Category Archive: Education

Dec 25 2013

I could have used this last semester


I’m on a search committee for a tenure track position in statistics and computer science — we’re looking for someone to teach a data science course, maybe a little bioinformatics on the side, and work with both our statistics and computer science disciplines. I’m the outside member of the committee — you know, the weirdo …

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Dec 14 2013

She must be the Queen of Science

I just finished grading the exam I gave yesterday in cell biology. Every year, in one of my biology core classes, I slip in a common bonus question. This question is free points — all the students have to do is give me any answer, and I give them credit for it. The question is: …

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Dec 09 2013

The dumbifying of Christianity

Jonny Scaramanga has posted a sampling of quiz questions from Accelerated Christian Education. Take a look, and ask yourself, “Am I smarter than a fundamentalist Christian taught from a home-school curriculum developed by fanatics in Texas?” You will be reassured by the fact that yes, you are. Much smarter. Although after reading the questions, you …

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Dec 04 2013

We should not talk about racism

Three boys (l-r) Daequon Carelock, Wan'Tauhjs Weathers and Raliek Redd were arrested in Rochester while waiting for bus to basketball scrimmage

I know, the Republicans have declared that racism is over, but we all read that wrong. What they really want to do is declare that talking about racism is over. We all know that the Republican Party is the most racist party in the country — they actually depend on fomenting racist attitudes to get …

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Nov 24 2013

If teachers are welfare queens, then social theorists at Ivy League colleges must be world-class parasites

I saw this title on an article by Randall Collins and my hackles rose, my eyes turned red, I started to sprout hair everywhere as I growled and slavered. I will have blood. Millennials, rise up! College is a scam — you have nothing to lose but student debt Students chase degree after degree, adding …

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Nov 20 2013

MOOCs don’t work?

But don’t worry! It’s not the fault of the visionaries, like Sebastian Thrum, who have been promoting the use of Massive Open Online Courses. No, we know where the problem lies: in those darn students. After low performance rates, low student satisfaction and faculty revolt, Thrun announced this week that he has given up on …

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Nov 07 2013

Ill-informed science making a case for a liberal arts education

Last month, I wrote about the terrible botch journalists had made of an interesting paper in which tweaking regulatory sequences called enhancers transgenically caused subtle shifts in the facial morphology of mice. The problem in the reporting was that the journalists insisted on calling this a discovery of a function for junk DNA — the …

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Oct 29 2013

Teaching is so easy, anyone can do it!

This guy, Anthony Seldon, works at a teaching school, and he has just politely dissed teachers everywhere on the pages of the Guardian. Schoolteaching is a profession, but it’s not like becoming a doctor or a vet. No one would want to be operated on by an amateur who hadn’t had years of experience. The …

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Oct 27 2013

Missing an opportunity

Given that computer science is one of the majors with the best job prospects, that it’s still a growth industry, how do you account for these proportions? Computer science is an incredibly promising major, especially for a young woman. That and engineering are among the college degrees that can offer the highest incomes and the …

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Oct 23 2013

Ow, cringing

Yikes, this is an awkward story. A teaching assistant mailed her students personal, nude photos of herself instead of homework answers. If it was a genuine mistake, and I assume it was, I feel for her — she’s going to get some unfortunate student feedback. But to everyone giggling over it, I would say, grow …

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