Monthly Archives: June 2012

Distance Learning: Evaluation

Some weeks ago I mentioned that I was taking up a Cambridge on-line course (Psychology in real life, to be specific). Well, now I am more than half-way through and I would like to share my views with you, dear Readers: What is distance learning really like? 

Number one: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you follow the course, watch the videos you are asked to and contribute to discussions with your classmates, you learn a lot. If you think that you can “cheat the system” and get a shiny diploma for a couple of random posts – it might work, but your new knowledge would equal zero. But then again, it all depends on what you are looking for.

Number two: Clashes are good. Inevitably, your on-line class will be multicultural. As a result, you might disagree on various things – and when you talk them through, you will often discover new views you have never previously considered. For example, I was surprised to learn how widely research ethical standards differ across countries.

Number three: Keep track of what is going on. If possible, read everything your classmates share. Watch their videos, look at the links they post. Sometimes take the lead and go the extra mile to share something interesting. You will be surprised how much you can learn from them (the fact that you learn a lot from your tutor and textbook is probably clear).

Finally: Make the most of this chance. Time just flies when you enjoy yourself – and honestly, the on-line courses feel way too short. So use them to the fullest! E-mail your tutor when you don´t understand something, add your classmates on Facebook and share your views (or even meet up?) and – most importantly – dedicate some time to real thinking about the issues raised in class. One day it might pay off… 

In a nutshell: This is probably very subjective, but – based on my experience – the Cambridge on-line course deserves an A and I would heartily recommend this way of learning to every curious student! 🙂

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Posted by on 24 June, 2012 in Uncategorized


Turn It Off

“When you´re feeling certain feels that just don’t feel right/ Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light/ and turn them off/ Like a light switch just go bap!/ Really what´s so hard about that? …”

95% of people have sometimes doubts. (The remaining 5% are liars.) Some of us doubt our past choices, abilities of our co-workers or the national football team (sorry, Holland – but I did cheer for you!), some may doubt their sexual orientation or our chance to save the Euro (hey, Greece & Spain)… but is it really possible to just turn these thoughts off? And should we even try?

Well, for a start, I think that doubts are sometimes vital for success. Think of the times you went over your exam to discover miscalculations (one per page; true story), of the times you double-checked that you had locked the door (you had not), of the times you slowed down on a highway because it was foggy and driving at speed over 130km/h suddenly did not feel like a good idea (it wasn´t, there were many deaths on the roads on that day).

So is having doubts always a blessing? …Hardly. It can freeze you and prevent you from doing things right. How?…


“Oh my what if I fail, what would they think? What if I mess things up really badly? I will get punished or worse, kicked out! What would I do then? My skills are equal to zero, I am a good-for-nothing…”


No. Stop right there. In Czech we have a nice saying that goes something like this: “Do not take your pants off if the river is still far away.” In other words, do not give up before you have started! So while it is probably a good idea to have doubts when deciding what to do; but once you have chosen a plan A, stick to it. (“Never change horses in midstream?”) Then turn those pesky feelings off. Finally – get things done!


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Posted by on 17 June, 2012 in Random


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All Challenges Accepted: Except For the Stupid Ones

Don´t get me wrong. I like challenges. I almost crave them (sort of). I can coach the Czech National Debate Team, study for finals, research people´s motivation – and still find enough time for all those guilty pleasures we all have. However, I think that even challenges have their limits – and today I would like to tell you about one extreme challenge and why I think this challenge should not had been accepted.

A friend of mine has decided to try an internship in a consultancy in sunny (yet broke) Greece. What´s so “extreme” about that? Well, the fact that he suffers from sun allergy.

When he noticed my flabbergasted look, he said that – among other things – his motivation to pick Greece was “to find out how much is he willing to suffer in order to find a good job”.

So I paused and thought: I can understand someone´s willingness to spend the whole summer working (that, after all, is also a sort of a sacrifice); I can understand that someone wants to try an (either physically or mentally) challenging internship to test one´s limits; I can even understand if someone decides not to have holidays at all and study all summer; but I honestly do not understand why would anyone consciously risk his/her health, being 100% sure that no matter what precautions he/she takes, there surely will be some harms.

To rephrase that: I think it is OK to pursue something potentially dangerous if you can minimize (or avoid) most of the risks (e.g. relieve stress by doing sports), but I don´t see the point of harming yourself by doing things that are bound to hurt no matter what.

And then I paused for the second time: Really, that´s a good question. How much are people willing to suffer for the sake of a glamorous job? … Well, to be investigated. My list of unresolved behavioral questions gets longer every day…

But before I do look into that question, I urge you, dear Readers: Think twice before accepting challenges. Even if you yourself don´t care about being hurt – chances are, there are probably people out there who would hate to see you on the edge of breaking down.

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Posted by on 10 June, 2012 in Random


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Freshman Year: Few Quotes to Say Goodbye

Done. Finished. It´s gone. Now let the summer holidays begin! …Wait a second. Let´s have a couple of good laughs first. Dear Readers, let me present the funniest/most profound quotes (by professors) of the year. Additionally, I am sharing some of the best high school quotes too – “in loving memory”. Enjoy!


– “A lottery is a tax on people who do not understand probability theory.” /Statistics/

– “I know it´s Monday after the holidays – but you look terrible.” /Macroeconomics/

– “It´s [= the correct answer is] C. …See?” /Microeconomics/

– “If you split it into more halves…” /Mathematics/ !

– “Republican voters are not completely stupid…” /Microeconomics/

– “Statistics is like wine drinking. The more flavours you taste, the more you like it.” /Statistics/

– “We will have a polluting activity.” /Microeconomics/

– “I call this price discrimination Dracula style.” /Microeconomics/

High school:

– “Buying just one beer wouldn´t make sense.” /German language/

– “No-fly zone. Yeah: Flies – forbidden!” /English language/

– “My husband always complains about domestic violence. Supposedly I behave like a teacher.” /Social sciences/

– Okay. Here´s a riddle: It´s yellow, extremely dangerous and goes up and down all the time. What is it? … A chicken with a grenade in a lift.” /Czech language/

– “Have you been to England?” – (student:) “No, I just saw some pictures.” – “Yeah, I was there too…” /Geography/

–  “He was chopping vegetable, when he got an electric shock…” /English language/

– “Look! I will make a mistake!” /Physics/

– (student admires socks with cows:) “Wow! Jesus!” – “Cows. Jesus looks completely different.” /English language/

PS: Would you like to share some funny moments from your school? Please comment below! 🙂

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Posted by on 3 June, 2012 in Education


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