Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The public higher education funding model

  1. Are you Wyoming? If yes, double or triple your population before proceeding to step 2.
  2. Create a set of colleges, N>1, within a state.
  3. Arrange them hierarchically according to their selectivity, using the principal of a pyramid. A typical model would include one flagship, two doctoral-granting universities, at least three or four regional universities and an undergraduate-only college or two, and easily ten community colleges.
  4. Correlate funding inversely with acceptance rate. In other words, the flagships should get the most money per student.
  5. Notice that the bottom of the pyramid is having trouble doing more with less.
  6. Exacerbate the funding inequality further to punish them. Call it "performance funding."

The five lamest capoeira t-shirts

"I'm a capoeira dancer"? Too bad that's not the right term. (And, as a bonus, its cousin, the "Capoeira black belt" shirt. Too bad capoeira doesn't use belts.

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

Maybe this is my personal problem, but I am really tired of activity shirts and bumper stickers that are just modified from other sports. "Eat, sleep, fish" might have been cute once upon a time, but now you can probably get, oh, I don't know, an "Eat, sleep, shuffleboard" shirt. The message on this shirt is that capoeira is like … basketball?

"This is my capoeira shirt" isn't exactly brilliantly original, but it's not offensive, either. But this version leaves me baffled.

It's not that I think capoeristas ought to smoke, but … wtf?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

High water in the trail

High water in the trail
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
Last weekend the Campfire Girls camped out at Rock Island. We had only been there in the summer before, when the Collins River is a gentle thing, and you can rock-hop through it to the falls.

But now the water was much higher. All the rocks were buried under an onslaught of rushing river, far too cold and fast for a nice swim. This video was taken near the old mill, where a short trail leads down to the water - although, as you will see, the trail is even shorter than usual, now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AERA 2011

I was dreadfully remiss on blogging during AERA, in part because I had mixed feelings about the conference. I went to sessions that should have been a draw (big names, topics people claim to be interested in) and the attendance was terrible, whereas my K-12 colleagues reported standing-room only at some of their sessions. On the other hand, the roundtables were far too crowded.

But nevertheless, there was some interesting stuff. That included a session on getting research funding that was helpful, a good session on "values, governance, and consumerism," a session of papers on "national organizations" that featured three good papers that really had nothing to do with each other, and a session on preparing to go up for tenure (planning ahead, that).

The coolest thing I saw was not related to my research at all, however. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History had one of their Discovery Domes set up. It is essentially an inflatable igloo with a projector inside, creating an immersive educational environment. Students can tour an archeological site, for example, by "driving" a vehicle and completing various tasks. As this was an educational conference, they weren't just showing the dome off - they were also presenting some research on how student learning compared with doing similar games on a computer. The biggest difference was (in non-technical terms) how "into" the task they got.