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Professor Makes Sure There’s No Disconnect in Her Online Program

May 05, 2014

Beyond issues of retaining students, critics also raise concerns about whether online education provides effective ways to learn and whether it affords students the personalized attention they deserve. Those issues were debated earlier this month at an Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates event, titled “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete,” at Columbia University.

This week on MOOCs, ep. 6

May 07, 2014

Is it really a question of bricks vs clicks? In a debate at Columbia University, the question whether it would be bricks or clicks — in other words campus vs MOOCs — in the future of higher education, the clicks won. Now, in all fairness, I believe that the future of (higher) education lies in combining both (and add in other elements) to get the best outcomes for students, but nevertheless the debate, as reported on in the New Yorker, is an interesting one.

How to Get a Campus Feeling in a MOOC

April 25, 2014

You can never recreate or replace the accelerated learning effect of being able to interact with your teacher and fellow students in person - in physical proximity. At least, this is an argument that is often used by those who are not big fans of MOOCs (massive open online courses). The last time I saw it was in an article about the Intelligence Squared debate at Columbia University on the question: 'bricks or clicks?' But, in our connected world, does that really hold up?

The mismatch problem: Why college football scholarships are not enough

April 22, 2014

Have you ever had a moment when you heard an argument that made you examine a long-held belief?

I had a moment like that recently when listening to an NPR Intelligence Squared podcast on college admissions. Intelligence Squared is a high-quality product, as the debate is civil, fact-heavy, and performed with great skill. In other words, it's everything that cable news is not, sort of like reading the best of the college football internet as opposed to relying on Holtz and May to analyze team strength.

Are College Campuses Obsolete?

April 22, 2014

On one recent night, the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series put forth a motion on Columbia University’s campus: “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete.” This is heavily contested territory, as both the setting and the style of the debate reflected. Columbia itself is the owner of quite a few nice-looking bricks, but, only last month, the university signalled its intention to start producing online courses. The Intelligence Squared events are inspired by traditional Oxford debates, decided by the votes of the audience, but they’re judged electronically. The points and counterpoints were streamed and tweeted live, but in tone the evening still evoked the charm of a winsome classroom professor: percussive jazz-fusion tracks piped in before, friendly anecdotes during, and a reception, in lieu of office hours, after.

Is It Time To Dismantle the Lecture Hall?

April 03, 2014

As higher education evolves, has the lecture hall model become obsolete? In a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on the campus of Columbia University, two teams of academic experts squared off to settle that question.

Racial Preferences Under Siege

March 20, 2014

The intellectual case for preferences is looking increasingly shaky. Last month, a packed auditorium at Harvard Law School featured an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on whether “affirmative action does more harm than good.” Harvard professor Randall Kennedy, the author of the book For Discrimination, and Columbia professor Ted Shaw, the former head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argued that diversity is an important and noble goal that universities must pursue. UCLA professor Richard Sander, author of the book Mismatch, and University of San Diego professor Gail Heriot, a commissioner on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, presented statistics from over 20 peer-reviewed studies that showed how the good intentions of affirmative-action supporters have had disastrous results.

Debate: “Affirmative action on campus does more harm than good”

March 04, 2014

What if affirmative action actually hurts minorities?

Badger Pundit has the rundown on a debate at Harvard Law School over the proposition in the title of this post, Epic smackdown of affirmative action at Harvard — following debate, audience’s opposition rises nearly a third.

It’s a discussion that people on campuses don’t like to have. Good for Harvard Law School for hosting such a debate with well-qualified speakers arguing each side. Too often the argument against affirmative action is denegrated as racism.

A speaker in favor of the proposition argued that affirmative action is an “epic policy failure” because it actually hurts — not helps — minority achievement through lower graduation and professional accomplishment rates.

Intelligence Squared debate: Affirmative action on campus does more harm than good

February 28, 2014

Intelligence Squared presented a very lively debate last night at Harvard Law School — “Resolved: Affirmative Action On Campus Does More Harm Than Good.” Arguing for the motion were Gail Heriot, professor of law, University of San Diego School of Law and member, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Richard Sander, professor of law, UCLA School of Law. Arguing against the motion were Randall Kennedy, professor of law, Harvard Law School; and Theodore Shaw, professor of law, Columbia Law School.

The debate largely focused on Rick Sander’s empirical work, which tends to show that affirmative action actually harms its intended beneficiaries. Regular readers will recall that Rick guest-blogged about this provocative work two years ago.

It was particularly striking to see this prominent debate on the Harvard Law School campus–since, ironically, it can often seem, on elite campuses, that the very topic of affirmative action on campus is taboo.

Law School Hosts Debate on the Merits of Affirmative Action

February 28, 2014

A panel featuring Harvard Law School professor Randall L. Kennedy and others debated the pros and cons of affirmative action Thursday evening at the Law School’s Ames Court Room.

Arguing that affirmative action does more harm than good, University of San Diego Law professor Gail Heriot and University of California, Los Angeles Law professor Richard H. Sander asserted that affirmative action reduces the percentage of minorities who succeed at selective academic institutions.

On the opposing side, Columbia Law School professor Theodore M. Shaw and Kennedy argued in favor of affirmative action as a means of advancing university goals while benefitting the educational experiences of all students.

68% Reject the Motion: "Don't blame teachers unions for our failing schools"

March 16, 2010

While acknowledging other factors that contribute to the challenges in American education, the team arguing against the motion convinced most in the audience that improvement needed to start with reform of the powerful teachers unions.

Debate: Are Teachers Unions the Problem—or the Answer?

April 18, 2010

Seeking to change their image of intransigence in defending every last job of every teacher, the unions maintain that they share the goal of improving schools and turning out better-educated students. The most recent Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, on March 16, went to the heart of this issue, tackling the topic "Don't blame teachers unions for our failing schools."

Debating Failing Schools

March 29, 2010

Are teachers unions to blame for failing schools? This was the question debated last week on NPR's Intelligence Squared. At the beginning of the debate, less than half the audience believed teachers unions should be faulted for poor-performing schools, but by the close of the program, an astonishing 68 percent believed school employee unions contributed to the problem.

To Blame or Not to Blame the Teachers Union

March 17, 2010

On Tuesday, March 16th, the LinkEd team was able to participate in the Intelligence Squared Debate: Don’t Blame Teachers Unions for Our Failing Schools. We were not sure what to expect from the evening, but were pleasantly surprised by a true debate: two teams of three pitted against each other fighting to win the crowds vote for or against the motion ‘don’t blame teachers unions for our failing schools’.

An Open Letter to Peter Thiel

October 13, 2011

So, here is my challenge to you: Why don’t you put your money and energy behind your convictions? If you indeed believe that we are headed for disaster, please work on averting it. Early in your career, you revolutionized the global exchange of currency by founding PayPal. You helped change the world by financing Facebook. The world is ripe for another revolution — this time in education. Technology has advanced so much over the last two decades that we can virtually change the way we educate.

Thiel on Chicago

October 13, 2011

Paypal founder and Facebook angel investor Peter Thiel appeared in the Windy City as a part of Chicago Ideas Week, offering his views on the local tech scene, why a college education is unnecessary and Groupon’s pending IPO.

Ideas Week Squares Off Over Need for College

October 16, 2011

The Intelligence Squared Foundation, which hosts and televises Oxford-style debates in New York, recently made its Chicago debut on Oct. 12 with the premise that "too many kids go to college."

Are Too Many Americans Earning Four-Year Degrees?

October 18, 2011

“True or false: too many kids go to college.” That was how John Donvan, an ABC News correspondent, began a debate last week about the necessity of an undergraduate degree.

Is Going to College Worth the Investment?

October 25, 2011

The value of a college education is under attack. While more U.S. students are enrolled than ever before, a perfect storm of soaring costs, rising student debt and shrinking job prospects have led critics to increasingly challenge whether college remains a worthwhile investment. Among those leading the attack is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who charges that higher education has become a dangerous bubble.

The Wrong Debate About College

November 06, 2011

A recent Intelligence Squared debate tackled the proposition that “Too Many Kids Go to College.” Arguments in favor: the cost of higher education is rising out of proportion to its value; it stifles entrepreneurial creativity (because Plan B is to found a million dollar software company, natch); and the bachelor’s degree is a “false credential” that doesn’t accurately signal what a college graduate knows and can do. Arguments against: Post-secondary education is the best hedge against poverty, unemployment, and dead-end jobs.

China, India and Why Peter Thiel is Wrong About Education

September 30, 2011

We are in a knowledge economy and face brutal competition from all over the world. The weapons in these battles are education and innovation. We certainly need to get the cost of education under control and improve its effectiveness and quality. But if we say that education isn’t worthwhile and that children shouldn’t complete bachelors degrees, we lose.

Yes, "Too Many Kids Go to College" In First-Ever Chicago Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate

October 13, 2011

Last night audience members at the first ever Intelligence Squared U.S. debate in Chicago, "Too Many Kids Go to College,” gave a victory to the team arguing for this resolution. By the end of the debate Peter Thiel and Charles Murray convinced 8% of the audience to change their minds to support the motion, thus winning the Oxford style debate.

Intelligence Squared Debate Decides the College Question for Chicago Ideas Week

October 13, 2011

The nice thing about a debate—a real debate with points and counterpoints—is that at the end, there’s a declared winner. In this case, the winner was: “Yes, too many kids go to college.” The debate was the first-ever Chicago dust-up held by Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), an Oxford-style debate program, headquartered in New York City (and based on a similar London program), that spars over topics from clean energy to the Middle East.