Category Archive: Education and learning

Feb 29 2012

Critical thinking and argumentation

If there is one thing that people can agree on as a universal good in education, it is that we should seek to increase the critical thinking abilities in people. Actually, that is not quite true. During the days when the debate over intelligent design was raging in Ohio in 2003, one letter to the …

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Feb 21 2012

Unintended consequences

One of the many things I have been fighting against as an educator is the growing tendency to treat students as if they will only learn if they are subjected to a regime of carrots and sticks. Instead of trying to make learning enjoyable for its own sake, many have

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Nov 28 2011

Teenager faces down Kansas governor and school principal

High schooler Emma Sullivan refuses to apologize to the governor of Kansas Sam Brownback for criticizing him on Twitter. The governor’s staff apparently scours the internet for unflattering things about him and noticed her tweet and reported her to her school principal who, rather than stand up for Emma’s free speech rights (after all, if …

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Feb 08 2011

Case Connection Zone

One of the best things about working at Case Western Reserve University is that it has been very forward-looking and supportive in providing technology to serve the needs of its students, employees, and the community. In the early days of the internet CWRU, with its Freenet system, was the first in the nation to provide …

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Dec 28 2010

The secrets of an academic ghostwriter

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had an article by someone who has made a good living (about $66,000 this year) by writing custom research papers on almost any topic for undergraduate and graduate students who hire him to do their assignments. I’ve written toward a master’s degree in cognitive psychology, a Ph.D. in sociology, …

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Aug 25 2009

College as a Disney World of Learning

(Talk given at Case Western Reserve University’s Share the Vision program, Severance Hall, Friday, August 21, 2009 1:00 pm. This program is to welcome all incoming first year students. My comments centered on the common reading book selection Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Mortenson will be the speaker at …

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Jul 08 2008

Collective good versus private profit

One of the clich├ęs of academia which even non-academics know is “publish or perish.” In its most common understanding, it implies that those who publish more are perceived as productive scholars, worthy of recruitment and promotion. But there are other reasons for publishing. One is to establish priority for one’s ideas. In academia, ideas are …

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Jan 03 2008

Precision in language

(I am taking a break from original posts due to the holidays and because of travel after that. Until I return, here are some old posts, updated and edited, for those who might have missed them the first time around. New posts should appear starting Monday, January 14, 2008.) Some time ago, a commenter to …

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Dec 06 2007

Reflections on writing the posts on evolution and the law

When I started out to write the series of posts on evolution and the law, I originally intended it to be about ten posts in all, divided roughly equally between the Scopes trial, the Dover trial, and the period of legal evolution in between them. As those readers who have stayed with the series are …

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Aug 28 2007

Reflections on the working poor

(Text of the talk given by me to the first year class at the Share the Vision program, Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH on Friday, August 24, 2007 at 1:00 pm. The common reading for the incoming class was David Shipler’s book The Working Poor: Invisible in America.) Welcome to Case Western Reserve University! The people …

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