Coding Bootcamps and the New For-Profit Higher Ed

There are actually a number of narratives – some of them competing narratives – at play here in the recent push for coding bootcamps, MOOCs, and other ed-tech initiatives: that everyone should go to college; that college is too expensive – “a bubble” in the Silicon Valley lexicon; that alternate forms of credentialing will be developed (by the technology sector, naturally); that the tech sector is itself a meritocracy, and…

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Students don’t know what’s best for their own learning

Many educators worry that students are more positive about teachers who give better marks regardless of what the students learn, and are more negative about teachers who make students work hard in order to learn. If this is true, it means the simplest way for a teacher to get a good evaluation is to make it easy for students to get good marks. As it happens, students who rated their…


Smith College Protesters Bar Journalists From Covering Sit-In Unless They Support the Cause

Reporters planning to cover the sit-in arrived at the Massachusetts college’s student center on Wednesday only to find that the protesters intended to keep them out. Alyssa Mata-Flores, a Smith senior and a sit-in organizer, elaborated on the decision to The Republican: “We are asking that any journalists or press that cover our story participate and articulate their solidarity with black students and students of color. By taking a neutral stance, journalists…

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Canon Australia video: 1 man; 6 backstories; 6 photographers; 6 photos

Canon Australia wants to sell cameras. This soft-sell video flatters the creative ambitions of customers in order to make them want to invest money in a fancy camera. We should be critical of the premise, because the video is not an art project or a psychological study. Still, this is good storytelling, and helps make a point about how media creates the reality that we perceive.  

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Most Christians don’t actually care about Starbucks cups. Here’s what we do know.

No Christians in my social media feed care about the design of that cup. Lots of people in my social media feed have reposted stories critical of the silly Christians who get all worked up about the design of the cup. Full disclosure: I don’t drink coffee. [C]ontrary to a few breathless media reports, most Christians don’t actually care what kind of cup their latte is served in, so long as…


Editors and editorial board quit top linguistics journal to protest subscription fees

When I publish as a scholar, my goal is not to make money, but to share my intellectual creation. That’s part of my job description, so my university writes my paycheck with the expectation that I will publish. My publications will have more impact if more people read them. Hiding them behind subscription paywalls will reduce their audience. Scholars at public instutitons, whose salaries are paid by taxes, have a…


Scaring People Can Make Them Healthier, But It Isn’t Always The Way To Go

As my freshman writing students assemble sources for their term research paper, I will point them towards this article, which raises ethical concerns about using fear as a persuasive tool. (Aristotle said that the appeal to fear, like that of lust, reaches our baser emotions; appeals to love, justice, patriotism, etc. are harder to create, but they lead us on the path that makes us better people in a better…