The Becker Blog

On being an academic, farmer, writer, scientist, programmer, educator, designer, mom, ...

  • Worth Sharing: Would College Students Retain More If Professors Dialed Back The Pace?

    Worth Sharing: Would College Students Retain More If Professors Dialed Back The Pace?

    Why do we forget so much of what we read? Anthropologist Barbara J. King suggests that the answer might point toward benefits of a slower pace of teaching in the college classroom. Source: Would...

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  • Worth Sharing: Why I Stopped Writing on My Students’ Papers

    Worth Sharing: Why I Stopped Writing on My Students’ Papers

    A professor decides it’s time to reconceive how he comments on essay assignments. This is GREAT! I have taken to requiring my students to do reflections (3 Up; 3 Down – Thanks for the great...

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  • Thousands of teachers caught cheating in exams

    Thousands of teachers caught cheating in exams

    I have long thought that the way to change the problem of cheating in exams (and assignments) is to reduce the risk associated with any single task. Stay tuned for future posts on how to do that....

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  • Worth Sharing: Education Is Performance Art

    Worth Sharing: Education Is Performance Art

    The first job of a teacher is to make the student fall in love with the subject. That doesn’t have to be done by waving your arms and prancing around the classroom; there’s all sorts of ways to go...

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  • Another example of the Randomness of Grades

    Another example of the Randomness of Grades

    I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems | The Huffington Post Source: I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems | The Huffington...

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  • The Randomness of Grades: Are all ‘B’s the Same?

    The Randomness of Grades: Are all ‘B’s the Same?

    Last time we looked at how different a score of 75% can be, depending on which 75% the student got right in an exam where the questions are ‘perfectly balanced’. BUT, what if the exam ISN’T...

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  • Kua Tale, as Retold by Helga Ingeborg Vierich

    Kua Tale, as Retold by Helga Ingeborg Vierich

    Written by Helga Ingeborg Vierich (*) The Kua told me one of their sacred stories – of the beginning times – in which the creator spirit saw a human being marrying an animal instead of killing...

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  • The Randomness of Grades: What is an ‘A’ Student?

    The Randomness of Grades: What is an ‘A’ Student?

    We all have a sense of what an ‘A’ Student is. They are the ones who have earned our top marks, of course. But comparing our own personal ‘A’s with that of other faculty quickly becomes...

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  • Grades: The Random Factor, Problem 2

    Grades: The Random Factor, Problem 2

    Problem 1, as outlined yesterday is that we really have no objective way of ensuring that our exams actually ‘cover’ the course content. Now, what about exams from the student’s perspective? I...

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  • Grades: The Random Factor

    Grades: The Random Factor

    How much of your students’ grades in your courses is subject to random chance? Is your first reaction a defensive one? “Why, NONE, of COURSE!” We all like to think we are assessing our students...

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  • What’s the difference between serious games, educational games, and game-based learning? Episode 2

    What’s the difference between serious games, educational games, and game-based learning? Episode 2

    I recently posted a table explaining the differences between games, serious games, educational, games, GBL, etc.   I thought a concrete example might help to understand the distinctions. Say we...

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  • What’s the difference between serious games, educational games, and game-based learning?

    What’s the difference between serious games, educational games, and game-based learning?

    This question keeps coming up. Here’s a handy table to help. This is an updated version of the table I created back in 2015. Note: This image is not to be posted anywhere or re-used without my...

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  • Worth Sharing: Further LACK of evidence for Link Between Violent Video Games and Behaviour

    Worth Sharing: Further LACK of evidence for Link Between Violent Video Games and Behaviour

    Posted on 16 January 2018 Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent. Source: No evidence to support link between...

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  • Worth Sharing: How Long Does It Take to Develop One Hour of Training? Updated for 2017

    Worth Sharing: How Long Does It Take to Develop One Hour of Training? Updated for 2017

    This article is an update to a study that tried to answer the question: How long it takes to design one hour of instruction? Source: How Long Does It Take to Develop One Hour of Training? Updated...

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  • Finding meaning in life in a world without work

    Finding meaning in life in a world without work

    This article misses the point. Assuming robotics renders many jobs obsolete AND we have the means to provide a basic living wage to all, this has the potential to free up masses of people to spend...

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  • Worth Sharing: 3 Ways to Get More Women Into Tech

    Worth Sharing: 3 Ways to Get More Women Into Tech

    What are YOU doing in your courses to encourage more women to enter and continue? The president of Harvey Mudd College shares the strategies it’s used to interest more female students in computer...

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  • “Artspeak”, meet “Edspeak” – same S#!+, different pile.

    “Artspeak”, meet “Edspeak” – same S#!+, different pile.

    The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear...

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  • Worth Sharing: Abusers and Enablers in Faculty Culture

    Worth Sharing: Abusers and Enablers in Faculty Culture

    Academe is full of Petruchios looking for their next Kate. Source: Abusers and Enablers in Faculty Culture This article is absolutely bang on. In academia: Abuse is normalized. Abusers destabilize...

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  • Smart Watches in Exams? Why NOT?!

    Smart Watches in Exams? Why NOT?!

    The question of what to do about smart watches in exams came across my feed. Predictably, the typical response is to simply not allow them. I’ve got news for you all….. this won’t fix the problem....

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  • On Grief And Farming (A.K.A. Me and My Arrow) Pt. 5

    On Grief And Farming (A.K.A. Me and My Arrow) Pt. 5

      Once we knew we would not be able to keep Rubic, we started looking for a replacement. This is one of the many many places where having a reputable, caring breeder comes in handy. Not only did...

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