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Showing posts from February, 2011

Networking 101

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Hey FS Members,
Don't know if you guys were at our Networking 101 event last semester; our speakers had some really interesting (and funny) personal anecdotes, with great takeaway points for all of us. But anyhow, Networking 101 is back! Join us this Thursday to learn more from those who've been through the whole recruiting process before.


See you there!

What Keeps Us from Being Great

One of my very favorite words in the English language is “Great.” I just think everyone should decide on a few things in life where they honestly want to shoot to be great. Okay, we may never achieve that greatness but it is hard to get better without a little ambition. And, I believe life just lives better if (a) we know in what ways we would like to become great and (b) we have the satisfaction of going for that greatness. The effort alone will make us better people. (In that regard, I am a big proponent of the Zen expression: “the journey is everything.”)

I simply refuse to believe that settling for mediocrity can prove to be meaningful. For one thing, I believe our students deserve better than that since this is their one shot at a college education.

When I give teaching presentations, I urge the members of the audience to work gradually to become better teachers. That seems like a reasonable goal. And, if we improve year by year, eventually we will get to gre…

A Critical Moment

It seems to me that there are a few moments that are terribly critical in connection with how a student does in your class. Most days are like most other days. However, I think the period of time immediately after the first test is really critical and can make a big difference in how well a student eventually does. As you would imagine, my concern is always with the students who do not do terribly well on that first test. I worry that they will see that low first grade and simply assume that is proof positive that they are dumb so they might as well stop trying. Instead of working to get better, they begin to crawl into a hole and their grade spirals downwards after that.

Or, they will start trying to make random attempts at pushing their grade up without any logical plan and become frustrated by the lack of improvement.

Or, maybe worse still, they will think that I have given up on them and seek less help from me rather than more.

Consequently, I try to provide some r…

We Really Need Extra Credit (oh wait, we don't)

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Every semester, I get a handful of students who come up to me and say something like "UP, is there anything I can do for extra credit? I reeeeeaaaaalllly need to pass this class". So this time, I thought I'd let students self-select up front instead of whining ex post.

I have about a 6-7 extra credit assignments for my investments class. I parcel them out one by one, with a deadline for each. Most will involve some kind of Excel assignment that will drive home a class topic, and will take an hour or so. If they complete an assignment by the deadline, they get one or more points added to the next exam.

I mostly have juniors in my investments class. They should currently be in the midst of applying for internships. Since they can't apply without a resume, I thought that giving them a point on the exam for simply having a resume review done by our college career services person was pretty much a no-brainer.

The end result - only three out of 21 students had the …

Your Time-Wasting Moment Of The Day

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Since we're at Hump Day + 1, I thought I'd post something humorous. The Unknown Daughter loves shows where someone ends up in a puddle of mud, slime, goo, or anything disgusting. So ABC's Wipeout was right up her alley. Here's a clip of their top ten:

I'll confess, I've also let her watch some episodes of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (with the volume off because of some of the double-entendres) when the Unknown Wife wasn't around.

Based on early evidence, it's pretty likely the Unknown Toddler will als have similar tastes.

I'm less of a man than I used to be

Those of you who know me in my "real" identity also know that I've put on a lot of weight over the years. Some of it was stress, some due to the fact that I like food (after all, I haven't found anything better to eat), and a lot was just that when life gets busy, it's harder to find time to get to the gym.

I figured I either needed to get my self back in shape or start renting advertising space on my butt. And while there's plenty of space, there doesn't seem to be much demand.

I chose option A. Starting in the fall of 2010, I found myself waking up at regularly at 3 or 4 in the morning. Since I was teaching a 9:00 MWF class, that left over 5 hours before I had to be "at work".

The Unknown Wife works out at the gym from 6-7 with a neighbor. So, I figured I'd work out from 5-6 (the local YMCA opens at 5, so this means I wake about 4:30 or so). Once my medical issues from the summer cleared up, I started putting in about a half hour on th…

Have We Become Too Nice?

I have often said that I would feel better about college education when students start being more demanding of teachers and administrators by asking pointed questions about the quality of the process. After all, this is likely to be each student’s one shot at a college education -- an experience that will in most cases have an immeasurable impact on the rest of their lives. A well-educated person has an entirely different set of future prospects than a poorly educated person. We all know that, so why don’t students rise up and challenge schools to do a better job? Plus, either the students or their parents (or someone) must pay for this education, the amounts of which can quickly rise to the level of a small fortune and leave students in debt for years.

Most importantly, if we really do believe that the college experience should stimulate critical thinking skills (which virtually every college proudly proclaims as a primary goal), shouldn’t we start by expecting our students …

It's Time for Some Testosterone

As my students and some of my friends know, I'm a big MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fan.

I did Tae Kwon Do in high school and competed in Judo in college, so I can appreciate a lot of the technical aspects. Thanks to the Judo, I particularly enjoy what happens on the ground in the submission game. In fact, in my first competition, I got chocked unconscious, which was pretty cool. It wasn't the last time, either - when we'd visit one dojo, there was a tradition that every new guy had to get choked out - kind of an initiation rite.

I gave up the judo fairly quickly, because I don;t have the body for it - have a tendency to get joint injuries. In the space of 2 years, I got a mildly separated shoulder, a torn rotator cuff, two dislocated elbows, and a severely bruised knee. To add insult to injury, since I was in the lightest weight class (131 lbs - those were the days, and are long gone), I ended up competing against kids who were 10-15 pounds lighter but had been doing jud…

Using Screen Recording Software

After I posted my video on security market indexes, I received a number of emails and messages asking questions on how I make them. So, I thought it would make for a a good post. So think of this a a FAQ on making videos for use in the classroom (or elsewhere).

1) What software do you use?
I use Camtasia, which is made by techsmith. It costs $299, but is available to academics for $180. Many universities make it available to faculty for free off a server, so check with yours to see. You can download a fully-functional 30-day free version to get started. You also need a headset with a microphone - using the computer's built in one doesn't work very well. There are other packages that do the same thing, but most people I know that are doing this are using Camtasia.

2) How does it work? Is it complicated?
Camtasia is what is called "Screen recording software". Basically, it records whatever goes across your computer screen as it happens. So, if you're working …

New Video On Security Indexes

Due to severe inclement weather (ice storm), less than half of my investments class showed up on Wednesday. The topic (market indexes) seems to give some of them trouble. So, rather than either go over it again in the next class (and make those who attend have to sit through it twice) or just move on (and leave those who clearly had a reason for missing class hanging), I put together a video on the topic. Since it's done, figured I might as well share. It's not professionally done by any stretch, but it's not bad (it runs about 40 inutes, but has a table of contents that whould allow you to jump back and forth). Enjoy.

NOTE:if the video doesn't come up, try this link.