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kme : teaching   50

GitHub - jupyterhub/nbgitpuller: Jupyter ServerExtension to sync a git repository one-way to a local path
Jupyter ServerExtension to sync a git repository one-way to a local path - jupyterhub/nbgitpuller
jupyter  distribution  nbextension  extension  sync  teaching  workshop 
may 2019 by kme
teaching - Mimic lecturing on blackboard, facing audience - Academia Stack Exchange | https://academia.stackexchange.com/
I teach mathematics at MSc and PhD levels. My preferred method of teaching is old-fashioned: talking and writing on the blackboard at the same time.

Why? Because it has many advantages:

Handwriting: imposes few restrictions on notation and illustration. (Complicated figures I could project from my laptop, but I have no need for this in my courses.)
Flexibility: whenever this is useful, it is easy to 'deviate from the script'.
Natural speed: it imposes a natural speed on the speaker. Preparing slides using LaTeX or PowerPoint and just clicking through them, I find myself proceeding way too fast.
Parallel displays: having several boards available for writing makes it easy to keep some text/examples on display on one board, while writing on another.
Dynamics: referring to information on the different boards allows me to move through the room, adding a more dynamic aspect to the lecture.
Ease: it is a low-tech way of achieving all these things simultaneously with easily available means.

The main disadvantage of this method is that I spend a significant amount of time of each lecture with my back to the audience.

Question: What would you recommend as a means of communication that combines the six features above (most importantly, the handwriting and parallel displays), but facing the audience?


@TobiaTesan I think the technology is just now (well, the 3 years ago as I was leaving school) coming into its own. I had a professor who wrote pages under a very sharp document cam, but then pressed a button to save the picture and keep it on one display while moving on to the next page. Multiply by 4 displays and you are on par with the big sliding blackboards of old, with the benefit of saving the notes for later upload (and not having to wipe old chalk off everything). – mbrig Mar 21 at 4:19
oldschool  pedagogy  teaching  blackboards  instructionalaids  advice  bestpractices 
march 2019 by kme
The role of instructors in teaching programming — Python for Biologists | https://pythonforbiologists.com/
This is another aspect of programming that experience tends to render invisible: when you encounter a roadblock in programming and need to ask for help, very often it's difficult to know how to phrase the question. The lack of understanding that causes the student to need help in the first place also ensures that they're unlikely to know what question to ask, or the right way to phrase it.

Of course, later on in the learning process it usually becomes clear how mindblowingly useful programming is (and I purposefully structure my courses to get students to this point sooner rather than later). Nevertheless, one of the biggest problems many students have when learning programming is simply running out of steam and becoming demoralized – a process that is usually triggered by encountering yet another roadblock.
programming  teaching  learning  computing  workshop  advice  bestpractices 
february 2019 by kme
The Unix Shell: Instructor Notes | https://swcarpentry.github.io/
Many people have questioned whether we should still teach the shell. After all, anyone who wants to rename several thousand data files can easily do so interactively in the Python interpreter, and anyone who’s doing serious data analysis is probably going to do most of their work inside the IPython Notebook or R Studio. So why teach the shell?

The first answer is, “Because so much else depends on it.” Installing software, configuring your default editor, and controlling remote machines frequently assume a basic familiarity with the shell, and with related ideas like standard input and output. Many tools also use its terminology (for example, the %ls and %cd magic commands in IPython).

The second answer is, “Because it’s an easy way to introduce some fundamental ideas about how to use computers.” As we teach people how to use the Unix shell, we teach them that they should get the computer to repeat things (via tab completion, ! followed by a command number, and for loops) rather than repeating things themselves. We also teach them to take things they’ve discovered they do frequently and save them for later re-use (via shell scripts), to give things sensible names, and to write a little bit of documentation (like comment at the top of shell scripts) to make their future selves’ lives better.

The third answer is, “Because it enables use of many domain-specific tools and compute resources researchers cannot access otherwise.” Familiarity with the shell is very useful for remote accessing machines, using high-performance computing infrastructure, and running new specialist tools in many disciplines. We do not teach HPC or domain-specific skills here but lay the groundwork for further development of these skills. In particular, understanding the syntax of commands, flags, and help systems is useful for domain specific tools and understanding the file system (and how to navigate it) is useful for remote access.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, teaching people the shell lets us teach them to think about programming in terms of function composition. In the case of the shell, this takes the form of pipelines rather than nested function calls, but the core idea of “small pieces, loosely joined” is the same.

Installing Bash and a reasonable set of Unix commands on Windows always involves some fiddling and frustration. Please see the latest set of installation guidelines for advice, and try it out yourself before teaching a class.

Tab completion sounds like a small thing: it isn’t. Re-running old commands using !123 or !wc isn’t a small thing either, and neither are wildcard expansion and for loops. Each one is an opportunity to repeat one of the big ideas of Software Carpentry: if the computer can repeat it, some programmer somewhere will almost certainly have built some way for the computer to repeat it.

Building up a pipeline with four or five stages, then putting it in a shell script for re-use and calling that script inside a for loop, is a great opportunity to show how “seven plus or minus two” connects to programming. Once we have figured out how to do something moderately complicated, we make it re-usable and give it a name so that it only takes up one slot in working memory rather than several. It is also a good opportunity to talk about exploratory programming: rather than designing a program up front, we can do a few useful things and then retroactively decide which are worth encapsulating for future re-use.
shellscripting  unix  linux  shell  bash  butwhy  programming  sevenplusorminustwo  teaching  workshop  reference  advice  bestpractices 
february 2019 by kme
rgaiacs/swc-shell-split-window: Script to split the shell using tmux | https://github.com/
Script to split the shell using tmux. Contribute to rgaiacs/swc-shell-split-window development by creating an account on GitHub.
teaching  unix  shell  shellscripting  workshop  utility  software  tmux 
february 2019 by kme
HOWTO: Get tenure | http://matt.might.net/
Simpler advice would be: “Find a problem where your passions intersect society’s needs.” The rest will follow.

Doing a good job with teaching is perversely seen as a cardinal sin in some departments.

Focusing on teaching gets interpreted as a lack of dedication to research.

Let’s be clear: refusing to improve one’s teaching is morally unacceptable.

Torturing a captive audience every semester with soul-sapping lectures is criminal theft of tuition.

On metrics

Pre-tenure professors are often bombarded with metrics, targets and benchmarks to hit for tenure.

Everyone has heard horror stories of departments obsessing over specific metrics for tenure, and of the golden yet square pegs that failed to fit into round holes.

Goodhart’s law applies:

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

And, a quote I once heard on NPR:

“We can’t measure what counts, so we count what we can measure.”

Good departments will find a way of side-stepping metrics to judge what counts.

I realize that few patients or parents have the ability to do what I did, and they never will, until all of academic medicine goes open access.

In computer science, academic paywalls stifle.

In medicine, academic paywalls kill.
science  academia  tenure  phd  highered  advice  education  teaching  openaccess  publishing 
october 2018 by kme
In Search of a Middle Path for Ed Tech – Trinket Blog | https://blog.trinket.io/
Audrey’s an insightful commentator on the industry, history, and rhetoric surrounding education on Hack Education and the forthcoming Educating Modern Learners. Trained as a folklorist, she’s quick to point out when she thinks the stories surrounding companies or technologies have overshot their realities.

Frank’s posts on Khan Academy led me to his posts on pseudo-teaching, which I’m still working my way through. Briefly, pseudo-teaching is a phenomenon where students can self-report that a teacher was effective, they have confidence in their understanding, and enjoyed learning. But objective measures of understanding show their actual abilities lagging behind. This is an excellent example of the kinds of insights that ed tech too often overlooks, and one I’m fortunate to have encountered so early in trinket‘s time.
education  thefuture  learning  teaching  pseudoteaching  edtech 
january 2018 by kme
teaching - Establishing authority in the classroom - Academia Stack Exchange

The position of TA automatically comes with a certain amount of authority, which is referred to as legitimate power. Having said that, you can increase your perceived amount of authority by demonstrating expertise in the subject area (expert power). Expertise needs to be combined with the ability to actually communicate the complex material as well. It is much harder to communicate complex information than it is to be an expert in complex information.

In addition to these skills, authority can be further enhanced through softer skills such as demonstrating care for the students and providing additional support when necessary (referent power).


A third teacher, who was much loved, never punished but kept excellent discipline, while remaining very human. He would joke with us, and then impose a mysterious stillness. In the street he looked upright, but relaxed, and he smiled easily.

I thought about these teachers a lot, but I couldn't understand the forces operating on us. I would now say that the incompetent teacher was a low-status player: he twitched, he made many unnecessary movements, he went red at the slightest annoyance, and he always seemed like an intruder in the classroom. The one who filled us with terror was a compulsive high-status player. The third was a status expert, raising and lowering his status with great skill. The pleasure attached to misbehaving comes partly from the status changes you make in your teacher. All those jokes on teacher are to make him drop in status. The third teacher could cope easily with any situation by changing his status first.


Again I change my behaviour and become authoritative. I ask them what I've done to create this change in my relation with them, and whatever they guess to be the reason — 'You're holding eye contact', 'You're sitting straighter' — I stop doing, yet the effect continues. Finally I explain that I'm keeping my head still whenever I speak, and that this produces great changes in the way I perceive myself and am perceived by others. I suggest you try it now with anyone you're with. Some people find it impossible to speak with a still head, and more curiously, some students maintain that it's still while they're actually jerking it about. I let such students practise in front of a mirror, or I use videotape. Actors needing authority — tragic heroes and so on — have to learn this still head trick. You can talk and waggle your head about if you play the gravedigger, but not if you play Hamlet. Officers are trained not to move the head while issuing commands.
teaching  advice  authority 
march 2017 by kme
teaching - Establishing authority in the classroom - Academia Stack Exchange

The position of TA automatically comes with a certain amount of authority, which is referred to as legitimate power. Having said that, you can increase your perceived amount of authority by demonstrating expertise in the subject area (expert power). Expertise needs to be combined with the ability to actually communicate the complex material as well. It is much harder to communicate complex information than it is to be an expert in complex information.

In addition to these skills, authority can be further enhanced through softer skills such as demonstrating care for the students and providing additional support when necessary (referent power).
teaching  advice 
march 2017 by kme
teaching - How to deal with a very weak student? - Academia Stack Exchange
@Malvolio Unfortunately, in theoretical courses, cheating tends to be fairly rampant among all students. The university administration tends to turn a blind eye towards it too, because 1. it would affect most students, and 2. unless there are concrete evidence, it is very hard to prove that the student was cheating. So instead, many people make the homework worth very little of your grade, 10-15%, and the rest are tests. – Sana Oct 1 '16 at 14:30


I haven't seen this point mentioned yet:

She is a transfer student from a community college, and no one else has any data on her as this is her first semester

When she does not understand a concept, she bring her notes and says that the class was unclear and that I should explain it again to her

her idea of academic improvement is to consistently show up to my office hour and listen to me talk

She is doing things that work well in secondary school (a.k.a. high school) - she's working hard on her homework and making maximum use of your office hour, and so on. She probably thinks she's working hard and doing well. In school, the exam questions tend to test whether you've learned exactly what was told, not more.

But at some point a student has to learn that university isn't secondary school. It's much more about working on your own than about absorbing from a teacher. Not everybody knows that when they start. She doesn't realize she needs to change her way of studying.

So I think you could also have a conversation on that, she's there in your office anyway.
teaching  learning  studying  education  academia  cheating  insightful  forthecomments 
january 2017 by kme
teaching - What are the benefits of an oral exam? - Academia Stack Exchange


Scores on the oral examinations in advanced inorganic chemistry are usually about 15–20% higher compared to scores on written examinations over similar material. All students who performed at an unsatisfactory level on the first quiz in the introductory course earned a satisfactory mark after taking the oral quiz. Four probable reasons explain the higher scores:

The most significant contributor to higher grades is the self-correcting nature of the oral format—students always arrive at a correct response before moving on to the next question. This correct response, even though they might have been assisted to reach it, sets the stage for them to answer subsequent questions correctly. On traditional written examinations, missing the first part of a multipart question often results in answering all parts of the question incorrectly.

Requiring students to think aloud during the oral examination makes them think more carefully. This extra measure of care is often evident as a student will start a response, and then, even before they have completed their initial thought, will see a better way to look at the problem and logically work their way to a correct answer from a new starting point.

The oral examination tests a relatively small body of material and students are able to focus their study efforts. This focus is surely intensified by the knowledge that the testing will be done one-on-one. They do not want to do poorly in such a personal situation.

When testing some concepts, such as crystal packing or molarity, the questions are concrete in that students have objects to manipulate.

oralexams  exams  learning  teaching  pedagogy 
january 2017 by kme
Are Academics Crowding Out Ethics? - The Atlantic
My old junior high school, for example, had a program where a fund was set aside for movies shown at lunch time. But for every act of vandalism, the cost of fixing it was deducted from the fun. And such acts and their costs were announced in home room the day after it happened. That incentive structure made vandalism much more an attack on the student body, rather than merely the creation of a mess that “somebody else” would have to clean up.

Philosophical disquisitions upon the foundations of morality have no legitimate place in the school-room, as every well-instructed teacher will admit. … Moral instruction, to be effective, must be spontaneous and free, and skillfully adapted to cases as they arise. The best teachers, as a general rule, will have the shortest code of laws, if indeed they have any code at all.
ethics  teaching 
august 2016 by kme
Less than 24 Hours on Udemy as an Instructor and I Am Close to Leaving - Nick Janetakis
At the end of the day Udemy only cares about sales and students

This is a fair assessment to make given the above. Udemy has millions of students and tens of thousands of courses.

All they have to do is spam $10 sales all year round (which is what they do) and get tens of thousands of students to make $10 purchases. Udemy students are trained to only ever buy courses for $10.

If you aggregate all of that together you can see Udemy is crushing it. The problem is, instructors are getting completely crushed from these $10 sales.

From the comments:
An artifact of digital good purchasing is that people will agonize and spend several hours before parting with a few dollars (paradox of choice) while they would happily plop down the same amount for a coffee that is enjoyed for 10 minutes. There isn't an easy way to distinguish between the benefits of a $10 course and your $149 course in the attention span of the digital buyer as they are skimming through several seemingly similar offerings and several more that a Google search returns. It would require a huge suspension of disbelief that a $149 course is 15x better than $10 (even though it might be)
I think the problem faced by anybody wanting to create a competitor to Udemy is that delivering video would be a great way to burn through a heap of cash is a short period of time.
Another option I didn't see mentioned in the comments is pathwright.com

But my personal preference is completely self-hosting. I use Wordpress + MemberMouse (w/Stripe & PayPal for payment) and keep the entire course revenue, minus only the small payment processing fees.

I just host my videos on Amazon S3 and embed them in the page. Underneath the video is downloadable text and audio, and I have a quiz plugin, too. That's it. No fancy course creator features needed. 3,000+ students so far and nobody has ever complained about the setup.
I always had this uneasy feeling about udemy, but I just couldn't put my finger on what made me feel sketched out about it. And today I read your post, the Troy Hunt episode and another one on medium. No more udemy for me. Thanks for sharing.
udemy  rant  onlinecoursework  forthecomments  teaching  instruction  sellingit 
july 2016 by kme
How to Teach Students Grit - The Atlantic
A second crucial role that parents play early on is as external regulators of their children’s stress. When parents behave harshly or unpredictably—especially at moments when their children are upset—the children are less likely over time to develop the ability to manage strong emotions and respond effectively to stressful situations. By contrast, when a child’s parents respond to her jangled emotions in a sensitive and measured way, she is more likely to learn that she herself has the capacity to cope with her feelings, even intense and unpleasant ones.

For children who grow up without significant experiences of adversity, the skill-development process leading up to kindergarten generally works the way it’s supposed to: Calm, consistent, responsive interactions in infancy with parents and other caregivers create neural connections that lay the foundation for a healthy array of attention and concentration skills. Just as early stress sends signals to the nervous system to maintain constant vigilance and prepare for a lifetime of trouble, early warmth and responsiveness send the opposite signals: You’re safe; life is going to be fine. Let down your guard; the people around you will protect you and provide for you. Be curious about the world; it’s full of fascinating surprises. These messages trigger adaptations in children’s brains that allow them to slow down and consider problems and decisions more carefully, to focus their attention for longer periods, and to more willingly trade immediate gratification for promises of long-term benefits.

And yet in almost every case, Fryer’s incentive programs have had no effect. From 2007 to 2009, Fryer distributed a total of $9.4 million in cash incentives to 27,000 students, to promote book reading in Dallas, to raise test scores in New York, and to improve course grades in Chicago —all with no effect. “The impact of financial incentives on student achievement,” Fryer reported, “is statistically 0 in each city.” In the 2010–11 school year, he gave cash incentives to fifth-grade students in 25 low-performing public schools in Houston, and to their parents and teachers, with the intent of increasing the time they spent on math homework and improving their scores on standardized math tests. The students performed the tasks necessary to get paid, but their average math scores at the end of eight months hadn’t changed at all. When Fryer looked at their reading scores, he found that they actually went down.

Deci and Ryan, by contrast, argued that we are mostly motivated not by the material consequences of our actions but by the inherent enjoyment and meaning that those actions bring us, a phenomenon called intrinsic motivation. They identified three key human needs—our need for competence, our need for autonomy, and our need for relatedness, meaning personal connection—and they posited that intrinsic motivation can be sustained only when we feel that those needs are being satisfied.

Jackson found that some teachers were reliably able to raise their students’ standardized-test scores year after year. These are the teachers, in every teacher-evaluation system in the country, who are the most valued and most rewarded. But he also found that there was another distinct cohort of teachers who were reliably able to raise their students’ performance on his noncognitive measure. If you were assigned to the class of a teacher in this cohort, you were more likely to show up to school, more likely to avoid suspension, more likely to move on to the next grade. And your overall GPA went up—not just your grades in that particular teacher’s class, but your grades in your other classes, too.

Jackson’s study didn’t reveal whether these teachers increased their students’ grit or optimism or conscientiousness and by how many percentage points. Instead, it suggested that that’s probably the wrong question to be asking. Jackson’s data showed that spending a few hours each week in close proximity to a certain kind of teacher changed something about students’ behavior. And that was what mattered. Somehow these teachers were able to convey deep messages—perhaps implicitly or even subliminally—about belonging, connection, ability, and opportunity. And somehow those messages had a profound impact on students’ psychology, and thus on their behavior.

Farrington has distilled this voluminous mind-set research into four key beliefs that, when embraced by students, seem to contribute most significantly to their tendency to persevere in the classroom:

1. I belong in this academic community.

2. My ability and competence grow with my effort.

3. I can succeed at this.

4. This work has value for me.

Each EL student belongs to a crew, which typically meets every day for half an hour or so to discuss matters important to the students, both academic and personal. In middle school and high school, the groups are relatively intimate—10 or 15 kids—and students generally stay in the same crew for three years or longer, with the same teacher leading the group year after year. Many EL students will tell you that their crew meeting is the place where they most feel a sense of belonging at school; for some of them, it’s the place where they most feel a sense of belonging, period.
kids  education  earlychildhooddevelopment  teaching 
may 2016 by kme
ERIC - Education Resources Information Center
The printed material for the FSI language courses might be here, somewhere.
research  resources  teaching  thesis  reference  searchengine  language 
july 2015 by kme

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