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Macleod, W. Bentley & Urquiola, Miguel. (June 2009) NBER Working Paper No. 15112 While this is merely a working paper that has not been fully published in a recognized academic journal, I found this paper to be particularly intriguing because it clearly explains one of the market failures that make education a difficult good to deliver from the private sector. While it's easy to point out how market failures occur with respect to the environment (see externalities...
Microsoft Research's Project Tuva is focused on presenting the first seven lectures of Richard Feynman's lecture series of at Cornell titled "The Character of Physical Law." The lectures were originally the property of Cornell University but Bill Gates decided to purchase them a few years ago and has collaborated with Microsoft Research to create curated content using Silverlight. Pros: The quality of the content. I believe that some of the lectures are illegally available on YouTube. Why you would choose to watch them on YouTube instead of the Project Tuva website? I will explain later. Nevertheless, be sure to see these lectures whenever you get the chance; they clearly demonstrate why Feynman was not only one of the best physicists of the twentieth century, but one of the best teachers. Without dumbing down any of the concepts, he manages to teach the most basic and most complex aspects to science in a clear and coherent manner. One would be hard-pressed to find a better set of science lectures that would be valuable to anyone who has just a basic interest in science. There are a few other minor pros. The curation of content includes many features that allow for effective notetaking while watching the lectures (similar to vialogues). It is easy to browse through each lecture and view additional resources during the lecture. Each video comes with a running transcript. Cons: The curation of the content is very poor. There are some nice features but they do not work all the time. While I was watching the video lectures, I constantly had to restart the video because it would stop running, often because I would try to take notes or scroll to other parts of the video. There were fewer bugs when I used Project Tuva in Internet Explorer than in Mozilla Firefox (surprise surprise). I think the fact remains that the Silverlight platform is too unstable to provide quality curation of academic content. EdLab Relevance: It would be awesome if these videos were available in Vialogues instead of the Silverlight platform. Vialogues is far more stable and easy to use. I think we should start curating already-available content on YouTube by other great lecturers, such as Michael Sandel's Justice series and these great lectures Our Takeaway: While Microsoft Research has created some great features to surround this high-quality lecture series, the bugs and the unhelpful user-interface make this a disappointing presentation of some of the greatest lectures online. Definitely watch it, but beware of the bugs involved. In the comments section, please place suggestions for great lecture series you have come across that you think could use a Vialogues Upgrade
Looks like Scott Wylie has not yet posted on the downgrade on the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility website. If you were following the news Friday night and this weekend, you were constantly reminded of the downgrade and its potential impact on markets and interest rate in particular. I am astounded at just how bad the analysis has been this weekend and even today, when it should be clear that S&P's announcement did not matter. Interest rates have fallen today, and yet I read headlines that say stock markets all over the world fell on downgrade jitters. (Investors got the jitters from a credit rating agency claiming that US debt was not as sound...that they sold stocks and bought US debt?!) The interest rate on the ten-year treasury note for today is shown below. This is the interest rate at which investors lend money to the US government for ten years. It is now at all-time lows. I want to create a great Vialogue around a video that clearly explains why the downgrade does not matter or change things in a major way. I am taking suggestions for videos now...please list them below in the comments section :)
Lee, David S. Lemieux, Thomas. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics", Journal of Economic Literature 48 (2), June 2010, 281-355. Regression Discontinuity (RD) Designs? Economics? Yes. While the subject hardly sounds related to education, RD statistical designs are being found in more educational studies. Before investigating Lee and Lemieux's paper on RD, it is incredibly important to understand what RD designs test for and how they fit with educational matters so perfectly. Suppose you have a class of 40 fourt...
Aviary is primarily a free online photo editor that makes it easy to integrate photo editing tools into any web or mobile application. Aviary also offers a variety of other creation tools relating to design and audio in addition to photos. ...
NPR reports on the case of a new Chinese academic science journal having to deal with unusually high rates of plagiarism. While China leads the world in patents, its scientific community has had to deal with fraud and corruption on an unacceptably frequent basis. Many have attributed the frequent fraud scandals to the incentives at play for researchers in China, who are paid bonuses based on the quantity of research they publish. As a result, less emphasis is placed on the quality of ...
Yglesias has a good post today on how polling on teacher salary is framed. On the one hand, public opinion leans toward paying teachers more when uninformed of the average teacher's salary. Yet when the public knows that the average teacher's salary is 54k, less are in favor of paying teachers more. As Yglesias, this is a false test because teachers the average worker does not have a college degree. I would further argue that a teacher's salary should not be compared to the average college...
When Fred and I were having our discussion on the merits to higher education as a means for improving economic outcomes, I wish I had come across this term. "Credential inflation" is precisely the way to diagnose the central problem of discovering higher educations's true value (Hui Soo linked to this in one of his comments). More and more credentials are needed for desirable jobs, and yet are these credentials making our workers more productive? If not, we are simply requiring more and mor...
It looks like some education schools are shifting away from classroom instruction on education theory and more towards actual practice working in the classroom. At the crux of the problem is that "there is little research into what kind of training is most likely to produce a successful teacher, a fact that social scientists are now working to remedy through long-term study." The article is a bit long but well worth reading for its analysis of how education schools are debating whether a practical approach to...
This American Life did a great show on patent trolls. Many of us here, including myself, are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Yet if TAL's reporting is any indication, the rate of innovation and entrepreneurial endeavor will only stagnate further under the current patent system. TAL profiles the company Intellectual Ventures, that makes its revenue in large part by litigating against those companies that use technologies that fall under the patents IV hordes (and yes, hordes because they ...