education

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You are an expert (at something)

This is something I use at the beginning of a semester. I ask the class: “How are you an expert?” What is an expert? Let me call an expert someone that is comfortable answering questions about that particular topic. If students are too shy to share (especially on the first day of class), I will…

Ghostbusters and tenure in Louisiana

Ghostbusters is old enough that I don’t mind giving away some spoilers. If you haven’t seen it, I doubt you are going to. In the movie, the Ghostbusters capture some ghosts. They keep these ghosts in some “containment grid” device. Someone from the city doesn’t like this and comes to turn it off. After much…

And just suppose you had no grade

It would be nice if I could come up with a good rhyme for grade to fit this title. One of my brothers is a biochemistry faculty at Appalachian State University (hint – he is the one with the same last name that I have). We were talking (and surprisingly agreeing) that grades were dumb.…

Book Review: Made by Hand

I am not normally a book-review-kind-of-guy. However, in this post I will make an exception. My wife (who clearly knows me very well) bought me this book – Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World (amazon link) The basic idea of the book is to look at how the author (Mark Frauenfelder)…

Skip calculator = win

First, where does Chad come up with these links? Oh, I am talking about Chad from Uncertain Principles. In his latest links of the day, I found this: Skip Class Calculator What a great idea. Basically, you enter some info about the class – like how often it meets, how many classes you have skipped,…

Videos and traditional lecture

I see that Doug at Nanoscale Views has fond memories of the hit show The Mechanical Universe. If you have never seen this show, it is quite excellent (even if old). Perhaps the best thing about The Mechanical Universe is that it might be the best that traditional lecturing can provide. Oh, I know it…

We (Southeastern Louisiana University College of Science and Technology – but it should be called Science, Technology and Math) just had our fall convocation. Normally, we would share departmental news (which we did) and introduce new faculty. There are no new faculty and haven’t been any new hires for quite some time now. Anyway, there…

Performance Based Funding

The Louisiana Board of Regents is promoting a ‘performance-based’ funding model for the universities in the Louisiana system. In short, the funding each university will receive is based on: The percent of students that graduate Graduating more non-traditional students and minorities Accepting and graduating more students that transfer from community colleges Here is my main…

Tell and Repeat courses

Even though I have taught courses like this before (in a sense, my last physical science course was like this), I really don’t like these courses. I will classify a “tell and repeat” course as one where the instructor tells the students stuff and then the students repeat this on the test. Look around, it…

A note about the end of the semester (I really should have posted this a few weeks ago): sometimes I get students that come in and say they are not happy with their grade. It is not unusual for them to come in right before the test, but it seems more common to come after…