jueves, 13 de diciembre de 2012

It's the economy, stupid

The phrase "The economy, stupid" or "It is the economy, stupid" was coined by James Carville, Bill Clinton's campaign strategist. James Carville  made his reputation in the 1992 presidential campaign. He successfully got Bill Clinton elected, defeating an incumbent president. "It is the economy, stupid" became the slogan for Democrats 1992 campaign. Now the phrase it is used as a cliché.

It has been reported that Mr. James Carville based his strategy on polls. Through surveys he could identify "gut issues".

6.002x has allowed us to make comparison between the way lead universities handled their courses and how courses are handled in developing countries.

It is undeniable that developing countries universities lack high educated professors. But also comparison showed a lack of respect for basic norms.

Let's take for instance grading. Our written norms establish that grades must be return during the two weeks that follow the turning in of a paper, a homework or an exam. In general, that basic rule it is not followed.

Semester last 16 weeks. Final exams are supposed to be handled in week 17. Grades must be published in week 18. This is week 19, the EE department is responsible of 29 courses. Only in 9 courses grades have been submitted.

6.002x students know in real time their grades. Also I guess, regular MIT students do not have to wait until the very end for knowing their grades.
The picture shows that only 9 out 29 courses have submitted grades (yellow). Among the ones that have not been submitted are Circuit Analysis and Analog Electronics (red rectangle).

It is accountability, stupid.
Trying to figure out ways to improve things in developing countries universities, I think, a lot could be done through respecting basic norms. In general, to enforce the respect for basic norms is not an easy task. But those countries must realize the tremendous harm they are causing to their own.

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