Photograph by Ellen Cantor from her Prior Pleasures series © The artist. Courtesy dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, California (Harper's)

The Printed Word in Peril: The age of Homo virtualis is upon us

Who, I thought, besides a multidisciplinary team in search of research funding, could possibly imagine that a digital account of the impact of reading digital print on human cognition would be effective? For such an account rests on the supremacy of the very thing it seeks to counteract, which can be summarized as a view of the human mind/brain that is itself computational in form.

Standardized Test Scores Don’t Really Measure Learning

There are ways to raise a child’s test scores that have nothing to with helping that child learn. In the past 10 years I have seen far more students — even the most capable, most brilliant students — paralyzed with fear about grades. In high school, you got good grades if you followed instructions and did exactly what the teacher told you to do. At the college level, I don’t…

The Decline of Humanities Enrollments and the Decline of Pre-Law

It’s a myth that humanities majors don’t care about post-graduation employment. What changed was the safety valve of subsequent law school enrollment.

Law school was long the default post-graduation plan for majors in qualitative fields. As long as you had the prospect of a lucrative legal career after college, you could safely major in English or poli sci. Those students didn’t ignore the vocational imperative; they just postponed it. And for a long time, that worked pretty well.

But the Great Recession, combined with AI and offshoring, did a number on law as a career option.

Headshot of U.S. President Donald J. Trump

How Trump Is Making Journalism School Great Again

This is an important time to teach people what journalists do and why it matters. “The media” is much larger than “journalists devoted to the objective coverage of the news.”  If you don’t like the slant, or the shallowness, or the opportunism of the media you run across, then check out several different sources, including reputable ones with slants that differ from yours. (If nowhere on the planet can you…

Poetry Writing: 10 Tips for Writing Poems

If you are writing a poem because you want to capture a feeling that you experienced, then you don’t need these tips. Just write whatever feels right. Only you experienced the feeling that you want to express, so only you will know whether your poem succeeds. If, however, your goal is to communicate with a reader — drawing on the established conventions of a literary genre (conventions that will be familiar to the…