Notes from LINC
This year I went to the LINC conference at MIT. This year’s theme was “Realizing the Dream: Education Becoming Available To All. Will the World Take Advantage?” I was officially there to present a paper about our course, but also to learn about other parts of education. I love conferences; you get such a mixing of ideas. Sadly I had a lot of work to do while I was there (this was in the early days of the online course, where more attention was needed) so I didn’t get to see as many talks as I would have liked.
The parts of the conference I did get to see were a mixed bag.
On the positive side, I saw a lot of efforts to improve education and make it more accessible. It was also great to see that this was coming from many different places in the world. For example, there was actually a talk where an audience member had to ask what a lahk was, because all the numbers in the talk were in that unit.
On the negative side, I saw a lack of actual research results. People were talking about the changes they had made, but rarely about the measurable impacts of those changes. Those who did have results rarely talked about them in the language of statistics.
One really excellent talk was at lunch the second day, from Cliff Missen of (among other things) the eGranary project. Missen started off the talk by saying that online courses are great when you can worry about whether or not people have internet access, but he more often has to worry about whether they have water. It really put things in perspective for me.
Overall I preferred the AAPT conference, but LINC’s more international view was definitely something I appreciated.