Re: SJSU philosophy dept on MOOCs

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President of SJSU on proposed MOOCs: "It could not be worse than what we do face to face."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 8:53 AM
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That was a really long letter. I'm going to wait to see if Sandel doesn't reply and in doing so summarize the critique.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 8:55 AM
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President of SJSU on proposed MOOCs: "It could not be worse than what we do face to face."

Stay fucking classy! Wow.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 8:59 AM
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MOOCs greatly reduce the risk of professors having sex with students.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 9:02 AM
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1: I wonder how much a sentiment like that is a byproduct of the administration's longstanding desire to crush the faculty union at a place like SJSU (and really throughout the Cal State system). I've been surprised in several meetings this year at the irrational depths of the upper administration's antipathy for the graduate student union in the UC. Based on these experiences, I would have to guess that the same hatred exists in the CSUs toward the organized faculty.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 9:59 AM
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I'm thisclose to blocking on FB an old friend from college who is now a VP at e/d/X/ because his entire page is an unmitigated stream of MOOC garbage and frankly he should fucking know better.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 11:14 AM
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I stand by my claim that online-only education, including MOOCs, is great for highly motivated learners who already have a great deal of education. This is, of course, not who they are being marketed to, but it is an important audience. It includes, for instance, me. I signed up for a course on mathematical philosophy through Coursera over the summer, and I'm looking forward to it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 12:29 PM
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@ 7:

Is that the course by the Ludwig Maximilian Universität in Munich?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 12:49 PM
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I think the model being proposed for SJSU may not be too bad for students who just want to pass the course and won't be asking any questions or really engaging with the material at any depth beyond the minimum required to pass the final. It's bad for the students who need a lot of help, but the coasters are going to be just fine with this model.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:02 PM
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It's pretty depressing that the president of SJSU sounds like one of the trolls that haunt the comments section of Inside Higher Ed..


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:11 PM
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8: Taught by Hannes Leitgeb and Stephan Hartmann, yes.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:14 PM
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11: I think CA is doing that?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:19 PM
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Is "mathematical philosophy" the same thing as "philosophy of mathematics", or not?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:22 PM
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It's "philosophy done with the help of mathematical methods," so I guess not the same as philosophy of mathematics.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:25 PM
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Oh look, I can access Coursera again. For the last month or two every time I tried to log in to the website I got a little spinny circle and "Loading..." indefinitely.

The two Coursera courses I've gone through completely were fairly interesting and not a bad way to get a little exposure to a new subject, but they didn't go into nearly enough depth to be a proper course.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:27 PM
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14: Justice = 4*truth + 6*equality + (-2)*arbitrary


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 1:41 PM
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Mathematical philosophy always achieves an R-squared of one.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 2:01 PM
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42


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 2:04 PM
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Huh. The Chronicle reports that SJSU's pilot program with this MOOC provider resulted in much higher pass rates for a course than comparable sections.

San Jose State last fall used material from an edX course, "Circuits & Electronics," as part of a "flipped classroom" experiment in its own introductory course in electrical engineering. The university offered three versions of the course: two conventional face-to-face sections and one "blended" section, in which students watched edX videos on their own and then participated in group activities, sans lecturing, during class time.

The pass rates in the two conventional sections were 55 percent and 59 percent. In the "flipped" section with the edX videos, 91 percent of students passed.

Those are impressive numbers, but... there is a lot of information missing.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 4:37 PM
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When Helpy-Chalk rediscovers this, we're all gonna be in a boatload of trouble.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 4:47 PM
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Upon learning of the Martian philosophy that free will and spiritual purpose could be defined by a "Life Equation", Darkseid postulated that there must exist a negative equivalent.

Namely, the Co-Life Equation.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 4:50 PM
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19: I suspect that some subject matter lends itself to a blended course more readily than others. Electrical engineering, "Circuits & Electronics", wouldn't you be working through problem sets and such? I recently heard a report saying that students benefit from the ability to go through the material as often as needed, at their own pace, if they're stuck on something: that would be more beneficial in engineering.

In philosophy, if you're not getting it, it's very unlikely to help you to watch the lecture again in slow motion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 5:01 PM
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19: Were students randomly assigned to the sections?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 5:15 PM
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23: That the university "offered" three versions of the course suggests not.

Did they try the same sort of thing in a humanities course?

I'm a little unclear on whether the "conventional face-to-face sections" included what I think of as actual sections: regular smaller discussion meetings in addition to the lecture. If they did not, if the conventional course was lecture-only, no smaller discussion groups, I'd not be surprised that the pass rate was low.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 5:25 PM
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Mr. Qayoumi said it was not yet clear how much the success in the initial "Circuits & Electronics" trial owed to the specific content from edX, and how much to redesigning the classroom around small-group work.

This suggests that the conventional "sections" were lecture-only. I'm surprised: I don't think I ever took a lecture-only course, without supplemental smaller group meetings. That's what TAs are for, I thought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 5:28 PM
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I'll give you MOOC!


Posted by: OPINIONATE JOEY 'CLAMS' SCALA | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 5:37 PM
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The reports I've seen on that SJSU/edX "experiment" - there's also an NYT article - seem to be careful not to examine the details, though reading between the lines of the NYT article it sounds like the "blended" class got lectures + in-class help and exercises while the "traditional" class got lectures without any additional support. I don't think you're allowed to blend traditional lectures with in-class support because MOOC SCIENCE EFFICIENCY.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 6:35 PM
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And by "reports I've seen" I mean "what I found in 10 minutes of using Google, including the time it took to read links."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 6:37 PM
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From 20:

Anti-Life Equation, which is revealed to be:

loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding × guilt × shame × failure × judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side

I think I may need heebie's help with this one.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 6:38 PM
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I'm going to need some order of operations clarification.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 6:52 PM
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Plugging in "self = dark side", "self-worth" becomes "dark side-worth." The result should be clear now.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 6:59 PM
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Further proof that Jack Kirby (and Jim Starlin, for that matter) >> Grant Morrison.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:00 PM
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27, 28: It it's this NYT article, I don't even get that much from reading between the lines. That is one hell of a blathery article.

The Correction down at the bottom is a little funny: Oh, sorry, we were wrong about the MOOC courses involving actual professors:

The article also misstated the nature of the courses that San Jose State University will offer with Udacity. The courses will involve students watching videos and taking interactive quizzes; they will not be blended courses with students first watching videos on their own, and then coming to class to work on assignments with a professor.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:02 PM
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From that article:

"One of the challenges of these massive courses as an instructor is how do you maintain contact with your students. It's just impossible," said Ronald F. Rogers, chairman of the psychology department at San Jose State.

I don't get this: do they not have smaller discussion sections? It sounds like not. I mean, I guess they don't, but I'm a little gobsmacked if that's so. It's a university? So they have graduate students? What do they do?

Also it's just plain puzzling that the chairman of the psychology department would think that the answer to a difficulty in maintaining contact with your students is to switch to a Udacity MOOC (not even a blended course), which is just watching a video and taking interactive quizzes.

Something weird is going on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:09 PM
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I don't know that I really even agree with 32, but that equation is super-silly and Starlin's big cosmic storylines for both Marvel and DC were like my favorite things in the world when I was, I don't know, 10?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:12 PM
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34: the Cal States have very small graduate programs, if they have graduate programs at all. And they typically, though by no means always, don't have the money to support their courses with discussion sections. Faculty, who often teach 4/4 loads, are lucky to get readers/graders.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:12 PM
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33: This:

It is hard to say, though, how much the improved results come from the edX online materials, and how much from the shift to classroom sessions focusing on small group projects, rather than lectures.

Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:15 PM
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Got it.

How unfortunate.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:22 PM
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I'm embarrassed that my understanding of things has obviously been flavored by my own experience at private universities. I should have been more informed -- I've done adjunct teaching at a state university, but no lecture course, just seminar, and apparently I had tunnel vision.

I'm a little curious about this, from the NYT article linked in 33:

Sebastian Thrun, one of the founders of Udacity, would not disclose how much the company would be paid for its participation.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 2-13 7:46 PM
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||

This is pretty big news, relatedto discussions of the DSM and its discontenteds in TFA.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 5:55 AM
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That is news.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 5:57 AM
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Whoa. The timing seems like big news too.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:07 AM
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"Damn those meddling rats of NIMH!"


Posted by: OPINIONATED BIG PSYCHIATRY | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:11 AM
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I suppose this means even if I do win my quest to get "Asshole, NOS" included, it will be too late to matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:11 AM
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This is pretty big news, relatedto discussions of the DSM and its discontenteds in TFA.

Whoa! Amazing.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:40 AM
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The RDoCs things has been in the works for a while, but I'm amazed they went for it this soon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:48 AM
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Wow! That really is big news.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:48 AM
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Does the DSM have much impact over there?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 6:53 AM
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I'm embarrassed that my understanding of things has obviously been flavored by my own experience at private universities. I should have been more informed -- I've done adjunct teaching at a state university, but no lecture course, just seminar, and apparently I had tunnel vision.

I think you're still tunneling. There is a vast difference between flagship state universities and secondary parts of the system - I think von wafer was referring to the huge distance between the UC and Cal State systems. Not that California hasn't been doing its best to undermine the UC network too.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 8:31 AM
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An interview with a therapist who is pretty contemptuous of the DSM. I have issues with the claim that depression is not real and the general tone the guy takes, but it's an interesting read.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 8:53 AM
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Having spent a bunch of time in meetings with deans for the first time in my life, deans are really weird.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 9:01 AM
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.....yesss?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 3:08 PM
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re: 48

I'd guess ICD-10? But I read a lot of the same basic diagnostic categories in the literature (or did when I had a philosophical interest in that sort of thing).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 3-13 4:02 PM
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Why does no one ever mention the huge role of for profit universities in dumbing down the system? The goal is not just to destroy the university system for anyone but the upper classes but to replace it with a very inferior for profit product.


Posted by: SN | Link to this comment | 05- 4-13 5:02 PM
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Why does no one ever mention the huge role of for profit universities in dumbing down the system?

I believe someone just did.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 4-13 6:40 PM
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Also, is there evidence that there will still be education for the upper classes, or do they just get business classes and comparative self-congratulation?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-13 11:30 AM
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I'm not sure what would count as evidence. Private, well-endowed universities presumably don't feel the need to pinch pennies quite as fiercely as public universities, so it seems less likely that they'll outsource their teaching.

Not sure what "business classes" refers to: there is no undergraduate degree in Business at, e.g. Harvard.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-13 11:54 AM
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