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(Some Guy)   This professor uses characters and plot lines from the classic show "Star Trek" to teach Biology 101 to non-science majors, because most just need the science requirement before graduating   (gainesvilletimes.com) divider line 88
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9679 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Nov 2006 at 8:40 AM (8 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-11-13 08:26:41 AM  
She bought videotapes off the online marketplace eBay.

What an innovator using videotapes in class.
 
2006-11-13 08:26:48 AM  
I had a teacher use pot terminology on her tests in college for math class. Like person x buys z amount and gave us all these formulas. Now I love to party just as much as the next guy, but when this nasty 60-something year old woman from Springfield OH starts talking about ganja, kinda makes you wonder if she was ever going to just grow out of it?
 
2006-11-13 08:39:29 AM  
At least she is trying to relate it to something the kids may be familiar with. Better than the droning read straight from the textbook types I often had.
 
2006-11-13 08:49:41 AM  
I felt as bitter as the submitter, seeing firsthand the shiat many/most Arts/Business students get away with as their "Science" credits. But after seeing this:

www.gainesvilletimes.com

Go ahead. Take the bird course, have an easy and fun time at it. I can't say whether you deserve it, but karma definately owes you big.
 
2006-11-13 08:51:36 AM  
wait wait wait, was she teaching about the star wars trek, or the star trek wars?
 
2006-11-13 08:53:29 AM  
Class, Today we will be discussing the main difference between Human and Vulcan blood. Can someone tell me the biggest difference? Anyone?


//Why wouldn't basic biology have already been covered in high school?
 
2006-11-13 08:53:31 AM  
Behold the new invention of the audio-visual device in the classroom.
 
2006-11-13 08:56:16 AM  
@dupper

Argh! Posted it before I could. I was just coming back from Photobucket.

*tips hat*
 
2006-11-13 08:57:42 AM  
*sigh* Well, gotta post something...

i98.photobucket.com
 
2006-11-13 08:57:52 AM  
Can I get a img.fark.com tag?

Some of us suck at science.

/failed so many math and science classes the school sent him a letter telling him he couldn't take any more, or he'd be kicked out
 
2006-11-13 08:58:33 AM  
The Physics of Star Trek
Found this at my in-laws house one Christmas when we were down for vacation - it was an excellent book about the technology portrayed in the show and how feasible it is as of today...

http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Star-Trek-Lawrence-Krauss/dp/0060977108/sr=8-1/q id=1163426155/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-0093532-4702314?ie=UTF8&s=books
 
2006-11-13 09:00:48 AM  
jrwbpw: The Physics of Star Trek
Found this at my in-laws house one Christmas when we were down for vacation - it was an excellent book about the technology portrayed in the show and how feasible it is as of today...

http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Star-Trek-Lawrence-Krauss/dp/0060977108/sr=8-1/q id=1163426155/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-0093532-4702314?ie=UTF8&s=books


I have that book, it's pretty interesting.
 
2006-11-13 09:03:28 AM  
Thank goodness the headline explained what that "Star Trek" thing is. I, for one, had never heard of it before now.
 
2006-11-13 09:04:41 AM  
I'm torn when I read something like this. On the one hand I'm all for popularizing science, and I think I learned far more from Asimov's collected Science Essays (the reading of which I would make mandatory for HS graduation) than all my text books combined.

On the other I'm getting increasingly pissed off at the fact that while college prices skyrocket (and a Bachelors degree is mandatory for admittance to the middle class) the Ciriculum is getting so badly dumbed down. We are nearly to the point where a $50,000 BA today = a free High school Diploma circa 1960.

In a world as technological as our own, 3 credits of Science and 3 more of math is a pathetic minimum for a degree. What's worse though, is that most Math & Science depts , if they had their druthers would do away with even these basic requirements altogether. With a few notable exceptions, they make their contempt for "intro to " and "101" classes plain by assigning the least motivated TA's and the most absent professors.

There is no attempt to recruit students in these classes, or get them interested in a career in science. The profs make it clear that their only goal is to give their classes the barest rudiments of scientific literacy. (and often talk about the "real" classes where EE hopefuls and future PHD candidates are toiling away, to contast how Mickey Mouse they are making the class for you)

They make it clear that they want you to go away once you've gotten your 3 so they can get back to teaching their (mostly foreign born) declared math, engineering and science majors instead of you mentally challenged plebians. It's this kind of stupid elitism that is responsible for the surge in MBA's granted by Usa universities at the cost of the hard Science PHD's that once made us the envy of the world.

/Lawyer
// dyslexic, mostly with numbers which I only figured out after college
/// Come from a long line of Engineers- Dad is a by god Rocket scientist with NASA
//// Dad also only has a HS diploma and worked his way up, something that'd be utterly impossible today.
 
2006-11-13 09:04:44 AM  
Ahhh, General Education. A quick look over the syllabi of most of these courses will convince you that no such thing exists.
 
2006-11-13 09:05:13 AM  
re: Physics of Star Trek

There's also an 'Ethics of ST' and a 'Metaphysics of ST'. Though I haven't read either.
 
2006-11-13 09:05:54 AM  
Why wouldn't basic biology have already been covered in high school?

I went to a small high school in the middle of butt-fark nowhere, and we weren't allowed to take three sciences in high school.

You had plans on going to university? You took chemistry and physics. You didn't? You took biology and first year chemistry. I didn't take my first offical biology course until my second year of university.

They've since changed that asinine policy, thank Jebus.

/Chemist
//Taught myself biology during high school
///... no, not like that, pervs
 
2006-11-13 09:06:25 AM  
It kind of figures that this is at Brenau. When my sister went there, she referred to it as kinder-college.

Seriously, what's the problem with telling students that they may have to take some classes that are difficult, boring or both difficult and boring? Tell them to get over it.
 
2006-11-13 09:07:22 AM  
`So if Kirk bangs the green alien and she gets pregnant, what colour are the babies?'
 
2006-11-13 09:07:37 AM  
Along with Physics, Ethics and Metaphysics, I have Religion of Star Trek.
 
2006-11-13 09:08:13 AM  
"Dr. Bauck is good. She has shown a ("Star Trek") clip on any science lesson you can do."

So, not a science OR english major, eh? ;^)
 
2006-11-13 09:08:49 AM  
2006-11-13 08:58:33 AM jrwbpw

The Physics of Star Trek
Found this at my in-laws house one Christmas when we were down for vacation - it was an excellent book about the technology portrayed in the show and how feasible it is as of today...

link


I listened to that book on one of my longer road trips; and the fact that it kept me wide awake at 4am on one of the most godforsken stretches of I-95 (SC just South of the Border) should tell you how good it really is
 
2006-11-13 09:10:15 AM  
Well, while green may be sexy on an Orion slave girl, with Terrans it means they have vaginitis.
/dont ask how I know this.
 
2006-11-13 09:14:31 AM  
Magorn
To be honest a professor is a highly trained very specialized individual. It is, to be fair, a waste of his skills having him teach a bunch of liberal arts students very basic science. In particular at no time has this professor recieved any training on how to educate someone. He has skills with research and explaining advanced concepts, which is very different from explaining elementary concepts.

It would be akin to getting a lawyer to teach basic composition skills. Sure, a lawyer knows that, but they have much broader skills and don't have the knowledge on how to explain such simple material.

Hell, that's half the problem. You have a person who is very gifted in a subject trying to teach a bunch of people who are very ungifted in a subject. When something comes so naturally to you it can be very hard to imagine how to explain it to someone who doesn't see it.
 
2006-11-13 09:15:37 AM  
Bird courses like this make me angry; they decrease the value of a university education. If you consistently graduate people with less knowledge, your degrees become worthless.

You're only hurting yourself if you take a class like this because you don't actually learn anything. The point of requiring science credits for arts majors is to actually have them LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT SCIENCE. Just like Science students are required to have a few arts credits, so they're more well-rounded.

/venting
 
2006-11-13 09:16:03 AM  
Couldn't she use Firefly?

At least their ships don't make noise in space.
 
2006-11-13 09:17:09 AM  
Magorn: Ciriculum

What's that? The area around the clitoris?
 
2006-11-13 09:17:40 AM  
Seems like a good idea, as long as it's only the mandatory introductory course, to make the subject interesting and in some way relevant to the students' experiences.
Incidentally, I teach a literature course, and it saddens me to see how few kids actually read these days. They are the "movie generation" in that they relate much better to images and shy away from the written word.
 
2006-11-13 09:19:53 AM  
Too many college kids (and parents) think these days that the "education" they're paying for means that they should be getting As or else the prof isn't doing the job adequately.

At least some of these profs are trying to make something sink in.
 
2006-11-13 09:21:17 AM  
jman11jman - To be honest a professor is a highly trained very specialized individual. It is, to be fair, a waste of his skills having him teach a bunch of liberal arts students very basic science.

A true Professor lives to educate people, regardless of their skill level. Time for a Latin lesson: In the medieval universitas, professor wa a title given to anyone who teaches others. There were varying distinctions (Professor, Magister, Doctor), but they all simply translated as "teacher"

Any professor who does not honestly wish to teach those who come to him willing to learn is NOT a real professor. They're a self-indulgent researcher who cares about himself more than the greater enlightening of mankind.
 
2006-11-13 09:22:54 AM  
Magorn:

"On the other I'm getting increasingly pissed off at the fact that while college prices skyrocket (and a Bachelors degree is mandatory for admittance to the middle class) the Ciriculum is getting so badly dumbed down. We are nearly to the point where a $50,000 BA today = a free High school Diploma circa 1960.

(snip)

There is no attempt to recruit students in these classes, or get them interested in a career in science. The profs make it clear that their only goal is to give their classes the barest rudiments of scientific literacy. (and often talk about the "real" classes where EE hopefuls and future PHD candidates are toiling away, to contast how Mickey Mouse they are making the class for you)"


Unfortunately, I think the second paragraph there might be an artifact of the first. Kids entering college often have basic algebra and maybe geometry, max, in terms of mathematics education. Even semi-advanced students will have Calc AB but not BC and often no statistics to speak of. How much real science can you teach to someone with no understanding of even first-order derivatives?

/Thinks basic calc should be a prereq for getting a drivers license.
//And stats in order to vote.
///Especially stats in order to vote!
 
2006-11-13 09:26:51 AM  
It's pretty simple to me. She wouldn't have to do this if the kids didn't come to her as scientific morons already. It's like trying to teach calculus to someone who didn't make it past Alegebra 1. What's she supposed to do? Craft a "real" science course according to the guidelines of the snobs in this thread, then flunk 90% of her class?

The failure was systematic all the way backwards, and she is stuck at the very END of the chain trying to make the best of a broken system. It's not her fault the kids coming to her don't know anything. She's just trying to make sure they're going away with *something*.

If you want to point fingers, point them at every meddling parent, teacher, or politician who decree that science NOT be taught in school because they find facts to be incompatable with their personal beliefs.
 
2006-11-13 09:33:04 AM  
Magorn: and a Bachelors degree is mandatory for admittance to the middle class

Not so my friend. There are all kinds of training options for people who do not wish to learn the liberal arts. I know plenty of people w/ a HS education and trades training that make tons of money.
 
2006-11-13 09:34:58 AM  
WizardX:
meddling parent, teacher, or politician

And she would have gotten away with it, too...
 
2006-11-13 09:36:46 AM  
Gortex
It's very difficult to compare the classical professor to the modern one. Back in the day (I mean way back in the day) there just wasn't the same level of requisite knowledge. Simply, not that much was known.

While it might be nice to think of our current universities as classical universities with computers and modern technology, it just isn't the case. The modern university is subdivided and specialized to the nth degree. It's not like a medieval or classical university.

Quite simply the skills required to teach very basic science and advanced science are very, very different. As is the training required. With the increase in the body of knowledge we have had to make a choice. People don't live forever and while it might be nice to have that wonderful image of a universal educator it's just too difficult to actually do on a large scale. Instead we have divided the job up. We send kids to school to get a basic education and we then send some of those kids to university to get a specific and advanced education in a particular topic.

It's the holding on to these old ideas that has lead to the mess that is the general education component of modern US degrees.
 
2006-11-13 09:41:43 AM  
Magorn
I'm torn when I read something like this. On the one hand I'm all for popularizing science, and I think I learned far more from Asimov's collected Science Essays (the reading of which I would make mandatory for HS graduation) than all my text books combined.

Hopefully some of the new breed of programs on Discovery and TLC will help to spawn some sort of increased interest. I think a lot of kids are put-off when they discover how much work you've really got to do before you get to blow things up (not really but, you know...) Of course, I'm thinking about Mythbusters near the top of the list, but there is still plenty of basic science in there.

On the other I'm getting increasingly pissed off at the fact that while college prices skyrocket (and a Bachelors degree is mandatory for admittance to the middle class) the Ciriculum is getting so badly dumbed down. We are nearly to the point where a $50,000 BA today = a free High school Diploma circa 1960.

I aqm a current university student (an old one, but a junior is a junior) and I can think of no concievable argument against this. You are 100% right.
 
2006-11-13 09:41:44 AM  
Magorn: a Bachelors degree is mandatory for admittance to the middle class

If only you lived in the south where oilfield workers, construction workers, telephone & cable linesmen, plumbers, airconditioning repairmen & electricians all seem to drive decked out pickups, have a backup 4x4, a big house with land, more guns, atv's, boats and horses than you can count. This may not be the 'middle class' you are thinking of but it is definately commonplace in the South where I live.

/ain't a one of em' who wouldn't get a laugh if you asked em' about their 'college days'...
//it's harder to find a good paying job around here if you DO have a degree or high-tech training.
///I know that ran on... but I ain't got no degree!
 
2006-11-13 09:45:39 AM  
WizardX
That would only make sense if the only person responsible for a students education is the teacher but that assumption is wrong. If the students are not prepared for learning at the level they are at then they should fail. Otherwise that defeats the propose of education in the first place, weed out the weak and stupid. If the students are not willing to work, then fail them.
 
2006-11-13 09:52:01 AM  
Seems to me that the kids who are taking basic biology simply for a core credit aren't going to be the same kids who relate at all to Star Trek. The kids with majors in the sciences (or math or engineering) seem more likely to be the ones who would be interested in watching Star Trek and the ones who would actually pay attention and try to get something out of a class that's structured like this.

/liberal arts major, would have avoided this class like the plague...
 
2006-11-13 09:54:35 AM  
Manfred J. Hattan
/Thinks basic calc should be a prereq for getting a drivers license.


Sounds silly, but there are parallels between driving and calculus.
Like:
You should never drink and derive.
 
2006-11-13 09:59:30 AM  
2006-11-13 09:14:31 AM jman11jman

Hell, that's half the problem. You have a person who is very gifted in a subject trying to teach a bunch of people who are very ungifted in a subject. When something comes so naturally to you it can be very hard to imagine how to explain it to someone who doesn't see it.

That is indeed the very Essence of teaching, and it is an Art all its own regardless of subject. Unfortunately professors in our modern university system are not chosen for thier skill as educators, but for thier prominence in their chosen discipline. The "publish or Perish" culture is solely to enhance the prestige of the university by raising the profile of its academicians. It does not however in any way serve the needs of the students whose tuition pays for the institution.

Thanks to my Geek nature and upbringing, I knew a LOT of EE's, and Math and Physics PhDS, back in the day, and frankly, I've seen Asperger's patients with better social skills than most of them. (go to any SF Con in America if you doubt me on this) The thought that 3 years of obsessive study coupled with their unquestioned brilliance in their chosen field, magically made all them into effective communicators, and capable molders of impressionable minds is utterly ludicrous. Yet that's the basic assumption that a university education now rests on.

There are skills and techniques to teaching, and a giant body of literature on the most effective way to activate human memory and learning that the average university professor knows nothing of. The average High school teacher is far better educated about the process of teaching than the average university professor. Personally I would make some practical education and communication classes mandatory in ANY PHD track that would likely lead to a professorship.(why bother having an education degree if the very universities that grant it don't require it of their instructors?)
 
2006-11-13 10:01:16 AM  
a Bachelors degree is mandatory for admittance to the middle class

Says who?
 
2006-11-13 10:02:53 AM  
StrikitRich: //Why wouldn't basic biology have already been covered in high school?

You must be new here.
 
2006-11-13 10:03:30 AM  
I've heard of a course named Physic for Poets, but Biology for Trekkies?
 
2006-11-13 10:16:43 AM  
Vulcans have green blood, and that's why the men only want sex once every 7 years.

/lime green 'tang. Eww, just eww.
 
2006-11-13 10:23:31 AM  
I give her props at making the effort to make it interesting. Most professors dont make an effort to even teach the shiat.

Much better than an Indian who can hardly speak English mumbling from a textbook and scribbling illegibly on the whiteboard.
 
2006-11-13 10:36:58 AM  
www.gainesvilletimes.com
It has helped me gain an interest in science


When I'm not eating
 
2006-11-13 10:37:43 AM  
Set phasers to 'educate'?
 
2006-11-13 10:43:08 AM  
She's using examples from science fiction in her science class.. why is everyone thinking this represents the bottom of the pit of decay of university education? It seems like a simple teaching aide, barely worthy of an article in the first place. The fact article seems like it was written by a highscooler with a bracket fixation doesn't mean the class is useless.

jman11jman & Magorn got it right, properly teaching basic principles is a highly specialized skill, and quite a difficult task at that. Good elementary teaching techniques are more necessary for a good education system than specialized knowledge which is useless if it can't be conveyed. If science fiction examples can help teach then all the better.

/knows next to nothing about the US education system
 
2006-11-13 10:47:00 AM  
Thisbymaster

Sorry, I have to disagree. We're talking a matter of degrees. If all her students were coming to her unable to get better than Cs on her material, then yes, it's on them to do better.

If they are so ignorant that she has to resort to using Star Trek to get any material at all into their heads, there have been systematic failures all the way down the line. It's possible to know what you don't know. However, it's also possible to NOT know what you don't know. That is to say, to be entirely ignorant of the existance of a class of knowledge.

And that, I fear, is the problem with students today. Their education is so shoddy that they don't even know how little they know.
 
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