Washington University

via Flckr/Caleb Cherry

In an era where high-stakes tests have increased concern over test anxiety and introduced debate over the merits of teaching to the test, it may seem odd to promote a teaching method called “test-enhanced learning.”

But according to research conducted by psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis, the best way to improve learning may be taking more tests, not fewer. The researchers studying memory have found that incorporating quizzes and self-tests into the learning process increase the amount of material students are able to remember long-term.

Washington University archives

Mention “ROTC” and “Washington University” to people of a certain age, and images immediately arise of Quonset huts blazing away in the dead of night, at the height of protests over the war in Vietnam.

In the wake of the 1970 fires, the ability of Washington University students to earn academic credit for ROTC courses also went up in smoke.

(Washington University Students Against Peabody)

Seven students at Washington University in St. Louis were arrested Friday after attempting to enter an administration building on the Danforth campus where a board of trustees meeting was being held. The students were among a group of 100 protestors rallying against the school’s connection to Peabody Energy.

Caroline Burney, a Washington University senior, said the protestors were trying to deliver a letter of resignation to Peabody's chief executive officer Greg Boyce, who is also a university trustee.

Washington University Student Protest Continues

Apr 13, 2014
UPI.

Monday marks the seventh day that a group of students at Washington University has conducted a sit-in on campus to protest the school’s relationship with Peabody Energy.

The coal company’s president and CEO, Greg Boyce, sits on the university’s board of trustees. Peabody and other companies help fund research at the college’s Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization.

Student Jamal Sadrud-Din says Peabody’s activities harm both the environment and vulnerable communities.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Nicholas Curry's sleeping arrangement has changed a bit over the last couple of days.

Curry, a junior at Washington University, has been camping out in a tent near Brookings Hall. It's part of a "sit-in" to get Washington University to cut ties with Peabody Energy, a large coal company that's headquartered in St. Louis. 

"I slept out here with my dog Max," Curry said. "So, we spent the night here last night, and we'll be here tonight."

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

After failing to make the grade with professors at Washington University, Semester Online is going offline for good.

The consortium was designed to let students at Washington U. and other schools in the group — universities such as Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame — take online courses in areas that their home school does not offer. It began this school year, and the universities and Semester Online’s parent company, 2U, had high hopes that it could be a pioneer for online learning.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Depending on who is telling the story, Washington University dropped its sociology department in 1991 because it was filled with radical thinkers or because it was not strong enough academically.

Or maybe it was a little of both.

Either way, the university announced this week that it will be bringing the department back, with some classes in the field possibly offered as early as this fall.

Daylight Saving Time: More Trouble Than It's Worth?

Mar 9, 2014
(via Flickr/the Italian voice)

If you’re feeling tired due to the daylight savings shift, you’re not alone. One researcher at Washington University says the time change may cause more problems than it solves.

Erik Herzog studies the biological clocks of mammals. He says several studies have shown that daylight saving is hard on us humans, especially the “spring ahead.” Effects like sleep deprivation result in increased traffic accidents for three days after the time change.

Herzog says the effect in the fall is the opposite – there are fewer traffic accidents – but that effect lasts only one day.

Jane Ades, NHGRI

Originally published on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Updated to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.

Provost Holden Thorp
Washington University

Seated in his office on the second floor of Brookings Hall on the eastern edge of the Washington University campus, Provost Holden Thorp has a pretty good metaphor for what his job entails compared with that of university Chancellor Mark Wrighton.

“You can see the chancellor’s office is across the hall,” Thorp said in a recent interview. “His office faces the park and the Arch and downtown. My office is on this side and faces out to the old quad.

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