All posts tagged with teaching

Link: Online learning metaconversation

1 minute read

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about how to help students transition more effectively to online learning. Obviously this is a topic on the ...

Link: Anatomical models

1 minute read

The Age has an article describing the work of two anatomists who want to bring new high-fidelity plastic models into medical anatomy training: “Buster, the p...

Why are biology classes ignoring insects?

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A new content analysis of college biology textbooks finds that they have changed over the years to focus less and less on insects: A “College Textbooks Large...

Link: ‘Myths of Human Genetics’

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As the semester is getting rolling, and I am teaching Mendelian genetics in two courses this week, I want to link again to the invaluable “Myths of Human Gen...

MOOCs after five years

3 minute read

Five years ago, I was just starting to prepare a massive open online course (MOOC). That course development would be an 18-month adventure for me.

Link: 10 ways to boost writing

less than 1 minute read

If you need the list, you need the list: “10 Ways to Boost Your Writing Productivity”. Good suggestions for writers.

Link: Prep for paleo cuisine

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Kristina Killgrove describes a great exercise in which she has her students prepare a whole dinner using only stone tools: “Hominin Iron Chef”.

Behind the scenes of my MOOC

2 minute read

The alumni magazine of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has done a great article about my recent massive open online course (MOOC), written by the science...

The value of the pretest

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Every semester for the past three years, I have begun my Anthropology 105 course with a “concept inventory” quiz, otherwise known as a pretest. My students a...

Archaeology is not boring!

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Colleen Morgan has a new post at Middle Savagery that may serve as an intervention to those who claim that archaeology isn’t a romantic field: “Stop saying ‘...

A perspective on MOOCs as experimentation

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I’ve been meaning to comment on this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about MOOCs, by Kevin Werbach: “Dont Call Us Rock Stars”. Werbach has been te...

Changing science education

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As the new semester is getting underway, the New York Times asked a bunch of scientists and students what they would advocate to improve science education. T...

Professing in the real world

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Education professor Sam Wineburg has a provocative essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education espousing a public impact agenda: “Choosing Real-World Impact O...

How a MOOC can affect the classroom

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Duke University evolutionary biologist Mohamed Noor reflects on the way that teaching a MOOC has changed his classroom teaching: “The classroom experience re...

How to use scientific names

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Dave Hone has a short explainer with persnicketyness about the proper use of taxonomic names for species: “What’s in a name? Why scientific names are importa...

Quote: Donald Kagan on liberal arts education

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Yale University classicist and historian Donald Kagan has just retired from a long and distinguished career. He has an essay in the current New Criterion, re...

MOOCs and disabilities

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The Coursera blog today relates a remarkable story: “Not Impossible: The Story of Daniel, a 17 Year Old with Severe Autism & His 6 Completed Coursera Cou...

"Can you help me with my report?"

2 minute read

Lately, I’ve been getting an increasing number of e-mail requests from middle school and high school students, whose teachers have assigned them projects tha...

"I Believe in Gene Flow"

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Mindy Pitre forwarded me a video done by her undergraduate students at St. Lawrence University, and I just had to share it. It is about as adorable as cavema...

The game theory exam story

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UCLA animal behavior professor Peter Nonacs describes his experiment in learning by doing: “Cheating to Learn: How a UCLA professor gamed a game theory midte...

Student attention spans are variable

1 minute read

There is much discussion in online education about the “15-minute rule”: that content longer than 15 minutes will lose students’ attention. Part of this is b...

Paths through MOOCs

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I’ve been doing a lot of tracking of massive open online courses, including enrolling in several of them, as research for my upcoming course, “Human Evolutio...

Are MOOCs technical or practical?

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All the NY Times columnists will be writing about MOOCs before long, I suspect. Today it was David Brooks’ turn: “The Practical University”. His argument is ...

Math for biology

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Edward O. Wilson, in the Wall Street Journal writes: “Great Scientist ? Good at Math”.

California's online imposition

less than 1 minute read

This is big education news, from the California legislature: “Measure Seeks Campus Credit For Web Study”.

Binge learning

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From Eli Dourado at The mlaut: “Binge Learning is Online Educations Killer App”.

"Average is over"

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Today’s Thomas Friedman column notes the growing craze at major universities for massively open online courses, or MOOCs: “The Professors Big Stage”.

MOOC conversations

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An article on the way MOOCs are (or may be) changing university priorities: “What MOOCs Will, Wont, and Might Do”.

Notes from the learning revolution

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My University of Wisconsin colleague Kris Olds has been writing about the international dimensions of massively open online courses (MOOCs). A recent entry (...

Assignment by algorithm

2 minute read

Another teaching-related post today, this one pointing to a post by Marc Bousquet: “Robots are grading your papers!” It’s about the sterile repetition of the...

The importance of rare variants

less than 1 minute read

I was reading an article on massive open online courses (MOOCs) (“MOOCs Assessed, Modestly”), and struck by the final quote:

Twitter higher-ed pointer

less than 1 minute read

Many professors and instructors are starting semesters in the next week or two, me among them. As I’m preparing materials for my spring course, I’ll post a f...

Scott on science literacy

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Eugenie Scott, of the National Center for Science Education, has an editorial in the current Frontiers in Genetics. The title effectively conveys the piece’s...

Building a virtual skeletal collection

less than 1 minute read

From The Independent (UK), a teaser about a 3-d virtual skeletal collection: “Forensic scientists need skeletons to train but theyre down to bare bones”.

Against onanistic essays

1 minute read

Claire Potter at the Chronicle’s “Tenured Radical” blog, has an interesting essay pondering why we assign students essays that nobody wants to read: “Grading...

Lemonade in the lecture

2 minute read

I teach a large lecture class every semester, and this past fall I taught or supervised three of them. So I’m always looking for ways to innovate. One of the...

Shirky essay on online courses

2 minute read

Clay Shirky reflects on the nature of college education and the potential disruptive nature of online courses: “Napster, Udacity and the Academy”. For those ...

Online education: beyond MOOCs

6 minute read

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about online and distance education lately. I’ll be writing about this topic recurrently during the next few weeks, so I wil...

A teaching tool on evolution misconceptions

1 minute read

An article in The American Biology Teacher last month by Norman Johnson and colleagues provides useful answers for teachers to the question, “Why are chimps ...

Fearfully genetic

less than 1 minute read

Holly Dunsworth comments on an NPR report on personal genomics: “Be afraid of fear, not personal genomics”.

Teeth and teaching

less than 1 minute read

Razib Khan has a short but worthwhile post about dental health and heritability: “The moral measure of bad teeth”.

Outsourcing research

1 minute read

Richard F. Wintle describes his job coordinating grant-seeking and laboratory work in a Canadian research institute: “The unsung heroes behind those big geno...

Human evolution links for teachers

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As the new school year ramps up, if you are teaching human evolution as part of your courses, Caitlin Schrein has been tweeting some helpful resource links. ...

Students and technology in the classroom

2 minute read

Another school year is about to start for those of us who teach college courses. More and more, students are coming to classrooms and actively using technolo...

Making universities compete

2 minute read

David Glance discusses the online course frenzy, giving a boosterist perspective: “Will free online courseware from the US mean the end of (most) universitie...

A little more on online learning

3 minute read

Following up on my post from this weekend (“My foray into online learning”), I wanted to share more widely part of a conversation. Larry Moran is a biochemis...

Learning by app

1 minute read

From the Boston Globe: “Study suggests online courses as good as classroom”.

Better posters

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Every so often I remind readers about Zen Faulkes’ “Better Posters” site. This is a good time for the reminder because this week the site features Kristina K...

Hamsters in the wood shavings

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Karen Kelsky gives more advice on how to navigate graduate school to get the job you want: “Graduate school is a means to a job”.

No exams, learning-based outcomes

1 minute read

I no longer teach any courses with exams. The last one was my introductory course, Principles of Biological Anthropology, which has now gone to weekly quizze...

The open textbook niche

1 minute read

A sobering Sunday read about how elementary and secondary school textbooks are put together today: “Afraid of your child’s math textbook? You should be.”

Genotyping the intro class

2 minute read

Holly Dunsworth, at the University of Rhode Island, is undertaking a unique project with her undergraduate course this semester, providing 23andMe genotyping...

My appointment as HHMI Fellow

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The University of Wisconsin has a news article out on my new position as HHMI Faculty Fellow: “Forest and Hawks named 2012 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fa...

Job marketing yourself

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Some job interview advice from Karen Kelsky: “The ‘Be Yourself’ Myth”.

Into the belly of the whale

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Carl Zimmer profiles anatomist Joy Reidenberg, who has scored a coup for public communication of science on the BBC show, Inside Nature’s Giants: “From Insid...

#IamScience trending

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I want to point to this powerful personal story by marine biologist and friend Kevin Zelnio: “#IamScience: Embracing Personal Experience on Our Rise Through ...

In the lab of Shakhashiri

1 minute read

Nature this week profiles Hoffman:Shakhashiri:2012 my University of Wisconsin-Madison colleague Bassam Shakhashiri, now president of the American Chemical So...

Is humanistic research a waste of time?

3 minute read

Academic work in the humanities is a giant waste of time, claims Mark Bauerlein in the Chronicle of Higher Education (“The research bust”). Few read, and nob...

Blogs rank high in online education

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This morning I read a notice from our Division of Continuing Studies, pointing to how their online resource library had received more than one million visits...

Medieval methods

less than 1 minute read

Psychologist Alison Gopnik, in MacLeans “In conversation: Alison Gopnik”.

Determining sex from the cranium

2 minute read

The cranium has a very distinctive shape, which varies between people to some extent. Some features that vary between individuals in their size or shape are...

Paying for advice on the job market

1 minute read

Must read: former anthropologist Karen Kelsky’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (To Professors; Re: Your Advisees). Kelsky chucked her career in...

Eye pigmentation and allele frequencies

3 minute read

Eye pigmentation in humans varies along a spectrum of colors from dark brown, through lighter brown, hazel, and green, to light blue. These differences are c...

Meet Australopithecus robustus

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The region just north of Johannesburg, South Africa, is a formation of ancient limestone in which groundwater has formed numerous caves and sinkholes. Some o...

Textbooks leaving students behind

less than 1 minute read

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a survey of nearly 2000 undergraduate students on 13 varied college campuses:

Teeth

less than 1 minute read

Goals:

Incisors

less than 1 minute read

The incisors are the front teeth. They are basically flat and have a blade-like occlusal surface. Each quadrant has two incisors.

Bones of the cranium from the front

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The cranium includes all the bones of the head. Altogether, there are 26 cranial bones plus the mandible. Except for the mandible, these bones mostly are fus...

Bones of the cranium from below

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TemporalThe lower sides (left and right) of the vault, including the ear opening, or external acoustic porus. OccipitalThe rear and base of the skull, inclu...

Ramping up

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Many of us are preparing for classes to start in the next few weeks. Kate Clancy’s post today, “Non-science students in a science class”, had me nodding in r...

The cost of a premier faculty

2 minute read

The Guardian has an article titled, “Richard Dawkins heads line-up at private 18,000-a-year university”.

My turn as a science fair judge in Italy

3 minute read

Yesterday I had the distinctive experience as a judge of a scientific poster session, featuring the work of Italian high school students. The session was in ...

Finals season

6 minute read

This is the time of year when hapless students all over the world turn to my blog to answer their exam questions.

Engaging with the public

2 minute read

Alice Bell raises an essential question: “Whats this public engagement with science thing then?”

E-mail etiquette guide

less than 1 minute read

This etiquette guide from Nature Education is enormously useful for students: “How to send a professional e-mail to a professor”.

Science Pub, day of creationism

3 minute read

I had a wonderful afternoon Sunday at the Madison Science Pub. The featured guest was Ron Numbers, the historian of science at UW-Madison whose research has ...

Making scientific minds

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Lena Groeger begins a stint blogging at Rationally Speaking with this entry, “So, what’s science good for?”. She briefly discusses the usual rationales for “...

Everyone should know

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Tom Holtz’ guest post at SV-POW gives a list of “What everyone should know about paleontology.” Good list, and it makes me want to copy the idea for paleoant...

High school genomics

4 minute read

Ronald Bailey writes in the January Reason about his experiences with personal genomics (“Ill Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”). He’s a booster, ...

Doodling during class

1 minute read

Nothing makes quite as good a time-waster as the comment threads to posts where professors complain about students. Especially students using computers.

Book futures

less than 1 minute read

An article about the future bookless libraries, which may already be springing up at a campus near you:

STEM plunk

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Natalie Angier, who knows something about how to introduce science to the masses, blows off some steam about STEM in this week’s Science Times:

Genetic bike path

less than 1 minute read

Eva Amsen describes her trip down the BRCA2 cycle path, near the Sanger Institute in the UK. She also points to Jennifer Rohn’s description of the path last...

Greeks bearing gifts

less than 1 minute read

A reader writes: “A good argument to require introductory anthropology”:

Plagiarism in science

1 minute read

Yuehong Zhang reports in brief in NatureZhang:plagiarism:2010 the extent of plagiarism in scientific papers submitted to one journal in China:

Blogging and teaching

less than 1 minute read

If you’re an instructor curious about how to introduce blogs in your courses, you may want to read this post by Daniel Lende at the new Neuroanthropology. He...

Social media in education

1 minute read

Krystal D’Costa (Anthropology in Practice) links to a mini-documentary about the role of social media in the education of “Gen-Y”: “Decade 2: Encouraging Edu...

Careers in anthropology

less than 1 minute read

The Guardian has a helpful entry in its series on careers: “What to do with a degree in anthropology.”

Professors who reject technology

1 minute read

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, an article by Jeffrey Young: “College 2.0: Teachers Without Technology Strike Back.”

Plagiarism season

1 minute read

It’s that time of year again, when newspapers start reminding us that cheating and plagiarism happen.

"Just-so stories" driving me crazy

3 minute read

NPR has been doing a special series of reports during their “Morning Edition” program called “The Human Edge”, all about various aspects of human evolution. ...

Tenure denial

less than 1 minute read

If you need something to heat up your July, you can check out the NY Times forum, “What if College Tenure Dies?”.

Graphic biology teacher survey results

2 minute read

Several people (e.g., P. Z. Myers, Jerry Coyne) have passed along a poster representation of some statistics on evolution, creationism, and other stuff in se...

Berkeley DNA comments

less than 1 minute read

Marie-Claire Shanahan has written on A Blog Around the Clock an essay discussing the Berkeley genetic test:

Berkeley DNA tests revisited

2 minute read

I wrote about the UC Berkeley genetic testing of incoming freshmen earlier this spring. The summer is halfway over and the saliva kits have been sent. Now Sc...

"STEM blows"

less than 1 minute read

The Science Insider listens to actor Tim Daly, advocating for science education, who thinks the officially sanctioned ed-school terminology is bad marketing.

Conference blues

less than 1 minute read

Michael E. Smith has some suggestions after going to the SAA meetings:

New Smithsonian human origins hall

1 minute read

Thanks to all those readers who sent me links to the new human origins hall at the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington D.C. The NY Times’ Edwar...

Museums decentering the human

1 minute read

A very interesting essay by Edward Rothstein in the NY Times special museum section: “The thrill of science, tamed by agendas”.

Lateness

less than 1 minute read

Jeffrey Zeldman: advice for business that works just as well in academics: “Show up early”

Website review: Learn.Genetics

4 minute read

This week’s Science is featuring an essay by the first winners of the “SPORE” competition, the team behind the Learn.Genetics and Teach.Genetics websites. Ev...

Feeling deflated about grade inflation?

1 minute read

I tell my students almost every semester that I can’t give them all high grades because the university demands its pound of flesh. Well, now I find out that ...

Don't get a Ph.D.

less than 1 minute read

This deserves to be read widely, especially this time of year:

Neandertals for kids

less than 1 minute read

There’s not really an exciting story to go with the headline, but after it dropped into my news feed, I had to link it:

A view of global creationism

1 minute read

Kenneth Chang reports on a recent conference that gathered academics to discuss creationism in a global context: “Creationism, Minus a Young Earth, Emerges i...

Colloquia and opera

2 minute read

Have department colloquia lost their relevance to academic life?

Kansas creationism survey

1 minute read

According to a Fort Hays State University poll, Kansas may be headed for another crisis in science education:

Dawkins and Hewitt

5 minute read

I want to point to an interview between conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt and Richard Dawkins, on the subject of Dawkins’ new book, The Greatest Show on Ea...

Schoolective statistics

1 minute read

Bill Gates is spending a lot of money to make schools better. And for some reason it’s not working. Gates says it’s bad teachers:

Who's your favorite hominin now?

1 minute read

A couple of weeks ago I gave some Google Trends statistics on search terms for fossil hominins. The winner then was “erectus”, with “Neanderthal” coming in a...

Vooks

less than 1 minute read

The coming trend in e-books: video.

Data mining

2 minute read

IBM and Google want students to ditch their laptops and pick up some big iron:

Who's your favorite hominin?

2 minute read

Yes, I know, hominin is driving me crazy, too. It’s a taxonomic diktat of breathtaking doofery, but I think we’re stuck with it. So I’ve been writing it to ...

Crow and Kimura back in print

less than 1 minute read

A new printing of a classic population genetics text has been issued this year: An Introduction to Population Genetics Theory, by James Crow and Motoo Kimura.

Write with a knife

less than 1 minute read

It’s that time of year again, when students all over the country are facing their first writing assignment. I always encourage a bloggy style – concise, jour...

Billable hours for professors

5 minute read

Yesterday’s post on MIT OpenCourseware touched on some of the difficulties of independent study using online tools. Three barriers stand in the way – one pra...

What can you learn for free

1 minute read

I’m all in favor of self-educating – most of my genetics I learned on my own. So I was interested to see what you can really learn from free online sources l...

Oh, for a muse of fire…

1 minute read

Science last week had an “Education Forum” feature, written by European education researchers, titled, “Introducing modern science into schools.” The piece d...

Writing upward

less than 1 minute read

Since I’ve already contributed to bellyaching about student writing assignments, it’s only fair to point to a Wired article that says students are getting b...

Teaching writing

less than 1 minute read

College classes are starting around the country, but writing assignments haven’t been submitted yet. Time to brace yourself – Stanley Fish blogs about what c...

"Creationists made me do it"

less than 1 minute read

In last week’s Science, a letter from biologist Patrick Keeling that’s almost too good to be true:

Science journalism, blogging, and the web

6 minute read

Nature (open access) discusses the decline of science journalism and the rise of blogs. The article profiles John Timmer, whose stuff at Nobel Intent I read ...

Sharing your work with the world: a workshop

less than 1 minute read

I’m writing this post live from the Kaleidoscope program here at UW. My part of today’s program is a workshop on sharing your work with the world, using blog...

Knapping a handaxe

less than 1 minute read

Science magazine’s “Origins” blog is running a little feature by archaeology student Steven Goldstein on how to knap a handaxe.

BBC Darwin site

less than 1 minute read

The BBC has a website dedicated to their Darwin programming, which has a number of things that may be useful for students (via Gene Expression).

Gearing up for teaching human evolution?

2 minute read

I had an e-mail from a long-time reader today, asking what readings I assign for my course in human evolution. As some of you know, this is a constant issue ...

Evidence-based lecturing?

4 minute read

This week’s Science includes a paper by M. K. Smith and colleagues, which assesses undergraduate learning in an introductory genetics course that uses “click...

Science from television drama

1 minute read

Wired has a story about the trend toward more television dramas with science content. Some may disagree that a show like CSI is especially science-related; n...

The tuition Singularity

5 minute read

The Singularity is a future time when, in theory, the pace of technological change becomes so great that we cannot predict the course of future developments ...

Biology of Mind: The Blog

1 minute read

I am doing a unique experiment with my course this semester, “Biology of Mind.” The course has a history of collaborative peer review on writing assignments,...

Some genetic drift graphs with Mathematica

2 minute read

The first thing to come up in my lectures is genetic drift. Pretty much everyone who lectures about drift needs a figure showing the results of simple Monte ...

Obsolete thinking discarded, life goes on

1 minute read

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Russell Jacoby bemoans progress (paywall). He thinks that colleges aren’t teaching people to revere the right nineteent...

Carl Wieman on science education

4 minute read

Carl Wieman is a scientist at the University of British Columbia. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work creating the first Bose-Einstein con...

The value of a practical education

4 minute read

A few weeks ago, I was reading Jerry Pournelle’s thoughts on debt and higher education. The comments were prompted by Joseph Rago’s Wall Street Journal edito...

Notes in practical evolution

7 minute read

A lot of academic-oriented bloggers write about what they do in their classes. I don’t often blog about my teaching. Mainly, I like to keep my class activiti...

The value of a practical education

9 minute read

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading Jerry Pournelle's thoughts on debt and higher education. The comments were prompted by Joseph Rago's Wall Street Journa...

Why students should write

2 minute read

Isn't it obvious that graduate advisors should expect their students to publish research papers, and write often? T. Ryan Gregory (now on the blogroll) writ...

"The sage on the stage"

1 minute read

An interview with physicist Eric Mazur in the NY Times hits some interesting points on teaching methods in science:

It's a rainbow of flavors

less than 1 minute read

I ran across the DNA Rainbow project today. A couple of guys compiled images based on the human genome sequence, where each pixel is a base and the differen...

Looking for some allometry teaching aids?

2 minute read

If you're looking for something fun for students to read about allometry, then try "The Biology of B-Movie Monsters by Michael LaBarbera. It begins with the...

A few words on teaching discussions

1 minute read

Now that the school year is starting, a lot of us are thinking a lot about teaching. Savage Minds pointed me to this essay by James Renfield, titled "On the...

Meerkat teaching

5 minute read

It's all meerkats all over the place today. Here's an AP article by Randolph Schmid:

Evidence-based medicine and education

1 minute read

I've been reading the very interesting Brainethics blog. Yesterday they pointed to an article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience by Usha Goswami about interact...

Lab teaching in anthropology

3 minute read

The AP reports that high school science labs are poor. The story comes out of a study by the National Research Council.