Slant and Slate

Posted on November 23, 2013

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  On my twitter feed was a link to this article on Slate about Sebastian Thrun http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2013/11/sebastian_thrun_and_udacity_distance_learning_is_unsuccessful_for_most_students.html   

   Slate tends to have its biases against “big biz” education so it’s possible that the quotes here are carefully selected, but they confirm my gut feeling from listening to him talk about math in Jo Boaler’s “How to Learn Math” course… his chatting about math and how it should be taught seemed from a highly privileged position.   I recoiled a bit from the notion that somehow, because he was Highly Successful (you know, dude! SIlicon Valley!) and Knew Math that therefore he knew how we should/ shouldn’t teach it. (Yes, it reminded me of other Ivy League souls who somehow think learning math is going to ‘trickle down’ through a computer screen.) 

    THe thing that still alarms me most, though, is this absurd idea that somehow it’s the user who needs to change, not the products. If a product isn’t working, how ’bout figuring out how to make it work?  Could we make better MOOCs?   

     One short week, then Thanksgiving break, then one week of classes and then Finals Week.  I’m having to figure out logs, which I hadn’t seen since 1976 — and we had the slide rules too.  Hey, if the students are supposed to figure it out, I reckon I should be able to, too 🙂   

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