Education in the era of the Internet

I only mock the brilliant, responsible students. (And only when they ask for it.)
[Via Lawyers, Guns and Money]

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but since I sent in my absentee ballot, the election’s lost a little luster for me. Turns out that voting ruins elections.

Go figure.

That said, look forward to much more on Game of Thrones from me in the near future. I’ve already written the posts, I just can’t publish them yet because my students are on to the fact that I post my lesson plans before I teach them, which has resulted in a truly frightening situation in which they actually know everything I’m going to say before I say it. So I have to hold those back until after class on Tuesday. (Grumble stupid students being responsible grumble.)


This made me grin. The students doing their learning out of class, come to class already knowing everything. Then what is the professor to do?

Actually, pretty much what he does in his post – take one of the student’s discussion points and examine it further.

But my kids are still blogging, and they’re producing all sorts of interesting material. I assign them 1,000 words a week, 500 of which I script for them via a prompt, the other 500 they’re free to write whatever they want so long as it includes the course’s critical vocabulary. Last week I covered the neuroscientific argument about frontality, the short version of which I discussed here, and now I have students who can’t stop seeing faces everywhere. Including one particularly bright apple whose free post this week concerned Prometheus in a very interesting way. He began by noting that the film opens with an intelligent designer ceding its DNA to fertilize the Earth—the pun was intended in the original—and that the first scene in the film that includes humans opens thus:


If you look closely at the rock on the left, you can see what appears to be a face in the rock. AT least the student thought so and used it as an example of how Ridley Scott connected the face of the original designed to the modern day.

After admiring the pluck of the student, the teacher “informed my student that this was an impressively terrible argument—far too overdetermined to be correct—and he responded by saying I should put it out there for others to decide. I warned him about what happens on the wilds of the Internet, but given that he’s taken legitimate points about frontality and merged them with a solid accounting of the film, he feels comfortable putting his theories out there.”

So now we can have the internet valuate the student’s argument* The point is not that the argument is right or wrong but with how well the student applies logic and reasoning to back up their argument.

That is what ALL education should be about, whether it is film studies or quantum mechanics.

*And the Internets inform of that the rock to the left, the one the student pointed out, is actually called ” The Old Man of Storr”, something Ridley most likely knew. So Scott may very well have included that shot of rreasons other than a pretty view. Then the comments devolve into snarky comments about the movie and … done.

3 thoughts on “Education in the era of the Internet

    1. I actually did not mean it in a bad way. I love good, intelligent snark and your site has lots of it.

      Besides, I’ve been that student. Loved coming up with all that overthought ‘stuff’. The movie classes I took while an undergrad at CalTech are what pulled my GPA way up ;-)

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