01 février 2014

Sure, My Grades are Inflated. Got a Problem with That?

BloggerBy . The first assignment of the semester always generates cries of dismay.  I use the full range of numbers available to me in my grading rubric and most students earn scores that, if they were correlated to a conventional letter grading scale, would end up being a high D or low C.  "Pay no attention to what the letter grade would be!" I exhort them.  "The grading rubric is a guide to help you build on your strengths and recognize your weaknesses--it's a tool, not a label of your worth as a student and human being.  Let the numbers guide you as you rewrite the paper, and you'll do much better on the next version." More...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:54 - - Permalien [#]

The E Text Question

BloggerBy Bardiac. As most semesters approach, I get several emailed questions asking (politely) if I'm okay with students using e texts in my classes.  This is especially common with Shakespeare.
I hate them using etexts for Shakespeare.
First, they want to use the totally free etexts, which seem based on 19th century editions (they're free because they're long out of copyright).  But they don't really get any information about the 19th century editions, which often come with no glossing, no line numbers, and editing choices that made sense in the 19th century, but which are very different from the choices editors make now.
So there's always that delay of a few seconds while the etext folks try to figure out where we are based on asking someone to read them a line. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:51 - - Permalien [#]

The High Cost of Research

BloggerBy . In response to state budget cuts for higher education and new laws regulating the selling of academic patents, universities since 1980 have increased their spending on research.  Although many people believe that research brings extra revenue to these institutions, a recent study reveals how research activities rarely cover their true costs. In Understandingthe high Cost of Success in University Research,"Karen Holbrook and Paul Sanberg show how in the case of two university systems, “the findings demonstrated that 40 cents was spent from university funds for each one dollar of external funding received.” If we apply this same math to the University of California’s research budget of $5.2 billion, we can assume that UC had to find an additional $2 billion from other sources to make up for the additional costs. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:47 - - Permalien [#]

What I Learned From the Liberal Arts

By Chad Orzel. As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about liberal education and the failure modes thereof, I thought I should try to do something constructive and make suggestions regarding how you might go about a “poetry for physicists” kind of thing. After all, one of the things I find intensely frustrating about a lot of “crisis in ____” discussions is the lack of specific suggestions, so throwing out a “here’s a problem, good luck with that” post would be suboptimal behavior on my part. This required some reflection on the question of just what I got out of my “liberal arts” classes back in the day– what ideas and skills I picked up that I find useful today. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:44 - - Permalien [#]

Job Market Stable for Religion Jobs

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgThe job market for faculty positions in religion was relatively stable in 2012, better than it was immediately after the economic downturn hit in 2008, but still down from earlier, according to a report by the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:41 - - Permalien [#]

Blackboard Learn to Add Virtual Bookstore

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBlackboard will create a virtual bookstore accessed from within the company's learning management system, Blackboard Learn. As seen in two conceptual screenshots shared by a Blackboard spokeswoman, the bookstore will automatically gather the materials assigned in a student's courses for easy checkout. The spokeswoman also said the bookstore, created in cooperation with MBS Direct, will help faculty members find materials -- both traditional textbooks and open resources -- for their courses. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:40 - - Permalien [#]

New Partnership for Open Educational Resources

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgIn a match seemingly made in open educational resource heaven, the free textbook producer OpenStax College and OER support provider Lumen Learning on Wednesday announced a partnership that aims to save college students $10 million on textbooks by 2015. Lumen Learning helps institutions transition away from traditional course materials, and will use OpenStax College's textbook offerings to bolster its catalog of open resources. The free textbook producer, based at Rice University, has published six textbooks so far and has another seven in the works. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:39 - - Permalien [#]

Don't Shrink

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBy David B. Downing. As Scott Jaschik points out in his January 13, 2014 article, “The Third Rail,” the terrible stress our newly minted Ph.D.s in English, comp lit, and foreign languages confront when they begin the job search seems only to be escalating rather than abating.  Understandably, then, many Modern Language Association convention sessions, as well as a growing body of publications, have been taking up a variety of proposals for addressing the job crisis. Jaschik mentions the session I chaired, “Who Benefits? Competing Agendas and Graduate Education,” and he carefully articulates the basic positions of the panelists as we were all in general agreement that shrinking the size of graduate programs in English would not be the best way to remedy the situation. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:37 - - Permalien [#]

'Creditocracy' in America

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBy Scott McLemee. The golden age of unsolicited credit-card applications ended about five years ago. It must have been a relief at the post office. At least ten envelopes came each week -- often with non-functioning replica cards enclosed, to elicit the anticipatory thrill of fresh plastic in the recipient’s hot little hand. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:34 - - Permalien [#]

Seeking Answers on 'Competency'

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBy Paul J. LeBlanc. Matt Reed’s recent column on experimental sites and competency-based education (CBE) offers just the kind of thoughtful analysis we’ve come to expect of his columns. He raises important questions about the role of faculty, the efficacy of approaches that include less instructional interaction, the viability of pay-for-performance aid models, and more.  The answers to those questions today?  We don’t know.  And that’s why we need to support the Department of Education’s experimental sites proposal, to create safe places in which to explore the kind of thoughtful and constructive questions that Matt poses. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:32 - - Permalien [#]