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Comment I agree - for large lectures (Score 1) 804

I had that same idea when I was an undergrad (in the USA). The course outcome should be important, and if I can gain the skills/knowledge without attending, then why require me to attend? When I started teaching underclassmen as a grad student, I even instituted an attendance-optional policy.

But then I became a professor and had the luxury of teaching small upper-level and graduate courses. My belief that the instructor was not the source of all knowledge was reinforced, but so was the understanding that *real* learning happened between students. When a student did not attend our discussions, they deprived us all of their point of view.

So, for large lectures, I agree with you. Use the Western Governors University model (sell assessment and certification/accreditation, not instruction). But for small, meaningful classes, I still require attendance.

Submission + - How often do you google yourself?

Gates82 writes: How often do you google yourself?
When looking for a job
I thought googling yourself was the other thing

Comment ACC was right! (Score 4, Interesting) 115

In 2001, ACC pointed out the odd coincidence between the ring of Saturn being only 4 million years old, and the time when the Monolith appeared on Earth. Hmmmmmm.

BTW - The book has the large monolith at Saturn, not Jupiter. Kubrick was worried about the FX it would take to portray the rings on film, so they changed it to Jupiter.

Comment Re:Count me in (Score 2, Insightful) 703

The Best Thing Ever was when some Bush-administration lackey took Colbert seriously enough to invite him to speak at the 2006 White House Correspondents' dinner.

That speech made Colbert forever one of my personal heroes.

You might want to brush up on the history of the White House Correspondents' Association's dinner: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Correspondents'_Association . Yakov Smirnoff was the speaker in 1988.

The content of Colbert's speech may have surprised some, but taking him "seriously" would have disqualified him from being considered as the speaker.

Comment Re:Geeze (Score 2, Interesting) 357

Local news: Hydrogen fueling facility explodes on [street]. No word yet on damage or casualties. In other news, please tune in to the end of our broadcast to find out how [common household product] could be KILLING YOUR FAMILY.

I live in Rochester, you insensitive clod...

Actually, you're dead on. The 10 o'clock news said the explosion was near Scott St., and then proceeded with (I kid you not) a story about a four-year-old who wore too many Silly Bands for too long and had sore skin because of it.

Comment Re:Depends who you thnk teachers work for (Score 4, Interesting) 629

It would be nice to hope that this was the first step in recognising that (indirectly) real people pay for and therefore employ teachers. These real people would like to think the primary role of teachers is to impart knowledge, skills and abilities to the children in their charge.

I'm a prof in a school of ed, but my background is in psych, not ed. I've noticed that many teachers (and those teachers who go on to become profs of education) do not feel that imparting "knowledge, skills and abilities" is their major goal. Rather, as I see it, they envision teachers as replacing the home, family, and parents as the conduit of social morals.

Comment Re:RTFA before commenting (Score 1) 629

Standardized tests are one measurement, but not the only or best one... just the cheapest and the easiest for politicians and lazy reporters to spout about.

"Best" would imply some set of criteria, right? If inexpensive, consistent, apparently-easy-to-understand, and status-quo are part of your criteria, then couldn't standardized tests be the "best"? While the states place far too much confidence in the results (e.g. they do not even report the students' scores in error bands), they may be justified in their selection of standardized tests as a method of assessment.

Many (most) states use tests that are far below industry standards. But we shouldn't besmirch all standardized tests because the state chooses poorly.

Comment Re:I say test the teachers (Score 2, Interesting) 629

Test the teachers on the material they are teaching.

James Popham, a prof. ameritus at UCLA, wrote that if we want to know something about someone, we measure that something in that someone. To measure something in the students and then draw a conclusion about the teacher is "a second-step inference." He pointed out that current psychometric theory (see the AERa, APA, NCME 1999 Standards for psychological and educational testing) only deal with first-step inferences.

Note that the LA Time analysis used value-added methods, which have not been fully vetted in the psychometric literature. Especially, the degree to which measurement error (which is operationalized slightly differently in psychometrics than in other fields) interacted with value-added methods has not been established. Given that the false-result rate on New York State's tests are around 5% (which is probably close to CA's), I doubt you can rely on them as much as this analysis has.

Comment Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (Score 4, Interesting) 438

I am an engineering for a large utility in the US, granted Civil not Electrical, but the principal for generation is:

You produce a little spare power that is grounded to handle increases (your buffer)
There are voltage regulators and capacitor banks at substations to handle small variations in load
Utilize peaking stations when the load on the grid is particularly high
The key for generation: RPM of the turbine, as load on the grid decreases it take less energy to maintain the speed of the turbine; so while a turbine may still be spinning at the same speed during high and low demand it is certainly not consuming as much fuel

With that being said, there is certainly a lag between the consumption of fuel and the utilization of that energy (steam to mechanical motion) that may produce a delay of an hour as load decreases. Utility companies have a great deal of data and they can generally predict when usage will change and adjust the fuel consumption accordingly.

So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's Sister?

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