Friday, December 27, 2013

Favorite comments of '13, cont: Auntie Ann and Niels Henrik Abel

"Mere" copying vs. Ctrl + C


Auntie Ann said...

I was a physics major in college, and many profs let you bring a single-page cheat-sheet into a final. Creating the page was essentially copying: writing down all of the equations and laws. But, once the test began, the sheet usually sat there unused, or only glanced at once or twice.

It was the act of creating it that was important. It was the research that went into it, the thoughts about structuring it, and the copying it down that made it useful. Once it was written, it was unneeded.

Niels Henrik Abel said...
On a related note, that's why I don't give my students a review sheet, even though they might beg for one (talking about college students here, not younger ones). Ideally, if they go through the material and think about what we've covered, trying to sort out the key concepts and put things into some sort of hierarchy, it would go a long ways in terms of preparing for a test. It's a far more useful study tool for them than if I just passed out a sheet and said, "Here, these are the things you need to know."

Of course it's a lot more work on their part, which is why they don't like it. Far easier for the teacher to do all the studying for them, and then complain afterwards that the test was too hard.

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