• Unteachable Students and Their Enablers

    by  • May 25, 2012 • 0 Comments

    Janice Fiamengo has a piece in Pajamas Media on the open secret of what ails higher education: many students are “essentially unteachable, lacking the personal qualities necessary to respond to criticism.” This is the result, she says, of learning that attempts to foster self-esteem. The students never get the opportunity to learn how to...

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    A Terrible Boss

    by  • May 22, 2012 • 0 Comments

    A terrible boss is someone whose main demand from you is that you not make him look bad. This is the source of statements like, “just get it done, I don’t care how.” If they were good at their job, they would have some idea how. Or, if they didn’t know how to do...

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    Mavis Beacon Teaches Philosophy

    by  • May 18, 2012 • 0 Comments

    First machine-gradable essays, now machine-teachable philosophy. Soon you will be able to get a degree in philosophy (yes, you read that right) from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro without having to step foot on campus. And part of it will be taught by a virtual intelligence program.

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    A $140,000 Vocab Drill

    by  • May 15, 2012 • 0 Comments

    It can often feel like the traditional university, centered on liberal education, is under siege. There is certainly no end to the attacks on the humanities and social sciences—and on the students who major in them rather than hanging out in the business school. But talk of sieges and assaults suggests a danger from...

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    ELIZA Is Pleased With Your Essay

    by  • May 8, 2012 • 2 Comments

    The announcement last month that computers score essay tests as reliably as human beings sent waves through the blogosphere. While not quite Deep Blue’s 1997 shaming of chess champion Garry Kasparov, getting to the level of Mac Hack is still a pretty impressive feat. And every article has discussed the machine graders’ limitations. But...

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    Whither Europe

    by  • May 7, 2012 • 0 Comments

    Europe is moving in the same direction as many politicians on both sides of the aisle in the United States are advocating. Curricula are being standardized and more emphasis is being placed on job training. And the poor effects that we predict will happen here seem already to be occurring there.

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    Financial Aid and Remedial Courses

    by  • May 2, 2012 • 0 Comments

    American Institutes for Research has just released a study that suggests that increased financial aid (such as Pell Grants) does not help students who need remedial classes to succeed. The research looked at community colleges in Louisiana, specifically, and found “that academic preparation is a stronger predictor of success than financial aid. It also...

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    Shut the Blinds

    by  • May 1, 2012 • 0 Comments

    I must confess: I hate PowerPoint. It’s not that I hate instructional technology. I have never had students turn in hard copies of their essays. Inserting comments directly into their documents is easier and allows me to edit my (or my teaching assistant’s) words. Doing this through a course website that is integrated into...

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    Vo-Tech or College on the Cheap?

    by  • April 24, 2012 • 0 Comments

    A major part of the push toward improving the economy by increasing access to higher education involves directing workers toward community colleges. This push is only a part of what is significant about community colleges, however. These institutions are also treated as stepping-stones to a four-year degree. In order for a four-year university to...

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    STEM Gate-keeping Courses Under Fire

    by  • April 19, 2012 • 0 Comments

    The way that science and engineering are taught is coming under fire from a number of academics and administrators, particularly the role of the gate-keeping or “weed-out” courses that separate those freshmen who want to be scientists and engineers from those who can be scientists and engineers.

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