Mason Author Series: The Case Against Education with Bryan Caplan

The University Libraries, Mason Publishing,
and the University Bookstore
present

Bryan Caplan

Discussing his new book: The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money

Thursday, May 3
3:00-4:30 pm

Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library, Fairfax Campus

Case Against Education- book coverDespite being immensely popular—and immensely lucrative—education is grossly overrated. In The Case Against Education, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students’ skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity—in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee. Learn why students hunt for easy As and casually forget most of what they learn after the final exam, why decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy.

Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge, and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society’s top conformity signal, and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability. He advocates two major policy responses. The first is educational austerity. Government needs to sharply cut education funding to curb this wasteful rat race. The second is more vocational education, because practical skills are more socially valuable than teaching students how to outshine their peers.

headshot of Bryan CaplanBryan Caplan is professor of economics at George Mason University and a blogger at EconLog. He is the author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun than You Think and The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (Princeton). He lives in Oakton, Virginia.

“Would-be students and their parents are rethinking the assumption that a good life is impossible without an expensive degree–not to mention the chase for college admission that begins at kindergarten if not before. [This new book] may help to let out a little more air.”–Naomi Schaefer Riley, Wall Street Journal

 

Refreshments will be provided.

The Mason Author Series is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

Virginia Wine book and author event

The University Libraries, George Mason University Press,
and the University Bookstore
present

Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change

Featuring author Andrew Painter

Tuesday, April 10
4:30-6:00 pm

Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library, Fairfax Campus

Cover: Virginia Wine“[An] impressive work celebrating the collective and individual achievements of the commonwealth’s wine industry “
Gerald L. Baliles, Governor of Virginia 1986-1990

No state can claim a longer history of experimenting with and promoting viticulture than Virginia—nor does any state’s history demonstrate a more astounding record of initial failure and ultimate success. Virginia Wine: Four Centuries of Change presents a comprehensive record of the Virginia wine industry, from the earliest Spanish accounts describing Native American vineyards in 1570 through its astonishing rebirth in the modern era. The author chronicles the dynamic personalities, diverse places, and engrossing personal and political struggles that have established the Old Dominion as one of the nation’s preeminent wine regions, an industry that now accounts for nearly $1 billion in annual sales, with more than 275 wineries growing more than 30 varieties of grapes.

head shot of author Andrew Painter

Andrew A. Painter is an attorney specializing in land use and zoning. A Virginia native, Andrew has spent more than eight years researching the growth of its wine industry. He is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, the University of Virginia, and the University of Richmond.

“A detailed, yet readable history that addresses an unmet need for a written record similar to those already available for the world’s more established wine regions. Virginia viticulture and winemaking have come of age, and deserve no less.”
Felicia Warburg Rogan, Founder, Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery

Refreshments will be provided.

The Mason Author Series is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

Book launch: Playfair

The University Libraries, George Mason University Press,
and the University Bookstore
present

Playfair: The True Story of the British Secret Agent Who Changed How We See the World

Thursday, March 22
2:00-3:30 pm

Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library, Fairfax Campus

Featuring author Bruce Berkowitz

Cover of Playfair by Bruce BerkowitzWilliam Playfair may be the most famous person you have never heard of. Best known today as the inventor of “statistical graphics”—the line, bar, and pie charts we all use today—Playfair was also a pioneer in strategic analysis, and a secret agent who carried out espionage and subversion against France on behalf of Great Britain.
This is the first book to uncover the full, true account of this remarkable, colorful man—undeniably brilliant, hopelessly flawed, and fundamentally important. Its pages reveal the astounding inventions and adventures of this larger-than-life swashbuckler, rogue, genius, and patriot.

“In addition to being a draftsman, inventor, company promoter, land speculator, economist, patriotic pamphleteer and bank-note counterfeiter, Playfair was a secret agent and international conspirator… He was adept at ducking and weaving from the truth, covering his tracks, mystifying his motives, and protecting his sources. Mr. Berkowitz’s Playfair is above all a work of ingenious detection and reconstruction.”
—The Wall Street Journal

Bruce Berkowitz is the author of several books and articles about national security, history, and international relations.

 

Refreshments will be provided.

The Mason Author Series is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

Mason Author Series: Lincoln Mullen

Cover of "The Chance of Salvation" by Lincoln A. MullenThe University Libraries, Mason Publishing,
and the University Bookstore
present

Lincoln Mullen

Discussing his new book: The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America

Thursday, March 1
3:00-4:30 pm

Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library, Fairfax Campus

While United States has a long history of religious pluralism, Americans have often believed their faith determines their eternal destiny. The result is that Americans switch religions more often than any other nation. The Chance of Salvation traces the history of the distinctively American idea that religion is a matter of individual choice.

Lincoln A. MullenLincoln Mullen shows how Americans’ willingness to change faiths has created a shared assumption that religious identity is a decision. As Americans confronted a growing array of religious options in the 19th century, pressures to convert altered the basis of American religion. Evangelical protestants, enslaved and freed African Americans, Mormons, American Jews, and Catholics each developed different views on conversion, divine justice, and redemption.

Lincoln A. Mullen is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. An historian of American religion, Mullen’s digital historical work has also taken him into U.S. legal history and the history of early American elections.

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Refreshments will be provided.

The Mason Author Series is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

Wall Street Journal Reviews “Playfair”

William Playfair is best known today as a Scottish adventurer of questionable repute who happened to invent “statistical graphics”—the line, bar, and pie charts familiar today. Some may be aware of his theories explaining trade and investment, or his contributions to concepts like price indexes and measures of national power. Even those familiar with his work, however, will be surprised to learn that Playfair was, in fact, a secret agent. Working for top British officials, Playfair planned and executed clandestine operations against the radicalized French Republic. He may have changed the course of the French Revolution; he most certainly transformed statistics, economics, and strategic analysis.

In PLAYFAIR: The True Story of the British Secret Agent Who Changed How We See the World (January 2018), author Bruce Berkowitz uncovers the exploits of this remarkable, colorful man and his most audacious project—an operation to wreck the French economy with counterfeit money. Combining Internet Age methodologies with old-fashioned detective work, Berkowitz proves Playfair’s role in this long-rumored operation.

The Wall Street Journal published a review of Playfair in the paper’s Saturday-Sunday, January 13-14, 2018 edition. Reviewer Richard Davenport-Hines calls the book “a work of ingenious detection and reconstruction.”

Other excerpts from the review include:

“In addition to being a draftsman, inventor, company promoter, land speculator, economist, patriotic pamphleteer and bank-note counterfeiter, Playfair was a secret agent and international conspirator. He used his network of contacts to become a pioneer provider of “all-source” intelligence. He was adept at ducking and weaving from the truth, covering his tracks, mystifying his motives, and protecting his sources.”

Line chart by Playfair: Commercial and Political Atlas, 1786
Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Mr. Berkowitz’s fascinating visuals show how pie charts, bar graphs, trend lines and suchlike were developed and popularized by Playfair.”

“Mr. Berkowitz’s precision extends to his punctuation, which will delight old-style grammarians who like to see commas and colons used plentifully, and also correctly.”

“Mr. Berkowitz compares Playfair to Forrest Gump, but this frenetic optimist, both crafty and unlucky, who although constantly ambushed and battered by events, irrepressibly sprang back from his bad breaks, is more likely a cartoon character. He was the Wile E. Coyote of his age.”

 

Mason Author Series with Patricia Ferrell Donahue

The University Libraries, Mason Publishing,
and the University Bookstore
present

Patricia Ferrell Donahue

Discussing her new book: Participation, Community, and Public Policy in a Virginia Suburb

Thursday, November 16
3:00-4:30 pm

Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library
Fairfax Campus

Participation, Community, and Public Policy in a Virginia Suburb (Cover)Participation, Community, and Public Policy in a Virginia Suburb challenges conventional wisdom about the nature of modern American communities. Through the story of Northern Virginia’s Pimmit Hills, she finds many more types of activities shape a community, than just those few typically tracked by social scientists, such as volunteering. Communities are the sum of a wide variety of participation—positive, negative, formal, informal, direct, and indirect. Pimmit Hills’s rich history will be familiar to those who grew up in middle-class suburbs, while its proximity to Washington, D.C. makes its story unique.

 

Patricia Ferrell DonahuePatricia Farrell Donahue received her M.A. in public policy from Georgetown University and Ph.D. in public policy from George Mason University. She is the 2014 Recipient of Mason’s Robert L. Fisher Award for Best Dissertation and Academic Achievement. She works as a senior policy analyst in the federal government, studying community and economic development, health, banking, defense, housing and other topics. She also serves as a Policy Fellow at Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

Refreshments will be provided.

The Mason Author Series is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

Open Educational Resources Workshop—October 18, 2017

Workshop on Open Educational Materials, October 18, 2017
Discovering and Developing Open Educational Resources for Your Courses

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Fenwick Library, Room 1009.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) include materials for teaching, learning, and research that may be freely used and repurposed by others, because they reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license (such as Creative Commons) that permits their use and reuse. The high costs of textbooks have led universities including Mason to advance OER adoption to reduce the cost of instruction for students, improve teaching and learning outcomes, and enable better opportunities for students through open access to quality educational resources.

Mason 4-VA, in collaboration with Mason Publishing in the University Libraries and the Office of Digital Learning in the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, has announced a call for proposals to encourage the use of OERs in innovative course redesign.

Competitive grants will be awarded ranging from $1000-$5000, depending on the nature of the work and the level of team collaboration. Larger amounts will be considered for projects that develop original materials. Courses targeted for the pilot include those with high enrollment numbers, are required courses for majors, count in the Mason Core, or carry high textbook costs. As part of this pilot project, Mason Publishing is assisting instructors in developing open textbooks and other open access materials.

RFP Open Educational Resources 2017

Attendees will learn from teams who have successfully incorporated OERs in online and face-to-face classrooms. Participants will also learn about opportunities to develop textbooks and other materials with Mason Publishing, and how to identify and quality open textbooks as a replacement to higher cost textbooks.

Mason Author Series with Sam Lebovic

The University Libraries, Mason Publishing,
and the University Bookstore
present

Sam Lebovic

Discussing his book: Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America

Thursday, October 4th
3:00-4:30 pm

Book cover: Free Speech and Unfree News
Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America

Main Reading Room
Fenwick Library
Fairfax Campus

Does America have a free press? Many who answer yes appeal to First Amendment protections that shield the press from government censorship. But in this comprehensive history of American

press freedom as it has existed in theory, law, and practice, Sam Lebovic shows that, on its own, the right of free speech has been insufficient to guarantee a free press.

Winner of the prestigious 2017 Ellis W. Hawley Prize, Organization of American Historians.

Free Speech and Unfree News compels us to reexamine assumptions about what freedom of the press means in a democratic society.

 

Sam Lebovic is Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University
Professor Sam Lebovic

Sam Lebovic is Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University, where he directs the Ph.D. program in History and serves as associate editor of the Journal of Social History.  His research focuses on the history of American politics, culture, and media, and his essays and articles have been widely published.  Lebovic teaches a wide range of subjects in modern American and global history, and he is currently researching the mid-century history of cultural globalization.

Refreshments will be provided.

The Mason Author Series is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

Open and Affordable Educational Resources (OER)

At Mason, we want to make your courses accessible to all students.  One way to do that is to reduce the costs of the textbooks and other educational materials you use—and University Libraries can help. We offer support for reducing the cost of textbooks  and for making library-licensed e-content available to your students.  We’re also ready to help you discover, use or even develop and publish your own open educational resources.

So there are several ways to make educational resources affordable for your students:

  • Choose a standard textbook, put a physical copy on reserve, then let your students know how to access it.
  • Choose a textbook or articles where the library already offers free digital access.  Place the item on ‘e-reserve‘ and then link to the item on your Blackboard site or include a link in your syllabus.
  • Choose an existing Open Educational Resource (see Finding OERs below).
  • Work with us to develop and publish an OER for your course(s). Contact John Warren at jwarre13 at gmu.edu to get started.

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are freely-accessible teaching, educational, and research materials that either exist in the public domain or are available to users via an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing. These resources include complete online courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, assessment tools, and software. They provide people worldwide with access to quality education and the opportunity to share, use, and reuse knowledge.

Finding OERs

Mason’s Open Educational Resource Metafinder

In conjunction with Deep Web Technologies, University Libraries has developed a search engine that simultaneously queries a number of open educational resource sites.   In addition to well-known OER repositories like OpenStax or Merlot II, our Metafinder also searches HathiTrust, DPLA, Internet Archive and other sites where valuable open educational materials may be found.

We’re still adding search targets but today our OER Metafinder searches sixteen sites in real time, returning the top 250 or so hits from each site–in seconds!  Additional matches continue to trickle in as you begin examining your results. 

Search: Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)

 
Advanced Search

 

RFP for Open Educational Resources at Mason

The high costs of textbooks have led universities including Mason to advance OER adoption to reduce the cost of instruction for students, improve teaching and learning outcomes, and enable better opportunities for students through open access to quality educational resources.

Mason 4-VA, in collaboration with Mason Publishing in the University Libraries and the Office of Digital Learning in the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, has announced a call for proposals to encourage the use of OERs in innovative course redesign.

Competitive grants will be awarded ranging from $1000-$5000, depending on the nature of the work and the level of team collaboration. Larger amounts will be considered for projects that develop original materials. Courses targeted for the pilot include those with high enrollment numbers, are required courses for majors, count in the Mason Core, or carry high textbook costs. As part of this pilot project, Mason Publishing is assisting instructors in developing open textbooks and other open access materials.

RFP Open Educational Resources 2017-18

 

Additional Resources

Explore the links below for additional information  on this OERs:

Course Content and Textbooks

Open Courses and MOOCs

Grants and Advocacy

K-12 Resources

Articles and Research on OERs

OER Part 1: Course Content and Textbooks

The following Open Educational Resources (OER) collections include course content and textbooks you may use, re-purpose, and distribute for your teaching and learning needs. Learn more about high-quality open courses, educational resources, and OER advocacy by checking out the rest of the series below:

Part 2: Open Courses and MOOCs | Part 3: Grants and Advocacy | Part 4: K-12 Resources | Part 5: Articles and Research

Return to OER overview

Continue Reading OER Part 1: Course Content and Textbooks