academia

Category archives for academia

educational tidbits

the venerable Chronicle of Higher Education had a few interesting tidbits in last week’s issue: How a College Took Assessment to Heart, Lebanon Valley College takes an accreditors warning to heart – the key issue being that the informal committee of “General Officers”, the Vice Presidents, with the college President, were making all decisions, and…

Cargo Cult Administration

Many physical scientists learned of the curious phenomena of the Cargo Cult from Feynman’s commencement address at Caltech, as reproduced in his book, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!”. In the address, Feynman cautions us against the conceptually similar notion of Cargo Cult Science, where people go through the motions of mimicking a scientific process, while…

EU Science Slam

This is a public service announcement: the EU is running a FameLab like Science Slam EURAXESS Researcher in Motion Science Slam, sponsored by the European Commission. “If you are a researcher currently based in North America (US and Canada), enter the competition by posting a video featuring your science slam on our LinkedIn site, or…

Weak Justifications

I am at a meeting at an undisclosed location, and concurrently the weak lensing folk are having a workshop on future surveys, so I am slumming at their sessions in my copious spare time. This morning Tony Tyson is leading a discussion on the technical aspects of the surveys, with LSST as the working example.…

They were amateurish videos, often black and white, sometimes just a disembodied hand writing simple equations on a blackboard as a quirky voice from off screen gave well practiced short lectures highlighting the essential learning elements. The pedagogy was revolutionary, university level material freely accessible by vast, unimaginable numbers – set to revolutionize education. Yes,…

Just read a series of interesting articles on inquiry based science: Inquiry Science rocks: Or does it – David Klahr tries to test the efficacy of discovery learning (APS News 12. 2012). Direct Instruction rocks: Or does it – Richard Hake takes issue with Klahr’s inferences. To be contrasted with: The Efficacy of Student-Centered Instruction…

Their Way

“I came with all my books, lived in dorms, followed directions. I worked, I studied hard, met lots of folks who had connections. I crammed, they gave me grades, and may I say not in a fair way. But more, much more than this, I did it their way.” Many years ago, I heard this,…

Astronomy Lecturer Goes Elf! FTK!

Dr Brad Barlow was nominated by his Astro 001 students for a great honour – whichever class collected the most money for this year’s THON would get to designate a lecture style of their choice, and Brad won… so he got to lecture as a character from a “classic christmas movie”[sic] As you can see,…

Linkedy Links IX

On the purity of science careers; the waste of civilization and other assorted snippets… and a happy Feast of St Nikolaus The Rise of the Science Politician – Matt B. continues provocative Conversations. There is an interesting thread on this on The Astronomers fb. On The Inevitability of Kardashev Civilizations – the Astro Wright continues…

In which we dunk and pie our professors… Much has been written about student morale and the problems of student-faculty relations and the implicit expectations faculty have of the students. Over the last couple of weeks I have had occasion to test some of the more radical proposals to improve the interactions of our students…