Monthly Archives: April 2013

Economics: What’s love got to do with it?

Economists understand greed very well; after all, the urge to get rich is our discipline’s main explanation for human actions. Economists further recognise that greed can be good. When our greedy urges are constrained by institutions, so that we compete with each other by means of specialisation in production rather than by killing or cheating […] … learn more→

Bike-sharing programs fit the streets in over 500 cities worldwide

Politicians, lobbyists, and tourists alike can ride bicycles along a specially marked lane between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, part of the 115 miles of bicycle lanes and paths that now crisscross Washington, DC. In Copenhagen, commuters can ride to work following a “green wave” of signal lights timed for bikers. Residents in […] … learn more→

PhD: the extreme fieldwork edition

In the first few weeks of my thesis, I remember being directed to a blog post by “Sciencewoman” which gave some sage advice to students on how to complete your PhD in a reasonable amount of time. I recently re-read it only to find I had failed two of her major points. Namely, ‘Don’t pick […] … learn more→

Do we dare write for readers?

Go ahead. Keep working on your book. But before you finish, I hope you\’ll consider a modest proposal. Your book will never be entirely yours—it can\’t be. Because the book you\’re writing needs an important collaborator: the reader. Today our paradigms for scholarly writing may never have seemed less paradigmatic, our disciplinary affirmations never less […] … learn more→

Expanding global landscape of MOOC platforms

In Brussels, yesterday, Androulla Vassiliou (European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) announced that the \”first pan-European\” MOOC platform will be launched on 25 April 2013. As Commissioner Vassiliou put it: \”This is an exciting development and I hope it will open up education to tens of thousands of students and trigger our schools […] … learn more→

Boston and the expanding danger of Chechen Islamist jihad

The media attention focused on the Boston Marathon bombers has continued to emphasise their Chechen origins, but there has been little investigation as to why the brothers attacked such a popular, internationally oriented gathering. One clue might lie with the longstanding conflict in the remote region of Chechnya. Two Chechen-born, US naturalised brothers Tamerlan and […] … learn more→

I\’m failing my MOOC

I’m failing my MOOC. But that doesn’t mean I’m not learning anything. I enrolled in Coursera’s “English Composition I” with the best of intentions. I’ve been writing about MOOCs, often critically, and thought I should experience massive, open, online learning for myself. I chose English Composition I because it’s a course I teach and I […] … learn more→

The math doesn’t work

I recently finished up a stint on a departmental committee that, in accordance with state law, annually evaluates the teaching of the instructors in my department. While required by bureaucracy, the work is not meaningless, and actually provides instructors with valuable feedback on their classroom practices, course and assignment design, and execution of the curriculum. […] … learn more→

How to assess the real payoff of a College degree

Just listen to Dimitrius Graham sing. His voice soars up and down the scale like a bird carried on the wind. As a music major at Morgan State University, he seems keenly aware of certain realities about his life: His talent is undeniable and probably innate, and his future is promising but uncertain. He could […] … learn more→