Monthly Archives: September 2015

Learning from PowerPoint: is it time for teachers to move on?

For a brief period in the history of teaching, using PowerPoint automatically qualified you as a tech-savvy professor – an innovator who wouldn’t settle for the usual combination of staticky black-and-white overhead films and hand-scrawled chalkboard notes. Now, it’s hard to believe that PowerPoint was once considered innovative by anyone. Popular criticism includes everything from […] … learn more→

Big fish, small pond: Institutionalizing academic inequality

A little over ten years ago, two adequately eminent sociology departments swiped two of my colleagues. For years, I wondered why the then-dean didn’t try to stop those raids; I’ve finally decided that the answer lies in a tangle of college and interdepartmental politics and corporatization, as well as the fact that one of the swipes was a woman. (In the not so […] … learn more→

An innovative form of cheating emerges in MOOCs

What if Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) aren’t actually courses at all? Our research teams at Harvard and MIT have shown over and over again that MOOC students look and act nothing like conventional students of either residential universities or online programs. With a broader age distribution, a more diverse and international student body, wide […] … learn more→

Found: 9,000-year-old case of ritualistic beheading that may be oldest in Americas

From 19th-century tales about tribes hunting for “trophy heads” to Hollywood films such as Mel Gibson’s Apocolypto, the Amazon rain forest has long inspired gruesome stories about ritualistic killing. However, the portrayal of civilisations such as the Incas, Nazcas, and the Wari cultures making human sacrifices in South America may have a much longer tradition […] … learn more→

University of Tennessee: Stop using “Him” or “Her”

When writing of the madness of today’s higher education, I’ve been picking on California a bit much. This is a little misleading, because the foolishness that dominates higher education isn’t restricted to California, it’s country-wide. No state is immune from the corruption and incompetence that defines much of higher education today. So let’s look at […] … learn more→

How an art history class became more engaging with Twitter

When I was a college student, art history courses revolved around a 1960s-era carousel slide projector. Its monotonous humming and clicking in the darkened lecture hall often put my classmates to sleep. For years, technology used in college art history classrooms was limited. Only in the past decade have departments transitioned from using the Kodak […] … learn more→

Researcher organise thyself

Recently I put together a promotion application. For those of you unfamiliar with the Australian system, this is similar to a tenure application in the U.S.A. You must compile everything you have done in your academic career, assess its impact and present it all as a legible ‘story’ of your contribution to your discipline and […] … learn more→

A better plan for debt-free College: Give money straight to students

The presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have each proposed plans during their campaigns to funnel federal and state funds to public institutions so that needy students (under Clinton’s plan) or all students (under Sanders’s plan) could receive a free or very-low-cost college education. If these plans gain serious traction, both public and private […] … learn more→