Asides

My “Tirade Against Exams”

I try to keep an eye on how people get to this blog, using WordPress and Google tools, and I especially take note of old posts that are still getting traffic.

Apparently the most popular of my old posts is one I wrote almost two years ago about university exams.

I’ve edited the post a little, and if you didn’t read it yet, you might want to check it out:

A Tirade Against Exams

[…]

So why are exams a bad idea when you want to check whether a bunch of science undergrads understood what you taught them? Well, one part of the problem should be obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of science:exams are not very good experiments. There is no way to control for interference of irrelevant, extraneous factors. When scientists conduct a study, in any field and with any methodology, they seek to control for irrelevant interferences. For example, when psychologists test hand-eye coordination, they’ll do something like only taking right-handed people with healthy hands and eyes, in order to make sure that the results aren’t skewed by irrelevant differences between individuals.

You can’t do anything like that in exams.

Continue reading »

I’ve also changed the blogs settings so that comments are now open on old posts, too (they used to close automatically after two months). Feel free to rekindle the discussion on the Tirade, or on any other old post.

Reading problems on Internet Explorer

It has come to my attention that the blog’s design is messed up when viewing on some versions of Internet Explorer.

I’ll fix this as soon as I can, but I highly recommend using a different browser.

Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari are all great choices, available for free, and work faster and better than Internet Explorer while also keeping you safer from threats to your computer’s security.

Redesign!

Illustration by Sabine Günther

As you may have noticed, I’ve been redesigning the website over the last couple of days. It was one of those things I wanted to do at some point but really wasn’t planning on starting, until I suddenly got sucked into it and started obsessing. I’m sure I’ll still find some little detail to “fix”, then another, then another, but at this point I’m willing to declare the redesign complete and successful.

Of course, if you notice anything that seems off, let me know.

Especially useful resources in this work were w3schools’ CSS reference and Fonts2u.

(And thanks for your input, you guys – you know who you are.)

Commenting restricted

Over the past couple of days, for some reason, Akismet has not been catching spam anymore, meaning I get a good 10-20 e-mails a day about spam comments awaiting my attention. Until this is figured out, I’ve restricted comments so that you have to be signed up to comment.

I addition, the problem I mentioned a few months ago, where someone posts a comment and it gets lost without a trace, is apparently still ongoing.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

If anyone has any idea about either of these problems, your input would be appreciated. I will look into them as soon as I can and see what can be done.

EDIT (April 2012): The problem fixed itself somehow. Commenting is now open for all.