A Knewton critique: Why computers shouldn’t teach calculus (or anything else)

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Isi, my teenager, is a college student taking calculus. The teacher is assigning homework from Knewton, an online learning system. I’ve been helping with the homework. Now I can see why computers can’t teach college courses — and why tools like Knewton are not just destructive, they’re evil. The old way of teaching calculus worked … Continued

Ask Dr. Wobs: How to bust out of rigid academic writing boxes

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Today’s question comes from a university student who thinks the professor is putting him in a box with instructions on how to write a paper. But how big is that box, really? Dear Dr. Wobs, Re: Avoiding the structure of academic writing I’m taking a political science writing class at Ohio State, and we have a … Continued

When is it ethical to write and let others take credit?

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Is it wrong to write a paper for a student? This seems like a black-and-white ethical issue, but having now seen some comments from people with a very different cultural perspective, I’m trying to think about it more carefully. This occurred to me when I saw that the Pakistani tech journalist and entrepreneur Hira Saeed, … Continued

How to deal with pushy, misguided reviewers

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In my last post, I described what to do with document reviewers who say too little. But what about those who say too much? Here’s a comment from last week’s post: Josh, what is your advice for responding to the person who is asked to “review for accuracy only” and sends back an article completely … Continued

Could the five-paragraph essay be the reason we’ve forgotten how to think?

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David Labaree published a devastating takedown of the five-paragraph essay, that pernicious container that’s corrupting the teaching of writing everywhere. He’s made me wonder about my own rules and advice for writers. In my mind, writing and thinking are two sides of the same process. Separate the two, and thinking ceases to be important, which … Continued