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Kevin Leyton-Brown
838 followers -
Professor of Computer Science, UBC Vancouver
Professor of Computer Science, UBC Vancouver

838 followers
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An interesting article about a very successful MOOC instructor's bad experiences with blended teaching. I've had much more successful experiences myself--e.g., haven't experienced negative student responses to nearly the same extent, though I can still relate--but overall I think he has a great perspective and explains it clearly.

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The Incentive Auction (to which I contributed a small piece) is now underway!

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Our advanced MOOC just got a nice writeup today.

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The beach a couple blocks from my house just got rated #47 in the world by the Guardian newspaper in the UK! Not bad when most of its competitors are on tropical islands :-)

(To my colleagues: yes, UBC is hiring...)

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I've just received UBC's 2015 Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research! From the award description: "Established in 1985, the Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research, one of UBC's most prestigious research prizes, is [...] made to an outstanding young member of the faculty of UBC who has demonstrated excellence in pure or applied scientific research."

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A good recent article on the FCC's upcoming spectrum auctions. My team has been responsible for writing the optimization algorithm that will help to run the auction by "repacking" spectrum.

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An interesting perspective linking innovation with paying attention, and suggesting this is a skill that can be learned/taught. It seems particularly relevant to empirical research in my experience. It reminds me of working with new students on data analysis: I tell them "Just plot some graphs and see if you notice anything interesting"; they don't find anything, and then when I look at the data I can't believe all the interesting patterns they missed. This article gave me a good conceptual framework for understanding what's happening in such cases.

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The most interesting thing I've read about the recent wave of American student protests. Here's a representative excerpt: "In America, people have been talking about student protests as if they were a particularly American phenomenon — either a result of the distinctive legacy of American racism or, as the critics would have it, a byproduct of helicopter parenting, of grade inflation, of our cultural obsession with affirmation. We coddle our kids, the theory goes, and now they’re demanding a feeling of safety from any kind of danger because they’re fragile. But how could helicopter parenting explain the same phenomenon occurring halfway across the world in a society known for its absent parents, not its overprotective ones? In fact, all of these students, whether they are in America or South Africa, are making their demands because they’re feeling more powerful.

[...]

In America, we’ve been focused on the first word in the phrase “safe space.” We should be focused on the second. These student protests are about space and who wields power within it. They’re a subset of a bigger range of protests now erupting all over the world. In the Netherlands, protesters have demonstrated against Zwarte Piet, the blackface jester who’s a feature of the country’s Christmas parades. Zwarte Piet’s defenders argue that the figure’s origins were not racist. The protesters’ rejoinder has been: Who are you to decide? In Australia, people in Melbourne demonstrated against racially discriminatory random visa checks. In Brazil, a new civil rights movement has emerged to give land to descendants of former slaves. The students who object to Princeton’s buildings named for Wilson represent merely a corner of a second, global anti-racism movement, one probably still in its infancy. This movement takes on not who has the right to have access to our public squares, as the first civil rights movements did, but who owns them."

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Our Game Theory MOOC just made a list of "the 50 most popular MOOCs of all time". We're #10. I have no idea how reputable this list is, but we're certainly in good company given the other courses on the list.

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Quite a milestone for academic computer science (at least at Stanford)...
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