If you want to assess, allowing people to keep trying wasn’t going to get you a good signal of their ability. But then if you think about it for two seconds you have to wonder why we want a good signal of these students’ ability. This is not assessment for accreditation so who cares about getting such incentives right? What one surely wants are problem sets that signal to the student whether they had mastered the material or not. By not breaking out of the assessment mould, the course designers missed the opportunity to focus on learning rather than signalling.
This is when I started to learn more about this medium. The issue is one of design. University lectures are designed to bring everyone along. They have to because you need to build up knowledge and it can’t be easily chunked. This is tolerated when people are in a lecture hall but online for even the average student it is all going to seem somewhat slow.
Game jams are part of an overall social context that supports stagnation.
My 11 year old son just took a course at Stanford. That has a nice ring to it but it is actually meaningless because these days anyone can take a course at Stanford. You don’t even have to pay. All you need is access to a computer and a reasonable Internet connection. So what we can say is my 11 year old son just watched a bunch of videos on the Internet.
That doesn’t make for an interesting post except that this ‘bunch of videos’ is currently being heralded as the future of higher education. In the New York Times, David Brooks saw courses like the one my son took as a tsunami about to hit campuses all over the world. And he isn’t alone. Harvard’s Clay Christensen sees it asa transformative technology that will change education forever. And along with Stanford many other institutions, most notably Harvard and MIT, are leaping into the online mix. This is attracting attention and investment dollars. It has people nervous and excited. So I wondered, what happens when someone who has grown up online encountered one of these new ventures?
The course my son just completed was ‘Game Theory’ taught by Matthew Jackson and Yoav Shoham.
Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people.
Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.
The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card.
And it is distributed under a Creative Commons license, meaning it is not only free to play, but remixing, and changing the game are more than just encouraged.
The official hard copy has been sold out for a while now, but a PDF of all the cards, and instructions distributed by the creators for making your own deck can be found here.
You’re welcome, and enjoy!
NO NO NO OKAY THIS GAME IS ACTUALLY THE BEST REAL TALK
I love this idea and I want this very badly.
Best game ever. I cannot recommend it enough.
Brute Force Architecture
by Bryan Boyer
14 May 2012
How Rem Koolhaas’s OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture) rewired their office in the late 1990s into a brute force creative machine.
One method stands out: blue foam
New and faster ways to evaluate architectural proposals were needed, namely new means of drawing and model making that shortened the time it required to definitively say yes or no. The answer was blue foam.
OMA is famous for its use of blue foam as a model making material, a technique that uses polystyrene foam cut into desired shapes with a heated wire. Working with foam is a skill that one learns relatively quickly and it allows quick and easy iterations that would be more time consuming to achieve in cardboard. For instance, making a cube from foam can be done with as few as two or three cuts. The same shape out of cardboard would require 24 cuts and the gluing of 6 pieces. Whereas working with cardboard requires planning ahead and some translation of ideas into a workflow of making, with foam the workflow and ideas are collapsed into one. Making is thinking.
One can picture the spark that must have lit up in the eye of a young model maker as their tired fingers parted with a bright yellow Olfa knife and embraced the electrically charged wire of a foam cutter, slicing effortlessly through a block of cool blue foam for the first time.
Working with foam instead of more traditional materials allowed the design teams at OMA to model their ideas quicker, which in turn allowed more ideas to be considered in the same span of time. The adoption of this new technique was akin to upgrading the processor speed of the office.
More so than cardboard or other model making materials, blue foam erases the signature of its creator allowing for an easier ‘apples to apples’ comparison. The anonymizing uniformity of the cut surfaces and alien blueness of the foam itself allowed multiple workers to prepare options in parallel without the differences of personal craft becoming an element of distraction during moments of evaluation. The cumulative effect means that a table covered in foam models all produced by different individuals can be assessed for their ideas rather than the quirks of who made them or how they were created. What’s on display are the ideas themselves, without any distracting metadata or decoration. This is the model making equivalent of Edward Tufte’s quest to eliminate chartjunk.
With extraneous degrees of difference eliminated from the process, the signal to noise ratio of the discussion could be as high as possible.
In short, people often wait for social cues before acting because they heuristically understand that without reassurance that they are acting in concert with others, attempts at moral action may be counter-productive.
Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is that a person learns only the particular thing he is studying at the time. Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, may be and often is, more important.