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VFF 2017-2018

Click on a Voices from the Field session below for more information.

Voices from the Field Series sessions are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. View other Voices from the Field sessions here.

Joseph Danks“Beyond Machines: Humans in Cyber Operations, Espionage, and Conflict”

Joseph Danks is Research Professor Emeritus and formerly Technical Director for Strategic Intelligence Analysis at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL). His research has focused on how people comprehend sentences and text, especially across languages, the cognitive processes involved in translation, and how elderly patients communicate their life-sustaining treatment preferences. At CASL, he has investigated using a cultural lens and social media to forecast the plans and intentions of a country’s leadership and populace, and also how to conduct remote psychological assessment of cyber adversaries. Dr. Danks received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and taught for many years at Kent State University, serving as Chair of Psychology and as Dean of Arts and Sciences. He also has taught at Princeton, Stanford, the University of Warsaw, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Dr. Danks has authored and edited several books, and published extensively in psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology.

Kinetic warfare involves tanks, bullets, and other hardware, but everyone recognizes that understandings of it must involve the warfighters from general staff to boots on the ground. In contrast, most discussions of cyberwarfare—its strategy, impacts, ethics—focus on the machines, systems, and data, while largely ignoring the human element. Human agents are included only as collateral effects (e.g., the impact on humans of shutting down an adversary’s electrical grid), or as a locus of moral responsibility (e.g., providing the ground for the moral justification of a cyber-attack). In this talk, I explore a range of conceptual, psycholinguistic, and cultural issues that arise when we focus on the cognitive constraints, biases, and heuristics of human agents in four different roles: developers of a cyber-action (whether attack or exploit); target of that cyber-action; defender against some cyber action; and third party observers, whether neutral nations, or even the public within a nation engaged in cyber-actions. Cyberwarfare is conducted with machines, often autonomous, but humans are the developers, targets, and defenders of cyber-actions. Thus, a full understanding of the psycholinguistic, social, and cultural distinctions of cyberwarfare must incorporate the human actors with all of their cognitive, conceptual, and cultural biases, tendencies, and foibles.

Date: Thursday, March 1st, 2018
Time: 3:30pm-4:30 pm
Location: Village Drive Room VD 301,
4401 Village Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

“The Good, the Bad, and the Rubric: Designing and Using Rubrics Effectively”

Dr. Heather Weger, Ph.D., Georgetown University, Washington DC

In this era of educational transparency, formal assessment measures have increasingly become a hallmark of “best practice.” Hence, assessment is regarded as a key component of language instruction (Brown, 2014; Purpura, 2016) world-wide (Tsagari, 2016). Unfortunately, assessment can be daunting and unpleasant for both students and teachers (e.g., Brown, 2014). For students, holistic grading can be perceived as pejorative or arbitrary; for teachers, non-traditional assessment approaches can be time-consuming and overly complicated. One means of addressing these challenges is through the use of rubrics, which break down a language event into its components, including content, organization, fluency, and accuracy.

However, despite these advantages, the use of rubrics also presents both teacher and student with hurdles. For example, the “descriptors” for a given rubric (the narrative descriptions for different ratings) may over- (or under-) represent language features, contain inherently subjective language, and may be problematic, particularly for lower-level students, depending on the length and meta-language used. In this practice-oriented session, Dr. Weger draws on principles developed in her use of rubrics with English language learners, providing examples from several rubrics for productive tasks, including rubrics for written essays, a traditional oral presentation, and a group-based discussion task. Based on an analysis of these samples, she identifies advantages of rubrics and provides tips on how to avoid potential pitfalls. Attendees receive a handout with these examples.

Date: Thursday, February 1st, 2018
Time: 3:30pm-4:30 pm
Location: Village Drive Room VD 205,
4401 Village Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

“Engaged Learning: Are We All on the Same Page?”

Marietta Bradinova, Ph.D., Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia International University

The presentation will offer college teachers a dynamic model for engaging students and will provide them with tips and strategies that have been proven to help teachers from a wide variety of disciplines motivate and connect with their students. Selected strategies will be modeled, in a ready-to-use format, through purpose, presentation, procedures, examples, online implementation, variations and extensions, and key resources. Faculty looking for ideas to heighten their student engagement in their courses will find useful techniques that can be adopted, adapted, extended, or modified.

  • Date:Thursday, October 5, 2017
  • Time: 3:30pm-4:30 pm
  • Location: Village Drive Room VD 205,
    4401 Village Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

“Practicing Nonviolent Communication: Speaking the language of peace in the classroom and society”
Joy Kreeft Peyton, Ph.D., Center for Applied Linguistics

Many of us are interested in and strive for peaceful engagement in our families, communities, schools, and nation, and there are strong calls for peace within our education community (e.g., Oxford, 2013; The Language of Peace: Communicating to Create Harmony) and in international engagement initiatives (e.g., Gopin, 2016; Healing the Heart of Conflict). However, understandings about ways to live in peace often remain abstract, and the language that we observe in politics, the media, and even in education (and that we use ourselves) is often filled with judgments, labels, and blame, and we increasingly see misunderstandings and division across, and even within, the groups that we care about and engage with. The goals of this talk are to review key principles and components of nonviolent communication, which teachers can use with learners and colleagues and in their classes, and all of us can use in our daily lives. These include ways to Observe, express our own Feelings, understand our Needs, and make Requests.

  • Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
  • Time:3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Location: Village Drive Room VD-205,
    4401 Village Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Instructions for Registration

To register, follow these simple steps. If you have already registered through the system previously, skip to step #6 upon logging in.

  1. You can register here: http://www5.viu.edu/student
  2. Click on CREATE ACCOUNT (if you are a NEW user. If you are a returning user, simply log in and skip to step #6).
  3. Complete the ACCOUNT CREATION page to start your profile.
  4. Complete the PERSONAL INFORMATION page. (You only need to complete the main ‘profile page’, but you can complete the others if you wish!). Be sure to “SAVE”.
  5. Click on the DASHBOARD at the top left.
  6. Click on the NEW APPLICATION button.
  7. Under the Course Category, select VOICES FROM THE FIELD.
  8. Under Course, select the appropriate SESSION.
  9. CLICK THE BOX under course session for how you plan to attend (in-person or virtual attendance). Click APPLY. (NOTE that this session FREE, so the total fee will remain ZERO).
  10. In the event that the session is full, please select the WAIT LIST option. If a seat opens up, access will be given on a first come first served basis. If there is enough demand, we will try to find more space on campus.