Learning Goal: Treat your field of study, your sources, your own thinking and your audience members fairly and with respect
This tutorial is designed to replace the Basic Primer and presents the same substance in a more streamlined platform. If you wish to continue with the Basic Primer you can access it here.
The learning we expect at SUNY Oswego entails the active construction or building of knowledge using information from a wide variety of sources. Scardamalia and Bereiter (1991) call this “knowledge transformation” as distinct from “knowledge telling.”
A weak learner will read a source and, when asked to report what they read, be happy with “telling” what they think the source said, often just repeating the pieces of the source they happen to remember.
A good learner will read a source and not be done until they can “transform” what was read into a piece of their own growing knowledge base. Asked to report on what they read, a good learner will talk about what was learned, “transforming” what the source said rather than just repeating it.
In the academic setting, you are expected to present or communicate your new knowledge through exams, papers, and other means. One can argue that you haven’t really learned unless you can communicate or demonstrate your new knowledge.
It follows that in most cases your presentation will be graded. The first thing your professors will look for is evidence that you have learned. If your assignment is independent in nature—a research paper for instance—your professors will also look for an explanation of how you have learned.
Your presentation should answer two questions:
Each discipline (e.g. anthropology, chemistry, music, zoology) in which you work can be seen as a community of experts operating under a set of both informal and formal rules or conventions that govern research and practice in the discipline.
These conventions may include definition of the phenomena to be studied, the special vocabulary for the discipline, accepted methods for research, the core literature or bibliography for the field, and the format and style for communication of knowledge among the members in that discipline.
These conventions include specific, formal ways to use information from others in your own writing and to give credit to those who have helped you.
Following these rules will:
Plagiarism keeps you from learning, turns your presentation of what and how you know into a lie, and places you outside of the community you are spending a lot of time, effort and money to become a member of.
Scardamalia, M. & Bereiter, C. (1991) Literate Expertise. In K. A. Ericsson & J. Smith (Eds.), Toward a general theory of expertise: Prospects and limits (pp. 172-194). New York: Cambridge UP.
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