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June 23, 2010 - 1:21am
Five inches of rain fell here in the first two weeks of June, after a wet May. Lush plants I’ve never seen before have shot up from the mud, earwigs squirm out of lit barbecue grills, snakes slide sibilantly in the grass, frolicking squirrels pause in their orgies to wonder at their comrades smashed in the road, and crows the size of ravens bluster from the trees.
June 22, 2010 - 9:59pm
My town is dealing with the same economic pressures as most -- declining state aid, declining tax revenues -- so it’s facing some unpleasant budgetary choices. (The culprit behind declining state aid is mostly Medicaid. Until we get a handle on that, we’re in trouble. But that’s another post.)
June 22, 2010 - 9:37pm
I love being wrong in this space. It is much better to be wrong here than in my day job, as this blog is a safe place to explore ideas and ideally to tap the wisdom of our crowd.
June 22, 2010 - 4:28am
In a brief conversation with a professor on campus recently, I was reminded of a basic assumption gap. I made a reference to pass rates -- the percentage of students who achieve passing grades in any given semester -- and the efforts we’re making there. My assumption was that pass rates are scandalously low, and that we need to improve them. He concurred that there was a problem with pass rates, but defined the problem differently. To him, the issue was that our pass rates are much too high.
June 21, 2010 - 9:16pm
I’m delighted to report that my daughter has indeed found gainful summer employment. It’s not full time, but it will do — she’s got a series of childcare gigs lined up that should keep her busy and reasonably well remunerated through the summer.
June 21, 2010 - 8:36pm
Dear Clay Shirky,Please make the subject of your next book higher education. I loved Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, and think you would be the perfect person to analyze higher ed and offer suggestions for change.Some specific questions and issues I think you should tackle:
June 20, 2010 - 9:33pm
Last week Congress held some hearings on accreditation requirements and the definition of the credit hour. In reaction to the increasing percentage of federal financial aid that’s going to students at for-profits, and the somewhat generous interpretations some for-profits have had of the ‘credit hour,’ Democrats decided to mount a spirited defense of the seat-time based credit hour.
June 20, 2010 - 9:11pm
Will we ever get beyond e-mail as the main tool to manage our project communications? Everyone I know believes that e-mail is a terrible tool to keep track of all the tasks, to dos, milestones, decencies, and people related to projects. We are all overwhelmed by too much e-mail, and therefore likely to miss key communications related to our projects. E-mail makes it difficult to achieve a holistic view of the entire project process, forcing us to wade through numerous screens to see project communication.
June 20, 2010 - 8:11pm
Anytime a semester ends, there are always multiple conversations about final examinations. And final exams come in all sizes and shapes. Not surprising, faculty focus their attention on the quality of the student work be it in response to short or multiple choice questions or in response to essay or term paper assignments. Students tend to talk about whether an exam was “fair”: in other words did it cover the materials that the students were responsible for. After that, the students tend to focus on whether the exam was clear or confusing and whether it was easy or hard.
June 20, 2010 - 6:47pm
Hello, Mama Ph.D.,


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