Education

An Update on My Math & Linguistics Freshman Writing Course

I thought I should provide a quick update on the freshman writing course I’m teaching this fall, Language, Logic and Information: Using Mathematics to Understand Writing, Communication and Argument. (For more, take a look at the website for the course,…

Links: Misapplications of math, journalism, AIDS, EB White, Pricing, Gifted Students

A tremendously sad story about skewed incentives that make certain people try to get AIDS. This is a pretty outrageous misapplication of mathematics to psychology. Journalism teachers on journalism school An interesting profile of several talented students in a magnet…

On Education Studies and the Problem of High Dimensions: A Plea for Wisdom and Judgment

As I think and read about various educational approaches (in the process of preparing for the course I’m teaching in the fall about math and writing), I sometimes see studies with conclusions like this: Students who were taught using method…

The Potsdam Miracle: Lessons in Revolutionizing Undergraduate Mathematics

(There’s a printer- and footnote-friendly pdf version—with links still working!—here if you prefer.) A few days ago, while browsing in the library,1 I stumbled across something pretty remarkable. John Poland, writing in 1987 about this “Modern Fairy Tale”, describes the…

Math, Writing, and the World: The Freshman Writing Course I’m Teaching in the Fall

(There’s a printer- and footnote-friendly pdf version—with links still working!—here if you prefer.) This fall, I’m teaching a freshman writing course at the University of Michigan.1 I’ll be writing a lot about this course and related topics over the coming…

Links: Probability and DNA Testing, 16th Century Executioners, Walmart as a Bank, Etc.

Jordan Ellenberg has an excellent article in Slate about probability and DNA testing for crimes. This is important to think about, especially as we consider the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision on such testing. (In particular, the larger…

Interesting Articles: Syria, Free Speech and Privacy Online, Dogs, Fossil Fuels, How to Win at Poker, and More

A good article by Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker on Syria. A really complicated situation. An interesting etymology from the recent New Yorker article (paywall) by Rivka Galchen about Elmhurst Hospital: The word “pedagogy” comes from the Greek term…

Interesting Articles: Humanities Make Money, The Purchase of Instagram, Kierkegaard, and More

UCLA English professor Robert Watson writes a very interesting article about the economics of higher education: Bottom Line Shows Humanities Really Do Make Money I have a good deal to say about the misleading arguments often made about the cost…