How to bring your teaching online – Part 1: What is Online Learning?
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How to bring your teaching online – Part 1: What is Online Learning?

This is part one of my series of how to explore opportunities for learning and teaching online. The aim of this series is to make you familiar with the basics, potentials and risks, interactive elements, and the strategies you can use to develop successfully blended learning environments. Not every student, teacher, academic is aware of the possibilities that were behind Online Learning. This series provides practical tips and takes you through the process of the development of online learning courses.

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Review to “What is a Text? Explanation and Understanding” (Ricoeur, 1971)
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Review to “What is a Text? Explanation and Understanding” (Ricoeur, 1971)

The French Philosopher Paul Ricoeur examines a few important issues in his thoughtful essay regarding our everyday use of the terms, speech, language, understanding, explanation, and interpretation. This essay brings a good understanding of a text in qualitative research. In most cases in textual analysis, there is the use of texts as data for description and interpretation. Most of the textual materials are written texts of oral speaking like interviews or observations. In understanding what has been said and observed, we use text to provide evidence of people’s thinking, acting or beliefs among others.

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Development of a ­Diaconal Profile – A Workbook
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Development of a ­Diaconal Profile – A Workbook

This workbook aims at helping diaconal organisations to develop their own diaconal profile. The book is premised on the idea that the development of a diaconal profile is a process that takes place in a mutual dialogue.

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Experience in Cross-Cultural Training Research
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Experience in Cross-Cultural Training Research

The main objective of this article is to determine the threefold relationship between intercultural training research and professional training practice from three perspectives based on a positioning of the concept of experience in the context of social and cultural studies.

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Religion as Experience: On the Way to an Interpretive Psychology of Religion
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Religion as Experience: On the Way to an Interpretive Psychology of Religion

Another paper presenting an approach to interpretive cultural psychology of religion is finished. The underlying theoretical and methodological approach is located within a hermeneutical, interpretive framework of the psychology of…

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The ‘Optimization of the Humane’ and its Knowledge Requirements for a Methodical and Systematic Analysis: A Criteria Matrix for the Discussion of Optimization Programs
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The ‘Optimization of the Humane’ and its Knowledge Requirements for a Methodical and Systematic Analysis: A Criteria Matrix for the Discussion of Optimization Programs

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This paper focuses on the scientifically or technologically based program of the ‘Optimization of the Humane’ which can be best understood as a purposeful intervention in human life in order to enhance physical characteristics and personal-psychic disposition. Our investigation of the logics of human enhancement pursues two objectives: on the one hand, we will outline a description and critical review of the objectives and implications of different form of human self-design and desired alterations and enhancements of others. On the other hand, a criteria matrix will be developed which is based on the “Logical Propaedeutic” of Wilhelm Kamlah and Paul Lorenzen and which provides a basis for the methodical and systematic discussion of various optimization programs.
Publications:
Arnold, M. & Bittner, U. (2011, manuscript). Das Programm der ‚Optimierung des Humanen’ und seine Wissensvoraussetzungen für eine methodisch-systematische Analyse: Kriterienraster zur Diskussion von Optimierungsprogrammen [The ‘Optimization of the Humane’ and its Knowledge Requirements for a Methodical and Systematic Analysis: A Criteria Matrix for the Discussion of Optimization Programs]. Ruhr-University Bochum.

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How does religion matter today? – An Example of Sub-Secularization in Europe: The exceptional case of Poland
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How does religion matter today? – An Example of Sub-Secularization in Europe: The exceptional case of Poland

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My current postdoc research (during Visiting Fellowshop at the Jagiellonian University and Goethe Institut in Kraków in March and April 2011) is dedicated to the critical reconsideration of the process of secularization in Europe, with special regard to the religious changes and developments in Poland.

Abstract: Secularization in Europe has become on the one hand an undeniable socio-cultural, historical and societal matter of fact. On the other hand, it is dangerous to talk of a universal development, although studies can show empirical evidence and validity for some regions and countries in Europe. In various theories of secularization it is assumed that irreligious social developments can be attributed to processes of modernization, transformation and functional differentiation as well as to rationalization and individualization of cultural life worlds (Davie, 2000). This (often ideologically disguised) hypothesis is associated with the critical wing of the European Enlightenment. As José Casanova (2003: 60) emphasized, however, the hypothesis of a secularized Europe needs to be confronted with various special cases of ‘over secularization’ (e.g. East Germany, Czech Republic and Scandinavian countries) and ‘sub-secularization’ (such as Ireland and Poland). Nevertheless, the ‘causa Polonia semper fidelis’ is exposed as an exception amongst the so-called Eastern European transition countries. In Casanova’s opinion, the secularization in Europe could be regarded as a ‘self-fulfilling prophec’ (2003: 61) that serves both as cause and consequence of the process of (religious) profanation. This means that religion becomes redundant not in itself or by losing its explicatory power, but by the conversion to the new belief of a decline of religion in human daily life and the whole of society. Since the normative theory of secularization cannot ultimately provide a general or a viable explanation for the special historical and religious developments in Poland other approaches may be imperative. Therefore, this paper aims at focusing on the question of how and what cultural, historical, socio-cultural and religious changes have resulted in today’s high percentage of committed Roman Catholic believers. It will also be necessary to undertake a re-reading (discussed in Casanova, 2003: 58) of the argument adduced by Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek (former secretary-general of the Polish bishops’ conference and rector of the Pontifical Academy in Krakow) – namely that the European integration of the ‘Catholic Poland’ is an essential ‘great apostolic assignment for the Church’ (Stadtmüller, 2000: 36).

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“From love to hate”: A story of Germania and Sam about German-American relations
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“From love to hate”: A story of Germania and Sam about German-American relations

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A so-called essay – co-authored with Przemysław Łukasik, Jagiellonian University Kraków – was presented at the workshop ‘Identity, Migration and International Relations: Diagnoses, Symptoms and Future Prospects in Europe and the U.S.’ (February 10th, 2011) in Essen at the Institut for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI).

Abstract: This essay is a modern narrative history, which obtains its content from fictional characters of the most famous English poet William Shakespeare. The aim of this story-based analysis is to reconsider configurations, general trends and collective aspirations in the international and transatlantic relations between two nations of Western culture, Germany and the United States. On the basis of seven picturesque characters and episodes, each representing an imagination of love and hate in transatlantic relations, were selected from his dramas and poems and interpreted against the background of cultural historical and socio-cultural developments in German-American relations: (1) The Birth of Macduff, (2) The Passionate Pilgrim, (3) The Two Noble Kinsmen, (4) Shylock and Aaron the Moor, (5) Macbeths Dream of Power, (6) The Phoenix and the Turtle and (7) Hamlets Reflections and the Self-assurance of Fortinbras. This interpretative, comparative analysis involves for each image three different levels of interpretation: On the basis of Shakespeare’s texts a description and paraphrase of some important facts in the plot and the main characters will be produced. Thereafter, in a hypothesis will be summarize what we have seen as the main point in the story (level of the meaning of the image). And finally, we will transfer these meanings, ways of Shakespeare’s reception and language games (‘Sprachspiele’; sensu Wittgenstein) to historical and socio-cultural substantiation.

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Religious Self and Identity of German Protestant Missionaries
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Religious Self and Identity of German Protestant Missionaries

It seems obvious that the Christian religion is intrinsically intertwined with the missionary assignment and that the gradual and strategic alterations of the others initiated by missionaries are based on…

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Dr. Maik Arnold is Professor for Non-Profit-Management and Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Transfer at University of Applied Science Dresden.