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Second Week Down

In Mathematical Concepts, we talked a lot about probability. I tried to get students to understand how to figure out what the possible equally likely events were in a number of probability scenarios (coin tosses, dice throwing, card drawing, etc.). I blew one explanation near the end of Tuesday’s class and had to dismiss the class early to make up for it. We got it straightened out on Thursday, though.

This coming week, we’ll look more at the issues of coincidence, randomness, and more on analyzing outcomes. I’ll probably try to bring a bit of Computer Science in this week by explaining that computers don’t generate purely random numbers.

As for Theory of Computation, we finally began discussing regular languages and regular expressions on Friday. This week, I’ll introduce the finite state machine.

Our student learning research group met to discuss the semester-long focus group project. More on that to follow.

On Friday, I got into an email discussion (among a group of faculty) on the place of “traditional” research on our campus and its connection to quality teaching. I plan to talk more about this on the blog this week. I can’t gauge the level of controversy on campus concerning this subject, but I think it may be stronger than I first thought.

Finally, I’m trying to convince a friend of mine to do some guest-blogging here. She has some great insights into learning, especially regarding adult learners, and I think folks who read this blog would benefit from her wisdom. I also think she has a great wit, and she writes very well. She reads my blog from time to time (which is how this whole idea came up), so I’m hoping that this post will be enough to convince her to take up my offer.

4 Responses to “Second Week Down”

  1. Robert Says:

    David, by “traditional research” do you mean research carried out for the purpose of advancing the state of the art in a specific academic area, as opposed to research that is cross-disciplinary or pedagogical in nature? I’m just trying to get a feel for the nature of the controvery you’re hinting at.

    Guest-blogger? Cool.

  2. David Says:


    I think it was Boyer who introduced the “dimensions” of scholarship as including the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of teaching, and the scholarship of application (I think there’s a fourth dimension called integration).

    Anyway, I’m defining traditional research as the scholarship of discovery.

    Put another way, traditional research is that which produces the requisite number of journal articles (and of course, the requisite amount of grant money).

  3. Robert Says:

    We use Boyer’s book here as the basis for determining what “scholarship” means for tenure considerations, so I’m real familiar with what you’re talking about there.

    Scholarship of discovery is wonderful, but not when it just becomes a sport wherepeople score points by publishing articles and getting grants and the person with the most points wins. That’s the sort of game-playing we’d like our students to get away from! But then again nobody asked me, did they?

  4. Ticklish Ears » Research, Scholarship, Application, and Being A Professor (Part I) Says:

    […] As I mentioned in my last post, there’s a miniature storm brewing at my university around the issue of “traditional research” and its importance to faculty life and success. For now let’s define traditional research as the stuff that results in continual publication in journals of significance and receipt of external grants. […]

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