoint as a springboard to class discussion and subsequently to a writing assignment as students learn to define themselves individually and then use that definition to learn how they are in fact connected to the world at large more than they may have previously considered. Danuta’s presentation, thus, gave the attending teachers a lesson, which they could use themselves in a variety of disciplines.

Following Danuta’s PowerPoint talk, Elisa tied in to the topic of everyone being connected to all global issues by offering an interactive exercise, which—like Danuta’s—instructors can use in their classrooms. Elisa tangibly demonstrated the interconnectivity of all global issues with an activity using string and small cards on which various global topics were written. Elisa had all the audience form a circle—including our own Karen Evans; I took pictures. Each participant in the circle was given a card on which was a word or two such as “consumption,” “education,” global warming,” “discrimination,” “water,” “social justice,” “poverty,” “technology” and “food production.” Elisa began herself by reading a card. She than took a loose ball of yarn that she unraveled somewhat andthen threw the yarn across the room to a random participant. The person, who caught the yarn, then read his card. Elisa then asked him how the two topics were related. He gave his thoughts on how the two topics are interrelated. Elisa then had him throw the ball of yarn to another participant, who then read her card and shared how her topic is related to what he had just said.

Since so many people had come to their session, the circle was larger than Elisa had intended. Sometimes the yarn fell into the middle of the circle and participants joked about their throwing skills, keeping the mood fun while keeping attendees involved and contemplating. At the end of the exercise, when Elisa pulled the yarn, everyone could see and feel it move, demonstrating the interconnectedness of global issues. Everyone was physically and mentally engaged in exploring how knowledge from all disciplines and various world issues are interconnected and that broader awareness contributes to understanding the world at large.

While Danuta successfully unwound the huge spider-like-web that the group had created, Elisa had the participants break into small groups to collaborate on why it is helpful to understand that global concerns are interrelated. Participants arrived at conclusions such as how understanding the interconnectedness of global issues can stimulate ideas to help us create a more peaceful and sustainable planet and help us find solutions to other problems surrounding these issues.

Danuta and Elisa’s presentation was extremely effective in that it was captivating, informative and practical. They included a stimulating lecture with visuals, an activity for the entire group, opportunity for small group discussion and a wrap-up with concluding reflections. I believe that people must have left contemplating how connected we are in our world and how we can each in our own small place play a part in creating positive change. Moreover, beyond edification, Danuta and Elisa provided the attending instructors with concrete activities to take back to their campuses and their own class rooms.

Danuta and Elisa’s Presentation
by Karen Evans

Danuta and Elisa’s presentation at the AFACCT conference was fun and inspiring to attend, and to be part of! There was quite a large crowd, over 50 faculty representing a very broad variety of teaching disciplines for both credit and non-credit courses. We filled half of one of the largest gathering spaces available for this conference. Everyone sat quietly at small tables for four, and slowly the space between us all changed as we all became involved in the activities and became more aware of ourselves as individuals and as a group.

Our first activity guided each of us through a consideration of the ideas and ways in which we identified ourselves. This seemed to be the icebreaker that helped us all work together as small groups, and cohesively as one large group, while maintaining and comfortably expressing our individuality. In small groups later in the morning we discussed why it might be helpful to understand how and why global issues are interconnected. Some of the reasons that were shared in the group I was part of included: empathy; the importance of the role of individuals; poverty and the importance of food production and the effects of those upon all of us; and technology and whether or not individuals have access to it; and the fast pace at which the planet itself and societies and economies are changing.

One of the most important aspects for me of this presentation was that there were several individual, and group, experiences that we all participated in and shared to help heighten our awareness that even though we are individual humans we are also all like each other and connected in many ways. With some thoughtfulness we can all learn to shift our own attitudes, and those of others, in order to begin to collectively make positive changes. Thank you Danuta and Elisa, I think many attendees left your session feeling inspired, and talking about ways they might try some of your exercises in their own courses!

Posted by: Danuta Hinc | December 21, 2010

Globalization through the lens of Social Media Networks

Facebook vs. Twitter: An Infographic

by  Mathew Ingram

“How does Twitter stack up against Facebook when it comes to demographics and online activity? Digital Surgeons, an online marketing agency, has put together an infographic comparing the Facebook population to the Twitter population, and it shows that while the two are similar in many respects in terms of age, income and so on, there are also some crucial differences of interest to marketers and others looking to mine the data and pick a favorite platform. Among the biggest differences are that Twitter users seem to be more active, but less interested in following brands.

Here are a few of the key findings represented in the infographic, which was based on data from a Barracuda Networks survey as well as an analysis from Razorfish and other demographic breakdowns from a number of sources (although the data on Twitter in particular is a little old — the service now has 190 million users).

  • 88 percent of people are aware of Facebook, while 87 percent are aware of Twitter
  • 12 percent of Facebook users update their status every day vs. 52 percent for Twitter
  • males make up 46 percent of Facebook users, and 48 percent of Twitter
  • 30 percent access Facebook via mobile vs. 37 percent for Twitter
  • 40 percent follow a brand on Facebook vs. 25 percent on Twitter
  • 70 percent of Facebook users are outside the U.S. vs. 60 percent for Twitter”

by Daniel Pendick

Another piece of information that is of interest to global community organizers… Facebook is exploding in many parts of the developing world. And many people are accessing it via cell phones and smart phones. So if you want to reach out to the world, you need to be active on Facebook — not just on a website or blog.

This blogger posts many startling statistics on the growth of Facebook in the developing world:

By the way, at NASA, we get tremendous interest from people in developing countries via our Facebook channels. We are reachign a whole new population and it’s very exciting.

Dan Pendick
Geeked On Goddard

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