Moore’s Law: Education is catching up to Technology

A fascinating article on the Forbes blog describes the transition from ‘ideal teaching’ to a more online-supported teaching era, complimented by Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore, the author of Moore’s Law, proposed computing power will become cheaper and faster every 18 months… and he’s been accurate thus far!

“Moore’s Law is finally making its presence felt in education, too.”

This trend is most prevalent with massive, open, online courses (or MOOCs for short). The fastest growing of which is Coursera, lead by Daphne Koller. With over 22 million students enrolled in Coursera, online education has become a rapidly growing industry. Thanks to “very cheap bandwidth and a lot of machine learning, we can finally do Moore’s Law in education,” said Koller.

Moore’s Law has been accurate for nearly 50 years; however its ever-growing future is unknown. 

Academic Integrity: Cheat or Be Cheated?

To get a clearer definition of “cheating” and how schools can change the “cheat to compete” mentality, watch this video. (Breakdown below)

  • How students cheat? (0:000:52)
  • The Data: Survey of students who cheat (0:531:03)
  • Why are students cheating? (1:042:05)
  • Culture of Compromised Ethics  (2:062:38)
  • How can we change this culture of cheating? (Case study) (2:3911:21)

I came across this frightening article on edutopia regarding frequency of cheating in secondary and post-secondary education.

“80 to 95 percent of high school students admit to engaging in some form of cheating.”

Cheating is a serious offence, especially in post-secondary education, and institutions clearly outline the punishments to discourage cheating. Yet, students still resort to copying from a classmate’s paper, sneaking a cheat sheet into an exam, using their cellphone or other technology to get ahead, or discretely writing test answers on their skin. Surprisingly, most students realize what they’re doing is wrong but they justify their actions because “it’s cheat or be cheated.”

Tips to Increase Your Final Exam Performance

The end to another academic term is quickly approaching… along with the stress of writing final exams. If you have to write exams and are feeling nervous, overwhelmed, and exhausted from studying, these are some useful tips from examtime to perform at your best on exam day.

The Night Before
You want to have your exam day planned out beforehand so you can focus on remembering the important information you studied.

  • Check the time and location of your exam
  • Set an alarm to wake up early
  • Collect materials you will need to bring to your exam tomorrow
  • Get a full nights rest (8 hours is recommended)

Exam Day
Make sure you start your day off right. If you’re feeling confident and refreshed before you write your exam, chances are you’ll perform better.

  • Wake up early and prepare for your day (taking a shower can help your body wake up)
  • Have a balanced breakfast (try to eat some fruit, for example, a banana)
  • Grab your exam materials (remember to bring your ID, translators, etc. if required/permitted)
  • Leave early (unexpected events happen all the time; you don’t want to be late)

Starting Your Exam
You have prepared for this moment. Focus your mind and get yourself prepared to ace this exam.

  • Write your name on the exam paper and make sure you have all pages of the exam
  • Read through the exam to get an idea of the content and length of each section
  • Plan your time and focus the majority of your time on the heaviest weighted questions
  • Start answering questions you feel most confident about (leave the challenging questions for last)

Finishing Your Exam
You’re almost done! Just a few more questions and you can leave feeling great.

  • Ask for clarification or assistance if you don’t understand a section/question
  • Pay attention to the time and pace yourself
  • Review your work to ensure you answered all questions correctly
  • Stay to the end of your exam period (review your work multiple times to catch silly mistakes)
  • Hand in your exam feeling confident that you did your best work

You just finished your exam and can now move on with your day and enjoy the rest of the spring/summer!

I hope these tips were helpful and reduced your fear of writing exams. If you still have any concerns, feel free to post them in the comments or contact your institution’s help centre. Best of luck with your exams and the end of your semester!

Teaching students to write, not ‘fill-in-the-blanks’


Jeremy Shermak, an Assistant Professor of Communications at a community college in Chicago, writes an inspirational story about academic writing and consultations with students. Shermak shares his perspective of using education to “light a fire” instead of “filling a bucket” when advising students.

Originally posted on The Unwritten Syllabus:

Last week, when a major research essay was due in my composition courses, more students visited my office on campus than the previous two semesters combined.  I always encourage my students to stop in. I answered every question very diligently and expeditiously, offering the best I had in terms of advice and direction.

Student questions varied greatly.  Many were concerned about their introductions, which for many is one of the more difficult parts of any essay, while others wanted to know about MLA formatting. However, a striking number of students asked some variation of the following question: “What do you want me to write?”

Let’s set the table here: the essay in production has been on their plates for weeks now. We went through a very deliberate, calculated writing process to demonstrate the benefits of planning, forethought, time management, pre-writing, research, revision, etc. It was a tactical approach inspired…

View original 568 more words

The Single Most Important Factor for Success

Have you ever wondered what determines if an individual is academically and/or professionally successful? One would assume intelligence, time management skills, or wealth are all possible factors… but surprisingly those don’t take the top spot. Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist from the University of Pennsylvania, just might have the answer. Check out this 6-minute TED Talk to hear her story.

What are your thoughts?

  • Do you think passion and perseverance are crucial for success?
  • Do you think there is a more important factor for success?
  • Can you think of anyone who embodies this factor?

Spending more on Prisoners than on Students

Spending more on Prisoners than on Students

I wanted to share an alarming report from California’s Department of Finance that suggests “over the past two decades spending per prisoner in California has increased nearly three times faster than spending per K-12 student.”

The first question that comes to mind after reading this report is “Why are we prioritizing the care of law-breakers over the education of our youth?” If more K-12 students received high-quality education one could assume they would be less likely to commit crime, and more likely to propose crime preventative measures later in their life.

After reading 6 Reasons America Spends More on Prisons Than on Higher Education it has become apparent politics plays an important role in this budget decision. It is easier to get elected, from a politician’s perspective, if you persuade society with crime-related initiatives. In addition, politicians can move more of the cost of higher education on students while the same cannot be said for prisons and prisoners.


Your Top 10 Hidden Skills Employers Are Looking For


Source: Queen’s University Career Services

Employers look for a variety of skills in potential candidates. Depending on the job, these skills may be very technical in nature, but quite often include common “soft skills.” Many job seekers overlook highlighting their soft skills when applying for a job. The Purple Briefcase Blog discusses the value of your soft skills and how to highlight them during your job application.

According to Aol Jobs, the top 10 soft skills job hunters are looking for are:

  1. Strong Work Ethic
  2. Positive Attitude
  3. Good Communication Skills
  4. Time Management Abilities
  5. Problem-Solving Skills
  6. Acting as a Team Player
  7. Self-Confidence
  8. Ability to Accept and Learn from Criticism
  9. Flexibility/Adaptability
  10. Working Well Under Pressure

From personal experience, I’ve always found it useful to carefully review the job posting and job description before applying to a position. To make your application stand out, tailor your resume and cover letter based on the key words and skills employers include in their job posting. If all goes well, you should be prepared to tell hiring managers of how you have effectively used those skills in the interview.