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Illustration of multiverse bubbles interacting

An artist imagines the multiverse

The seemingly limitless possibilities promised by the idea of a multiverse are so captivating to the imagination that I doubt the idea will go away any time soon.  It’s only grown in popularity in spite of constant criticism that it is completely theoretical and untestable.  Most definitions of the multiverse would seem to explicitly rule out any human being ever interacting with another universe besides our own.  But now some scientists have proposed an observational test based on our universe interacting with other universes.

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Teaching Naked by Jose A. Bowen (Jossey-Bass, 2012).

Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning by Jose A. Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The subtitle of this book actually explains the attention-grabbing title of this book. Bowen contends that the onslaught of technological resources that in the minds of many jeopardize traditional higher education can in fact enhance the basic thing professors and teachers do in the classroom–advance student learning. And the way this occurs is for those who teach to employ all these technologies outside the classroom, including those beloved PowerPoints!

These along with online lectures, podcasts, emails, Facebook posts, tweets and course management systems can be used to promote outside-the-classroom learning so that interactive and action-based learning in the classroom or lab can take the lecture (often described as the transfer of information from the notes of the teacher to the notes of the student without engaging the minds of either!).

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The Opening of the American Mind by Lawrence W. Levine (Beacon Press, 1996).

The Opening of the American Mind
By Lawrence W. Levine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I actually liked this book more than I thought although I am left with many questions. It was written in the mid ’90s in response to the spate of books attacking developments in the university world, Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind foremost among these and the obvious inspiration of the title. Truth is, this is a far more readable argument than Bloom’s.

Levine contends that in fact the “canon” of subjects and texts taught in the university has continued to change throughout the history of universities. At one time, the esteemed texts of English literature, philosophy, and history were in fact eschewed for Greek and Latin literature. The inauguration of “Western Civ” courses only occurred after World War 1.

Furthermore, he argues that the rise of gender, cultural, social and ethnic studies, including the impact of these studies on his own field of history is not a move to cultural relativism or political correctness. Rather, these recognize both the intellectually biased accounts of the past that marginalize many Americans who are not political leaders, or male, or white. We cannot understand the truth of our nation’s history and cultural makeup without listening to the full spectrum of those who contribute to “this American life.” So as the makeup of our country continues to change, so must the curriculum and intellectual life of the university, as it always has.

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