The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

I quibble with The Chronicle headline writer’s notion that paper & pencil are “no-tech,” but hand-written notes are valuable. Students tested right after a lecture tended to answer factual questions equally well regardless of how they took notes, but students who handwrote their notes did consistently better on conceptual questions. What’s more, when students were tested again a week later, the longhand note takers performed consistently better on both factual…


Downsides of being a convincing liar

Test subjects whose test papers “accidentally” included the answer key had an inflated sense of how well they would do on a follow-up test that did not include answers, suggesting that the cheaters were not aware how much their performance on the first test was dependent on their access to answers. The people who’d had access to the answers predicted, on average, that they’d get higher scores on the follow-up…

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Google’s AI could probably beat you at Atari

What’s significant in this story is not that a computer can perform tasks more efficiently than a human, but that the computer in question is not deploying a pre-programmed strategy; it is instead teaching itself how to win. When IBM’s Deep Blue computer defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997, and the artificially intelligent Watson computer won the quiz show “Jeopardy!” in 2011, these were considered impressive technical feats, but…


What do students need to know about rhetoric?

I love giving the “what is rhetoric” lecture in my freshman writing seminar. Most students have at least heard of a rhetorical question, but most don’t know what “rhetoric” means, nor have they heard of logos, pathos and ethos. The first thing that students need to know about rhetoric, then, is that it’s all around us in conversation, in movies, in advertisements and books, in body language, and in art.…

"Due Date" vs "Do Date"

“Do Date” vs “Due Date”: Do Profs Really Have to Explain the Difference?

If there really are teachers who list assignments by “do date” rather than “due date,” I’ve never heard from one. Students who fall behind sometimes say “I didn’t know whether the readings listed for Monday are due on *Monday* or whether they are due on *Wednesday*.” How likely is it that the student really *is* confused about whether Monday=Monday or Monday=Wednesday? How likely is it that the student is exaggerating…

Challenger 1986

The Challenger disaster, Jan. 28, 1986

On this day in 1986, the Challenger space shuttle broke apart 73 seconds into its flight and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean. All seven of the Challenger astronauts, who had blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, perished. One of the crew members, Christa McAuliffe, had won a nationwide NASA competition to be the first schoolteacher to go to space. —POLITICO.