On Adaptive Learning: A Partial Response to Audrey Watters

In “The Algorithmic Future of Education”  Audrey Watters offers a sweeping critique of adaptive learning, arguing that “robot tutors” (her phrase) don’t benefit learners, they are not anything new under the sun, and that, worst of all, they represent a cunning ploy by industry (in league with administrators and managers) to “subjugate labor” and to create “austerity”.  According...

Can We Improve Retention Rates by Giving Students Chocolates?

Course Signals’ Retention Claim Course Signals is an early-warning alert system for identifying at-risk students developed at Purdue University and made available commercially by Ellucian. It has been claimed that use of Course Signals “boosts graduation rate by 21 percent”.  The claim is suspect and continues to be repeated without scrutiny.  I wrote a simulation to test the claim. My...