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July 7, 2011
As a math geek, I often find myself using math language to describe everyday life. For example, if I don't think that someone is credible, I might say "just take what he has to say and multiply by zero." Of course, multiplying by zero makes the product disappear to zero. I couldn't help but think of this when I learned recently that a big part of my life as a graduate student had, in effect, been multiplied by zero.
July 7, 2011
***Pacazo, a novel by Roy Kesey. Dzanc Books (2011). $15.40 hardcover, $8.79 Kindle.***Today I have the pleasure of posting a review by one friend of a book by another friend. I know: A good day, right?
July 7, 2011
I was reading through a monograph on game design recently, and came across a paragraph quoted from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The topic is sustained human enjoyment, something that game designers need to be able to create. More than just "enjoyment", really -- more like what an athlete feels when (s)he is "in the zone" and performing at a peak level.
July 6, 2011
Back in April, I wrote a bit cantankerously about my doubts that research papers as a genre are a particularly useful vehicle for learning and argued for doing away with the traditional “research paper” – the kind that Richard Larson described as a “non-form of writing.” This genre is primarily a vehicle for students to display knowledge by discussing a number of sources they have chosen on a topic using aca
July 6, 2011
In an effort to crack down on unscrupulous for-profits, the Feds have passed a massive unfunded mandate on community colleges. We’re supposed to report a series of statistics on “gainful employment” certificate programs. The idea is to give prospective students a realistic sense of what they would actually get for their money, were they to enroll. It’s a sort of nutritional labeling for a certain kind of education.But it’s a real pain in the neck here in the trenches. (I know, I know, trenches don’t have necks. Just go with it.)
July 6, 2011
MIT economist David Autor stated in a recent New York Times article about the challenging labor market, “Sending more young Americans to college is not a panacea,” but “not sending them to college would be a disaster.” College degrees guarantee a significant increase in income and a decrease in unemployment for young people. Full time workers with undergraduate degrees make 83% more than workers with only a high school diploma.
July 6, 2011
Made in Britain by Evan DavisAre you fascinated by how people manage to earn a living? Does an economy built on services, where none of us seems to do much of anything besides go to meetings and e-mail each other, completely confuse you? How is it that we manage to buy houses and cars and computers if we don't really make anything?
July 6, 2011
This one is particularly for my fellow administrators out there. Strategic ignorance can be a wonderful thing, if used correctly. This is one way I’ve found it useful.Let’s say you have a professor whose classroom performance seems to be slipping. Her student evaluations are conspicuously lower than they’ve been over time, students are starting to complain, and there’s no immediately-obvious cause. This is someone who has done well in the recent past, so you know the ability is there, but things just aren’t clicking now.What do you do?

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