5 stories you should read this October

October 13, 2015

With the school year well underway, you may not have time to peruse all the top academic news. That’s why we’ve selected some of the most useful and thought-provoking articles for you. From the College Scorecard under fire to ways you can make more time to write, here are five stories to read this month.

College Scorecard’s financial focus doesn’t give students the whole picture
The Department of Education’s new College Scorecard gives students vital information about colleges’ costs and graduation rates, and their graduates’ average salaries and student loan debt. But critics argue that the data it provides don’t tell the whole story. For instance, it doesn’t let students know anything about the quality of teaching at different schools, and it may give a false picture of schools whose graduates enter low-paying fields like teaching and the arts.
Vox, Sept. 12.

Do schools shortchange introverts?
“Collaborative learning” is all the rage at both the K-12 and college level, but this approach may not be well-suited to introverted students, Michael Godsey points out. Introverts often learn best on their own or in less-stimulating environments—even in the much-derided traditional classroom with desks arranged in rows. Though students of all temperaments can benefit from group learning, faculty may want to balance their teaching methods to suit both introverts and extroverts.
The Atlantic, Sept. 28. 

The 8-minute lecture keeps students focused
A business instructor at Johns Hopkins struck a happy medium between lecturing all the time and not lecturing at all: delivering eight-minute lectures. Interspersing brief lectures with discussion and other activities, she says, improved both her students’ retention of material and their grades. She shares her advice for implementing this method in your own classes. 
Faculty Focus, Aug. 31.

Finding the time to write
If your teaching and service obligations are getting in the way of your writing, try designating one day a week as a “research day” when you won’t accept other responsibilities. This article lists other helpful tips, including choosing a specific journal to write for, which will give you a word count, a deadline, and a concrete image of where your work may end up. 
Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 21.

Inject some irreverence into your syllabus
Hide an “Easter egg” in your syllabus to add some fun to the first week of classes. That’s what one Columbia professor did this semester when he asked students to email him a picture of the ’80s sitcom alien ALF. It made his inbox a lot more interesting—and showed him which of his students paid attention to the syllabus.
Mashable, Sept. 15.

Courtney Vien is the lead editor of Extra Credit and an associate editor on the magazines and newsletters team at the AICPA.

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