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Comment: Two good business models (Score 1) 33

by blanchae (#46309787) Attached to: Louis Suarez-Potts Talks About Making Money with FOSS (Video)

I like the business model that Schmooze/FreePBX has. It provides a free Linux distribution based on the Asterisk private branch exchange (PBX) VoIP telephony switch. It does about 80% of what a large company would want and pretty much what a SOHO would need. They have paid support for those that are serious about providing a telephony solution for a business.

The part that I really like is that in the pull-down menus, they have options for the paid modules which are disabled but instead are links to the specs with instructions to purchase. This is nice because you don't have to hunt all over the place to find a particular compatible module and you can easily see what is available. This form of advertising works for both Schmooze/FreePBX and the user.

They also provide weekly emails that indicate new features, howto articles and other tidbits.

Another good example is ClearOS and their "marketplace". ClearOS is a headless CentOS server that you can load up with whatever services that you need (web server, email, ftp, etc..) They have a free community edition and an enterprise edition. The basic modules are free and there are paid subscription modules. Some are very inexpensive like Zarafa - $10. You can't beat that! And of course you can pay for support.

Comment: Dead in 60 seconds? (Score 1) 174

by blanchae (#45686901) Attached to: Cobalt-60, and Lessons From a Mexican Theft

Everyone is claiming that if you were within 3 feet of the Cobalt-60, you would be dead within 30 seconds or within an hour. How come the guys who stole the Cobalt-60 and opened the box are still alive? Lots of doom and gloom but the thieves are still alive days after and none appear in grave danger.

Comment: The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (Score 1) 465

If you are ever asked to take a lie detector test then you should read this free pdf book: The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. It will answer all of your questions about the game that is played. Lie detectors can not read your mind and cannot tell the truth from lies.

Comment: Asked to resign???? (Score 1) 124

by blanchae (#44403557) Attached to: US Academy President Caught Embellishing Resume, Will Resign

WTF is with that? If you lie on your resume, you are terminated immediately and walked out the door. What a bunch of two faced hypocrites. When's the last time that any of you were asked to resign because you screwed up? There are rules for the 99% and then the 1% get politely wrist slapped - don't do that again and here's your pension package. This is what's wrong with business today. The top 1% can do anything they want without repercussions while the 99% pay.

Comment: Re:Sorry, I'm to blame.... (Score 2) 215

by blanchae (#42962091) Attached to: The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

Forgot to mention one last thing: assimilation of information. One thing that many educators fail to realize is that it takes time to assimilate information. People require time to learn. In between learning, they need to relax and think about the subject. Sometimes, it just means not even thinking about it for a while. They may need a couple of days, just to let it all sink in.

A typical course is presented over a period of months, a couple of days per week and only a couple of hours per day. It gives you time to assimilate the information. Crash courses typically fail because they cram the same information in the same number of hours but all at once. It becomes overwhelming!

Comment: Sorry, I'm to blame.... (Score 1) 215

by blanchae (#42962003) Attached to: The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

I pioneered online learning back in 1994 with the Internet. After a year of struggling with online learning with post secondary learners and the problems that they faced, I came quickly to the conclusion that nothing beats face to face learning. I wrote up a multipage report on the problems and presented it to the Dean of our department. The report was ignored, shelved and never read. The attitude was that I must of been doing something wrong and that they could do it better.

Almost 20 years later, the same problems are occuring for online learning, it focuses on one predominat learning style: seeing. There are 4 basic learning styles: seeing, hearing, doing and thinking. The "seeing" learning style is characterized by a person who can pickup a book or read a webpage and gather knowledge in that manner. A "hearing" oriented learning, learns by listening. They are characterized by being able to follow verbal instructions or directions easily: "go two blocks North, turn left, go 4 blocks then turn right next to the blue garbage bin, etc..".
The "doing" learning style, learns by doing the work, this is the best way to learn. Our institute is heavily loaded with lab work, up to 50% of classroom time is spent in the lab. Another way to re-inforce doing is by taking notes, either through pen and paper or laptop. The last learning style is "thinking". A person who is predominantly a thinker will have to "think" about what was said or presented to him in order to understand. They "go away" for a little while to assimilate the information then return back to the conversation. A typical reaction from a thinker is that they will briefly look away when you tell them something new.
Nobody has just one learning style, we have combinations of all 4 and are predominate with one or two.

If I gave a University theatre style lecture, no interaction with the students, straight power point presentations with powerpoint handouts already given out, the students will remember about 10-15% after 3 days. If it was a smaller class size of 30 students or less, interactive questions between the students and instructors, note taking, then after 3 days, the students will remember about 30%. If it was a lab with hands on exercises and interaction, the students will remember about 80% after 3 days.

Online learning fails by not delivering multiple learning styles and by missing the teacher/student interaction. It falls somewhere in the University large theatre learning results - that's why the high failure rate. Often, it takes a person to explain how things work. I found that the majority of students were particularly hesistant to use online tools (email, forums, blogs, twitter, 1-800 numbers) to contact the instructor to ask questions when things didn't make sense. They preferred to struggle "days" trying to figure it out until they could meet face to face.

The best learning is obviously "to do", my preference is to have no theory classes, just lab classes and pass on the information on a need to know basis. It's time to do this lab, this is what you need to know to do this. In the past, I've found that no matter how many times, you talk about a particular topic: in the classroom, online, at the beginning of a lab, it will be forgotten until the time is right and the student is ready for the information. In one course, I used to repeat the same explanation to each student in the lab when they needed to know it. I would repeat the exact same 5 minute explanation over 100 times a week. The students appreciated the one on one time and I got really good at explaining it! LOL.

The problem with having "just lab" classes, is that it flies in the face of everything that Universities teach about learning. The mantra is present the material, give an example, students practice the material and then assess the students. That is the "best practice" (I hate that phrase!) teaching method. In my labs, I don't feel that it is right to be assessed on the first time that you attempt something. Where's the learning in that? How about the first time, you attempt to drive a car, you have to take the driver's exam? In my labs, you do the lab until it is right, make as many errors as you want, no sign-off until it works to my satisfaction and the student shows an understaning of the lab. Then the student is assessed.
The other issue is that labs cost money. Small lab/class sizes are expensive compared to large theatres on a cost per student basis. Large theatre size classes are money makers.

Comment: Snake in the grass! Phoney propaganda.. (Score 1) 260

by blanchae (#42793959) Attached to: Iran Unveils Its Own Stealth Fighter Jet, the Qaher F-313

So Iran is posting lots of photoshopped, obvious false boasting of their miltary might. The US is thinking what a bunch of farmers, we're going to walk all over them. In reality, Iran probably has some pretty top secret shit hidden away, waiting for the right time (war time) to jump out and bite ya. Iran is lulling the enemy into thinking they are inept and you guys are falling for it. What military strategist would annouce to the world that they have a stealth fighter? The US had their stealth fighter for something like 20 years before the general public heard about it during the war with Iraq. Think about it. There's a lot of highly educated people in Iran

Comment: Re:Grade inflation (Score 1) 264

by blanchae (#42772709) Attached to: Dozens Suspended In Harvard University Cheat Scandal

I agree whole heartedly. When I went to college and to a post secondary institute, you needed 90%+ to get an A, 80-89% got you a B. Now in the institute, I work at,
an 80% will get you an A-, then 85% gets you an A and 90%+ gets you an A+. This marking scheme makes it almost impossible to get a poor grade.

Comment: What were the exam instructions/restrictions? (Score 1) 264

by blanchae (#42772635) Attached to: Dozens Suspended In Harvard University Cheat Scandal

What were the instructions to the students taking the exam? What restrictions or instructions?

I'm a teacher in a post secondary institute and all of my quizzes are take-home 'do it at your own time" within a specificed time frame using whatever resources you can find. It allows me to create exams that test more than just rote memorization and I can ask higher level questions that require an understanding of the problem. If you can't understand the question then you won't even know what to google for. I also expect that there will be collaboration between students. This is real life testing, in the real world (job/career), you are asked to solve problems with whatever resources are available to you: google, library, references, friends, colleagues, etc..

There is an added bonus, in that if you don't know the answer, you have the opportunity to research and learn about it. In my assessments, you are assessed on your ability to come up with solution and you have the opportunity to learn while you are doing it.

The final exam is open book, open computer, randomized questions, randomized answers, online with a limit of 3 questions per page in a monitored environment - no friends or colleagues to help you. The exams typically span about 20 pages which makes collaboration very difficult in the limited time frame. The final exam mark is the real indication of your abilities.

Open book exams are always harder than closed book. I've found that the struggling students will do just as poorly in an open book exam as a closed book exam. They figure that all they have to do is look it up in their notes or text. Unfortunately, it is usually the first time they crack open the text and the first time they realize that they were too busy checking facebook, playing world of warcraft, instagramming, etc. to take good notes.

On the lab side, you receive 0% for doing the actual lab work. It triggers an online quiz that tests your understanding of the lab and the lab results. The lab quiz is worth 100% of the lab work. I've found that giving marks for the actual lab work artificially raises the student's grade, it becomes a mark for attendance. I feel that it separates the learning (lab work) from the assessment. I also feel that it is not fair to evaluate someone's ability on the first time that they attempt a procedure or lab. Do the lab, do it right then get graded on how well you understand what happened.

Comment: Re:It's not just money (Score 3, Interesting) 233

by blanchae (#42384277) Attached to: China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years
They are spending more than twice now if we compare wages. Their $200 billion gets a lot more R&D then the States $400 billion. There is such an inequality in wages in the order of 10 to 1, that I would guess that they are actually getting the equivalent of $2 Trillion in State's R&D.

Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski

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