The LSU Top 5 #34

This is the 34th of our weekly links to the top 5 bits and pieces we’ve found from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

Why Do I Teach?NY Times

In this article, University of Notre Dame philosopher Gary Gutting argues that the most valuable aspect of education isn’t knowledge or skills, but getting students excited about being a part of an intellectual culture.

We should judge teaching not by the amount of knowledge it passes on, but by the enduring excitement it generates… The fruits of college teaching should be measured not by tests but by the popularity of museums, classical concerts, art film houses, book discussion groups, and publications like Scientific American, the New York Review of Books, The Economist, and The Atlantic, to cite just a few.

A biology professor at Northampton Community College shows a similar attitude in this personal reflection (link):

…every semester I will see it: A student looks up from his notes and makes eye contact. He moves up a few rows. He asks a question, tentatively at first, then more frequently, and soon at a level above that of the lecture. He’s gotten the spark.

Link

Fat-Shaming in AcademeInside Higher Ed

A tweet from an evolutionary psychologist has caused an uproar. The best to come out of out of this is a new blog, F**k yeah! Fat PhDs (link).

Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth.

Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth.

Link

Charisma Doesn’t CountInside Higher Ed

A study has found that charismatic lecturers are not more effective than their more boring counterparts. Some see this as an indictment of the usefulness of lectures rather than the ability of students to successfully persevere.

One expert unsurprised by the result is Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University… “With a better presenter it might seem like you are taking more in, but it doesn’t mean that anything has actually been learned — it doesn’t mean there has been an ‘Aha!’ moment,” Mazur said. … “What is really worrying is that people are jumping on the massive open online course bandwagon, taking a failed model and putting it online. We need to rethink how people approach teaching,” he said.

Link

When Colleges Use Twitter As Help DeskInformation Week

When something goes wrong, students often complain to each other or online instead of through the ‘proper’ channels.

[Students] don’t want to come to the counter. They refuse to fill out forms. What they want is to be able to tweet “the network sucks tonight and I have an important project to do!” from a fake name at an undisclosed location, and have it be magically acted on by the 24/7 staff of mind-readers that we all keep on hand for these cases.

This article gives some suggestions for how universities might work with this tendency rather than against it.

Link

Noam Chomsky on Democracy and Education in the 21st Century and BeyondTruth Out

This interview with Noam Chomsky on the past and current state of US education starts well:

Daniel Falcone for Truthout: I wanted to ask you some questions about education in the 21st century.

Chomsky: Not sure the topic exists.

Link

We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!

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