The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of Citelighter

Citelighter is fundamentally about helping students and teachers improve learning and performance. But here’s something even more fundamental: why did we decide to tackle these enormous issues, and how are we going about doing it?

In the video below, Citelighter CEO Saad Alam discusses the personal experiences that sparked his passion to co-start the company, beginning with a simple story about his brother’s academic struggles. He also notes our constant engagement with teachers to improve Citelighter’s functionality, and shares our excitement around creating a Google Docs-integrated platform—one that’ll let us study and enhance students’ research habits. Take a look!

Introducing Citelights

As part of our recent redesign of the dashboard, we’ve dropped in a “Citelights” feed on the top right portion of the dashboard for logged-in users. This handy feature gives you a quick snapshot of Knowledge Cards and Citelighter Pro-accessible articles in an intuitive way:

Under the “Relevant” category, you’ll see material that’s most relevant to the projects and citations that you have created. Under “Trending”, you’ll find snippets from our most commonly accessed Knowledge Cards. And under “Citelighter Pro”, you’ll get pertinent article excerpts from the expansive scholarly library we offer for Pro users.

We hope you enjoy the new feature set, and we look forward to any suggestions on how to further enhance your research and citation experience!

The ‘Paper of Record’ Tackles the Impact of Online Education

The intersection of technology and education has spawned some thought-provoking insights and commentary in the paper of record last month.

The New York Times examined the impact and role of online courses in secondary education in three separate articles in November. One outlined a journalist’s experience taking an online course in from a University of Pennsylvania professor, describing the positives (peer grading, presentation of interesting facts, creation of a community) and the negatives (potential for cheating, poor production values, potential for cheating, and lack of credit).

That last issue, theother Times article notes, is receiving further attention: the American Council on Education has announced that a pilot project in conjunction with Coursera to determine whether at least some courses are similar enough to their tradition counterparts that college students should receive credit for them:

As the Times further explains:

“The council’s credit evaluation process will begin early next year, using faculty teams to begin to assess how much students who successfully complete Coursera MOOCs have learned. Students who want to take the free classes for credit would have to pay a fee to take an identity-verified, proctored exam. If the faculty team deems the course worthy of academic credit, students who do well could pay for a transcript to submit to the college of their choice.”

The unanswered question of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), however, is whether their dizzying expansion will channel their massive enrollments into tangible gain. As the Times’ most comprehensive piece on the subject observes, “Lower-tier colleges, already facing resistance over high tuition, may have trouble convincing students that their courses are worth the price,” whereas prestigious schools win prestige and plaudits for hosting free courses by respected and famous teachers.

As with any rapid change, this development prompts a number of questions. What will the fallout be for untenured professors, who may find themselves replaced in favor of MOOCs? Will such courses become a model for cooperative learning, or cheating? How will whatever changes take place filter down to the level of high school education.
As one professor said, “This is still brand new. It’s still the Wild West.”

Where do you think the growing integration of online learning and classroom instruction will lead?

klänningar. Vår Bröllopsklänningar axelbandslös klänning val grundas på en lämplig balans mellan skönhet och designprinciper . Bruden kommer inte att ha några problem, Bröllopsklänningar grab för mycket uppmärksamhet till gästerna, samtidigt som deras oskuld charm.

Why Citation is Important in the World of Words and Ideas

When you think “Citelighter”, one word probably comes to mind: “citation.” Whether you’re using our browser plug-in to cite a reference for a source you’ve plucked online, or you’re browsing our Knowledge Cards of cited facts, citations are certainly at the heart of what we do.

It only seems prudent, then, to discuss why citations are so important in the first place. I’ll begin with a personal take: as someone who graduated with a journalism degree, reported for newspapers, and written for various magazines, I learned the importance of citation as a matter of professional training. At the most basic level, as a writer and reporter, you always want to make sure that you have your facts straight and that you’re pulling your information from diverse places to safeguard against slanted coverage and confirmation bias.

At the academic level, the same principles apply and are broadly recognized by educators. Judy Hunter, director of the Writing Lab at Grinnell College, noted in her tutorial that “A citation is both a signpost and an acknowledgement. As a signpost, it signals the location of your source. As an acknowledgement, it reveals that you are indebted to that source.”  She succinctly observes that in an academic context, there are three crucial reasons for citations: one, ideas are “the currency of academia”; two, a failure to cite the origin of an idea “violates the rights of a person” who first came up with it; and three, “academics need to be able to trace the genealogy of ideas.”

For students and researchers, it’s critical to be able to examine one’s own body of work, as well as that of others, with a critical eye. A healthy and robust debate about ideas and opinions largely rests on the ability to understand where specific assertions and arguments came from, and whether they’re credible and reliable.

To take one example, look at this Knowledge Card on facial symmetry; it contains two entries that are letters in the scholarly historical journal Antiquity, and you’ll notice that in arguing their cases, both authors eagerly cite several past studies to make their points.

So by using citations, you’re contributing to a credible, quality, and ever-expanding repository of knowledge—both for yourself and for others.

Junaid
Citelighter PR Director