Friday 24 September 2021

Have students lost the ability to mentally organize hierarchically?

There's an interesting article in The Verge titled "FILE NOT FOUND: A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans." Apparently college faculty are increasingly finding that students are confused about the concept of hierarchical organizing.

(The professor) came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students. (Another professor) noticed that students in his classes were having trouble finding their documents.

According to the article, the mental model that most of us use to keep things organized is known as "directory structure." For example, it’s the idea that a modern computer doesn’t just save a file in an infinite expanse; it saves it in the “Downloads” folder, the “Desktop” folder, or the “Documents” folder, all of which live within “This PC,” and each of which might have folders nested within them, too. The directory structure connotes physical placement — the idea that a file stored on a computer is located somewhere on that computer, in a specific and discrete location. That’s a concept that’s always felt obvious to the professor but seems completely alien to her students. It’s a difficult concept to get across. Directory structure isn’t just unintuitive to students — it’s so intuitive to professors that they have difficulty figuring out how to explain it. “Those of us who have been around a while know what a file is, but I was at a bit of a loss to explain it,” lamented one educator 

Thursday 23 September 2021

New eCFR website!

 A welcome announcement from the Government Publishing Office and the FDLP:

"The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) have formally launched a new eCFR website (CFR = the Code of Federal Regulations.) Over the last few years, OFR and GPO developed significant improvements that are now available on the new eCFR website, including the ability to:
• Show which sections have been recently updated.
• Display and compare previous versions of text.
• Link references between content within the CFR and the Federal Register.
• Link references within the content to the United States Code.
• Jump directly to text by entering a citation in the “Go to CFR Reference” box.
• Provide expandable tables that are scrollable.
• View higher-quality images.
• Find documents with an improved search engine.
• Create a 'My eCFR'account to receive notifications when selected areas of the eCFR are updated.
• Present text in a new, more readable format with the ability to create links to lower levels of the codification. 

Read the "Getting Started" page for a comprehensive introduction to the main features of the new website."

The eCFR is a web version of the CFR that is updated daily to reflect its current status. It is an editorial compilation of CFR material and amendments published in the daily Federal Register. It has been developed and maintained, by the GPO and the OFR as an informational resource. The OFR/GPO partnership is committed to presenting accurate and reliable regulatory information on the eCFR with the objective of eventually establishing the eCFR as a publication officially recognized by the ACFR. This means that while they try to ensure that the material on the eCFR is accurate, those relying on it for legal research should verify their results against the most current official edition of the CFR, the daily Federal Register, and the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA).