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Website Lets You Bet On Your Grades

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the 3:1-degrees dept.

Education 204

crimeandpunishment writes "College students who expect to get good grades can get a good payoff, if they're willing to put their money where their mouse is. A website is taking wagers on grades from students at 36 American colleges. Students have to register, upload their schedule, and give the site access to official school records. The site, called Ultrinsic, then calculates odds and the students decide whether to place their bets. Ultrinsic's CEO Steven Woldf insists it's not online gambling, since these wagers involve skill. He says 'The students have 100 percent control over it, over how they do. Other people's stuff you bet on — your own stuff you invest in.'"

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204 comments

Skill? (4, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223432)

When the course list says, "Staff" instead of a professor, luck factors in heavily here.

Re:Skill? (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223508)

Rob Malda's report card:

CS21: Programming Basics: F
EN05: Remedial English Spelling and Grammar: F
HS100: Homosexual Studies: Blowjob Lab: A
HS102: Homosexual Studies: Rimjob Lab: A
HS200: Homosexual Studies: Advanced Fisting Lab: A

Re:Skill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223980)

You're not wrong about that. He was my lab partner is Rimjob Lab. To be honest it felt more like an A+.

Re:Skill? (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223718)

Only to those who don't know how to play the grades game. You go to school to learn, so make sure you main focus is on that, but don't forget to play the grades game, too.

Re:Skill? (2, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223932)

You go to school to buy a piece of paper to impress employers. Learning plays no factor in so-called modern education.

Re:Skill? (5, Insightful)

ergrthjuyt (1856764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223972)

As someone who makes hiring decisions and interviews prospects, I'm going to call bullshit. There is still real value in education. I won't hire people who think they're hot shit but haven't gone to college to get the ignorance schooled out of them.

Before I went to college for computer science, I knew everything. Then I learned otherwise. Now I owe my success to the skills I gained in college. You can't prove that with a piece of paper like a diploma, but there's some pretty damn good correlation, and I'll keep playing the odds with my hiring decisions, but thanks.

Are large numbers of stupid people graduating who don't deserve their degrees? Yes. Has higher education, to some degree, become commoditized and devalued?

Yes, but it does not follow that no learning occurs at universities.

some people don't have the cash for degrees or don (3, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224192)

some people don't have the cash for degrees or don't want the loans.

how about people who went to tech schools / on line?

room and board is like $8000-$10000 a year now at some places.

so what about people who did the job and did not go to big 4 year school? Why should they get passed over for a JOB?

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224566)

He said nothing about what school you went to or how you got your degree. I can get a BS in many things from respectable online schools that are just as legit as actually being on campus. The only things that are sometimes hard to do are practical application but many programs offer ways to do that too. The Vet Tech school my wife is looking at lets her do her practicals at many local or at least relatively local practicing vets.

But they got passed over because they obvious either are unqualified or they obviously do not have the self drive to get that "meaningless" piece of paper that is worth so much money (poor decision making skills). And before you play the affordability game, it is very easy to work your way through school if you are willing to go to a local community college and then a state school.

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (1)

ergrthjuyt (1856764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224612)

+1. I've met people in their 30s still working on their degrees who were excellent programmers, and people fresh out of tech school who couldn't tell a compiler from their ass. It's not about paying tribute, its about showing you're not stuck up enough to actually shut up and try to learn something.

A small minority can also learn everything they need to on the job, but they'd have to be exceptionally driven, humble, and intelligent to be able to reach their full potential that way.

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (2, Interesting)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224776)

Around 1997 a friend asked me to install Windows95 on his girlfriend's computer for her. I thought this was an odd request, since she had graduated from Computer Science at the University of Western Ontario that week...
I thought that was nuts. And then during the Y2K upgrade boom, I was asked to install a bunch of new machines for 15 (newly graduated, but from where I don't know) programmers hired to work at a government office. I was asked to set up the development environment as well because - wait for it - none of them knew how to install any of the tools. None of them! WTF?!
It boggled my mind that people who have no idea how to use a computer were getting degrees in computer science.

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (4, Insightful)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224852)

Computer Science:

It is not what you think it is. They were learning algorithms and theory, mathematics and data structures.

You were doing MIS based things.

What if they were using IRIX or Solaris? Would you have been at home on those systems?

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224902)

Computer Science is now more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224960)

Typical problem of universities (I've also studied at a university myself): they teach how/why stuff works from a highly theoretical pov, not how it is used in practice. This gives a great basis for deeper understanding but most practical things are not learned in university but in real life.

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224766)

You make awfully good points but with awfully bad grammar. I'm guessing you are one of the people that didn't want the loans, went to a tech school, or otherwise didn't get an education and was passed over for a job.

The parent had a point, and you completely missed it because you don't know what you don't know... and it showed in your post.

Re:some people don't have the cash for degrees or (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224788)

Meanwhile over here in Sweden higher education is still free and you get some money to get by with + loan opportunities.

Loans or not are up to you, it may be stupid to take the courses if you 1) won't make any money while taking them, 2) have to loan a bunch of money and 3) don't think the advantage of having taken them will render the former two non-issues.

Re:Skill? (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224216)

You go to school to buy a piece of paper to impress employers. Learning plays no factor in so-called modern education.

As someone who makes hiring decisions and interviews prospects, I'm going to call bullshit. There is still real value in education. I won't hire people who think they're hot shit but haven't gone to college to get the ignorance schooled out of them.

As someone who makes hiring decisions, you've proven the OPs point.

Re:Skill? (1)

ergrthjuyt (1856764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224554)

So which is it, did I prove that no employer evaluates the merits of their candidates and only cares if they have a degree, or that learning does not happen at institutions of higher education in 2 paragraphs?

Yeah...I don't think you know what you're talking about.

Re:Skill? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224950)

You've proven that you're impressed by a piece of paper. It is interesting that your statement assumes someone is not ignorant simply because they've been to college, and consider anyone who hasn't been somehow intrinsically less qualified. Formal schooling is hardly the only avenue of learning. Perhaps if your interviewing process was better you could tell who was qualified and who wasn't without preconceptions based on their claims to education.

Re:Skill? (1, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224660)

+5 insightful for a complete lack of reading comprehension skills? Neato.

Re:Skill? (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224580)

I went into college knowing a lot, and also knowing that there was more out there I didn't know. During college, I increased the first quantity.

The most important skills I learned, in order:

  1. Proper (or even merely acceptable) use of formal language can impress people.
  2. Impressing people is an easy way to cut through bureaucracy and get a face-to-face talk with the people making decisions.
  3. Those people are hidden at all levels of the bureaucracy.

I suppose I also learned how to win a programming contest. That accomplishment, more or less by itself, got me my last job interview.

Re:Skill? (2, Interesting)

chaboud (231590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224686)

I think what he's saying (or at least what I'm saying now) is that you don't necessarily have to have met a very high standard to receive a degree from a number of programs. Similarly, those without degrees can, in fact, be hot shit.

The absolute best and brightest programmers I've worked with have been decorated as follows:

- GED, dropped out of college.
- Almost finished college.
- BS Math.
- BA Music.
- PhD Econ, PhD Physics.

That's from brightest down. That's right, the most rock-star coder (and Director/VP/CTO) that I've worked with was a double drop-out. The standard deviation, in my experience, is pretty large. You'll note that there are no CS, EE, or ECE folks on that list (but a few on my top 10). The programmers that I've seen truly excel after CS programs were the sort that I think would have been pretty darn good with or without the formal education.

Re:Skill? (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224688)

I went to college. I don't think it was ignorance you know. Considering I learned almost nothing from the courses, and books I had already read in middle school covering every topic taught in college and then many more. All of the MSDN Mag articles I had read. All of the code I had read of open source projects and independent papers published by prominent mathematicians and computer scientists on new ideas. All of the software I had reverse engineered. Perhaps it was because I had been coding for longer than some of my professors. Perhaps it was because I viewed CS as a hobby I've always loved and have always wanted to know more. I thought I was "hot shit" when I went into college. It didn't change any getting a degree, as most of the professors didn't know as much practically about the subjects as I did, having read the actual source of projects that implemented the vaporous concepts they were alluding to. Having read the actual papers by the originators of many of the ideas they held so grand. I'm not really sure. But in reality, I'm still a nobody. It wasn't ignorance. It was arrogance, ignorance's big nasty brother. I'm still arrogant but it doesn't matter so much. Would you prefer an arrogant prick that could get his work done with phenomenal pace and innovate on the spot or an ignorant kid who got a CS degree because he thought it'd get him a good job and.. he liked computers anyway so he figured it'd be cool? I just don't feel like your assumption that "going to college" somehow ends with someone having ignorance schooled of them has any merit. From my experience there are two kinds of computer science students: those who already knew just about everything they were going to learn, and those who just jumped into it. Not to say the latter CAN'T be great computer scientists, it's just a lot more uncommon.

Re:Skill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224834)

You are the kind of person I'd pass by in hiring and here is why. You aren't the hacker- you aren't the guy who is going to get shit done. You're the guy who went to school and actually learned something. But probably got fed shit. You thought you knew something and found out that you didn't. Now you thought you learned something. Well, maybe you did for you. But that's why I know there are better candidates than you. What you should have discovered is that the morons that teach are just that and lost all respect for the educational system. Then gone on to find out what the people applying for jobs ACTUALLY know and disregard the degrees altogether or put very little value in them if any. Whether someone thinks they are "hot shit" or not is irrelevant and in my experience the people who actually know shit aren't the degree holders. The real hackers tend to not have acquired degrees surprisingly. And yea- this is coming from a degree holder. I went through what was suppose to be a very good computer science program, and I admit they graduated very few people of I who entered the program, but I went in with allot of knowledge and came out feeling like wtf with many if not most of professor as. Did they really issue him a doctorate? I had professors who thesis were in computer security for instance and couldn't pass security 101. At least that was my feeling on it. I want to hire the hacker, I want to hire the person who enjoys learning, who is going figure out the systems, do it and get me the most out of the systems in place. Be it I'm hiring them to paint my bathroom, write a program, or fix my computer. The hacker will enjoy figuring out the system. Everybody else will just rely on the system in place to do the learning/work. The hacker will find, develop, or tweak the system to be the most efficient system possible and enjoy it.

Re:Skill? (4, Insightful)

euphemistic (1850880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224002)

Speak for yourself. Some of us actually took a lot of pleasure in getting a higher education and used it as a step to further self-development rather than just to land a higher-paying job. That part was just gravy. Having been in "the real world" of cubicles for a while now, I'm looking more and more forward to enrolling into a post-grad degree.

But this is from the perspective of somebody who went into University pursuing interests in the first place. And I'm glad I did. Maybe you'd have been happier if you did the same thing.

Re:Skill? (2, Informative)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224194)

I... I'm gonna call bullshit. Depending on your institution, teacher, and personal disposition, you may or may not learn the curriculum. But that's still different than learning nothing. If nothing else, you need to learn how to give the professor what he or she wants to see. That involves reading people. Some profs like sycophants, some like contrarians, some like big words being used, some value class participation. You need to learn how to give people what they want, how they want it, and in how obvious a manner they want it.

Re:Skill? (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224226)

You go to school to buy a piece of paper to impress employers. Learning plays no factor in so-called modern education.

I assume you majored in popsicle stick collection, then. In the sciences, a college education is absolutely necessary and conveys an enormous body of information. Looking at recent hires in my organization, GPA and the number of relevant courses completed correlates quite well with job performance. I'm confident that's due to a causative mechanism. Why hire people who'd need a year of background training before they can understand the job-specific training, especially when you don't know whether they'll be able to learn the subject at all? A good college record shows that the student can learn new things and usually carries with it a vast body of useful knowledge that doesn't need to be retaught.

Re:Skill? (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224260)

You go to school to buy a piece of paper to impress employers. Learning plays no factor in so-called modern education.

I'm sorry your college career sucked so much. What a waste of time.

People who want to learn in college have no problem doing so. If you don't get anything from it, it's because you suck as much as anything else. Seriously, if you're going to sit through hours of a biology class or a math class, why not take the time to learn something? If you sit there ignoring the professor and surfing facebook that's your own stupid fault.

Re:Skill? (4, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224614)

Just because you dropped out of college doesn't mean that it's worthless.

I'm not saying it's absolutely crucial for everyone to attend college, but it's mandatory for certain professions. For example, a mechanical engineer will have to know calculus, physics, and a lot of design principals. Are you seriously suggesting that this can be taught on the job? If so, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. There is a lot of stuff that you need to know before you can actually do certain jobs, just because you don't have one of these jobs doesn't mean no one else does either.

I find that most people that rail against college are one of two types of people:
1. People that dropped out of college because they weren't smart enough or because they couldn't manage their time properly.
2. People with a job that doesn't require any college education.

The first type of person is just bitter that they couldn't handle it, the second type of person is too short sighted to see that there are jobs that require more book learning than theirs. They assume that because they learned how to wire a house on the job that an engineer can learn how to build a bridge on the job.

Re:Skill? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224752)

Or when the professor takes a leave of abscence, the course is a "deversity" requirement, and the new surprise instructor is an admitted feminist who talks openly about her personal problems and hates young men. Yes, this happened to me, and I recieved a 17 (as in 17%) on the first exam of the semester, which was short-answer and essay based. I expected a B or a C, as it was not my best subject, but I was a good student. Due to numerous complaints, the part-time instructor was not asked to return. My money would have been lost if I had wagered on my grade, since I withdrew from the class before being cornered into an unfairly poor grade. Clearly there are more factors involved than just studying hard, so this is definitely gambling, unless the grading is 100% objective, which is rarely the case, especially with more advanced coursework.

I bet... (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223434)

...this will go down in flames.

Re:I bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223918)

The main problem in most american university is already the stupid competition promoted by the way grades and honors are discerned. Everyone know stories about a student giving false informations to a "friend" that might be in his way to be the first, when these people work in their field after getting their degree and honors they are lazy and don't make much effort except to get a promotion, and again they will make anything they can to break everyone else chances.

Good idea or bad idea... (2, Interesting)

euphemistic (1850880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223436)

On one hand this feels wrong, on the other I think I would have got a motivation boost back in university if this were around then. I also kind of like the idea for potentially rewarding students for pushing themselves academically. I'm torn.

Re:Good idea or bad idea... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223888)

I'm more torn as to the idea that I make the "safe" bet that I get a B and then I get an A. If this means I 'lose' the bet, what'll I do?

If I know that I'll be getting an A, but if I bomb my final I'll get a B BUT also gain $200, I might bomb my final for the strict purpose of winning the bet. This is due to the fact that immediate pleasure, ie $200 right at the end, is far more desirable by most people then some ambiguous future benefit due to having an A over a B.

Hopefully, the way the system works is that bets are minimum levels of necessity to pass and, if you surpass your bet, you get a smaller, but still existent bonus payoff. For example, if you bet on a B grade for $200 but got an A, you'd get $220 but if you'd bet straight for an A you'd have gotten $300.

But then, this is fairly greedy too. At very least, getting a grade above your bet should allow you to gain what you'd have had if you'd forcibly lowered your grade for the purpose of winning the bet. Once you get into "bonuses" for going above safe bets, it'll lead to difficulties.

Anyhow, this just means I'd have put into a ton of cake classes for extra money and to fulfill core requirements. Sup Phil 100, Math 100, Eng 100, etc. Little too late for me though.

Re:Good idea or bad idea... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223986)

Anyhow, this just means I'd have put into a ton of cake classes for extra money and to fulfill core requirements. Sup Phil 100, Math 100, Eng 100, etc. Little too late for me though.

If it is worth it to you to pay money for the class that will teach you nothing, just so you can get a good grade and win your bet, well, you will probably lose in the end. I've just enrolled at Regis University, and at $350-$450/credit hour I most certainly would prefer to avoid the remedial classes. $1050 for a class just to win a bet, well I still had to pay for the class and didn't even learn anything.

Re:Good idea or bad idea... (2, Funny)

turkeydance (1266624) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224118)

the NCAA won't allow this. THEY will control all gambling about colleges. (old Outer Limits intro) students actually rewarded with MONEY for doing good while IN college? OMG

Yep, make my school records public. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223448)

Is it proper for a school to, or appear to, allow a third party automated access to student records where this third party is not playing a role in providing education services.

Re:Yep, make my school records public. (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223592)

When the student must explicitly permit it, yeah sure, why not?

Re:Yep, make my school records public. (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223602)

It is proper for the school to allow access to anyone the student permits.

Re:Yep, make my school records public. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223884)

Learned in my "Bachelor of Science - Information System Security" :
Student grades are protected by a set of rules much like medical records are. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
It is a lot like HIPPA but for student privacy. And it does cover grades.

And you should have learned (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224004)

You should have learned in your studies, when you permit external access security is compromised.

Not to say that school has good security, but it creates another potential attack vector.

Re:And you should have learned (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224492)

I agree that permitting external access can compromise your information security, but that is not the question that was asked, so it is not the question that I answered. The question was simply should the school allow access to your personal files. My answer, equivalent to how medical records are allowed to be released if you give signed permission, was that it is proper for schools to release your information IF you have given permission.

In other words... (2, Insightful)

mldi (1598123) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223452)

Who's the best at cheating?

Now cheating pays two-fold.

Re:In other words... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223580)

In other words, access to your student records (which probably includes your SSN and lots of other juicy details about you) is worth a payout a scammer probably won't pay anyway.

Smart (2, Interesting)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223454)

If the "grade insurance" option isn't used much, it looks like a good way to get college kids to work. Direct monetary benefit was one of the reasons my GPA shot up my Junior and Senior year (I had a job that payed me more for better grades).

Re:Smart (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223958)

Oh, I guess that "job" didn't care about proper spelling. FAGGOT.





BTW, it is paid, not "payed". I sure hope your employer is paying you way under what your piece of paper dictates. DUMBASS

Re:Smart (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224154)

My school offered something similar. Students who entered with a high enough average were given a scholarship, based on their admittance average. Anywhere from $1500 to $3500 a year. Tuition was around $4000 a year. You got to keep the scholarship in each successive year, but only if you maintained an 8.0/10.0 average. Even though the monetary incentive was there, most people still didn't get their scholarship in the second year. I think it's because the scale was so screwed up. A+ = 10, A = 9, A- = 8, B+ = 7, B = 6, C+ = 5, C = 4, D + = 3, D = 2, E = 1, F = 0. So, if you got 1 B mark in any of yor courses, to bring your average up to an 8, you would have to get an A in 2 courses, and A+. It was very hard to maintain such an average. A single bad course could through your average way off.

Re:Smart (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224238)

I think it's because the scale was so screwed up. If you got 1 B mark in any of yor courses, to bring your average up to an 8, you would have to get an A in 2 courses

Yes, this is how averages work!

I doubt it was supposed to be 'easy' since there's money on the line. If everyone was supposed to get the scholarship, then it ceases being a scholarship and instead becomes a welfare system.

I'm sure there are a number of people here who would easily have met the 8/10 requirement.

Finally, just what we've all been wishing for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223456)

... an incentive to flunk.

What do mice have to do with anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223466)

Money where your mouse is?

What about *other* students? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223470)

What about betting on other students' grades? OK, we'll call it "investing": how about SHORTING the other students' grades?

I grade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33223486)

samzenpus an F.

Unless the Bell Curve is there (1)

xav_jones (612754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223522)

Assuming you reach your potential then -- if you are graded to a normal distribution -- it comes down to the luck of who is in your class as to where you end up.

Re:Unless the Bell Curve is there (1)

m1ss1ontomars2k4 (1302833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224810)

Your comment does not make sense. The distribution of others' abilities are going to be about the same no matter when you take the class, as the group made up of a (not quite) random sample of the same population.

Professors don't make enough... (1)

PsychoticSpoon (1580137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223528)

I wonder if they would consider giving kickbacks to professors for failing students who've bet on themselves.

Re:Professors don't make enough... (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223860)

I'm more thinking that it would open up for a different kind of fraud,, where the student AND teacher corroborate.
The teacher gives a grade C student fifty grand to bet on gettting an A, then gives the student an A, gets his fifty grand back, and the teacher and student splits the rest.

Re:Professors don't make enough... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224024)

Professors really don't make enough for that plan.

Fine (2, Insightful)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223534)

Bet $1Billion you will get an F, then don't show up for the exam. For that kind of sum I won't bother repeating the year - in fact, I won't bother even going back to school.

Re:Fine (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223604)

I bet $1 Billion you didn't RTFA.

Re:Fine (1)

PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224406)

I bet $1 Billion you didn't RTFA.

This is idle, GP didn't read the summary, probably didn't read the title. I know I didn't.

Re:Fine (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223614)

Right.. because if you go to the track, you can put money that the horse with the highest odds of winning comes in last.

Oh wait.. you can't.

Re:Fine (0, Offtopic)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223800)

Actually, you can... Betfair [betfair.com] and many other betting exchanges allow you to do that. Maybe not accessible for most of you US-ians, but I'm not sure how access has been affected by your archaic anti-gambling stance over there.

Re:Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224350)

I think its more of a stance against online gambling that various levels of government don't have the ability to tax fully.

Re:Fine (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223636)

Bet $1Billion you will get an F, then don't show up for the exam.

Gee, I wonder what they've set the odds on someone betting they'd get an F and then going and getting an F.

If it were me I'd make it 1:1.

On second thought... if you really thought this was clever I'll set the payout odds at 1:10. (That's right 1:10 not 10:1 -- so if you are dumb enough to place that bet I'll keep 90% of your cash if you win, and all of it if you manage to lose.)

Re:Fine (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224012)

Odds are given as win ratios. So 1:10 means you get paid your initial bet plus 10%. I'm assuming you used this service in your probability class.

Re:Fine (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224292)

Odds are given as win ratios. So 1:10 means you get paid your initial bet plus 10%. I'm assuming you used this service in your probability class.

Lol. Quite Right. Not sure where my head was just now. I actually did well in statistics. :)

Re:Fine (1)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224040)

Gee, I wonder what they've set the odds on someone betting they'd get an F and then going and getting an F.

If it were me I'd make it 1:1.

On second thought... if you really thought this was clever I'll set the payout odds at 1:10. (That's right 1:10 not 10:1 -- so if you are dumb enough to place that bet I'll keep 90% of your cash if you win, and all of it if you manage to lose.)

With 1:10 odds, a bet of $100 would yield a $110 payout.

Re:Fine (3, Funny)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223644)

You're absolutely right. I'm sure they didn't think of that massive loophole before putting this site together...

Re:Fine (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223762)

Bet $1Billion you will get an F, then don't show up for the exam. For that kind of sum I won't bother repeating the year - in fact, I won't bother even going back to school.

That was my first thought, until I RTFA. They have capped bets. The limit increases the more you use the system, but I doubt it ever increases to the point where a single statistical anomaly (aka a forced F) would bankrupt them.

Smells bad to me. (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223538)

Ultrinsic's CEO Steven Woldf insists it's not online gambling, since these wagers involve skill. He says 'The students have 100 percent control over it, over how they do. Other people's stuff you bet on — your own stuff you invest in.'"

Real gambling involves skill too. I know an amateur who is very good at poker, and he can make money with it (not alot, but when you regularly come out ahead, that's skill).

This is gambling. Whether or not it's ok is another question, but the fact that this guy says "it's not gambling" makes me suspect the whole outfit. This is a business, and they are playing the odds that students don't hit the mark.

Not to mention the privacy concerns. From ultrinsic

the Site will request that you submit your social security number in order to send you a Form 1099,

Couple that with your entire school records, and you have given this company your identity information. Do you trust them with that? Maybe you should read the terms of service on their signup page [ultrinsic.com]

Academic History Information (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223562)

If this does go forward, how long will it be before we hear about their new Academic History Database, now available to employers for a hefty annual subscription or by a per usage fee.

get your professor involved (1)

rritterson (588983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223564)

Easiest way to make a sure buck ever: just convince the professor to fix your grades and give him/her part of the profit.

You don't even have to be that pernicious-- just ask the professor how many points you'd have to lose to get a sure B or C, and then ensure you get a B or C.

Bet enough and you won't even care what grades you decide to give yourself since you won't have to work.

Get your professor a cut (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223660)

You don't even have to be that pernicious-- just ask the professor how many points you'd have to lose to get a sure B or C, and then ensure you get a B or C.

Pretty sure you are wagering against "B or better" and not "B- to B+", otherwise someone with good grades could wager heavily against getting and F get good odds and 'take a dive' for a huge payout.

Still, profs are human too, and can be bribed like anyone else. I would guess that you are wagering against you total GPA though.

21 (2, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223586)

Game the system. If there are not betting limits, heres what you do.

1. Attend college on list for a few semesters, fail most classes, but not enough to get kicked out.
2. Bet double your accumulated tuition cost, and then overload on your mickey mouse degree classes.
3. No xxxxxxxx step, just straight profit

Re:21 (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223770)

Game the system. If there are not betting limits, heres what you do. 1. Attend college on list for a few semesters, fail most classes, but not enough to get kicked out. 2. Bet double your accumulated tuition cost, and then overload on your mickey mouse degree classes. 3. No xxxxxxxx step, just straight profit

If you RTFA you'd see that they have limits on your bets. You can't bet enough to make it worthwhile to flush your tuition down the drain or to throw a few semesters.

Re:21 (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223876)

Who RTFA? And plus, my "if" justifies my outrageous claim! And sensationalist "ifs" get more mod points here anyways. Just look at the post regarding the wikileaks stuff regarding civilian name disclosure. This statement is being made in in a half joking, half serious manner, btw.

Re:21 (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223808)

"Game the system. If there are not [sic] betting limits, heres [sic] what you do..."

FTA: "The student decides how much to wager up to a cap that starts at $25 and increases with use."

Re:21 (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223892)

"Game the system. If there are not [sic] betting limits, heres [sic] what you do..."

FTA: "The student decides how much to wager up to a cap that starts at $25 and increases with use."

On that note, I still didn't read the full article, but could a progressive system work for this grade casino? Mathematicians?

Re:21 (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224268)

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Technically "not enough information", because the article doesn't specify details on what "increases with use" means. The company does not release details on its exact algorithm. But presumably, like any casino or insurance company, their calculations don't allow for any such thing.

Pithy answer: As I overheard the pizzeria guy say to the bum tonight asking for a free slice, "Yeah sure, sure -- 'cuz I'm in business to just give stuff away."

Re:21 (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224558)

2. Bet double your accumulated tuition cost, and then overload on your mickey mouse degree classes.

Did you miss the part where you have to submit your schedule as well as your transcripts? Unless their system sucks, it'll notice that you're taking mickey mouse crap and give you bad odds so that you won't make much.

good idea but problems are garatneed (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223654)

This will let teachers troll for payoff kickbacks, a good-size scandal is almost certain.

Re:good idea but problems are garatneed (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223794)

This will let teachers troll for payoff kickbacks, a good-size scandal is almost certain.

That was my concern, but it seems like bet limits might not make that worthwhile. It seems like you can only bet a few tens of dollars at first. Even with some of the best odds (100:1 for a 1st year betting that they'll have a 4.0 at the end of four years) you can't stand to win more than 2 or 3 thousand dollars. To ensure winning that bet you'd have to have a bunch of profs in on it. And if you try to ensure a bet where it only takes one prof, the odds are going to be much lower and there won't likely be enough payoff for the two of you to put your necks on the line.

Yeah ... "complete control" ... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223750)

FTFA:

'The students have 100 percent control over it, over how they do. Other people's stuff you bet on -- your own stuff you invest in.'

Of course, if you happen to take a class with a teacher that NEVER gives A's, then it doesn't matter HOW good you are (unless you're the second coming of Dykstra?), and yes, I had a few of those in Undergrad (for required classes).

unlucky (1)

Gerard Ketuma (1876478) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223826)

if you bet, then intuitively there is some factor of luck involved. however, you dont get your grades in school by luck. it is under your control. however i have to say there is luck sometimes, in that some teachers are better than others and your grade depends on who your teacher is. some teachers explain things clearly and can break down any subject to your level of understanding, and others are just there because they have tenure. so there is luck in that respect. but overall it is up to the students.

Will this end up like the mob with blackmail and p (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223948)

Will this end up like the mob with blackmail and people taking a dive?

will the site pay professors to lower grades to get out having to make pay outs?

with the colleges put a stop to this?

36 American colleges (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223962)

grades from students at 36 American colleges.

Are these colleges whose professors will be sure to include some subjective questions on every test and take a kickback in exchange for subtracting points from a student's grade?

For this 'betting' company to be profitable, the students have to lose most of the time....

Oh right, it's this "betting" thing that makes it gambling. There is skill involved, but like in Poker, there is a huge element of random chance involved as well (what questions get chosen to be asked on the test), and how the student reacts sometimes based on hunch to things that are unknown and things that are known.

The student could be extremely skilled, but too many unfair or 'unbeatable' (despite skill) questions got placed on (possibly rigged) tests.

E.g. Student doesn't know answer to multiple-choice question #23... do they just lose, or do they enter a random answer, and hope for the best? (Element of chance)

HTH: I don't buy the argument that it's not gambling, and I question whether a judge or other authorities would buy that argument, also.

Or too much material (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224126)

I've sat an exam once or twice where almost no one finished the exam in the allotted time because there was too much material.

The professors heavily curved the exam grades in that case.

It's not common, but there is a bit of an art to properly designing an exam so that it can be completed by students who have what should be an acceptable level of mastery of the material, in the given time.

Or team based where others can make your grade (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224236)

Or team based where others can make your grade go up or down.

Re:Or too much material (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224250)

I've sat an exam once or twice where almost no one finished the exam in the allotted time because there was too much material.

The professors heavily curved the exam grades in that case.

It's not common, but there is a bit of an art to properly designing an exam so that it can be completed by students who have what should be an acceptable level of mastery of the material, in the given time.

I've taken a class that had 30 exams in the course of a year that weren't finished by more than 2% of the students (always 0 or 1 in a class of ~60) thanks to time constraints. The curve varied wildly from week to week, sometimes giving an A for a 60, sometimes an A for a 30. There was a huge degree of noise in those grades, enough that I'm only confident that a few students got the grades they deserved (the consistent top 10% and bottom 10% of the class).

Re:Or too much material (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224758)

Pretty sure I was in that class (choose any one of probably 3 or 4 classes I had first two years)...

Re:Or too much material (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224948)

Makes it more interesting when, in those sorts of classes, you are competing against the frat boys with their test library access, and the study buddies of the aforementioned frat boys. The majority of my classes at the highly prestigious engineering school I attended were just as you describe. I still have a very very bad taste in my mouth 20 years later. I know I was more capable than many of my classmates. But I chose to compete on the basis of my own abilities. It was a losing strategy. A large part of my education was that the system is rigged against the honest man, doubly so against the poor honest man.

A better system? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224030)

Why not just have students pay a scaling subscription fee? You pay your $50/mo (or $25, or $200, whatever) and if you get an A they pay for a percentage of your tuition based on your subscription rate.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224086)

There's no way for this to escape regulation by definition chasing. It's either gambling, or it's insurance.

on the other hand... (1)

mestar (121800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224254)

The site also allows professors to take the other side of the bet.

It might work ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224280)

... if the professors look like this [en.ce.cn] .

Nonsense (2, Informative)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224392)

Obviously the prejudice of a professor can play heavily upon grades. Most of us have seen it in action. Sometimes it's the old guy who gives great grades to pretty girls and hates anyone on the football team. The next time around may be the opposite. Perhaps only the football team gets a break on grades. The point being that it is flat out bonkers to think that the student is the only one in charge of his grades.

How about hedging? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224414)

Can you sell yourself short?

Actually, the whole thing smells of insider trading.

restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224720)

They'd better only allow bets of the form "grade is at least x"; otherwise I can just see the "WTF the professor gave me an A+ instead of an A? ARGGHHH!"...

They want full school account access. (1)

TreyGeek (1391679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224774)

From their Terms and Conditions:

Access to School Account. By providing Ultrinsic with your username and password for your online school account, you authorize Ultrinsic to access the account and to view and record any information in your account.

There's a lot they can potentially access beyond a simple transcript and course schedule. At least at my school, computer lab logins, library account, tuition and fees, financial aid, even purchasing a parking permit is all done through the same UN/PW pair.

Call me when there's enough in the pot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224832)

Call me when there's enough in the pot to make it profitable enought to "throw the match". No, you won't get your BS degree, but if you walk with a big enough purse, do you really care? Audit the rest of your courses and/or get an internship someplace if you still want to pull in some more bills.

I'd be really interested ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224856)

... in the odds I'm getting as a professor:

Here's how Wolf says the website works: A student registers, uploads his or her schedule and gives Ultrinsic access to official school records. The New York-based site then calculates odds based on the student's college history and any information it can dig up on the difficulty of each class, the topic and other factors. The student decides how much to wager up to a cap that starts at $25 and increases with use.

Presumably, bets on classes taught by the harder professors would pay more for an A? I wonder if the tenure and promotion committee would be interested in the published odds?

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