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Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year! Wish You A Great 2019!

Photo: Pexels
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers and subscribers for your support and I hope that you continue to support my eLearning News with comments, suggestions in 2019.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Must-Read Brain Books Of 2018 | Healthcare - Forbes

This is part one of a two-part list; the second installment is here.

The must-read brain books of 2018 featured perception, emotion, hormones, psychedelics, culture, time, technology, addiction, and the biological roots of consciousness, inform
David DiSalvo, Contributor.


Photo: Getty
The eight books on this list all reveal important, timely insights about who we are, what we do and why we do it.
Read more...

Source: Forbes

Off the Book Lists | Books - New York Times

Here is a collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry that didn’t make the “10 Best” or the “100 Notables,” but our editors still found them worthy of attention.

Photo: New York Times

Choosing the year’s 100 Notable Books and then the 10 Best isn’t easy. Campaigns are mounted and long debates ensue. In the end, there’s general agreement — on some books more than others — but sometimes there’s disappointment when a favorite doesn’t make the cut. So this year, we asked a few staff members on the Books desk to tell us about their “should a beens” or “could a beens” for 2018.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times

The 19 Best Books of 2018 | Culture - The Atlantic

Editor’s Note: Find all of The Atlantic’s “Best of 2018” coverage here.

2018 was a year whose realities sometimes seemed to approach the dystopias and dramas of fiction, as stories of family trauma, environmental disaster, and sexual assault played out on the world stage, according to The Atlantic Culture Desk


Photo: Katie Martin / The Atlantic

The books our writers and editors were drawn to this year include many that illuminate these struggles and inequities, whether in the form of visceral sonnets, lyrical history, or dizzyingly surreal detective yarns. But they also reach past political themes to the most intimate and universal of stories: a cross-continental meditation on transitory love, a warm and funny account of aging, a timeless reinvention of an ancient myth, and an absorbing deconstruction of faith, to name a few. Our list isn’t definitive or comprehensive, but guided by individual interests and tastes. Below, you’ll find essays, poetry, three striking fiction debuts, the first graphic novel to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and more.
Read more...

Source: The Atlantic

One book that mattered | Tns Report - The News on Sunday

Tns Report summarizes, Avid readers on a book that left a mark on them.


TNS asks avid readers from different backgrounds about one book they read in 2018 that left a mark on them. Here’s the list…
Read more...

Source: The News on Sunday

My 2018 in books: A list of favorite reads | INQUIRER.net

I don’t know about you, but to me, 2018 zipped by so quickly, notes Mikka Wee, Marketing Manager at In Great Company Group.  

Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things...

A lot happened this year, both in my personal life and in the outside world, and it’s incredibly fascinating and mind-boggling to sit here and write my last article for 2018, knowing that this time, next week, it will be 2019.

Since the “Screen Time” update on my iPhone was installed, I’ve become more aware of how much time I spend online—and I admit, 90 percent of it is comprised of endless scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Am I proud of it? Not really. One of my goals this 2019 is actually to reduce my social media time to only 2 hours a day (you’ll be surprised to know that I’ve reached 6 incredulous hours on my phone), and to read more books. I do, however, have read some pretty awesome books this 2018, and I thought, “why not end 2018 with a list of books that made my year?”

Here it is (in no particular order)!

Source: INQUIRER.net

Stephen Carter: My 15 favorite nonfiction books of 2018 | St. Paul Pioneer Press

Here are my nominees for the best nonfiction books of 2018, says Stephen Carter, Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. 

Photo: ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I haven’t read everything published this year, but I read a great deal, and these are my 15 favorites. Each reflects serious thought, research and argument. Each made me look at things in a new way. The first 14 are listed in random order (no tyranny of the alphabet). At the end is my choice for best nonfiction book of the year.
Read more... 

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press

Saturday, December 29, 2018

​Why this math lecturer says it’s increasingly hard to teach millennial minds | Big Think

  • Mathematics lecturer noticed the changes in her students after returning to teaching after a five-year break.
  • She says her students and noticeably less engaged, increasingly on their smartphones or computers, and ask more "stupid questions."
  • A batch of results from an ongoing National Institutes of Health study recently showed alarming results about the impacts that screen use has on developing brains.

Clio Cresswell, member of the Applied Mathematics Research Group, carrying out research in the area of Integrable Systems says her undergraduate students show a diminished capability for "linked thinking."


Clio Cresswell, a mathematics lecturer at the University of Sydney and author of Mathematics and Sex, recently returned to the classroom after a five-year break from teaching math.

But when she returned, she noticed an immediate difference in the ways in which her undergraduate students engaged the class and material: They showed a diminishing capability for "linked thinking," which is presumably the ability to connect and make use of concepts from various domains, similar to abstract thinking.

"These days students are so busy posting on social media — 'love the burger', 'great fries' — that if something tragic happens to a loved one they struggle to understand why they're feeling the way they do," Cresswell told The Weekend Australian. "They've trained themselves in first-step thinking. Their worlds are constructed of disconnected moments."

Whether increased technology use is making students less able or likely to engage in linked thinking, or other modes of thinking, is unclear. But Cresswell said that, in her classrooms at least, she's noticed that students have become markedly more passive...

Cresswell said this portends a major problem: Our society, which is increasingly dependent on technology and algorithms, might soon be divided into two groups: the few who understand math, and the vast majority to whom it's a mystery.

Source: Big Think 

Want to retire and then hit the books? 10 great college towns for retirees | Fixed Income Strategies - CNBC

Some new retirees just don't want to, well, completely retire, be it from work or study. Retirement is a great time to pursue further education. GoBankingRates.com has found that college towns happen also to be great retirement spots, reports Kenneth Kiesnoski, Associate Editor for CNBC.com's Financial Advisor Hub.
 
Photo: Ariel Skelley | DigitalVision | Getty Images
Once new retirees wrap up their longtime careers, they can get down to the business of serious relaxation ... or, alternately, the pursuit of further knowledge. When better to take that adult education course, pursue an advanced degree or delve into an entirely new field of study than retirement, when your time is largely your own? And where better to retire, then, than near a center of higher education? Incidentally, personal finance website GoBankingRates.com has found that all the best places to retire in the U.S. just happen to be college towns.

As the site notes, big cities may boast a lot of retiree-friendly amenities, cultural outlets and health-care options but they're also "really pricey." Small towns in America may be a lot cheaper, but likely won't offer retirees much to do. College towns, on the other hand, are what GoBankingRates.com calls the perfect balance.

"They tend to feature a wider variety of cultural attractions, but many are also located in relatively small cities in inexpensive states," according to the website. What's more, there's lot of continuing education on offer. The following, in alphabetical order, are 10 of the 15 U.S. college towns the website names as best suited to retirees. (The other five are Bozeman, Montana; Bloomington, Indiana; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Lexington, Kentucky; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.)
Read more...

Source: CNBC

Neuroscientist Explores 'Your Brain on Music' | Music - WUWM

Maayan Silver, News Reporter explains, Christmas is over, so you may or may not hear any more renditions of Jingle Bells and White Christmas in 2018. But music is with us year round and according to a recent Nielson study, Americans are listening to more music than ever.

Photo: Eunbyul Sabrina Lee / Flickr

For many of us, music can be a source of great joy and even a way to get through difficult situations. Professor Daniel Levitin is a neuroscientist and author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. He explains why music helps us and what happens to your brain when you listen to it. 

"It activates the well-known pleasure center of the brain. The same part of the brain that gives you pleasurable feelings when you're hungry and then you finally eat. When you're an alcoholic and you have a drink. When you have sex," he explains. "Music activates that same region of the brain, kind of the 'sex, drugs and rock and roll' area."

He says listening to music releases dopamine, it can increase your mood by releasing serotonin and it can help serotonin stay around longer... 

According to Levitin, people who seek new music are changing their brains, but he adds that people who don't are also changing their brains.

"When you experience something new, your brain forms a pathway that represents that experience, and then the more times you repeat that experience, the more learned, the deeper the pathway becomes," he says. "And it allows you to access it. Now, that doesn't mean you'll like it. But familiarity is a part of aesthetic appreciation of anything." 
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

This Is Your Brain on Music:
The Science of a Human Obsession
 
Source: WUWM

This Was a Great Year to Be a Math Geek | Technology & Ideas - Bloomberg

And 2019 is shaping up to be pretty good, too, argues Scott Duke Kominers, MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics.

Fun and games.
Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe

For math geeks like me, 2018 was a banner year: not only was it a year in which the field’s top prize was awarded, it was the only year in this century featuring days lining up with both the Golden ratio, an elegant proportion found throughout art and nature, and the mathematical constant e, which is at 
the core of calculus.

But the mathematician in me also can’t help but note that the number 2,018 has some ominous properties: It’s deficient, meaning that the sum of all its positive divisors is less than itself. And it’s also odious, meaning that it has an odd number of ones in its binary expansion, 11111100010. 1

This year is pretty cryptic, as well -- it features prominently in the first of the three Beale ciphers, an 1880s cryptographic puzzle that supposedly describes the location of a multimillion-dollar treasure. (Hint: check the cipher’s second line.)

And 2,018 is a crystallogen number, giving it a property derived from chemistry that means it’s slightly unbalanced: atoms with full shells containing 2,022 electrons are electronically stable. But 2,018? It’s, well, just a few short. (Maybe three years from now will be less volatile?)...

And 1,009 is happy, meaning that if you take the sum of the squares of its digits, and then take the sum of the squares of the digits of the result, and so forth, you eventually get to 1. It’s also lucky, which means that it survives the following curious elimination process: Start with the odd numbers, note the second-largest is three; and delete every third number. The third-largest number remaining is then seven, so now delete every seventh. The fourth-largest is then nine, so delete every ninth, and so on.
Read more...

Source: Bloomberg

Shrinking job options for seniors | Letters - The Star Online

I REFER to Help seniors get jobs” (The Star, Dec 24). Although I sympathise with people who need an income post-retirement, companies are not charities. 

Photo: The Star Online
The reality is that many companies are finding that the bottomline is shrinking due to competition and higher costs. As such, we may not be able to change the retirement age or force companies to continue to employ people who may have passed the statutory retirement age.

Irrespective of what is going on in the world today, jobs remain the mainstay of income for the sustenance of the average human being. Privatisation, outsourcing and shared services allow jobs to cross borders at the snap of a finger. Let’s face it, the days of lifetime employment are over.

People are living longer and many jobs are being lost to robotics. There will be an ever increasing problem of an ageing population as well as a new generation of young workers who find it difficult to get jobs...

The Human Resources Develop­ment Fund under the Human Resources Ministry has a centre for retrenched workers. Perhaps they can initiate a special category for retired persons too.

Online job portals should consider having an initiative for seniors who are skilled and good in languages to offer their experience and service albeit at a lower cost.
Read more...

Source: The Star Online

Artificial intelligence: What changed in 2018 and what to expect in 2019 | AI & Machine Learning - Information Age

In the artificial intelligence and machine learning space, 2019 will see the rise of the intelligent application, observes Nick Ismail, editor for Information Age.

The application of artificial intelligence and machine learning will solve business problems and bring new ideas to life to continue into 2019 as companies strive to get the most business value and competitive advantage from their existing data.
Photo: Information Age
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those technologies that excites the public and business imagination alike. Long since a favourite theme in science-fiction, it is now gaining traction in everyday practical scenarios.

In 2018, we saw a considerable rise in the adoption of AI around the world and across industries, with businesses using it to improve operations, generate new innovations and boost customer experience.

With financial services, telecoms and high tech leading the way in bringing AI into the mainstream, and other areas such as automotive, healthcare, energy and retail also embracing it, we expect the rapid growth of AI to continue in 2019 as companies strive to get the most value and competitive advantage from the data they capture. Let’s take a look at what’s been powering the rise of AI recently and what might be around the corner.
Read more...

Source: Information Age

NC Teens To Learn About Artificial Intelligence | Education - WUNC

For students at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, the future is now, says Lisa Philip, Education Reporter.

A $2 million gift to the North Carolina School Of Science And Math will support a new program in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Photo: NCSSM
An alum has given $2 million to start an artificial intelligence and machine learning program at the public boarding school in Durham. 

The school’s chancellor, Todd Roberts, says students will be taught about the field through various lenses, from engineering to social science to agriculture.

“Along with the technology, and opportunities to create new technology and knowledge,” 

Roberts says, “[there is] the importance of making sure they understand from the beginning the implications and potential implications of our artificial intelligence and machine learning -- from a societal impact standpoint, ethical, and all of those.”...

Roberts says the $2 million gift will fund 3 to 4 additional faculty at the North Carolina School of Science and Math [NCSSM] for the artificial intelligence and machine learning program, which will start up on a small scale next summer. He says a core goal is to make the new curriculum and any resulting student projects open source.
Read more...

Source: WUNC

The biggest artificial intelligence developments of 2018 | Blog - TechTalks

Ben Dickson, software engineer and the founder of TechTalks notes, 2018 was a year of reckoning for the AI industry. In parallel to technological developments, there was ample focus on the ethical concerns of artificial intelligence technology.  

Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduces Duplex AI at I/O 2018 developer conference
Photo: YouTube
Last year, when I was rounding up the biggest artificial intelligence developments of 2017, I had a very hard time choosing which stories were most worth covering. In that regard, 2018 didn’t see much change. This year, we saw even more AI papers published and more innovation in the space than 2017.

But beyond innovation and technological advances, 2018 was perhaps a year of reckoning for the ethical implications of advances in AI technologies. Unlike previous cycles of AI’s rise and fall, in which the industry receded into its periodic winter without making any notable impact on everyday lives, today’s AI technologies have become pivotal to many of the things we do. And we need to think about what their negative impacts can be.

Without further ado, here are some of the most noteworthy AI stories of 2018. Looking forward to more exciting AI stories in 2019.
Read more...

Source: TechTalks

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Single Cell Hints at a Solution to the Biggest Problem in Computer Science | Science - Popular Mechanics

Avery Thompson, science writer and journalist says, One small amoeba found a solution to the traveling salesman problem faster than our best algorithms. What does it know that we don't?

Photo: Popular Mechanics
One of the oldest problems in computer science was just solved by a single cell.

A group of researchers from Tokyo’s Keio University set out to use an amoeba to solve the Traveling Salesman Problem, a famous problem in computer science. The problem works like this: imagine you’re a traveling salesman flying from city to city selling your wares. You’re concerned about maximizing your efficiency to make as much money as possible, so you want to find the shortest path that will let you hit every city on your route.

There’s no simple mathematical formula to find the most efficient route for our salesman. Instead, the only way to solve the problem is to calculate the length of each route and see which one is the shortest. 

What’s worse, performing this calculation gets exponentially harder the more cities are added to the route. With four cities, there are only three different routes to consider. But with six cities, there are 360 different routes that need to be calculated. If you’ve got a route with ten or more cities the number of possible routes is in the millions.

This makes the traveling salesman problem one of a broad class of problems computer scientists call ‘NP hard.’...  

But if the researchers can figure out just how the amoeba works, they can use this trick for more than just helping out traveling salesmen. It could speed up our ability to solve all kinds of difficult computational problems and change the way we approach security.

This one small amoeba—and the way it solves difficult problems—might just change the face of computing forever.

Ball State adds online masters program that can be completed in 18 months | Muncie - WRTV Indianapolis

Ball State University will add an online master's degree program in Information and Communication Sciences, inform Shakkira Harris, Digital Real-Time Editor.

Photo: WRTV Indianapolis
Beginning in spring 2019, Ball State will launch it's CICS degree path that can take only 18 months to complete, with a 38-credit-hours.

The program is a flexible degree plan with immersive learning opportunities that aims to put students in real-world issues.

According to McKinsey Global Institute, projects automation could displace as many as 73 million U.S. jobs by 2030.

CICS director for Ball State, Dennis Trinkle, said that by expanding to an online platform, this will allow CICS to reach more students and fill the need for professionals in high-tech fields. 
Read more...

Source: WRTV Indianapolis

E-Learning was emphasised in 2018 | Education - Daily Monitor

In appreciation of e-learning, a number of universities this year rolled out e-learning courses and plans to include e-learning in the services they offer, observes Desire Mbabaali, Journalist and Writer with Daily Monitor.

Photo: Daily Monitor
It is no longer deniable, the internet and electronic technology has penetrated every sector and field, including education.

It is, therefore, commendable that the education sector is alive to these realities so much that this year, we saw more initiative and innovations geared towards cultivating electronic/ E-learning at both primary and university levels by private and government players in the sector. Here are a few highlights in E- learning that transpired in 2018.

Kaino tablet
To better both teacher and learner experience in class, Kaino Africa, a smart school management tech company, this year launched their flagship product, the Kaino Tablet crafted for the Ugandan primary pupil. This Education Technology (EdTech) tablet comes with curriculum aligned teacher guides that show the teacher lesson plans; how they are supposed to proceed with the class, what examples to give as well as time the lesson is supposed to start and end.

Video conferencing lessons
On the other hand, among advantages that urban schools have over rural schools is the access to the best teachers and learning resources. To bridge the gap, the government has this year piloted video-conferencing lessons in rural schools to allow students there benefit from teachers in urban institutions...


Introducing the e-library
To further cultivate e-learning, ISBAT University in October launched its first e-library. Here students have access to books, journals, reports, articles or any other information over the internet for 24hours a day. The enrolled students can access the e-library at anytime from anywhere in the world through their laptop, tablet and mobile phone.
This is part of the paradigm shift in the concept of the present-day library.


Students will access over 10,000 books on information technology, 20,000 books in the business and commerce field and more than 15,000 books in engineering field and all the latest versions of reading materials available. 
Read more...

Source: Daily Monitor

Thursday, December 27, 2018

University of Alaska sets goal to improve teacher retention | The Seattle Times

The University of Alaska wants to address public school teacher turnover with more locally educated educators.


University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen has set a goal for 90 percent of all new teacher hires to have graduated from the university by 2025, the Juneau Empire reported . The current rate is 43 percent.

“The Alaska-prepared teachers just stay longer,” said Steve Atwater, dean of the Alaska College of Education. “As you put more Alaskans into the classrooms (the number of vacancies each year) will go down.”

The university will have to increase their numbers from around 250 education graduates each year to about 400 to 500, he said.

People are not as willing to come to Alaska as they used to be, Atwater said. Nearly two-thirds of all teacher and administrative school positions are hired from out of state each year, according to university data. Many new graduates stay a year or two and return to the Lower 48...

The university is focusing on recruitment and retention, especially among Alaska Natives, and taking a multifaceted approach.

Besides including traditional recruiting, the university is focused on public awareness and outreach, a statewide mentoring program to support teachers who are already working in Alaska and a K-12 outreach program to encourage young students to enter the profession.
Read more...

Source: The Seattle Times

Who are Generation Z and what can we expect from them? | Analysis - The Post Millennial

Lucas Holtvluwer, current Sales and Marketing student at Niagara College reports, Generation Z, iGen, Post-Millennials, Homeland Generation, Gen Tech, Digital Natives or Delta Generation…

Photo: The Post Millennial
Whatever you want to call them, this new generation is here to stay and is already having a big impact on our world.

While many narratives have been pushed around about this generation over the past few years, a closer look at the facts reveals that Generation Z doesn’t really fit in any of the traditional boxes we’ve placed other generations in.

Of course, grouping any large amount of people solely based on birth years is going to result in a great deal of diversity of opinion and attitudes being covered over by mass generalizations. However, with Generation Z, the ability to pin down some core values is proving to be quite difficult so far.

What came before Gen Z? 
The “Greatest Generation” favoured tradition and valued self sacrifice and respect for authority. The Boomers flipped all that around with their anti war, anti government, free spirited ways...

A 2018 survey done in the wake of the Parkland shooting showed that 68% of youth aged 13-17 think that a ban on “assault-style weapons” would make the U.S. a much safer place.

That same survey also showed that only 21% of these youth aged 13-17 strongly identified as Republicans, compared to 37% as Democrats. Additionally, these members of Generation Z are not big fans of President Trump with a whopping 72% of them saying they strongly or somewhat disapprove of his performance thus far. 
Read more... 

Source: The Post Millennial

Independent study guide to logic for philosophers and mathematicians | Logic - Boing Boing

Check out  - Teach Yourself Logic: A Study Guide 

Photo: Eric Gaba, CC-BY-SA; Steve Jurvetson, CC-BY)
Retired Cambridge professor Peter Smith has distilled his experience in teaching philosophers and mathematicians about formal logic into a free, frequently updated (last updated: 2017) study guide to logic, constructed to be easily accessible, with quick-start guides for different kinds of learners, written on the assumption of very little education in either maths or philosophy. 

More Precisely:
The Math You Need to Do Philosophy
(Broadview Guides to Philosophy)
Eric Steinhart, More Precisely: The Math You Need to Do Philosophy* (Broadview 2009) The author writes: ‘The topics presented . . . include: basic set theory; relations and functions; machines; probability; formal semantics; utilitarianism; and infinity. The chapters on sets, relations, and functions provide you with all you need to know to apply set theory in any branch of philosophy. The chapter of machines includes finite state machines, networks of machines, the game of life, and Turing machines. The chapter on formal semantics includes both extensional semantics, Kripkean possible worlds semantics, and Lewisian counterpart theory.
Read more...

Related link 
Teach Yourself Logic 2017: A Study Guide by Peter Smith/Logic Matters (PDF) 

Source: Boing Boing

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Docebo’s E-Learning Trends 2019 Report is Here! | Docebo

Take a closer look at this Report below. 

Download the Report
L&D professionals play a pivotal role in ensuring organizations and their learners are adapting to a constantly-evolving business landscape.

In fact, 81% of executives say talent is the number one priority at their company.

E-Learning (and the technology that has evolved to enable it) presents an exciting foundation upon which to build your organization, both presently and into the future. Our new E-Learning Trends 2019 Report outlines the key developments happening right now and what you can do to take advantage of them.
Download the report to find out:
  • Why it’s time to rethink the traditional LMS.
  • How mobile learning is being elevated from current offerings.
  • How key technologies, such as artificial intelligence, will create immersive and personalized learning experiences.
Download the Report

Source:Docebo

From 5G to cybersecurity: Here's our global highlights from 2018 | Business Management - IDG Connect

IDG Connect summarizes, A selection of our best and most popular stories from 2018.  

Photo: IDG Connect
Every year December seems to creep upon us, and the only thing more inevitable than last minute Christmas shopping are the conversations about ‘how quickly this year's gone by'. True to form, our Christmas shopping remains unfinished, and it feels like only yesterday we were sharing our 2017 global highlights with you.

But another year has passed us by, meaning it's time to look back again at the most interesting content we've posted this year.

So, without further ado, on the fifth day of Christmas IDG Connect gave to me...
Read more...

Source: IDG Connect

UNILAG Masters tuition fees for 2018-2019 | Legit.ng

We have prepared the full list of UNILAG Masters tuition fees according to the degrees and specializations for 2018/2019 academic year to you. The University of Lagos offers one of the best Postgraduate Studies in Nigeria.

Photo: Legit.ng

UNILAG postgraduate school fees 2018/2019 
As follows, you will find a complete list of UNILAG postgraduate tuition fees. This information is rather essential if you are considering entering the University of Lagos for obtaining a postgraduate education. For the full-length information and further details, please, visit the official University of Lagos website, following this link https://unilag.edu.ng
Here, you will be able to find all the necessary contacts. 
Read more...

Source: Legit.ng

The story of an ‘exquisite’ new discrete math textbook by EMU’s Owen Byer and Deirdre L. Smeltzer | Augusta Free Press

Sometimes the thrill of mathematics doesn’t come from the question, but from a beautiful solution, inform Christopher Clymer Kurtz, Staff Writer at Eastern Mennonite University.

Journey into Discrete Mathematics
(AMS/MAA Textbooks)
Consider the approach EMU math professor Owen Byer took when deciding which problems to include in the new textbook he co-authored with math-professor-turned-vice president and academic dean Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer, and Regent University professor Kenneth Wantz:

“In my own view,” he said, “either it should be a really interesting question, or – lacking that – the solution should be beautiful. Even average problems are worth including if the solution teaches you something.”

This November marked the publication of the long-anticipated – and, already, long-used – textbook Journey into Discrete Mathematics (Mathematical Association of America Press, 2018).

“This is definitely the best math textbook that I’ve ever used,” said sophomore Andrew Nord after a recent session of his discrete math class, which is the latest to use the – until now, pre-published – book. “It explains the concepts very fully and in a way that can be understood fairly easily.”

From the start
Byer, Smeltzer and Byer’s University of Delaware PhD advisor Felix Lazebnik began talking about writing Journey at about the same time the trio’s earlier textbook Methods for Euclidean Geometry(MAA, 2010) was published. All three had doctoral training in discrete math and had taught it many times, and “it seemed like a good second joint project,” Smeltzer said...

A beautiful solution: students 
As early as half a decade ago, Byer and his colleagues at EMU began using Journey in the classroom, first in pdf form  and later – including this fall, even as the book was heading to press – in three-ring binders in Professor Daniel Showalter’s discrete math class.

“This is definitely the best math textbook that I’ve ever used. It explains the concepts very fully and in a way that can be understood fairly easily.”  –Andrew NordDoing that had distinct benefits: Students could learn from a textbook grounded in experienced educational practice. Plus, students’ fresh eyes would help tease out what needed better explanation – and they’d find mistakes, discoveries that were often rewarded with bonus points.

Another of Showalter’s students, sophomore Silas Clymer, remembers – with a note of satisfied glee in his voice – finding a misleading hint in a homework problem. But more importantly, “It’s definitely cool having the writer of the book downstairs in an office,” he said. “You can go to talk to him if you need to.”
Read more...

Source: Augusta Free Press

If universities sacrifice philosophy on the altar of profit, what’s next? | Education - The Guardian

Hull says the subject doesn’t meet the needs of ‘business partners’. Try telling that to Thales of Miletus, argues Julian Baggini, writer and philosopher.

‘Events unfolding at Hull are symptomatic of a deep malaise affecting not just universities but the wider culture.’
Photo: University of Hull

You might think that a university philosophy department facing closure in Hull is of as much interest to the average person as the shutting of a butcher’s in Wolverhampton is to a vegetarian in Totnes.There are almost as many universities as high streets now, and for every closure here there’s an opening somewhere else.

But the events unfolding on Humberside are symptomatic of a deep malaise affecting not just universities but the wider culture. The crude pursuit of what is “practical”, “efficient” or “useful” is threatening everything of value that isn’t evidently profitable.

Philosophy has been taught at Hull ever since the University opened in 1928. The department has no problem with recruitment and has a good faculty. Because humanities courses are so cheap to teach and student fees so high, there is no conceivable way it could be losing money. In a letter to colleagues, Kathleen Lennon, emeritus professor of philosophy, insisted: “Philosophy at Hull is financially viable – providing a healthy return for the university.”

So why is the university not accepting any more joint honours students and publicly entertaining the possibility “that we will not be recruiting new students” in 2019? A statement by Jeanette Strachan, the university’s registrar, to the local newspaper suggests some worrying answers. Strachan said the university sought to offer students “a high-quality academic experience and ensure that their qualification holds value over time”.

The word that screams out of that sentence is “value”. The implication seems to be that a philosophy degree does not provide a sufficient financial return for those who “invest” in it...

That’s what the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus did in the sixth century BC. Fed up of being told that he was poor and therefore his learning was useless, he applied his analytical skills to the climate and the economy and then bought up every olive press in town. When the bumper olive harvest came, as he had foreseen, the presses were in huge demand, he had a monopoly and made a killing. Thales pulled off this stunt not to earn money but to prove a point. Someone of his intellect and ability could devote themselves to getting rich if they wanted. But he valued wisdom and learning more. His lack of wealth did not reveal a personal flaw but a justified choice about what he held most dear.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

How the World Thinks:
A Global History of Philosophy
Source: The Guardian