Around the Web: Grading Like Machines

Here we are: the point in the semester where many a dedicated instructor quails before the giant stack of papers on his or her desk. If your students are handing in their papers only a day or two before they leave campus, writing carefully considered comments can feel like putting a message in a bottle.…

HILT Symposium

Last Friday, hundreds of Harvard faculty, administrators, and graduate students gathered in the Northwest Building to celebrate and criticize higher education. As the first public manifestation of the recent $40 million gift by Gustave and Rita Hauser that established the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT), the HILT Symposium launched a high-profile effort to make…

Around the Web: New Frontiers

Several recent news stories focused attention on the closely interrelated issues, in higher education, of technological innovation, rising costs, academic elitism, and personal, individualized small-class instruction. Apple entered the digital textbook market (prompting some skepticism); President Obama addressed the cost of higher education in his State of the Union Address; MIT announced that it would…

Around the Web: Our Minds, Our Learning

What’s in a brain? In the Chronicle of Higher Education, James Lang offers the first installment of a two-part post on memory: how it really works (hint: it’s not the long-outmoded tripartite model—long-term, short-term, and sensory—on which many faculty members still base their pedagogy), and how it might inform the way we teach. Some elementary schools are…

Around the Web: Online Learning

In the news this week: the “flipped” classroom, in which the homework assignment is to watch a video of a lecture, and students spend class time working through the kinds of exercises  that normally constitute “homework,” with their peers and their teacher available to help. The flipped classroom raises questions about the value of, and…

Around the Web: Complexity in (and out) of the Classroom

This week, a few thoughts about classroom complexity and positive ways to handle it. For one thing, it’s important that the students themselves play a major role in addressing complexity. A select group of Montgomery Public School 5th graders are participating in a wildly successful peer mediation program. In L.A., middleschoolers addressed the issue of cyberbullying…