17 November 2015

Items to Share: 15 November 2015

Education Focus
  • Can Online Learning Ever Beat the Real Thing? | Big Think 'To most, the question of whether online learning can beat the real thing probably sounds rhetorical: Of course — one assumes, a real teacher in a real classroom must always be better than learning through a screen. The case against online learning has been made in a series of strongly worded critiques of “massive open online courses” (MOOCs), however in a recent article in Nautilus, Barbara Oakley, an engineering professor at Oakland University, has made a strong case to the contrary. Oakley describes a variety of “terrific pedagogical advantages” that can be applied in online learning
  • BPS Research Digest: Older people appear to be especially good at remembering things that interest them  'Our memory abilities begin to diminish in some respects as early as our twenties. But the picture isn't entirely bleak. A new study published in Psychology and Aging explores the possibility that an older person's curiosity or interest in a subject can reinforce their powers of memory. Following this view, old age is associated with forgetting more of what you don't care about, but the ability to remember what matters to you is preserved or even enhanced.
  • 3 Rules of Academic Blogging - The Chronicle of Higher Education 'Blogging — self-published, regular, semiformal, potentially public writing — fits academic life beautifully. Just pick your platform carefully, use the experience as a way to write new things, and, most of all, write for the sake of writing. And then just maybe, readers will follow.' 
Other Business
  • In praise of dignity and justice | David Didau: The Learning Spy  'Now, Campbell and Manning suggest, we are entering a new era of morality: the culture of dignity is being subsumed by a new culture of victimhood. In this new culture, it is no longer assumed that everyone possesses dignity and worth. Instead, it is assumed that insults and slights are an attack on our honour and must be redressed. In contrast to the culture of honour, victims are not expected to seek this redress alone but to appeal to more powerful others for support. According to Campbell and Manning, this involves “building a case for action by documenting, exaggerating, or even falsifying offences”.'  See also this (I hope rather over-egged) report: The Halloween Costume Controversy at Yale's Silliman College - The Atlantic 'A fight over Halloween costumes at Yale has devolved into an effort to censor dissenting views.'
  • Reproducibility Crisis: The Plot Thickens - Neuroskeptic 'There have been many published studies of romantic priming (43 experiments across 15 papers, according to Shanks et al.) and the vast majority have found statistically significant effects. The effect would appear to be reproducible! But in the new paper, Shanks et al. report that they tried to replicate these effects in eight experiments, with a total of over 1600 participants, and they came up with nothing. Romantic priming had no effect. [   ] So what happened? Why do the replication results differ so much from the results of the original studies?
  • How Failing Better Could Advance Science [nautil.us] 'It is this unordinary meaning of failure that I suggest scientists should embrace. One must try to fail because it is the only strategy to avoid repeating the obvious. Failing better means looking beyond the obvious, beyond what you know and beyond what you know how to do. Failing better happens when we ask questions, when we doubt results, when we allow ourselves to be immersed in uncertainty.

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