Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The New Way for Physics at M.I.T.

In the New York Times:

At M.I.T., Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard


Paul Dunham's mini-analysis follows:

Key points:
Failure rates have dropped by 50% (but they were only 15% to start with. These are MIT students, after all, not you average American teenagers)

Attendance is up (but it is now counted towards the students grade, where it wasn't before)

Given a glancing mention in the article is a statment that students don't like the change. This is discussed more in the comments after the article, by recent MIT graduates. Mentioned ONLY in the comments is that the grading standards have been relaxed as well.

Once again, pop-ed methods are being credited with watershed improvements in learning while the data behind the conclusions is clearly confounded.

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