The LSU Top 5 #40

The LSU Top 5 is becoming middle age, with this being the 40th 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!)

My fake college syllabus Salon

This honest course guide for the imaginary English 401: The Short Novel is summed up nicely by the subtitle:

As your professor, I plan to take your money, never read your essays and pretend you’re not checking Facebook.


Math, Science Popular Until Students Realize They’re HardThe Wall Street Journal

A study of students’ choices of majors at a US university found that many students start with intentions to study what they know will be hard subjects – maths and sciences – but change their minds when they realise just how hard they are.

The students switched out because they were dissatisfied with their grades. “Students knew science was hard to begin with, but for a lot of them it turned out to be much worse than what they expected,” said Todd R. Stinebrickner, one of the paper’s authors. “What they didn’t expect is that even if they work hard, they still won’t do well.”


Do the Best Professors Get the Worst Ratings? Psychology Today

This article looks at research at the links between teaching evaluations and student performance.

Bottom line? Student evaluations are of questionable value. 

Some interesting relationships emerge: teaching evaluations and students’ perceptions of teaching quality do not correlate well with student performance, and teaching methods that are not appreciated teaching evaluations or even short-term student performance can lead to long term improvements in student performance.


Degree classification: when is a First not a First?Telegraph

First or Second? The boundary is sometimes just too narrow, with the difference between 69.5% and 70% meaning nothing but the difference between a first and a second meaning everything. Making a difficult situation worse is that while some universities insist on strictly following the rules of degree classification, other universities or departments raise some students’ grades who are on the borderline.


Blackboard Announces New MOOC PlatformThe Chronicle
With some universities turning to alternative online learning platforms to experiment with MOOCs, Blackboard sees that it is time to get in on the action.

The company announced at its annual conference here that it would create a new MOOC platform that colleges could use free if they were existing Blackboard customers.

Colleges “want this,” said Mr. Henderson, [president of Blackboard’s teaching and learning division,] referring to support for free online courses. “If they don’t get it from us, they could get it from someone else, which initiates a new relationship that is potentially a risk to us.”


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

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