Education

Category archives for Education

The Evergreen Topic of Grade Inflation

There was a flurry of re-shares last week for this article about Yale shutting down a site that aggregated student course evaluations, which is fine as far as it goes, but repeats a stat that really bugs me: About 43 percent of college letter grades in 2011 were A’s, up from 31 percent in 1988…

On the bright side, I’m unlikely to read anything more stupid and insulting today than this Inside Higher Ed article arguing that it would be wrong to shrink graduate programs in English, because the higher education market is Special: When you shrink graduate student enrollments (the supply side), you inevitably also shrink the size of…

Physics Hangout in Need of Better Title

What with the umpteen zillion articles declaring the Death of the Blog, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something podcast-ish for a while. Rhett Allain from Dot Physics was game, too, and suggested using Google+ to do a video hangout, so here we are talking about our classes this term: The video quality…

Miscellaneous Liberal Education Stuff

The posts on box-checking and liberal arts teaching generated a fair number of comments that I haven’t really had time to address individually, across a few different social media platforms. So I’m going to collect some of the more important stuff here, in one catch-up post. –A few people, mostly in places that aren’t conducive…

What I Learned From the Liberal Arts

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about liberal education and the failure modes thereof, I thought I should try to do something constructive and make suggestions regarding how you might go about a “poetry for physicists” kind of thing. After all, one of the things I find intensely frustrating about a lot of “crisis in…

On the Checking of Boxes

One of the many ancillary tasks associated with my job that I wish I was better at is the advising of students. More specifically, the advising of students who aren’t like I was at that age. What I mean by that is that when I was a student, I didn’t need to be convinced of…

Replacing Gravity

I’m teaching introductory E&M this term, so it’s kind of fun to play around with silly applications of Coulomb’s Law. For example, let’s imagine that gravity suddenly switched off, but we wanted to keep the Earth in its orbit. How much charge would we need to move from the Earth to the Sun for the…

Classes for the Winter term start today, and I’m totally prepared for this. Yep. Uh-huh. Losing a bunch of prep time to snow and ice last week hasn’t thrown anything into disarray. Anyway, for a variety of reasons, I’ve ended up departing from my plan to not do any new preps while I’m stuck being…

Life Scientists vs. Test Takers

Back in July, Physics Today ran an article on Reinventing physics for life-sciences majors (I couldn’t find an un-paywalled version, but this arxiv preprint seems to be close to it). As I’ve had some bad experiences with that class, I flagged it as something to read, but only got around to it last night. The…

Malcolm Gladwell Is Deepak Chopra

I’m sure I’ve done more than enough wibbling about TED for this week, but the only major physics story at the moment involved the Higgs boson, and I’m thoroughly sick of that. So let’s talk about Malcolm Gladwell and journosplaining. Gladwell has a new book out, David and Goliath that from all reports is pretty…