June 2010 Archives


Kathleen Fitzpatrick describes her use of Google Wave (now available to all without an invitation) in her university classes. She notes:

Wave is extremely powerful groupware, designed to facilitate the interactions of groups working together on projects . . .

There's a lot in this entry to digest, but it seems that for folks using wikis and other CMS interfaces for student interaction, Wave might be a useful addition. The real-time collaborative nature of the thing seems to be a genuine addition to the pedagogical toolkit, provided that everyone has the requisite hardware to access it.

From the Washington Post higher-ed blog, by Jay Mathews. A recent study shows that students will take Advanced Placement classes whether they receive a GPA boost for doing so or not. It seems that the pressure for AP courses on high school transcripts provides sufficient incentive to enroll in those classes, and students do not care about potentially lower grades when they decide to take them.

It doesn't bother me that students receive a grade-average bonus for taking more challenging courses, such as AP or Honors. It does bother me that many such courses use the same grading criteria that a standard course would, so not only are students getting the benefit of the GPA boost, but they are also being graded by the same standards that they would have faced in an easier course. Either make the criteria more stringent -- in an AP course, they should be college-level -- or drop the GPA boost. To do both creates too much pressure for underprepared students not only to enroll in but to excel in courses that are too advanced for them.

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