Thursday, May 22, 2014
Big Thirsty: Academic honesty policies for cyborgs
Come on, kids, let's not pretend it isn't happening. An old friend from 9th grade who wasn't interested in school and kept telling me he'd be a truck driver when he grew up isn't handling they imminent arrival of driverless cars well. We academics are supare we going to do when wearable computers (such as Google Glass) arrive?
posed to be smarter than that, so we need to face it, preferably before it happens: what
At first they may be recognizable and hence we might be able to ban them from even large lecture classes, but once they are available as contact lenses (or eventually internal implants, too small to require surgery), that will be the end of that. These will certainly make traditional sit-down, in-class exams that largely test memorization obsolete, since it will become impossible to stop students from cheating on them by connecting to the Internet.
Come to think of it, this won't much change my physics classes, since even the large ones are examined by open-ended problem solving, and I allow students to use formula lists (you know, "cheat sheets") on those. It will change my large, general-ed intro-astronomy course for non-majors. I should perhaps have exams by one-page, in-class writing exercises, since we have several of those during the semester as homework.
These can actually be interesting, since there are many questions that lend themselves well to it. (For example, in 1-3 sentences that most 9-year-olds could understand, explain: Why is the sky blue? Don't just write "Rayleigh scattering," since most 9-year-olds couldn't understand that, aside from being two big, funny words. What do the big, funny words mean? Other examples are: How do we know that Earth is round? How do we know that atoms and molecules exist?)
On the other hand, there will be much more time-consuming to grade. Fucking great.
So, what are we going to do when wearable computers (such as Google Glass) arrive? Like it or not, they are coming.
Love and kisses (especially for Greta),
Froderick Frankenstien from Fresno