Wellesley, MOOCs, and Educational Inequalities – A Response to Julia (and Janet Stemwedel)

Reading Julia’s excellent post on MOOCs got me thinking about the issues that surround them generally and Janet Stemwedel’s comments in particular. I certainly agree with both of them that MOOCs aren’t going to provide the same richness of experience as actually sitting in a classroom at a place like Wellesley (not that I’ve ever sat […]

Ifs and Buts

Anyone whose examination of British poet Rudyard Kipling digs deeper than the Disney version of The Jungle Book will quickly stumble across the numerous portions of his biography that leave many contemporary critics recoiling in disgust. Chief among these is the rightfully notorious poem “The White Man’s Burden.” Other Kipling writings are only slightly less […]

ROI and College Rankings, evaluating higher education

The 2013 Payscale College Rankings were released a few weeks ago, reigniting a debate about the state of our higher education system. Payscale, not surprisingly, finds that engineering schools offer the best return on investment (ROI), while schools you have probably never heard of have the worst. Another (non) shocker, business, engineering and computer science […]

Friday Five: Worth the Wait

This week’s Friday Five is coming a bit late, but we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share several thought-provoking articles from the week.   The posts below tap into a growing ambivalence and uncertainty that has hit America’s educational institutions.  Questions about accountability, sustainability and the preservation of knowledge exist in the minds […]

A Backward Proposal for Improving America’s Future

With the nation’s position as a global power at stake, educators at all levels are under significant pressure to produce a new generation of Americans who can compete successfully at the global level.  Unfortunately, reports show that U.S. students are falling behind (see here and here), leading policymakers to push for more rigorous standards in […]

Touch Me I’m [Sic]

We’ve all seen it.  It pops up in quotes and excerpts with regularity.  It’s pithy and powerful.  It’s [sic].  Those three simple letters, usually in brackets and italicized, indicate that a grammatical or spelling error or an odd choice of words appeared in the original text from which the current author is quoting. And yet […]

Boy/Girl: A hard (science) distinction

I had an interesting conversation with my doctor a few weeks ago.  Upon learning I was studying to take my comprehensive exam in “gender”, she shared her hesitance with the way in which sociologists discuss sex and gender as socially constructed categories.  Laughing, she proclaimed, “I’m just too much of a hard sciences person for […]