My Scholarly Reflections

This is where I tell what I think, so that I see what I say

Archive for May 2012

Creativity: ‘valuable novelty’

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Clay Sharky talks about creativity and design: http://tmblr.co/ZKtENwLeOjV7

Some thought provoking quotes:

“you cant fake interestingness”

“the conversation around creativity goes off the rails when we assume its a thing..”

 

 

 

 

Written by Amer Khan

May 27, 2012 at 3:12 am

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Sequencing, and overall coherence of assessments etc…

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http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/shining-a-light-on-your-assignments/

Qoutes a study which concludes (quote from the above blogpost):

“Students do develop critical thinking skills (and other learning skills) this way, but they develop learning skills faster and to a higher level when those skills are explicitly taught and students have ample opportunities to practice.”

The comments on the above blogpost notworthy, essentially saying:  too much workload, guilt that teaching not getting enough careful attention, and “undergraduates are not getting what they are paying for” !

Written by Amer Khan

May 24, 2012 at 12:04 am

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orgtheory.net

A question for my brothers and sisters in the economics profession: Why do very different private colleges charge roughly the same tuition? For example, a full blown elite research 1 school like the University of Chicago charges about $42k per year. Harvard charges about $39k if you add tuition and the required health fee together. An elite liberal arts college like Swarthmore charges about $40k a year. A much less well known private college like DePauw charges $38k a year. Colgate charges about $45k per year.

The big savings come from going to tiny schools (e.g. Coe charges $33k a year, or Notre Dame of California charges $24k a year). Why is the price/prestige curve flat except for tiny liberal arts colleges? If you believe the Dale/Krueger paper on college choice and income (e.g., doesn’t matter which college you go to, for the…

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Written by Amer Khan

May 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm

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edtechdigest.com

It’s already been a busy 2012 for Andrew Grauer (pictured, right). His company, Course Hero, kicked off the year with a relaunch of their Flashcards app, featuring a bold new redesign and the addition of Optimal Learn  proprietary technology to help a student master any flashcard set by a given deadline. Just last month, they announced the launch of 22 free full-length courses, the latest addition to the Course Hero suite of educational resources. Have a look at a previous interview we did with Andrew if you haven’t already, and catch up with him here on how his company is moving out of a one-dimensional moving-courses-to-the-web approach and on to a greater mission of disrupting traditional learning to offer dynamic new ways to understand the world around us.

Victor: There are already a lot of institutions, companies and even individuals providing online courses: MIT OpenCourseware, Udacity, Coursera, Khan Academy to name…

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Written by Amer Khan

May 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

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What if a student wants to go from textbook to facebook?!

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Students (still in my class, not former students) sometime send me a facebook friendship request. What should I do? Accept it, giving out the signal that that student is now a relation beyond the supposedly, arms-length and hallowed confines of the classroom? Is the relationship now going from transactional (“you give me education, I give you money) to affective (“lets be friends because I like you!”)…or is it just a knee jerk reaction of the students bumping into my profile matched by facebook through some esoteric algorithm….and I just accept the reality of extreme connectedness through social media? One feasible option is to add them to the ‘acquiantance’ category of my facebook connections which allow them restricted access to my facebook life (e.g. no access to personal info and pictures).

But then on the other hand, the fact that students reach out to engage on an informal platform such as  facebook also signals that the students want to  learn more from my experiences and knowledge! This possibility also shows breaking down of walls between our different social worlds and their attendant interactions, mediated by the new technologies. One screen on facebook engaged in light banter with a friend, another screen in deep discussion on some topic on, say finance or economics, with a fellow student or facilitator. These roles may also metamorph depending on the scenario.

Still not sure whether ‘confirm’ the latest friendship request that I have recieved from a student or ignore!  (In fact this whole process of mechanically confirming or ignoring friendship overtures appear to absurd to me, to say the least! As if friendship is like an on-off switch….)

Written by Amer Khan

May 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

How do I know when I fail (or do I really want to know!)

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Managers in the corporate world often know when they fail: Products not sold, revenue targets not met etc. Feedback systems get into action: Outcomes are often visible and often quanitifiable, consequences are often immediate, the ‘bottom line’ is hit. When this does not happen, consequences are disastrous: Enron and Global Financial Crisis. More dramatically, I love to give the example of driving a car, or learning to drive a car. One wrong move, and the outcomes are visible and often disastrous. Success or failure is  often clear cut.

When I fail in class, things are not often so clear cut. It is often not clear what is success or failure! Feedback systems are not efficient. Feedback is often verbal, based on what students say, and that comes too late. Self assessment of success or failure is also problematic, given the subjective (and emotional) connotations of failure, as a senior professor muses on her experience in an article titled ‘Failure and learning’, on the higher education portal ‘Faculty Focus’ here. Failure is private, painful and failure becomes “a measure of our inherent worth as human beings…”

Nature of content may contribute to problems in measuring success or failure. Accounting, finance and similar ‘quantitative’ units are somewhat less problematic. There are clear cut heuristics that students need to master; visually identifiable steps leading to whether assessments conform to a standard template of structured answers.Other more messy domains such as HRM, entrepreneurship and the like are not so amenable to clear rule based structured problem solving. In many ways, arguably, learning to drive is closer to learning accounting; learning HRM is probably not.

Written by Amer Khan

May 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm