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Original author: 
Akshat Rathi

U Penn

In recent years, massive open online courses (MOOCs), through the likes of Coursera, have attracted hundreds of thousands of students from across the world. Many teachers are using a "flipped" classroom model, where students take lectures through videos at their convenience and spend the time in class delving into issues they don't understand.

But are they really improving learning? The evidence is not fully convincing. A 2010 meta-analysis of the literature on online teaching by the US Department of Education revealed that there are only "modest benefits" to online learning compared to classroom learning, but more rigorous studies were needed. After all, ease of access to the learning material comes with a bundle of distractions only a single click away. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that students suffer from attention lapses when learning through videos.

Given those findings, an improvement in students' attentiveness is bound to pay significant dividends. To that end, Karl Szpunar, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, might have a rather simple solution to rein in distractions, one that focuses attention in real-world classrooms: intersperse pop quizzes into the online lectures.

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lurkerbelow is the only developer at his company writing unit tests. Management, developers, everyone says they want to write unit tests, but nobody does. To bring developers into line, lurkerbelow has introduced pre-commit code review (Gerrit) and continuous integration (Jenkins). Not working. "How do I motivate my fellow coworkers to write unit tests?" he asks.

Practical deomonstrations help

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Mag20 wants to implement automated testing at his company. Problem is, he's tried several times before, but has failed every time. "Everyone gets excited for the first month or two," he writes. "Then, several months in, people simply stop doing it." But now seems like the right time to try bringing automated testing back to the workplace—Mag20's team of 20 experienced developers are about to embark on a big new project.

How can he finally introduce automated testing at his company?

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