Podcast #5

In this episode Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos talks to us about what it’s like to lecture about Sex, Evolution, and Human Nature to almost 600 undergraduates in a chapel.

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Show Notes

0:00 Intro

1:28 Lori’s research on the evolutionary origin of human thought. Sometimes we’re less rational than monkeys (or slime mold).

2:57 “Sex, Evolution and Human Nature” aka ‘Sexy Psych’ aka PSYC 171.

3:45 Almost 600 students and how the course grew so big.

5:25 An interdisciplinary course, stupid cat videos, and anthropomorphism.

7:31 Subjectivity and mating strategies.

8:12 Why do students take the course? Human nature as a fundamental problem.

9:32 “Use your hymnal as a surface on which to write your quiz.”

12:55 Does the room where the exam takes place affect student performance? Maybe

15:14 Yale’s coming expansions, and its possible impacts.

17:00 Lecture attendance, open courses, copyright challenges. Who owns open course and MOOC content?

22:15 When a video lecture that’s free becomes a part of someone else’s paid course. Who owns the video lecture?

24:25 Since others are sharing content, students don’t need to come to class.

26:51 Students share content with others, and they don’t see themselves as facilitating cheating.

29:08 Why sharing resources short-circuits many assignments–and how assessment will have to change.

33:36 Students design their own experiments using public data.

37:00 Grading 500+ students: each teaching fellow grades a single quiz or assignment.

39:11 Why is a live lecture preferable to a video? “The theater of being there.”

41:17 The psychology of the live lecture–and the liveness of online chatting.

45:09 Offending others, slips of the tongue, mating strategies, and trigger warnings.

49:15 Is the professor the master of her own teaching?

53:16 Is student sensitivity a new thing?

56:40 Inspiring teachers, the lecture as a social interaction, using psychological expertise and Transcranial magnetic stimulation to lecture.

1:03:40 Teaching mistakes and apologizing to the horseshoe crab (and to reality).