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Comment Re:The old college system is not cut out for today (Score 3, Interesting) 372

A professor cannot teach 300,000 people.

Of course not. But 300,000 people can watch one professor's lecture. Teaching is more than just lecturing, but by delivering the lecture to a mass audience, you can divert a lot of resources into other aspects of teaching.

That's nothing more than a video presentation, which no more replaces an actual teacher than a book is a substitute for a class.

So do you also think we shouldn't use books?

What you're describing isn't bringing technology to school. It's just using technology to send information.

No it isn't. You should visit a modern "flipped" classroom. The students watch the lectures online at home, and do the "homework" at school. The teachers don't lecture, they teach , mostly one-on-one with any student that is having problems. By using mass lectures, you are not commoditizing education, you are freeing up resources so that you can customize it for each student.

Comment Re:small sample population? (Score 1) 372

They only interviewed 42 faculty members for this study? Seems like too small of a sample to come to any kind of conclusion.

It is also a very biased sample. Asking professors what they think about instructional technology is sort of like asking Luddites what they think of looms. It would make more sense to ask the students.

Comment Re:The old college system is not cut out for today (Score -1, Redundant) 372

Why? What do "today's tech/IT settings" bring to the table that is of actual benefit to the learning environment?

Lower costs and better instruction. By using technology, a professor can teach to 300,000 instead of thirty. So instead of having 10,000 mediocre professors each teaching to 30 students, you can have the single very best professor teach to them all.

Comment Re:research universities = only about research (Score 0) 372


Along with the video, provide a web forum where the students can discuss the presentation, ask/answer questions, collaborate on homework problems, etc. That is a much better interaction than is available in most classrooms. The professor can read the forum, and use the feedback to improve the lecture video for the next semester.

Comment Re:No, it shouldn't (Score 1) 307

storming of Bastille ... resulted in creation of modern democracy

America was already a democracy when the Bastille was stormed. It would make more sense for the French to celebrate July 4th.

modern Western power structures

Is that a good thing?

and Napoleon Code.

Except for Louisiana, American law isn't based on the Napoleonic Code, and Louisiana has long been the worst governed and most corrupt state in the country.

Comment Re:Why not ... (Score 1) 307

And yes, growing up in Texas, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo

Nitpick: Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican holiday. It commemorates a rather obscure event in Mexico's history, and most Mexicans do not celebrate it, and have probably never even heard of it. It is celebrated in the USA much more so than in Mexico, and is really more of an American "Chicano Pride" holiday than a Mexican one.

Comment Re:It's because of the police abuse (Score 2, Funny) 188

Just because wherever you live isn't as bad as Egypt doesnt' mean critique isn't warranted.

Critique is always warranted, because improvement is always possible. But it is important to keep some perspective. It is silly to compare any modern western democracy to the Nazi's, to call every transgression an "historic low." As an America, I have to honestly admit that Things are Pretty Okay.

Comment Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (Score 1) 513

Advertising is a 25% hidden sales tax on everything

Advertising in the US is about 2% of GDP. In most other OECD countries it is even lower. In developing countries it is generally less than 1%. Would care to explain where you got the "25%" figure?

I hope to see it extinct soon and live 25% wealthier.

The money spent on advertising would only turn into "wealth" if you consider the things it supports (newspapers, sports, radio/TV broadcasts, reporters, free email, search engines, etc.) to be worthless.

Comment Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (Score 1) 513

No one said anything about Google not being able to use advertising to offset the cost of providing a free service.

Please learn to read. The GPP said exactly that.

What the grown ups are talking about is Google's need to scan your email to create targeted ads.

Do you understand how computers work? Google needs to read your email in order to generate the webpage that displays it. If you don't want Google to read your email, then don't use their service . Google is providing a free service, and they are quite open about why they offer it and what the conditions are. So it is indeed childish to whine about it, especially since there are plenty of alternatives where you can pay the cost directly in cash.

Comment Re:Ok (Score 2) 365

Why all the hate for the first group that could actually put all the pieces together and make it work?

No one here hates them for "doing it," but some hate them for "patenting it." I don't even hate them for that. I don't hate Amazon at all. Amazon is just doing what any big company in a similar situation would do: try to patent everything and see what goes through. My "hate" is reserved for the USPTO. They supposed to be acting in the interest of the citizens. By allowing garbage patents like this, they are stifling competition and making our economy less efficient.

Comment Re:It's official (Score 4, Interesting) 365

Apparently, you can take any patent in the database, copy-pasta in a word processing document, go to the end of the document and add these characters:


And you have a new patent, ready for filing.

In a 2007 ruling the Supreme Court said these sorts of "combination patents" are not valid. So I can't see how the USPTO can justify continuing to issue them.

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