Thankfully the 2nd class went far better than the first.

  • The computer was on the network so that I could get logged in and show my slides.
  • I remembered white-board markers (although I forgot an eraser)
  • I managed to get at least a couple of chuckles

Now I need to figure out how to get them to speak up – I ask questions and get mumbling back.  It’s very annoying; makes me feel like I’m losing my hearing or something…..

I found the greatest prompt for next class;  I’m trying to spend some time each class talking about real studies, and this week I found one that I think will lead to lots of good questions.  The study found that the black-white performance gap disappeared during key moments of the Obama campaign and run.  NYT covered it as well and I think it should lead the class to some interesting questions about sampling (this study is based on GRE scores, so not the norm) and the media’s tendency to overstate these things.  (For example the graph in the vanderbilt article shows that the gap was narrowed but not closed despite what the title says.)  Plus I think the mechanism here is likely to be fascinating.  Was Obama a role model in the “you can do it” sense?  Were the students modeling his speech patterns (which would theoretically improve verbal scores)?