Archive for August 29, 2012

Asking the Question in Higher Education: Do You Love Teaching?

I don’t know of a study that addresses the question Nick is asking here. It may certainly exist — I’m not up on research in higher education.  (For the CS folk who read this list, there are actually departments in schools of education just on higher education administration, and you can get your doctorate in it.)  What percentage of faculty in various kinds of higher education (community college, liberal arts college, research university) want to teach?  Enjoy it?  Want to get better at it?  The closest that we in our group have come to exploring this question is when Lijun Ni interviewed CS faculty in the University System of Georgia, and was told by one faculty member (at a school with a teaching-primary mission) that he was not a computing educator and was not interested in getting better at it.  What’s the percentage overall?

Have we actually ever asked people these key questions as a general investigation? “Do you like teaching?” “What do you enjoy about teaching?” “What can we do to make you enjoy teaching more?” Would this muddy the water or clear the air? Would this earth our non-teaching teachers and fire them up?

Even where people run vanity courses (very small scale, research-focused courses design to cherry pick the good students) they are still often disappointed because, even where you can muster the passion to teach, if you don’t really understand how to teach or what you need to do to build a good learning experience, then you end up with these ‘good’ students in this ‘enjoyable’ course failing, complaining, dropping out and, in more analogous terms, kicking your puppy. You will now like teaching even less!

via The Key Difference (or so it appears): Do You Love Teaching? « Nick Falkner.

August 29, 2012 at 11:40 am 2 comments

New kind of spam? Snagging legitimate comments

I want to go meta for a moment, because I noticed something that I found interesting in my WordPress spam folder.  I have several completely legitimate, thoughtful comments on the blog, with completely illegitimate ownership.  I suspect that the ownership of the comment has been hijacked to drive traffic to their site.

For example, here’s a comment that has supposedly been made by a “Panama Offshore Bank Account” website:

We do know how to engage kids now. We have NCWIT Best and Promising Practices , and we have contextualized computing education . The real problem is that, when it comes to high school CS, we’re just not there. If you choose a high school at random, you are ten times more likely to find one that offers no CS than to find one offering AP CS. That’s a big reason why the AP numbers are so bad. It’s not that the current AP CS is such an awful class. It can be taught well. It’s just not available to everyone! The AP CS teachers we’re working with are turning kids away because their classes are full. Most kids just don’t have access.

That’s a relevant contribution — why would a Panama Bank submit that?

Here’s another, on the Khan Academy CS supports, from an “Anglo-Far East Gold Bullion” site:

The system works wonderfully. Educators often call it “scaffolded problem-based learning.” Essentially students will be solving real-life problems while being encouraged to explore, but are also guided by a teacher along their way, who will be able to point out a number of different ways of accomplishing the problem. Scaffolded learning acknowledges that real-life problems will always have more than one way to solve the solution, that students will always learn best by doing instead of watching, and that curiously should drive exploration (as a personal thought, it’s kind of funny that we’re basically finding things out that were already discovered hundreds of years ago).

These are far too-relevant to be generated by auto-spamming bots.  I’m wondering if, somehow, legitimate comments are getting relabeled.

If you make a comment, and it doesn’t show up, please drop me a note to check the spam filter, and I’ll try to make sure that your comment gets posted.

August 29, 2012 at 9:14 am 4 comments


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