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Comment: Re:It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 1) 98

by students (#46799745) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

If you have trouble paying attention to lectures and learning from it, have you considered that, perhaps, you shouldn't be in college to begin with?

This is a discriminatory attitude. Disadvantaged students (for example, those from poor families) are less able to cope with ineffective teaching. Based on controlled experiments, good teaching benefits all students, but it has a bigger benefits for those who used to be considered "not college material".

You addressed your comments to me personally. Notice my user ID number. It has been some years since I passed all my lecture classes.

Comment: Re:It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 1) 98

by students (#46799665) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

Based on physiological evidence, normal attention span is only a few minutes. I am not aware of any studies of how attention span is changing, but I doubt it is changing much. Great teachers of the past were great compared to their peers, not compared to modern techniques. And many of them did not lecture.

Comment: It is not the timelyness, it is the format. (Score 4, Insightful) 98

by students (#46792631) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

Lecturing is an ineffective way to teach because most people cannot pay attention to and retain a traditional lecture. Someone who has been giving the same lecture for 20 years was teaching sub-optimally 20 years ago and has not improved. You are correct that they may not have gotten worse either.

Comment: Also a big problem in science labs. (Score 1) 79

by students (#46607263) Attached to: Used IT Equipment Can Be Worth a Fortune (Video)

Suppose a university scientist wins a grant to buy a million dollar instrument. Thirty years later, the scientist dies. Nobody knows what the instrument is anymore, or what it is worth. University policy does not allow the sale of excess property. Nobody knows what restrictions were placed on the sale of the equipment in the grant award. Nobody wants to pay money to figure any of these things out. So, the equipment is either ignored or landfilled.

In my experience this happens often.

Comment: Amazon can't do it either. (Score 1) 267

by students (#45041105) Attached to: What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov

The solution so far has been to put people into a queue, something that would get a site like Amazon laughed out of the marketplace. "I'm sorry, we're a little busy right now, try shopping later?!!"

This was a strange comparison. Amazon often loads very slow for me, and pages fail to load completely on a regular basis.

irs.gov used to be a good example of a fast site. It is not as fast as it used to be, but still about 3x faster than Amazon, probably due to a static design with few images.

Comment: This is awesome and will change peoples' lives. (Score 2) 214

by students (#44604333) Attached to: How One Programmer Is Coding Faster By Voice Than Keyboard

I am seeing lots of negative and off topic comments, many of which show people only watched part of the video. I thought it was totally amazing. When I was a teenager I had to change the course of my career away from computational science towards experimental science because of RSI-like problems. If I had his tools when I was 14 and had known I needed to use them, my career would be totally different and possibly much better since my programming talents would actually have been used.

Today, I can't really afford to spend several months learning to replicate his work, but hopefully soon it will be easier to learn. This will never be for everyone - some people can't use modal programs - and maybe it will never work in every context (Can it talk to my 20 year old Tektronix oscilloscope over GPIB?) but the video showed it can work. I hope good documentation, native linux support, and support for latex will be forthcoming so it can help me do science.

Comment: Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 2) 1215

by students (#43950153) Attached to: What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

Yeah, in science, it's usually rare to have serious development done on Windows, except for the occasional data acquisition station or for some control computer attached to a commercial lab apparatus.

Unfortunately windows based data acquisition stations with proprietary software for commercial lab apparatus are far from rare.

Every lab apparatus I have used that had computer control was windows (or MS-DOS, on a really bad day) only, except the most expensive one. The $10 million JEOL electron beam lithography system ran a very old Solaris.

I just replaced my MS-DOS based instrument. It had a proprietary RISC co-processor that could not talk to any modern computer.

Comment: Re:depends where you are. (Score 1) 273

That works in many parts of American universities too (though usually not potentially hazardous locations such as machine shops).

In fact, I was recently needed a new faculty ID (not saying where). It turns out you can just walk in and get one of those too. They only asked for my name.

Small is beautiful.

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