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2012.10.21

Chemical Element Trump Cards

I can still remember the weight of the Lancia Stratos car that featured in the Top Trumps cards were playing as children in the 1970s: 870kg. It was the lightest of all the flashy cars in the set, and therefore a much sought-after card. Other card sets that kept us busy included airplanes, motorcycles, and tanks. Through them we learned tens of useless trivia, but also got a feeling of the compromises inherent in engineering. Wondering whether I could leverage such a game to make it even more educational, I created a set of trump cards containing properties of chemical elements.

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2011.07.23

How I Dealt with Student Plagiarism

Panos Ipeirotis, a colleague at the NYU Stern School of Business, received considerable media attention when, in a blog post he subsequently removed, he discussed how his aggressive use of plagiarism detection software on student assignments poisoned the classroom atmosphere and tanked his teaching evaluations. As detailed in a story posted on the Chronicle of Higher Education blog, Mr. Ipeirotis proposes instead that professors should design assignments that cannot be plagiarized. Along these lines here are two methods I've used in the past.

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2009.12.27

How to Get a Glowing Recommendation Letter

Students who do well in my courses often come to me asking for a recommendation letter for graduate or postgraduate study. I only write letters for students I know well and I can honestly recommend, so some end up with a glowing recommendation while others leave empty handed. While I was drafting a few letters today, it occurred to me that obtaining a good recommendation letter is a lot easier if you've planned for it well in advance.

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2009.02.18

The Information Train

Experiment overview The Information Train is a scientific experiment that I presented at the Wizards of Science 2009 contest over the past weekend. The entry demonstrates how computers communicate with each other by setting up a network in which a model train transfers a picture's pixels from one computer to the other. You can find a video of the experiment on YouTube, and, if you're interested, you can also download the corresponding software and schematics from this web page.

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2009.01.01

The Changing Value of Knowledge and Skills

I feel we're witnessing a watershed in the value of knowledge and many, once crucial, skills. Thanks to powerful ubiquitous computers and the internet, hard-earned knowledge and skills that used to be important are no more. Here are some examples.

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2008.04.28

In Presentations Less is More

A couple of months ago I prepared the slides for a paper I will present at the 30th International Conference on Software Engineering. After reading Garr Reynolds's book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design on Presentation Design and Delivery I became enlightened, and I decided to redo the presentation from scratch, creating less cluttered, more focused, and simpler slides.

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2005.09.05

Preparing for the Exams

The (retake) exam period has started. At the metro the passenger sitting opposite me is obviously a student frantically sorting the cards containing a 6%-reduced photocopy of her forensic psychology textbook.

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2004.10.24

Involving Students With Open Source Projects

A Slashdot story titled OSDDP: Involving Students With Open Source Docs prompted me to describe my experiences with the Software Comprehension and Maintenance course I am teaching. The reactions from the—difficult to please—slashdot crowd were surprisingly positive and friendly.

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.