Replied to Explicit education (David White)

The point being, that unless these strategies are explicitly stated, students are likely to make assumptions about the reasons why the recordings exist and how they might be used (usually based on not being able to attend lectures rather than on more positive, long-term, learning strategies). When highlighting the need to be explicit about the use of recordings Nordmann asked if we ever explain to students what the value of attending lectures face-to-face is – or do we simply assume it’s obvious?

This facinanted me because I suspect we say it’s important to attend, but might not explain why it’s important to attend in terms of learning strategies. I work at a university where there are no marks awarded for attendance (or, let’s be honest, no marks removed for not attending) so if it’s not clear what the value of attending is in terms of learning, why would you? Information is now abundant and if there is a recording, what’s the point of being there ‘live’?

David, your discussion of assumed ideas about university reminds me of a post from Robert Manne reflecting on the changes he experience during his time, with lectures a part of this.

I was also left thinking about a recent post from Sam Sherratt on having a clear why before the what.

Replied to When you Assume you make an ASS out of u and ME (But sometimes it’s really useful for doing Maths and stuff) – Joel Speranza (Joel Speranza)

Because, if you ASSUME things without thinking about it, you’ll make an ASS out of U and ME. But if you ASSUME and you DO think about it… well that’s just good maths.

This reminds me in part of a bit out of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan:

We love the tangible, the confirmation, the palpable, the real, the visible, the concrete, the known, the seen, the vivid, the visual, the social, the embedded, the emotionally laden, the salient, the stereotypical, the moving, the theatrical, the romanced, the cosmetic, the official, the scholarly-sounding verbiage (b******t), the pompous Gaussian economist, the mathematicized crap, the pomp, the Académie Française, Harvard Business School, the Nobel Prize, dark business suits with white shirts and Ferragamo ties, the moving discourse, and the lurid. Most of all we favor the narrated. Alas, we are not manufactured, in our current edition of the human race, to understand abstract matters—we need context. Randomness and uncertainty are abstractions. We respect what has happened, ignoring what could have happened. In other words, we are naturally shallow and superficial—and we do not know it.(Page 132)

Replied to Freshly Brewed Thoughts: August 24, 2018 (

My computer did some crazy, and I had a moment today when I though my computer was dead forever. FYI I work in tech, I still suck at backups (like everyone), and a dead computer is … not cool. I literally signed up for two years of Backblaze five minutes ago.

Isn’t it kind of funny the assumptions we make about those in EdTech. It is funny living within the expectation of perfection when as Quinn Norton suggests:

All the grown-ups are making it up as they go along. I have also waggled my eyebrows suggestively while saying it, to make it clear to her that I mean me, too