Exam time is stressful for the students and docents alike. Whether they are written exams, oral ones or some other form of work, they all have their advantages and disadvantages for both sides. But how will they change in future? Do we really want to let students learn books by heart and how will the examinations purpose change in the future?
History is important: it explains us how we got to the place were we are and interferes more with our future than many would admit. This is true in life, but also in science. In lecturing we usually teach concepts and methodologies, many developed in the last five centuries and they are all developed with a background. This background tells us a lot about why these methodologies gained its importance they nowadays have and only when we understand them we understand why they are so highlighted compared to other methodologies, which we do not necessarily teach nowadays. Nevertheless, usually we keep the mentioning of this background quite brief and when at all, some words about it can be found in books. But is it the right way?
In the past couple of month I had taken a look at Massive Open Online Courses, better known under its abbreviation MOOC. These courses received some attention recently and from time to time you hear that they will be the future of lecturing at Universities. In this post I would like to talk about some of my own impressions on this topic and show where the problems and chances of these systems can be found.
As a scientist in earth science, who is working more on the theoretical side, the daily work consists in large parts of programming. Nevertheless, even with the importance programming has nowadays in this field, I hear again and again from people that they had not got a systematical education on this during their studies. Of cause, I agree, learning by doing plays a very important part to become a good programmer, but without further insights into the background of programming it can be quite hard to generate the benefits of a well planed structured programm. Continue reading