About Jeff Lawshe

Web communication professional at a nonprofit child welfare foundation. Areas of interest include discourse analysis and computational linguistics.

Instructional Technology – Professional Resources

A conversation about instructional technology emerged today on the NITLE-IT distribution list (subscribe). The conversation spawned a list of resources for those who are interested in working in the field.

Associations & Working Groups

National Institute for Technology in Higher Education (NITLE)
Works with member institutions (liberal arts colleges and universities) to integrate inquiry and pedagogy with technology. Hosts distributions lists on instructional technology, geo information systems, classical studies, and language and culture.

Educause Learning Initiative (ELI)
Community of higher education institutes working to advance learning through technology. Hosts webinars, articles, and an annual meeting.

Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS)
A series of projects on technology-based learning environments, hosted at Vanderbilt.

Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT)
Free and open online community for faculty, staff and students in higher education. Offers a collection of peer-reviewed online learning materials.

Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT)
Membership-based association open to all professionals working with instructional technology.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
Membership-based association primarily for those working in higher education.

Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD)
Membership-based network of faculty and TA developers also has some resources on instructional technology.

National Center for Academic Transformation
Aims to improve education and reduce higher education costs through technology.

Teaching and Learning with Technology Group
Offers free webinars and instructional events for institutional members.

Sloan Consortium
Focuses on online learning.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Cooperative for Education Technologies (WCET)
Advocacy and awareness-building group for advancing technology-enhanced teaching.

Job Opportunities

Chronicle of Higher Education
Provides vast quantities of content through daily topical blogs and newsletters in addition to their (almost) weekly flagship publication. Maintains one of the widely-used  jobs databases for academic positions.

Inside Higher Ed
Alternative to the Chronicle with similar areas of focus: includes sections on technology and on jobs.

Thanks to Trish Boyles, Eric Remy, Paula Lacki, T. Weston Miller, Colin Sanders, Melinda Kraft, Fritz Vandover, Meg Stewart, Robert Squires, Julianne Miranda for their contributions to the conversation.

Systemic Functional Linguistics and Corpus Building?

I originally posted this question to the Systemic Functional Linguistics list at the University of Technology Sydney:

I’m looking for research into the development of automated (or partially automated) parsing and tagging aimed at surfacing patterns related to SFL across large textual aggregates. Are there any particular sources you would recommend?

Anything in the way of conventional academic research, technical documentation, scripts, RegEx patterns, or open source applications would be helpful to me. There seems to be a relative paucity of research and development in this area — due in large part, I suspect, to the conceptual complexity (if not impossibility) of approaching SFL this way. On the other hand, maybe I just haven’t hit on the right search terms.

For those interested in M.A.K. Halliday and SFL: do you have any recommendations? What do you think might be the barriers to formalizing SFL in a way that would make it more conducive to computational linguistics? How would you begin to approach this task?

Wishlist: corpus analysis and sociolinguistics

Traditionally, sociolinguistics has examined language variation as a function of independent social variables: gender, class, geography, time, and so on. Texts marked up for the web (or any other digital medium that uses structured meta-data) might potentially allow researchers with the right data-mining scripts to extract some of these variables from the text itself: potentially overcoming some of the barriers presented by traditional sociolinguistic field work (especially for longitudinal studies on language variation).

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Defining Cablegate TAGs

Messages authored within the US Department of State’s “cable” system all receive abbreviations that play a role similar to the “tags” that bloggers often apply to their posts. For researchers (including linguists and reporters) who are interested in reading these cables, TAGs are a valuable way to cluster several different cables on a similar topic. For instance, it might be interesting for a linguist to isolate all of the cables bearing the “PTER” tag (“PTER” stands for “Terrorism”). The Department of State has defined some but not all of these TAGs. Read on to learn more about the DoS system, and a corpus analysis method for determining the meaning of TAGs that were formerly undefined.

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Tools for building corpora

As I mentioned in my Cablegate SQL post, I’ve been working lately to learn about tools for extending my usual Discourse Analysis research with some computational tools for processing large collections of texts. In my department (English), these methods are usually called “Corpus Analysis.” Read on for a brief description of the software I’ve used to help isolate language patterns across large bodies of text.

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Using the Cablegate SQL file

This post is for non-developers who are interested in working with the cable_db_full.sql database of diplomatic cables that Wikileaks released as a part of their “Cablegate” project. It tells you how to download the file, unpack it, and install it in PostgreSQL under XAMPP, allowing you to view and query the database in a browser-based graphical interface (phpPgAdmin) from your local drive rather than a dedicated server.

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