Posts Tagged ‘Education’

A prof says: “You earn exam points … and, the burden of proof is on you”

November 7, 2017

Students often take issue with grades … sometimes understandably, sometimes not so much.

For perspective, here’s an interesting op-ed by an econ prof …


A prof says: “You earn exam points … and, the burden of proof is on you”

April 28, 2017

Students often take issue with grades … sometimes understandably, sometimes not so much.

For perspective, here’s an interesting op-ed by an econ prof …


AT&T sets the standard for disruptive education innovation

July 2, 2012

Punch line: If corporations really want to make a difference in the American education system they need to rethink their philanthropic giving. By reallocating monies to initiatives such as gamification they can facilitate the foundational transformation that the education system truly needs.

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Excerpted from Fast Company Co.Exist: Big Corporations Can Disrupt Our Antiquated Education Model

AT&T recently announced that it had made one of its single largest grants ever to the small nonprofit GameDesk, a pioneer in game-based digital learning for at-risk kids.

The signal to educators, consumers, and legislators alike is that the company has a transformative role in the education arena.

Without question, this is a departure from the “tried and true,” philanthropic grant which … is not the disruptive or innovative approach that the education system needs. Unfortunately, most private investors–and educators–tend to be risk averse when it comes to investing significant dollars or time in disruptive approaches to teaching.

The kind of partner strategy we see from the AT&T/GameDesk partnership is exactly how senior leaders from Fortune 500 companies and their foundations need to be thinking …

Why? Because when it comes to the future of our children and country, taking a risk and investing in “game changing” technologies … sends a clear message to parents, consumers, students, and educators that the status quo must change.

Edited by JDC

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Got a Bachelor’s Degree? … Odds are you’re a woman.

June 12, 2012

Interesting analysis from The Atlantic: Why Women Will Rule the Economy of the Future

Way back in 1975, more than 1 in 4 guys had a degree; less then 1 in 5 gals did.

Curves crossed in 1995 when the percentage of young women with degrees hit 1 in 4 and the guys’ rate slipped back a bit.

Since then, women have been opening a lead … approaching the 40% mark.



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What’s the best indicator of how much you’ll earn ?

March 7, 2012

Answer :  How much your parents earned.

There’s about a .5 “intergenerational earnings correlation” in the U.S.

That means, look at how much your folks earned and you have a good idea re: how much you’ll be earning.

Causation, or just correlation ?

Well, there’s a causal variable in there.

Children of high earning parents tend to get better educations … much better educations.

Reported by the New America Foundation

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Education: a product for which people are willing to pay more to get less … go figure.

February 1, 2012

That’s something an older colleague once remarked to me.

So, true.

I often quip that if a student shows up at the Verizon Center and Lady Gaga’s concert is cancelled, they’re bummed.

If they show up for my class and see a sign that class is cancelled, they whoop and holler with glee.

And, on balance, most of them think my courses are better than the average academic offerings.

On a grander scale, many are predicting that high-priced colleges will be the next bubble to burst.  Folks have been paying an increasing amount of money to get a decreasing amount of relevant learning.  That’s not a good formula.

Government subsidies and “full fare” foreign students keep pushing tuitions up to levels required to support lavish facilities, expansive athletic programs, outdated delivery methods (think classrooms vs. online), and light teaching loads for faculty journalists.

For example, reported in the NY Post: The journal Academic Questions recently concluded that … many new graduates are finding that the degree they’ve earned is not worth the investment.

  • Now, most college grads leave school with large debts — more than $27,000 on average.
  • A college degree also no longer signifies that the recipient is either well-educated in the traditional sense or that he has acquired specific skills suited to the labor market.

That’s despite the fact that “most colleges have become trade schools —  far more expensive ones than their for-profit counterparts.”

  • By 2008, the number of bachelor’s degrees had risen to 1.5 million Americans, but few of these degrees were in the traditional liberal arts. Barely 2 percent of BAs were awarded in history and only 3.5 percent in English literature.
  • More than a third of undergraduate degrees are now earned in business, health professions and education.

The former president of St. John’s College in Santa Fe argues that it’s no wonder that students have fled the liberal arts:

  • For centuries, the liberal arts passed on what was best in Western civilization …  despite our practical bent, youth were encouraged “to pursue inquiry into serious and perennial questions.”
  • The humanities in particular were considered the “Keepers of the Culture” at a time when we believed we had a culture worth keeping and passing on.
  • Since the 1960s, however, our culture has been under attack, our history rewritten as one of unmitigated oppression and the values our Founders and subsequent generations held dear reviled.
  • Humanities courses in liberal arts colleges have replaced the canon of Western civilization with course offerings … aimed to show our benighted past and to condition us to a more tolerant future.
  • Students have fled such courses in droves to pursue technical or professional skills.

The Post concludes: Their parents — and increasingly the students themselves, through loans — are left footing the bill for degrees that neither pay off in the marketplace nor enrich the intellectual lives of those on whom they are conferred.

Good point !

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A prof says: “You earn exam points … and, the burden of proof is on you”

January 20, 2012

Interesting op-ed by an econ prof …

Excerpted from Forbes: Dear Student: I Don’t Lie Awake At Night Thinking of Ways to Ruin Your Life by Prof. Art Carden

One of the popular myths of higher education is that professors are sadists who live to inflict psychological trauma on students.

So, let me clarify a few things.

First, I do not “take off” points. You earn them.

The difference is not merely rhetorical, nor is it trivial. In other words, you start with zero points and earn your way to a grade. You earn a grade for demonstrating that you have gained a degree of competence  ranging from being able to articulate the basic principles (enough to earn a C) to mastery and the ability to apply these principles to day-to-day affairs (which will earn an A).

Second,  the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that you have mastered the material. It is not on me to demonstrate that you have not.

My assumption at the beginning of each class is that you know somewhere between nothing and very little about the subject. Otherwise, why are you here?

In this light, consider this: the fact that you “don’t understand” why you didn’t earn full points for a particular question might itself help explain why you didn’t earn full points.

If you understood the material – and do note that there is a large difference between really understanding the material and being able to reproduce a graph or definition you might remember from class – you would have answered the question flawlessly.

Finally, I’m here to be a mentor and instructor.

This means that our relationship differs from the relationships that you have with your friends and family. Please don’t infer from this that I don’t care about you, because I do.

You should never take grades personally. I don’t think you’re stupid because you tank an exam, an assignment, or even an entire course.

It probably doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it likely means you need to work smarter.

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C’mon man: A college course on Jay-Z ???

November 4, 2011

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Parents are shelling out about $5,000 in tuition money so their kids can probe the deep thoughts of rapper Jay-Z.

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Excerpted from Wash Post : Jay-Z 101

Rapper Jay-Z is now being examined in the ivory towers of academia.

One of the most popular courses at Georgetown is — SOCI-124-01 “Sociology of Hip-Hop — Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z.”

Prof. Michael Eric Dyson asks:  “What’s the intellectual, theological, philosophical predicate for Jay-Z’s argument?”

He says that Jay-Z’s work has proved to be powerful, effective and influential. And it’s time to wrestle with it.”

When the class reached its 80-student enrollment cap the first week of the semester, Dyson relocated to a bigger room that could seat 140 students. That’s the official head count, anyway.

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Tell me again why we’re behind in math & science …

Thanks to JMH for feeding the lead.

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“The internet is just a fad” … Newsweek, Feb. 26, 1995

September 15, 2011

Interesting retro piece republished by the Daily Beast

Punch line: Famous quote from some dude in the patent office: “all things have already been invented”

Tom Watson, IBM CEO of long ago, predicted at most 6 computers would be bought.

And, in 1995, Newsweek stepped forward to declare the internet “nothing but a bunch of hype”.


Excerpted from Newsweek: The Internet? Bah!, Feb 26, 1995

Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn’t, and will never be, nirvana

After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two.

But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community – the internet.

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense?

The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.

How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on a computer. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach.

Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet.

Uh, sure.

The Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness.

Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data.

Then there are those pushing computers into schools.

We’re told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun. Students will happily learn from animated characters while taught by expertly tailored software. Who needs teachers when you’ve got computer-aided education?


Can you recall even one educational filmstrip of decades past? I’ll bet you remember the two or three great teachers who made a difference in your life.

Then there’s cyberbusiness.

We’re promised instant catalog shopping — just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete.

So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?

Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet — which there isn’t — the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

What’s missing from this electronic wonderland?

Human contact.

Discount the fawning techno-burble about virtual communities.

Computers and networks isolate us from one another.

A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee.

A poor substitute it is, this virtual reality where frustration is legion and where — in the holy names of Education and Progress — important aspects of human interactions are relentlessly devalued.

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