Peter Vladimirov (1905-1953) was a Soviet diplomat. He was in Yan’an (延安) during WWII.
Reid Hoffman is the founder of LinkedIn, a social network website ranked second biggest in US market these days.
I read a piece of his interview today. There are some inspiring and memorable sentences in it.
“I’ve always had an interest in how we improve people’s ecosystems. When I was an undergrad at Stanford, I thought the way to do that was to be an academic. Then I saw that wasn’t the right way, because you become a scholar and publish in an area where only, like, 50 people will read it.”
“How do you change lives for millions of people? I decided software entrepreneurship was the way.”
“Every individual is now somewhat entrepreneurial. ”
“I’ve also tried to build a culture that understands writing brief e-mails is not emotional coldness.”
“Be diligent about failing fast so that you don’t spend five years doing something that’s just going to fail.”
“Don’t be a perfectionist.”
Panos Ipeirotis is a tenured professor of Computer Science in New York University.
He wrote a blog complaining how hard to fight cheating. The title of his blog is very disputed:
“I Will Never Pursue Cheating Again.“
The longer version is:
“After spending a tremendous amount of time fighting and pursuing all the cheating cases, I decided that it makes no sense to fight it. The incentive structures simply do not reward such efforts. “
Obviously, he was under great pressure since the writing, because he has already deleted the origin article (so no hyperlink here). But I kept the copy before his deletion, and thought some paragraphs worth sharing.
At first, the professor found that “by the end of the semester, 22 students admitted cheating, out of the 108 enrolled in the class.”
So he decided to correct these wrongdoings, then the troubles followed him.
“The process of discussing all the detected cases was not only painful, it was extremely time consuming as well.
Students would come to my office and deny everything. Then I would present them the evidence. They would soften but continue to deny it. Only when I was saying “enough, I will just give the case to the honorary council who will decide” most students were admitting wrongdoing. But every case was at least 2 hours of wasted time.
With 22 cases, that was a lot of time devoted to cheating: More than 45 hours in completely unproductive discussions, when the total lecture time for the course was just 32 hours. This is simply too much time.”
“This, of course, had a direct effect to my teaching evaluations. Instead of the usual evaluations that were in the region of 6.0 to 6.5 out of seven, this time my ratings went down by almost a point: 5.3 out of 7.0. Instead of being a teacher in the upper percentiles, I was now below average.
Six months later, when I received my annual evaluation, my yearly salary increase was the lowest ever, as my “teaching evaluations took a hit this year”.”
“I was also lectured by some senior professors that “I should change my assignments from year to year (not give the students the chance to cheat)”.”
“I also did not like the overall teaching experience, and this was the most important thing for me. Teaching became annoying and tiring. There was a very different dynamic in class, which I did not particularly enjoy. It was a feeling of “me-against-them” as opposed to the much more pleasant “these things that we are learning are really cool!””
At last, He got the conclusion:
“Will I pursue cheating cases in the future? Never, ever again!”
I highly agree with what he said: “(as a teacher, fighting cheating) is a losing battle.”
“As I use more advanced cheating detection schemes, the cheaters will adapt. I am not a policeman fighting crime. My role is to educate and teach, not to enforce honest behavior. This is a university, not a kindergarten.”
The moral of the story is, — if our universities kept apart from the real life, still only used the old examination system to assess students, — cheating cannot be stopped and the value of university education will be impaired.
Unfortunately, this is already the reality.