These are the 12 Most Important
Places on an Aircraft Carrier ---
In my opinion as an old Navy sailor on a battleship, aircraft carriers are
sitting ducks in today's weapon technology. What keeps USA carriers unmolested
is the fear of what would happen to an enemy capable of sinking an aircraft
carrier. ISIS does not have the technology to sink a carrier, and our more
powerful enemies would not dare to do so given what the USA voters would demand
if a carrier be sunk by an enemy.
When I was Chair of the Accounting Department at Florida State University (FSU)
there were something like 33 community colleges that fed into the more advanced
state-supported universities that had to accept all transfers from the
state-supported community colleges. For example, we had a very large number of
sections of Intermediate Accounting I into which most community college
accounting majors fed into at FSU. However, there were many fewer sections of
Intermediate Accounting II because such a high proportion of community college
transfers did not make it through Intermediate Accounting I. It seemed that a
much higher proportion of community college transfers did not make it through
Intermediate I than the students who studied at FSU for the first two years.
My point is that completion of community college
is a sad goal if the two-year graduates are not prepared to succeed in the
completion of their four-year undergraduate degrees. The real point here is that
becoming obsessed with completion of community college is almost fraudulent if
that completion alone is, on average, insufficient for success as transfer
students into third and fourth year courses.
Not all community college graduates intend to
eventually earn their baccalaureate degrees. But among those that transfer for
baccalaureate degrees the real "completion arch" should focus on their success
in earning their baccalaureate degrees. The above link
should be complimented on attempting to provide meaningful data an eventual
There can be misleading results in terms
admission standards for transfer students. When FSU accepts community college
graduates from Georgia the admission standards can be higher than from Florida
community colleges where acceptance by FSU is mandatory. One would expect,
therefore, that the baccalaureate degrees completion rates are higher for
Georgia transfers than Florida community college transfers because the
poorly-performing Georgia applicants can be denied admission at the starting
gate. It seemed to be a waste of resources at FSU to have to offer so many
Intermediate Accounting I sections for low-end Florida community college
graduates who were destined to fail Intermediate I (which is traditionally one
of the harder courses in the entire university).
One problem is that such a large portion of the volunteer editors must devote so
much time to political pages.
Another problem is that expert monitoring of
pages varies so much by discipline. Medical pages are widely poured over by
medical students. This is great for obvious reasons. Economics and finance
modules are actively sought out by the public such that error correction is more
probable. Many other disciplines like accounting do not assign Wikipedia editing
in college courses and, in my opinion, the public is less interested in
accountancy modules. This is sad in terms of both updating and error correction.
I wish accounting and business firms and college instructors encouraged more
accounting module editing.
Do stories grow? Pretty
obviously — anybody who has ever heard a joke being passed on from one
person to another knows that they can grow, they can change. Can stories
reproduce? Well, yes. Not spontaneously, obviously — they tend to need
people as vectors. We are the media in which they reproduce; we are their
petri dishes… Stories grow, sometimes they shrink. And they reproduce — they
inspire other stories. And, of course, if they do not change, stories die.
. . .
On how the internet is
A lot more writing is
happening because of the internet, and I think that bit is great — I just
love the fact that more people are writing.
I think the biggest
problem that we have … is that we have gone from a scarcity-based
information economy to a glut information economy. In the old days, finding
the thing that you needed was like finding the flower in the desert — you’d
have to go out into the desert and find the flower. And now, it’s like
finding the flower in the jungle — or worse, finding the flower in the
Continued in article
Stories and essays change a lot in the days of
the Internet both ethically and unethically. Ethically stories are quoted and
linked for easy access on the Internet. Unethically, they are plagiarized and
modified with relative ease to a point where original authorship is lost in
transformations. The same thing happens with photographs. Over the years I have
put many photographs online ---
It now amazes many how many of these photographs without attribution pop up in
image searches on Google and Bing. From there they are copied into other Web
sites around the world. My point here is that once a photograph or a story or an
essay or music recording is placed by you on the Web you might as well consider
it to be in the public domain.
"Count" data occur
frequently in economics. These are simply data where the observations are
integer-valued - usually 0, 1, 2, ....... . However, the range of values may
be truncated (e.g., 1, 2, 3, ....).
To model data of this form
we typically resort to distributions such as the Poisson, negative binomial,
or variations of these. These variations may account for truncation or
censoring of the data, or the over-representation of certain count values
(e.g., the "zero-inflated" Poisson distribution).
variables) can be included into the model by making the mean of the
distribution a function of these variables. After all, that's exactly what
we do in a linear regression model.
If the "count" data form a
time-series, then there are other issues that have to be taken into account.
However, the discrete
distributions that we typically use have a number of limitations. The fact
that the Poisson distribution is, of necessity, "equi-dispersed" (its
variance equals its mean) is a big limitation. This leads us to consider
distributions such as the negative binomial, in which he variance exceeds
the mean. This enables us to model "over-dispersed" data, which are
encountered frequently in practice.
The standard distributions
are also limited in terms of what they can model in terms of distributional
shapes. In particular, there are limitations on modal values in the data.
For instance, in the case of
the Poisson distribution, these limitations are the following. If the
parameter (λ) of the Poisson distribution is an integer, then there are two
adjacent modes with equal modal height, at x = λ and x = λ-1. If lambda is
non-integer, then there is a single mode at int(λ), the integer part of λ.
In the case of the negative
binomial distribution, there is a single mode.
This suggests that standard
discrete distributions of the type that we typically use to mode l"count"
data will not be very satisfactory if our data exhibit multi-modality.
We need to look to
Here's an example of what I
In an earlier post, I
discussed some of my work involving the use of the so-called Hermite
distribution, introduced by Kemp and Kemp (1965). As an example, I showed
the distribution of data relating to the number of financial crises in
various countries, as reproduced here:
What if all you have to do for a free college diploma is major is show that, for
six months, you applied for jobs and even had some interviews where you turned
up drunk to show off your toe nail fungus, nose boogers, body odor, and butt
crack --- all for the purpose of having all your tuition cost forgiven. When you
get your college cost refund you can then sober up as well as afford Jublia, a
nose trimmer, a hot shower, and a dark blue suit.
The problem of course is that
it's a waste of time to major in a tough degree program like software
engineering and not do your best to get top grades. In some of those majors you
might even get a job offer with toe nail fungus, nose boogers, body odor,
and butt crack provided you got top grades. My guess is that if prospective
employers report to Udacity that you showed up drunk for interviews you may not
get a tuition refund. Hence you may not get the refund you anticipated if you
were a good student.
Students with bad grades probably wasted their
time trying to get their degrees and refunds.
The sad thing is that history, physical
education, and journalism majors are not even afforded the opportunity to get
Is Udacity taking on a huge risk apart from the
moral hazard that may only be exploited by a very small number of students? Of
course there's risk of a sudden economic recession where almost all jobs become
scarce. But what saves Udacity relative to Grinnell is that the marginal cost of
each diploma is less due to many things that cost accounting students know very
well --- think CPV (cost-profit-volume) analysis.
This Udacity model is a bit like an insurance
model. Sure there will be some losses for the percentage of graduates who do not
find jobs within six months following graduation. Suppose that is 25%. The
tuition refund cost to Udacity is offset by the premium (above the normal
tuition cost) paid by 75% of the students who paid for the added "insurance" of
a tuition refund if they did not land jobs. I'm sure Udacity worries marginally
about toe nail fungus, nose boogers, body odors, and butt cracks, but
that's just an insurance pricing risk factor
since most of the graduates in theparticular majors allowed for
this program will get high grades and jobs. Note that the Udacity courses are
really MOOCs from prestigious universities. Udacity also has a reputation for
tough testing such that students who do graduate know quite a lot about course
It can be easy for graduate
students and other pre-tenure academics to feel like they can’t afford not
to engage on social media. Then, the problems reveal themselves. Set aside
the specific question of Israel and the passionate engagement of someone
like Salaita. The cultures of Twitter and Facebook are quite different from
those of academe. Social media is often insouciant, off-the-cuff, and subtle
in its vocabulary and signals. It can also often be vulgar, in a way that
makes sense within these cultures but that can be off-putting to those
outside of them. That’s the fundamental fear: that the pressure to be on
social media compels people to interact in a forum where it is very easy to
The Atlantic’s Robinson
Meyer put this danger brilliantly, writing that "on Twitter, people say
things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then
treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the
conversation. … [W]hen you write (or make a video or a podcast) online, what
you’re saying can go anywhere, get read by anyone, and suddenly your words
are finding audiences you never imagined you were speaking to." This is
precisely the fear that I’ve heard many times from graduate students: that
their engagement on social media will be picked over by members of job
committees who will misinterpret what they’ve said and hold it against them.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
This kind of Catch-22 has
contributed to the pervasive sense of fear that is already endemic on many
campuses. The labor issues really drive the problem.
In a healthy job market, academics wouldn’t need to fear the consequences of
political speech nearly as much.
Scholars who were fired for voicing controversial opinions, or who felt that
their ability to speak freely was being obstructed, would be able to obtain
employment elsewhere. Meanwhile, institutions eager to hire the best people
would find that a reputation for resistance to free expression would hamper
those efforts. But in the contemporary academy, where openings for full-time
faculty members are few and adjuncts fill the gaps, the leverage lies in the
hands of institutions. With so many underemployed Ph.D.s, controversial
faculty can be swiftly replaced. The difficulty of obtaining a new job,
meanwhile, compels employees to keep their mouths shut. The academy is
hardly alone in this condition. Since the Reagan/Thatcher era, the general
drift of the working world is toward less- and less-empowered workers, who
are correspondingly more and more subservient to the employers who dominate
them. The university is a particularly intense example of this trend.
If Allen Frantzen was a newly-minted Ph.D. on a tenure track he might as well
kiss his academic future goodbye. There are some academic freedoms you just have
to wait for until being retired like Allen Frantzen. In a somewhat similar
manner teaching evaluations, including those published at RateMyProfessor.com,
create fear of saying the wrong thing or becoming viewed as a hard grader. A
professor mentioning something good about profit incentives in an economy might
get hammered or having a median of C+ in course grading might never get tenure
or have another performance raise in salary ---
Bit Brother is watching campus instructors although Big Brother is not quite the
Wizard of Oz behind the curtain that George Orwell envisioned.
Instead Big Brother is comprised of the students and colleagues marching to the
politically correct drummers that surround every instructor on campus.
Incidentally, liberal academics must also worry
some about expressing political opinions in class or in the social media,
especially when some of their students were raised by conservative parents. For
illustrations, read some of the complaints about political preaching in class as
quoted in RateMyProfessor. Also note that the top-rated professors are almost
always deemed to be easy graders with median A or A-grades and high scores on
the course "Easiness" criterion ---
The study throws around the words "proof" or
"proves" when in fact the study is sloppy in terms of any scientific
standards. Firstly, the study ignores such issues as nepotism. For example,
children of business owners have the luxury of majoring in art history
because a job to the top is waiting for them after graduation in any major.
And business owners can afford the high tuition of prestigious liberal arts
Secondly, being active in social media often
means you have the time rather than having to spend 80 hours a week on the
job with almost no time for the social media, such as being a very
successful physician. For example, most physicians have less time to be
active in the social media and civic affairs than their stay-at-home spouses
who majored in art history at Swarthmore. And experiences in undergraduate
education are greatly confounded by what are often more meaningful
experiences in graduate education such as MBA school, law school, and
medical school. And the study would be terribly misleading if it focused
only on undergraduates who did not have any graduate education.
Thirdly there's an enormous problem in
scientific studies where humans self-report their behavior. No attempt was
made to follow up studies on the comparability of the self reports.
Fourthly, any type of "success study" is
faces the enormous problem of defining "success." I am reminded of a psychology
professor, Tom Harrell, that I had years ago at Stanford University. He had
a long-term contract from the U.S. Navy to study Stanford students when they
entered the MBA program and then follow them through their careers. The
overall purpose was to define predictors of success that could be used for
admission to the Stanford GSB (and extended to tests for admission into
careers, etc.) Dr, Harrell's research became hung up on "The Criterion
Problem (i.e., the problem of defining and measuring "success.") You will
have the same trouble whenever you try to assess graduates of any education
program whether it is onsite or online. What is success? What is the role
any predictor apart from a myriad of confounded variables?
You might take a look at the
Harrell, T.W. (1992). "Some history of the army general classifications
test," Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 875-878.
Success may lie in advancement in
the workforce into leadership roles, but promotion and opportunity are
subject to widely varying and often-changing barriers and opportunities. A
program's best graduate may end up on a dead end track, and its worst
graduate may be a maggot who fell in a manure pile. For example, it used to
be virtually impossible for a woman to become a partner in a large public
accounting firm. Now the way is paved with all sorts of incentives for
women to hang in there and attain partnership. Success also entails being at
the right place at the right time, and this is often a matter of luck and
opportunity as well as ability.
We have to wonder how much live spectaculars in general have been hurt by
improved technology, especially large-screen television. Of course other factors
are important such as ticket pricing. There also is some amount of fan rebellion
to media disclosure of what players are being paid and how much the team owners
are ripping off taxpayers for ever more expensive stadiums and arenas.
The also has to be an element of quality of
viewing on television. For example, the quality of broadcasting of football and
basketball is quite good relative to hockey and baseball where following the
puck or ball is almost impossible on a television screen. In my opinion NASCAR
racing is pretty boring in almost any venue, but there is much to be gained by a
live experience (think people watching) relative to television viewing.
Nearly all sports have to be hurting from
reduced attention spans of fans. Think, for example, of the kid at a baseball
game who spends more time playing games on a smartphone than watching the game
live. Attention spans are lower as the range of viewing alternatives exploded to
hundreds of channels and thousands of movies available 24/7.
A professor of history at Arizona State University who’s been accused of plagiarism multiple times was placed on administrative leave this week as the university looks into new allegations of misconduct, The Arizona Republic reported. While previous allegations against Matthew Whitacker involve his published research, the most recent complaint involves Whitacker’s extracurricular consulting business.
Last month, the city of Phoenix demanded a refund of the $21,900 it had already paid the Whitacker Group to develop cultural consciousness training material for its police force, according to The Republic. The city said more than half of some 80 slides Whitaker produced were ripped from the Chicago Police Department, with minor, if any, changes. Lonnie J. Williams Jr., Whitacker’s attorney, said he questioned why the university would investigate a matter in which it’s not involved, and that Whitacker had been up front about his intention to borrow the Chicago material.
The anonymous nature of
the charges bothered some at Arizona State University, where Whitaker
was a full professor and led a research center. But after the university
conducted an investigation and found misconduct, Whitaker now says that
he agrees that he made significant mistakes in the book.
Mark S. Searle, Arizona
State's interim provost, last week sent an email message to history
faculty members in which he said an investigation into the book had
"identified significant issues with the content of the aforementioned
book." Searle went on to say that "as a result of the outcomes from that
investigation, Dr. Whitaker has accepted a position as associate
professor without a Foundation Professorship [an honor he previously
held], and now co-directs his center."
Searle also forwarded a
letter from Whitaker, in which he admitted wrongdoing. Both letters were
forwarded by someone other than the authors to Inside Higher Ed.
"I have struggled to
overlook the personal nature of the criticisms, and to evaluate and
recognize that there was merit to some of them. I alerted ASU
administration to the fact that the text contained unattributed and
poorly paraphrased material. I accept responsibility for these errors
and I am working with my publisher to make the appropriate corrections,"
An investigation into plagiarism allegations
against an Arizona State University professor of history in 2011 found him
not guilty of deliberate academic misconduct, but the case remained
controversial. The chair of his department’s tenure committee resigned in
protest and other faculty members spoke out against the findings, saying
their colleague – who recently had been promoted to full professor – was
cleared even though what he did likely would have gotten an undergraduate in
Now, Matthew C. Whitaker has written a new book,
and allegations of plagiarism are being levied against him once again.
Several blogs – one anonymously, and in great detail – have documented
alleged examples of plagiarism in the work. Several of his colleagues have
seen them, and say they raise serious questions about Whitaker’s academic
Meanwhile, Whitaker says he won’t comment on
allegations brought forth anonymously, and his publisher, the University of
Nebraska Press, says it’s standing by him.
Three years ago, several senior faculty members in
Whitaker’s department accused him of uncited borrowing of texts and ideas
from books, Wikipedia and a newspaper article in his written work and a
speech. In response, the university appointed a three-member committee to
investigate. The group found that Whitaker’s work contained no “substantial
or systematic plagiarism,” but that he had been careless in some instances,
as reported by Inside Higher Ed
time. As a result, the university did not impose serious sanctions on the
scholar, who is the founding director of Arizona State’s Center for the
Study of Race and Democracy.
In response, Monica Green, professor of history,
resigned as department tenure committee chair. Several other professors
called the investigation flawed and incomplete in a formal complaint to the
university and in public statements.
Whitaker at the time told the university that his
colleagues were pursuing a personal vendetta, possibly due to his race and
the fact that they disagreed with his promotion,
The Arizona Republic reported.
The university backed Whitaker, saying that the
investigation had been thorough and carried out by distinguished scholars.
Since the book’s publication, a blog called the
Cabinet of Plagiarism has detailed numerous
alleged instances of plagiarism in the book, including text and ideas taken
from information websites and published scholarship. The blog is
moderated by someone using the name Ann Ribidoux, who did not return a
posted request for comment. There is no one on the Arizona State faculty by
is ranked #2 for the Best
Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)
Because our MSA is the
only online graduate business program in the UConn School of Business,
that’s the MSA program!
If you review the
questions that the U.S. News survey asks, I think they are decent questions
(ok, again self-serving). I particularly like the emphasis on preparing
faculty to teach online because teaching online involves different skills
than one might use in a face to face class. Many of the questions, however,
also apply to face to face courses. I think course design with a focus on
learning objectives should be required for every course. Our students
self-report on whether they achieved each learning objective in the course
(5-level response to each objective). An instructor can quickly see where
problems exist. We are going through AACSB review this spring, and I think
our course assessment process is decent. Hope the team agrees. My biggest
hurdle is establishing program level objectives that can be assessed. The
jury is out on that one.
I would love to hand the
director’s role to someone else. I have been the director for four years,
and I have learned that administrative work is demanding. If there is
someone out there with a PhD who is interested in an in-res position and
would like to run our MSA program, please apply! I say in-res because it’s
very hard to do research and admin work. Our research requirements for our
in-res instructors are much lower, but unfortunately, with lower risk comes
lower return (and more teaching – 7 sections per year with course relief for
various admin functions like MSA program director). UConn is in the market
for at least two tenure-track and two in-res this year.
8 jaw-dropping tax havens of the super rich
These havens will undoubtedly become more popular after the 2016 election if
Democrats gain a majority in the USA Senate and/or House of Representatives.
Without more legislative support for raising taxes on high income USA residents
the outcome of the presidential election is not as relevant as candidates want
us to believe.
It would be wonderful if just one accountics scientist commenced a quantitative
methods accountancy blog comparable to what David provides for economists? But
accountics scientists never stick their heads above ground in the blog world.
Could it be that they haven't got all that much worthwhile to add to academe? If
rumors are true the forthcoming issue of Abacus will be quite critical of
accountics science scholarship.
Of course the 800-lb gorilla causing most of the damage is the massive
convenience and product choices in online shopping. For example, why go to a
mall for tennis shoes, sweaters, shorts, dresses, and trousers when more styles
and size availability are available on Amazon with free delivery in a couple of
days and an amazingly simple free return policy? I hate to admit how much we
open boxes, trying things out, and return what we don't quite like.
The food court in the Concord Mall in the NH State Capitol has gone dark with
every other store being empty. The anchor stores of JC Penney, Sears, and Bon
Ton are like empty tombs.
But there are other causes of the decline in malls. Malls became hangouts for
teen gangs and drug dealers. A huge mall not far from our former house in San
Antonio closed down not long after the bad publicity of a couple of murders
taking place in a huge two-story mall that was already notorious for car theft
and hijackings. Other malls in San Antonio have since shut down for similar
Malls are now targets for every assembly of protesters imaginable like the
attempts of Black Lives Matter protesters to disrupt shopping at Mall of America
Although the risk is small in the USA relative to Africa, the publicity over
terror attacks in malls is certainly not helping the survival of malls.
January 16. 2016 message from Saeed Roohani
To help accounting students or recent graduates to have a better
understanding of cybersecurity risk and learn simple ways to protect
themselves, their clients and their firms , my colleague Xiao Zheng and I at
Bryant University have produced a 10 video series: “A Hacker’s Guide to
With limited guidelines available today to accountants to cost, report and
measure the risk of cybersecurity, we think these videos significantly raise
the level of interest and curiosity in our students or recent graduates
The 10-vedio series would also be useful to accounting professors
contemplating cybersecurity topics for their students in the classroom, and
looking for interesting and flexible educational materials that
professionally developed for such purposes. These videos are 3-5 minutes
each and organized based on key topics. All the materials could be
customized to fit in any upper level accounting course. Students could watch
videos online. Alternatively, instructors could use videos for in-class
discussion for a specific topic. We have also developed some test and
review materials for feedback after watching each video. Better yet, with
a grant from PwC to produce these 10-vedio series, we could make these
videos FREE to the public. Finally, we also think this product will be
useful to some small businesses and non-profits really with limited
resources to learn about risks of cybersecurity to protect themselves and
those they serve against hackers.
The video series is professionally filmed. It is based on interviews with
two experts - a reformed (former) hacker who served time in prison for his
wrong doing. Also a nationally known expert in matters related to
cybersecurity- a Chief Information Security Officer of a large public
We are kindly requesting you spend a few minutes to review these videos, and
if you find them useful for the AECM please make an announcement to AECMers.
We greatly appreciate your time.
January 16, 2016 reply from Bob Jensen
My compliments on a professionally-completed series of 10 videos. As far as
interviews of talking heads go, these are good videos and provide a very
general summary of the main issues.
The advantage of the videos is that they are short and won't crowd a
curriculum on this topic.
My criticisms include the following.
The first page is not a good navigation page with links that appear on a
background column to the right. On two of my browsers the links to the
videos did not even show up. There also is some hard to read extraneous
stuff in the visible background that should not be on the first page such as
an invitation to enter text? Why enter text at that point?
The videos have all the weaknesses of talking head interviews. Unlike text,
they are difficult to search and eyeball like text can be eyeball-scanned.
You should probably provide links to the transcripts (in text form) to all
The videos make a lot of references to things without providing links. Such
as links to IDS, penetration texts, etc.
What is really needed at the next stage are Camtasia-like videos of computer
screens that show a mouse moving to live links and show what those links
bring up such as a good summary page of ransomware. I'm particularly
conscious of ransomware since at a New Years eve dinner party I learned that
my neighbor down the road (a retired Army engineer) had his system taken
over and ransomed. Fortunately, he had everything backed up on external hard
drives that were disconnected when he was attacked. So he paid nothing to
recover his ransomed files.
What I really would like to learn is how the ransomware bad guys break into
systems, e.g., my system. I don't know if my anti-viral system really has
been protecting me from an attack. It has never indicated to me that it
succeeded in fending off ransomware bad guys.
There are many variations of the Socratic Method, but all variations entail
having students prepared for class if they are to meet in a Socratic Method
class. This is because the students are supposed to derive answers among
Where the variations come in are the extent to which instructors eventually
lecture a bit and eventually give preferred answers. Of course in some
instances, such as Harvard-style cases, there are no definitive answers ---
which often makes such cases more like real life.
January 14, 2016 reply from Tad Miller
I have typically been smart enough to stay out of
these conversations but I can’t help myself on this topic.
I use a modified Socratic method with a great deal
of success when I teach auditing; but I had to learn to be realistic.
It is difficult for students to respond when the
spotlight is shining on them and 45 other students are staring at them (that
is true for most of us). Even if they actually know the answer, recall can
be difficult under those circumstances.
An underlying assumption of mine is that people
learn better and perform at a higher level in a positive environment. I want
my class to be fun. I don’t lower my standards or expectations to have fun.
In fact, I expect students to be better prepared than when I used to
Here is what I have learned
The student I initially call on seldom answers
Some other student can typically answer the
The best discussions often occur as we discuss why
a response was not correct.
Humans have a very limited attention span. I
believe it generally accepted that people cannot pay attention for more than
Each time I post a question, it brings students
back to the class and causes them to re-engage. At least until they learn
that I am not calling on them. This constant re-engagement is very valuable.
But the biggest benefit is the energy, enthusiasm
and fun it brings to the classroom. If you, the teacher work at it, you can
have fun with wrong answers without ridiculing people.
Nothing is more fun than when I make a mistake. I
encourage my students to have a little fun when the old guy in the front of
the room says something backwards.
Once you create an environment where it is OK to be
wrong, participation can be fun. I am not condoning poor preparation, but it
is OK to be wrong.
You need to give students permission to be wrong.
You need to give students permission to show some enthusiasm during class.
You need to let students know you want to create a fun environment.
Reflect for a moment on the other classes in which
your students are enrolled. Many teachers stifle enthusiasm and fun. You
will need to create an environment where it is OK to be enthusiastic and
have a little. This will be unexpected and new for many of your students.
January 14, 2015 reply from Steve Markoff
So many great
points you made here Tad ... allow me to expand on a couple of them with my
Regarding the initial student being able to answer the question - if they
could answer it, then there would be no need for you. We always learn more
from incorrect replies.
Regarding incorrect responses - I assiduously avoid saying that a response
is correct or incorrect. From my experience, if you focus on the
correctness, people will not want to respond unless they are 100% sure of
their answer. If a wrong answer is given, I take that and start talking
about it, or working with it, until the class discovers that it is NOT
I also have learned that if you allow a student "off the hook" merely
because they didn't have the correct answer, then they will not benefit from
the Socratic process nor will the rest of the class. The same happens when
you simply move from the incorrect response from Student #1 to a correct
response from Student #2. The class benefits more from the Socratic process
when the questions lead them to unfold and discover the answer.
So, by example, after the first incorrect answer, I will frequently stay
with the first student, and move back a step in the thinking process, and
then perhaps back another step. I might at that point call for assistance
from another student on the new point (2 steps back), but then, we return to
the first student to continue moving forward. This is important as some
students will discover that they can quickly "call off the dogs" just by
blurting out any wrong answer, knowing that you will then leave them alone
and move on to someone else.
I've learned that the nature of your questions makes a big difference in the
willingness of the students to get involved. It is very clear when a
question is meant to find out if you don't know it. I think it is much
better to use questions to TEACH and not just to ASSESS. Therefore, many of
my questions are actually teaching points, rephrased carefully. These are
I too have learned that students must know that it is okay to be wrong, but
they also must know, SOMETIMES THE HARD WAY, that it is NEVER okay to be
unprepared. Peer pressure often takes care of that, as they do not want to
feel embarrassed in front of others.
I "cold call" so that virtually EVERYONE is called on EVERY class. They
KNOW that they cannot hide or escape.
For Socratic teaching, I think it's important that you start right in with
it on Day 1. No Kumbaya Lovefest or Reading of the Syllabus or Glorified
Bullshit Session. I spend a minimum amount of time -- 30 minutes TOPS,
covering the most important elements on the syllabus and administrative
matters, but then I leave a good 45 minutes for Socratic questioning. For
example, in Cost, I begin with an Income Statement which they give me the
numbers. I fire all kinds of questions. We then proceed to find out how
the Cost of Goods Sold was arrived at and the flow of costs from Raw
Materials, Work in Process, Finished goods and Cost of Goods. This is all
material that SHOULD BE review from their Managerial Accounting course --
so, it give them a chance to see what the Socratic process feels like with
material that is review in nature, before we start tackling new material.
Below is a link to an
interesting and thoughtful book that has recently hit the shelves in Europe
and will soon be released in America. It is written by a former grad student
colleague of mine, now a Professor of Mathematical Statistics in Sweden. As
you seem to subscribe to the idea of humani nil alienum, you might find it
I'm not sure us
earthlings can overcome our basic fear of "falling behind." Years ago I
spent two years in a think tank alongside the Stanford University campus.
One of the "fellows" I got to know a little bit was Nobel Prize winning
geneticist Josh Lederberg.
By that time Josh
was out of the lab and into philosophical science issues. In particular at
the time his worry was about the great dangers of discoveries in cloning.
This was before mammals had been successfully cloned, but already Professor
Lederberg was worried about how advances in cloning could destroy
civilization as we know it.
His interest was
in banning research that will lead to discoveries too dangerous to know
about in our world. But at the same time he was a realist who understood how
difficult it is to stop research like cloning that attracts great curiosity
among top scientists. It might be possible to stop research on some topics
like how to make a WMD with ingredients from the supermarket, but banning
research that truly challenges imagination like cloning, searching for
extraterrestrials, and building computers as surrogates for humans probably
cannot be successfully banned until the fears become too real to stop like
stopping adverse climate change before it's too late.
Community land trusts are most frequently used to preserve scenic and historic
land amidst a world of developers. Community land trust housing, on the other
hand, is used to provide affordable land for building of single and multi-family
dwellings amidst soaring or highly fluctuating land values ---
The concept was used long before Bernie Sanders became mayor of Burlington in
1981. When I returned to Stanford for two years in a think tank I rented two
houses south of the campus on land owned by Stanford University. The land was
developed for employee housing (mostly faculty housing) where an employee could
lease a lot for $1 per year for 99 years. The employee then built a house that
could be lived in or rented to somebody affiliated with Stanford, although
building a house solely for the purpose of rental income was discouraged.
The Stanford leased lots had advantages and disadvantages. In
times of soaring land values such as land values in the early days when property
east of san Francisco Bay became known as Silicon Valley, Staford employees
could build or buy residences that they otherwise could not afford in the
vicinity of Stanford University.
However, the drawback is that Stanford employees who owned these
properties could not share in the explosion of real estate values near Stanford
where a house built for $50,000 in 1975 might sell for $10 million on the open
market but not on Stanford leased lots where residence ownership is restricted
to Stanford employees.
The same thing happens with the Burlington-area land trusts
commenced by Bernie Sanders. Home owners cannot lose or gain in land values on
lots that they only rent from a land trust. Owers who instead purchased land on
the open market for their houses can either lose or gain immensely on changes in
land values in Vermont.
In nearby New Hampshire I have a friend who paid $10,000 in 1978
for four acres of land with great mountain views. Recently that land alone is
valued for tax purposes at over $400,000. The bad news is that real estate taes
must be paid annually on the value of that land. The good news is that
eventually the owner or the owner's estate will have a very nice capital gain
that would not have been possible if the land was only rented from a land trust.
Land trusts with cheap lot rental prices become better deals
when the lots are already very expensive such as lots next to the Stanford
University campus since the 1970s. Not only are the lots made affordable with
the land trust but they protect home owners from property taxes on the value of
those high-priced lots. Land trust lots are somewhat of a good deal in a soaring
real estate market in that the value of those rented lots are shielded from
property taxes. This is a good deal for people who plan to spend a lifetime in
But land trusts are less of a good deal for home owners not
planning to live more than, say, ten years in a soaring real estate market. The
reason may be restrictions of sales of the homes (such as only being able to
sell to Stanford University employees) and loss of the capital gains on the land
in that soaring real estate market.
The property tax shielding is less of an advantage to Stanford
employees who live for decades on leased lots from Stanford University because
of California's Proposition 13 ---
However, residents of Vermont have no such shield from property tax increases,
thereby, making rented community trust lots a better deal from a property tax
perspective (the good news). But increase in property taxes co hand-in-hand with
increases in potential capital gains (the bad news).
Educators around the
country (and the world) are looking for ways to leverage technologies to
improve engagement and learning outcomes for their students. Socrative, an
online, personalized learning site, enables teachers of all subjects to keep
students engaged while assessing them in real time, using visualization and
other advanced methods to help teachers track their students' progress.
After signing up, the tool's dashboard lets users immediately begin
customizing the site, building quizzes with multiple choice, true/false, and
short answer formats. Sign up is just as easy for students, who can then
access their instructors' predesigned site. For educators who are looking
for efficient ways to "flip" their classrooms, this site can be a welcome
There seems to be no end to
the innovative free products Google launches. Google Sites, a wiki- and Web
page-creation service is no exception. Besides being able to connect with
and leverage all of Google's other products (Gmail, Maps, Calendar, Drive,
Hangouts, etc.) right on the site, Google's intranet creation and management
tool allows users to create a page with customizable and simple templates.
While a Google account is necessary to use the service, it is easy to use.
Multiple users can upload files and attachments, embed rich content (docs,
videos, slideshows, etc.), work and share together, and, of course, use the
Google search engine. For small businesses that are looking for a simple,
collaborative, intranet service, or educators who are looking for an easy
way to build and host a virtual classroom, Google Sites is a nice option.
Setting up a Wi-Fi network
can be a complicated task with a lot of unknowns. For instance, where
exactly will your phone or laptop pick up the strongest, or weakest, signal
within your home or office? Enter NetSpot, a free service for Mac devices
that creates a complete map of a given Wi-Fi network to assess the quality
of its connections. Users simply walk from position to position, marking
spots every few feet, to scan the area for available Wi-Fi signals. NetSpot
then generates a heat map, with red representing strongest signals and
indigo indicating the weakest. While the free version has some limitations
when compared to the paid options, readers who struggle to know where best
to place their work stations will find that NetSpot provides extremely
The popular and free digital
tool, ThingLink, is an astonishingly easy way to create interactive graphics
that encourage collaboration, increase engagement, and enliven lessons and
homework. After signing up for a Basic Education account (other options are
available, some at cost), users are led through several steps to create
interactive, annotated images. For instance, an uploaded image of a
historical figure, such as Harriet Tubman, may be "tagged" to link to an
informative website, video clip, or other rich media from around the web.
Users may also annotate directly onto the image themselves. Various
tutorials dedicated to such topics as Image Tagging, Adding Content,
Creating a Class Group, Creating a Channel, and other topics, make for an
easy process. ThinkLink is available for Desktop, iOS, and Android devices
Maria's advice on living and writing
Thank you Maria Popova
I like the one about being willing to change your mind --- that one is
especially hard for every writer, including me
"Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading,
Writing, and Living," by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, October 23, 2013 ---
I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But
I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before
breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to
pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.
Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.
Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc.,
but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other
regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys
that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get
fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much.
We go on 'route marches,' which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to
harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A 'route
march' is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore
feet and we all ride back in trucks.
The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the
school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother
This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for
shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and
don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you
got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own
cartridges. They come in boxes.
Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle
with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It
ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in
this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake . I only beat him once.
He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6' and 130 pounds and he's 6'8'
and near 300 pounds dry.
AECM is an email Listserv list which
provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software
which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the
college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and
peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets,
multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base
programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc.
Over the years the AECM has become the worldwide forum for
accounting educators on all issues of accountancy and accounting
education, including debates on accounting standards, managerial
accounting, careers, fraud, forensic accounting, auditing,
doctoral programs, and critical debates on academic (accountics)
research, publication, replication, and validity testing.
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of
all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an
unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments,
ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed.
Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L
or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for
a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional
accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or
education. Others will be denied access.
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA.
This can be anything from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ
initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
FINANCIAL REPORTING PORTAL
Find news highlights from the SEC, FASB
and the International Accounting
Standards Board on this financial
reporting blog from Financial Executives
International. The site, updated daily,
compiles regulatory news, rulings and
statements, comment letters on
standards, and hot topics from the Web’s
largest business and accounting
publications and organizations. Look for
continuing coverage of SOX requirements,
fair value reporting and the Alternative
Minimum Tax, plus emerging issues such
as the subprime mortgage crisis,
international convergence, and rules for
tax return preparers.
The CAlCPA Tax Listserv
September 4, 2008 message from Scott Bonacker
Scott has been a long-time contributor to the AECM listserv (he's a techie as
well as a practicing CPA)
There are several highly
capable people that make frequent answers to tax questions posted there, and
the answers are often in depth.
Scott forwarded the following message from Jim
Yes you may mention info on
your listserve about TaxTalk. As part of what you say please say [... any
CPA or attorney or a member of the Calif Society of CPAs may join. It is
possible to join without having a free Yahoo account but then they will not
have access to the files and other items posted.
Once signed in on their Yahoo account go to
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxTalk/ and I believe in
top right corner is Join Group. Click on it and answer the few questions and
in the comment box say you are a CPA or attorney, whichever you are and I
will get the request to join.
Be aware that we run on the average 30 or move emails per day. I encourage
people to set up a folder for just the emails from this listserve and then
via a rule or filter send them to that folder instead of having them be in
your inbox. Thus you can read them when you want and it will not fill up the
inbox when you are looking for client emails etc.
We currently have about 830 CPAs and attorneys nationwide but mainly in
Please encourage your members
to join our listserve.
If any questions let me know.
Jim Counts CPA.CITP CTFA