Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

“Simply put, for the majority of students, the value of higher education is a function of its immediate employment prospects as opposed to long-term developmental and intangible benefits. This quest for value is especially prevalent in developed economies, where slow economic growth and scarcity of employment prospects fuel scepticism.” Not certain how much of this […]

Dec 05, 2013

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Nice article in Nature on Richard Feynman’s lectures: Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about The Feynman Lectures on Physics, the book in question, is that it was nearly strangled at birth. Robert Leighton, chair of a committee tasked with spicing up the physics teaching at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in the early 1960s, […]

Nov 21, 2013

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“One of the things that is extremely challenging to my teaching now is the possibility that there are some things you can learn only from experience and can’t be taught. The pathos of teaching is that some things can’t be taught – and one of them might be political judgement. I don’t think that’s a despairing […]

“The place to begin may be the US Senate. At the end of July 2012 the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions presented an 800-page report, the culmination of a two-year investigation into ‘for-profit’ higher education institutions.?1 The senators found that at such institutions a mere 17.4 per cent of annual revenue was spent […]

Simpon Jenkins in the Guardian: Willetts has celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Robbins report with a pamphlet questioning one aspect of the expansion it stimulated. Pre-Robbins, British universities devoted 60% of their time to teaching and 40% to research. Now those percentages are reversed, so that universities are “lopsided away from teaching”. Only in the former […]

Christopher Bigsby’s advice for entrants to the university business: “Do not mention contact hours. If asked, say: it depends what you mean by contact. And hours.”

There is a more subtle view on this than I had earlier appreciated. See this piece by Pasi Sahlberg. This is not just about school teachers  either. In many under-performing nations, I notice, three fallacies of teacher effectiveness prevail. The first belief is that “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its […]

Stanley Fish in the NYT discussing two cultures of education reform. The problem is that I lean both ways. I now add the phrase “learning outcomes” to the list of words and phrases that should never be used, along with “stakeholders,” “imbricate,” “aporia” and “performative.”)

Aug 31, 2013

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learning

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I came across this talk by Daniel Willingham soon after a faculty discussion about medical exam format: the tension between assessment and sampling on the one hand, and the tendency for people to overgeneralise from particular contexts (bluntly: people keep talking about generic skills, when I  think they are much more context and domain specific). […]

Aug 26, 2013

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learning

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Daniel Willingham blogs about this, with some data. The results are not surprising. Laptops may not be a good thing for those using them or even for those around them. I used to think that med students would have good study and learning habits. Now I am not so sure. As for squeaky pens and […]

Aug 13, 2013

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learning, medicine

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Medical education in Brazil has been extended by two years. Previously, it involved four years prior to medical school, and six years at medical school. Graduates are now forced to work for a further two years in public hospitals with a temporary medical license. Brazilian medics are not impressed, viewing it as a way of […]

I came across this study of online learning, ‘Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials’, by William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, Kelly A. Lack & Thomas I. Nygren via this well written piece by Kevin Carey. Again, the message for me, is that what we do offline is not too clever. You can […]

May 06, 2013

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learning

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Just occasionally, you come across somebody who thinks deeply (as in hard) about learning. Shame that they are rarely educationalists (‘.. the bottom feeders of the academy’ as Clark Glymour said). Here is an interview with Alan Kay: Do our modern personal computing devices augment education? Have they lived up to what was foreseen in […]

May 06, 2013

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learning

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Have been musing over the edmeded posts including mine.  I was talking to a group of students awhile back, quizzing them on why they went to lectures. In general they thought lectures were pretty bad, and for the bit of the course I deal with, some thought they were crazy. The problem is: they have one […]

Apr 28, 2013

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learning, medicine

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Fascinating piece in the Economist WHEN Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman of Blackstone Group, a private-equity firm, announced in Beijing on Sunday the $300m Schwarzman Scholars programme to send students to China to study, it was a testament to China’s place in the world as a new centre of gravity. Its gravitational pull on corporate money […]

We have been having a debate on whether lecture attendance in medical school should be compulsory. Personally, I am horrified by the idea. But others have different views. The debate is over at edmeded, but below I post what I wrote, but with some links and quotes. Students come to university not just to worship […]

Vernon Bogdanor in the THE in an article on Thatcher and the decline of HE in the UK: Just three MPs spoke out against the Green Paper – an incongruous trio – Enoch Powell, the former professor of Greek, declared that it was “barbarism to attempt to evaluate the contents of higher education in terms […]

Apr 27, 2013

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learning, medicine

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Well written piece in the NYRB. And as for doing no evil, nice quote about Google’s attempt to order (or close) the world: They agreed on a settlement, which transformed Google’s original enterprise, a search service that would display only short snippets of the books, into a commercial library. By purchasing subscriptions, research libraries would […]

Apr 15, 2013

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learning

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Seb Schmoller commenting on the Coursera course delivered by Keith Devlin. But what this course shares with the AI course is the feature that struck me so forcefully in 2011: the feeling that you are getting one-to-one personal tuition from a very skilled and interesting teacher. It may not quite be sitting in a bar with […]

“Students were pointing out to lecturers that they pay an absolute fortune to study,” Ms Allen continued. “If they bought something in a shop and it was broken, they would take it back. It’s quite possible that attitude exists towards education – if the mark isn’t what they wanted, they simply return it.”  THE

Nick Carr writes about e-textbooks, quoting research that students don’t like them, or at least they prefer conventional textbooks. Seems reasonable to me. We know a lot more about the design of conventional textbooks, layout, indexing, and interaction and so on. But for dermatology it seems to me e-textbooks offer a way forward. If you […]

Of the educational sort. From the NYT Landon Crider, a courier at Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh, graduated from Georgia State University.Consider the 45-person law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh here in Atlanta, a place that has seen tremendous growth in the college-educated population. Like other employers across the country, the firm hires only people […]

Feb 09, 2013

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learning

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Prior to the internet, the last technology that really reorganized teaching was the microphone. Without a microphone, manageable class size tops out at about 50. With a microphone, the sky’s the limit—you can have huge lectures with expensive profs, and lots of sections taught by cheap TAs and adjuncts. What’s not to like? The microphone […]

Feb 07, 2013

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learning

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Via Martin Weller Unless you’ve been in a very long meeting you can’t have missed the story about the Coursera/Georgia Tech MOOC that ran into difficulty and was cancelled (yes, we get the irony that it was Fundamentals of Online Education, no need to go on about it). More at computing education blog Not all the best […]

Jan 24, 2013

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learning, medicine

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I have a commentary on a nice paper on the accuracy of skin cancer diagnosis coming out in Acta. Opening paragraph below. Frank Davidoff, the celebrated US physician, has a telling metaphor for medical competence: he likens it to Dark Matter, the material physicists think makes up most of the Universe, and about which we […]

 If young people who have played by society’s rules—working hard, for example, to graduate from school and university—find fewer and fewer opportunities to secure decent jobs and the sense of respect that comes with them, society will have to be prepared for outbreaks of anger or even violence. The evidence is already there in the […]

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