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Application-Centricity in Our Schools?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the teaching-the-basics-not-a-software-package dept.

Education 87

bccomm asks: "Here on Slashdot, we continually hear about new successes in bringing free software closer to the desktop. What about schools? I am a student and was once asked to redo an entire presentation because I had used Prosper instead of PowerPoint. The explanation I received from him was 'the curriculum says I'm supposed to teach Word, PowerPoint, etc, not word processing and presentations.' How is this for irony: presentation has to be about volunteer work/hobbies, and I chose to show that my computer runs a daily NetBSD snapshot. I think it just lost some effectiveness. Is anyone else bothered by this?"

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pf! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7968968)

first post! yahoo

Hate to say this, but... (3, Insightful)

CliffH (64518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7968987)

... as stupid as this sounds, if the project were to be done using Word and Powerpoint about your hobbies, you should have at least made the attempt to make it look like you did it on Word and Powerpoint, regardless of your personal viewpoints. The easiest would have been to put it in an MS compatible format when you were doing it so that you could display and turn in what you had to in a form that the teacher would have liked. Being an ex-tutor, there were some stupid things I had to adhere by and one of them was that all electronic documents had to be in an MS readable format for some of the courses (they were A+, Net+, and MCSE courses). Now, being the Linux tutor also, when it came time for things to be done at home (research, projects, etc) the only thing my students had to adhere to was keeping the documents in MS readable formats so that other tutors could review if necessary. This kept everyone happy as they got to work in what they wanted (Linux, BSD, OS/2, Winwhatever, etc) and still kept with course guidelines.

CliffH

Re:Hate to say this, but... (3, Insightful)

jakoz (696484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969234)

Spot on.

To the thread author: welcome to the real world, where youll find people rejecting your work for things as insignificant as font size or program version.

Consider it a learning experience which could have been worse... at least you were allowed to redo it.

Re:Hate to say this, but... (2, Insightful)

den_erpel (140080) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971732)

How did this get modded as insightful? This reasoning is exactly what the M$ programs are about. Being an (ex)tutor myself, these formats are not good and are too (ego)centric.

Why would one need to save to a platform specific format and not to a platform independent format? M$ users can just as well save to pdf, rtf or whatever with their programs. Those documents could then be read with the platform of choice and in most cases with the viewer of choice. I for one was not interested in rebooting my development machine to check the submissions (project reports etc) or going to a lab to find a free M$ machine.

Students I was guiding knew this and submitted their files in a platform independent format (at the end OOo). It also made them think why and to what purpose they actually use e.g. M$ Word: In most cases, it's an elephant that is used to squat a mosquito: you don't need such a monster program to type in a small report/question of a couple of pages or an abstract of the project.

As for the story, I can just conclude that the teacher was underqualified: why would you want a ppt file for watching somebody elses presentation???

Especially with the advent of OOo, I can see no reason whatsoever why ppl (even the less tech savvy) should use M$ formats...

Re:Hate to say this, but... (1)

CliffH (64518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7979187)

Well, like it or not, MS formats are what the higher ups (managers, head tutors, headmasters, etc) use and understand how to open. Over here (in NZ) you have what is called the NZQA [nzqa.govt.nz] which releases frameworks for testing purposes. The schools then turn around and either write their own NZQA units based off of these frameworks or buy them from other companies. If these frameworks state that Document A has to be in a given format, it has to be in that given format. If it is not, that student has failed that exam, plain and simple. Unfortunately, I never really got a chance to rewrite any of the assessments that the school was using when I was a tutor there but, needless to say, there is a heck of a lot more to it than using open standards. In an ideal world, everyone could open anything in any format and it would be accepted by all. This isn't that world and getting people in the mindset that there are other things out there, as we all know, can be difficult at best.

In my Linux course it was simple. Have the students throw out documentation and course materials in RTF, HTML, Star Office, PDF, TXT, or any other format they decided to put it in, as long as I could read it, I could care less. It was about conveying the message, not the message carrier. In the MCSE courses though (along with the A+, Net+, etc), you had to conform not only on the student side, but the tutor side as well.

In closing, when teaching courses based on Microsoft products, you best to hell keep to the Microsoft formats or face the consequences of your work being denied, immeditaely failed, or anything else that the frameworks sets up for you.

Re:Hate to say this, but... (1)

ooby (729259) | more than 10 years ago | (#7988472)

Word doesn't save to pdf, and it won't open it in any legible way, either. Furthermore, I wouldn't consider Word document to be a platform-specific format. You can open and save OOo documents without any difficulty insurmountable by users who have OOo installed. I used OOo in college when all the labs used MS Office and I converted and dealt. It even got me out of working on some PowerPoint projects. OOo may be super-small, fast, stable, and have features on par with Office, but it is not the defacto file format for documents. Until it is, we'll just have to convert.

Re:Hate to say this, but... (1)

decepty (662114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8001982)

Word doesn't save to pdf

Correct that it wont save to pdf, but it "prints" to PDF via a number of "distillers"

Re:Hate to say this, but... (2, Insightful)

babbage (61057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998470)

M$ Word: In most cases, it's an elephant that is used to squat a mosquito: you don't need such a monster program to type in a small report/question of a couple of pages or an abstract of the project.

Then again, you could also argue that you don't need a monster program like Emacs to type in a small program/email of a couple of pages, either. [1] And yet some people happily use Emacs all day long, just as some people -- a completely non-intersecting group of people, I suspect -- use Word all day long.

I have a hard time faulting anyone for using the tool they've become proficient with, even if sending a 200 word message as a .DOC attachment balloons the content from a couple of kilobytes to several times that, while generally contributing nothing useful. But whatever, there are ways to deal with that [demon.nl] .

The bigger problem isn't that Word is bad, but that promoting lock-in is bad. Now that the .DOC format has been roughly reverse engineered, there are a variety of programs that can open it, but it would generally still be better to use .RTF or .PDF for most of these situations. The important thing isn't to have free software applications for working with these formats -- though, obviously, that matters a lot -- but that the formats exchanged are open and portable, so that nobody can get locked into a dead end, either because a vendor discontinued a product or went out of business, or because a free software project has been abandoned and no one has done anything to the source in years.

+++++

Anyway, in the end, it's not always up to the teachers -- sometimes it's a matter of department or school policy, and circumventing it isn't worth the trouble to them.

I had a project in college where we worked for two semesters on a web crawler, and at the end had to make a big presentation to the public about our work. The requirement was that we had to prepare & submit a PowerPoint slideshow, but I felt then & still do that this was entirely the wrong approach, especially for a web based project, so we did a version of the demonstration as a series of HTML slides on our project's web server, showed our faculty advisors that this looked just as good as the PowerPoint slideshow -- and, as a bonus, allowed us to link directly to our project's web front end directly from the presentation -- and after we were done, the slideshow exactly as given would work in anyone's web browser. We were breaking the project rules, but we demonstrated in advance that there were clear advantages to not going with the proprietary format, and so we were allowed to go it our way.

I think this is a reasonable approach. Rather than just throwing a temper tantrum about having to use The Man's tools, demonstrate that an alternative can be just as good, if not better, and make your intentions clear early enough to win over the faculty (or your boss, or whatever). If you don't convince them, you still have time to turn around and switch to The Man's format, but at least you tried, made your case, and let them know that the alternative could have worked; it'll be a moral victory, if nothing else, and maybe next time around you'll get to do it your way.

+++++

[1] "Emacs: For a Brave GNU Word"

7 minutes and no comments? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7968988)

Guess no one else IS interested.

Post the name of the teacher/school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7968998)

I bet they may think differently if they get a few direct complaints from the /. community ...

Re:Post the name of the teacher/school (2, Insightful)

Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969336)

Yes. Invade the teacher's privacy, because they tried to conduct a class in a manner you do not agree with. That will certainly affect how the class is taught, when in a majority of the cases, the teacher follows the rules and doesn't set them.

While I'd prefer an open classroom where everyone has the freedom to perform a task with the tools they can acquire, I also have to sympathize with the teacher, who has to teach and mark in an even-handed manner, without necessarily prejudicing either the technically gifted or the technically challenged.

I'd suggest to the poster to ask the teacher if he (not the teacher) can give a half or whole class session on the software he was using, so that others can know that there is always an alternative software available for those who are willing and able to use it. Planting that seed of knowledge is worth more than any immediate restriction in knowledge.

Re:Post the name of the teacher/school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969970)

Of course, South Dakota puts all instructor details online anyways:

http://www.state.sd.us/deca/DWCP/TechEd/techappr ov e.htm

Once we have the school, there's the teacher. Isn't the Interweb great? I wonder how much spam those email addresses are getting? Why is that list up there?

I'm not bothered (1)

Gregg Alan (8487) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969002)

I think it just lost some effectiveness. Is anyone else bothered by this?

No, I'm not. I think you just can't follow directions and want someone here to make you feel better.

the curriculum says I'm supposed to teach Word, PowerPoint, etc, not word processing and presentations.

Did you take a class on using Microsoft Office and then decide to not use it?

Re:I'm not bothered (2, Insightful)

TiggsPanther (611974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971862)

It very much depends on what the course is called, though. Although the "curriculum" states Word & Powerpoint, we don't know whether the course title is that or id it's "Word processing and Presentations". So the OP may not have taken a course that was titles "Microsoft Office", but was then told that that's all he could use.

The centre where I'm currently doing IT Support teaches "Computer Literacy" classes. There's nothing in the actual course titles about Microsoft Products. (Yes, I know some places offer "introduction to Powerpoint", but that's not the type of course that gets taught here.)
But the course material itself not only is based around MS Office, but seems to assume/imply that this way is the only way to use wordprocessors/spreadsheets/etc.

Plus, to make it worse, course materials always seem to be printed using the lastest version of Office on the latest version of Windows. And rather than teaching/examining, say, "Spreadsheets", they're doing it on "Excel from office XP under Windows XP".

We even have the worst-case-extrapolation in some of the exams. In that the expected results as taught by the course are not what you get on our hardware. And we're not in a position to mass-upgrade.
One of the Computer Literacy exams was so XP-centric, that the results gained under Windows 98 simply didnt tally. I ended up going through the mark-scheme with the tutor to get a consistent set of answers that would arise under our classroom setup when following the instructions to the letter.

The course is supposed to be teaching "Computer Literacy", dammit. Yes, I know you have to have a basic direction from which to teach things, but you can't really automatically assume that everyone will run the software that you mandate. Especially if you're a nationwide examinations body, you can not assume that every centre everywhere will have upgraded to the "next big thing" (or even "next best thing") yet.

Tiggs

Yes, but... (2, Informative)

ae0nflx (679000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969017)

I, too, have run into this type of problem, although the explanation is usually a compatability issue. "How can I get a copy of this on my computer when all the school supplies is PowerPoint." With so many students it's hard for teachers (especially in subjects outside of technology) to 1) have heard about OpenSource technology 2) have the time install OpenSource projects.

Also, many of my teachers like to distribute the student's presentations later online so that all of the students can view them again, it's also nice for students who were absent. Conflicting formats make this difficult.

You can look at it as indoctrination if you wish, however, I do see a lot of convenience issues that go along with all of this.

Re:Yes, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969107)

I, too, have run into this type of problem, although the explanation is usually a compatability issue.

This is easily fixed by converting to PDF. You can do this by printing to a postscript file and running ps2pdf on it (this also works on Windows).

Re:Yes, but... (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970643)

Also, many of my teachers like to distribute the student's presentations later online so that all of the students can view them again, it's also nice for students who were absent. Conflicting formats make this difficult.
Then the teachers should only require PDF. Then the application used to create presentations is irrelevant.

Re:Yes, but... (2, Interesting)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971454)

With so many students it's hard for teachers (especially in subjects outside of technology) to 1) have heard about OpenSource technology 2) have the time install OpenSource projects.

My professors had a very simply policy. You were welcome to use whatever tools you liked to complete an assignment. However, if when you handed it in it didn't open or compile (as applicable) on the professor's machine (which was setup in a documented way) it counted as a fail.

A student saying "but it works on my computer at home" is the high-tech equivalent of "my dog ate my homework".

Re:Yes, but... (2, Funny)

daveashcroft (321122) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971585)

I remember once doing a crypto assignment in undergrad computer science (to be done in ANSI C). I wrote my programme using THEIR machines...and compiled it using THEIR compiler. It compiled a treat and worked perfectly. I failed the assignment...why ?

1) (and mainly) Because i had declared a variable in the wrong places
2) Because their stupid "Ansi C" compiler didnt give a damn.

"But Prof. it works! It compiles, have you tried?"

"Yes, but it shouldnt"

Hows that for a pain in the ass?

YES (0)

stick_figure_of_doom (729073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969021)

This DOES piss me off. These PowerPoint presentations are so mindless. Whenever I'm asked to do a presentation like this, I just use some bloody HTML. FORGET the memory consuming crap. Not only that, I can present from any computer with a browser. And if I want to load the next page at a certain time? META refresh. It's all the same junk. As for Word, I'm tired of getting very specific menu directions from my teachers that don't apply to me. Somebody ought to add some kind of selected word count to OpenOffice, because I have to make a new document to count the words in one paragraph. I will send a link to that "PowerPoint makes you dumb" thingy to my district now...

Openoffice has word count (1)

linuxkrn (635044) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969206)

Maybe you should look around a bit more.

File/Properties

Num Pages, tables, graphics, OLE Objects, Paragraphics, WORDS, Characters and Lines.

Re:Openoffice has word count (1)

=weezer= (180393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969393)

Yes, but that's Document-wide, not paragraph or selection-specific, which is important in many word-processing tasks, and unfortunately still lacking in OO.org.

Re:Openoffice has word count (1)

linuxkrn (635044) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969666)

Please,

A simple macro will do that too. Really, learn to google it's your friend.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8& oe =UTF-8&q=openoffice+macro+text+selection&btnG=Goog le+Search

Gives you a forum post to this sice with the nice macros...

http://www.darwinwars.com/lunatic/bugs/oo_macros .h tml

Re:Openoffice has word count (1)

=weezer= (180393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969751)

Sure, downloading a SWX and importing the macro will do the trick, and I appreciate the link, but really, as the author of the page says, it's something that should (and I suspect, will be soon) included straight out of the box if it aims to be a drop-in Word replacement.

They do the right thing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969035)

Schools teach the Microsoft Office suite because knowledge of how to use high-end proprietary software is the best start for learning computer science. Free hobby alternatives are fine for some limited applications, but won't cut it in the real business world.

Results matter (3, Insightful)

roseblood (631824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969055)

In my line of work no one cares if you used power point, or a pointy stick and little dots of colored ink on a membrane of transparent plastic to make a presentation. The end result is what matters. Often you get the idiots that ask "Hey, this dinner was great! You must use really great pots and pans!" Those in education must learn to make their corsework reflect the needs of the real world. Whatever the best tool is for the job, that's what needs to be used. Be it a Micro$oft product or opensource...who cares, as long as the results are what the customer wants. PERIOD.

This guy (assuming a guy) should be praised for using the tools at hand to get the job done. PERIOD.

Re:Results matter (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970449)

The best tool for the job is the tool that has already been purchased in most cases. Powerpoint comes with all MS Office versions since 97 (At least). And its not all that bad.

It matters not that (the topics program) is free, or that OpenOffice is free, or that...... What matters is that Powerpoint is alreday been paid for, installed, and people have a bit of a clue of how to use it (since it uses common controls with the rest of Office).

You would have to be doing one fancy ass presentation to warrent spending time/money/effort on something besides Powerpoint if you already have it installed. And chances are that time/effort/money would be on a 3rd party plugin for Powerpoint, rather then a replacement for it.

Re:Results matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970713)

You make an interesting point; SEMI-COLON however, COMMA your explicit naming of punctuation marks seems redundant and distracting. PERIOD.

Re:Results matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7973192)

No, I think he was trying to give us a hint that he's suffering from PMS.

Re:Results matter (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971672)

Those in education must learn to make their corsework reflect the needs of the real world

Problem is, the perception in academia is that "unless you know Microsoft, you're not employable" ...

This is the result of a well-crafted campaign by Microsoft and its underlings to get Education pimping their product for them.

How do you undo such things?

um, you're taking this class why? (3, Funny)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969064)

So, let me get this straight, you run BSD, and you need to take a class on how to use PowerPoint? Are you some kind of idiot savant, leet enough to grok the command line, but with a crippling mental block that keeps you from being able to intuit your way through what 99% of computerdom considers an easily guessable user interface?

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (2, Informative)

bccomm (709680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969084)

The class is a state requirement (South Dakota of all places)

requirement (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969322)

Ah, that makes this a LOT worse. You should have said that from the outset. If you ask me, its time for some civil disobedience and some open-letter writing.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969873)

What grade/course in particular? It seems that South Dakota has decided to use the national standards for technology education, and they're available online.

So, you have the following links to check out:
Office of Curriculum http://www.state.sd.us/deca/OCTA/index.htm
Office of Career and Technical Education
http://www.state.sd.us/deca/DWCP/TechEd /

National Technology Education Standards
http://www.iteawww.org/TAA/Publications /STL/STLMai nPage.htm

**No, there isn't a space in there, Slashdot inserts it automagically.

None of which appear to specify Powerpoint, although some of the assessments do mention Word. The national standard mentions "design", but it seems to be tool agnostic. I think we would have heard here that a national standard was requiring the use of Microsoft tools in schools.

Perhaps the teacher got annoyed with you and gave you an answer to shut you up (happened to me all the time). If you want to take it further, do the research and raise a stink - it's silly to have to take the modern equivalent to "Typing 101", but generally students always have choices. Perhaps you could have taken "Programming 101" instead?

Finally, you should always submit lessons in the desired format. If they want a .ppt, give them one. They probably don't care how you created it, just that they can read it.

Otherwise, suck it up, do the course, ace it and move on. It'll be a nice upwards push on your GPA.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (2, Insightful)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969173)

I don't have the SLIGHTEST clue how to do ANYTHING with Powerpoint.

Since the usefulness of Powerpoint as a piece of software is completely questionable to me, any effort spent in trying to figure out how to use it would be completely wasted.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969193)

Since the usefulness of Powerpoint as a piece of software is completely questionable to me, any effort spent in trying to figure out how to use it would be completely wasted.

Stick to your programming. Leave the PowerPoint presentations to those in the executive suites.

cheese (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969293)

Couldn't you take the cheese way out and export from what-have-you, then import to PowerPoint.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8088209)


I don't have the SLIGHTEST clue how to do ANYTHING with Powerpoint.

Since the usefulness of Powerpoint as a piece of software is completely questionable to me, any effort spent in trying to figure out how to use it would be completely wasted.

I agree with you vehemently.

Unfortunately, as I speak, collaborators have pointed me to their ppt file where I need to shove in 3 pages of my stuff which I had done quite nicely earlier using pdflatex.

As so even as I curse PowerPoints ubiquity, I recognize the necessity of needing to know how to do rudimentary things with it merely because I live in a world where I must collaborate.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (1)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8093772)

I'd rather (and it would probably be faster/easier for me to do so) just write a slide-show like presentation in QBASIC, then have to use the junk I've seen in Powerpoint. I've been forced to sit down with it and try to figure a way to do certain things with it, and if I ever actually do get it done, it's completely by accident.

Hell, it'd be easier to use old-fashioned grade school style transparency projectors, IMO. Just because you're presenting data that you got on a computer, doesn't mean you need to use a computer to do it.

Hell, I get jokes in my email that are .PPS .. wtf?

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969480)

I know it sounds funny, but try turning up for an interview saying "I'm a geek, computers are my hobby". Now try turning up and saying "I'm a geek, computers are my hobby, but I also have training in [xxx], [yyy] and [zzz]."

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969950)

If you want xxx yyy or zzz to include "PowerPoint" then you need to buckle down and rewrite your slideshow. If xxx yyy or zzz merely includes "Slideshow Editor", then you shouldn't. Duh.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970278)

I pay $15 bucks to get like 3 or 4 credit hours (transferable to most 4-year colleges, ofcourse) for typing in excel, quicken and word perfect. Piece of cake. Crappy class, but I would have to take the same damn class in college for a couple hundred bucks anyway. Did the same thing last semester(the 02-03 year) with Excel and Access. Getting college credit for THAT too. YA, I like to use linux and BSD when I can(can't use it as my main machine, yet) and I hate office, but I need to take the classes at some point, no question. Might as well take them now, and spend 1/10th the money.

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (1)

Jmstuckman (561420) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971009)

I hope that your 4-year college will actually want a class like that. I took such a class at a community college while in high school, but my university [cwru.edu] would not accept the credits for that class because the university doesn't offer a class that teaches Office. All engineering majors must take a class on C++ programming, and nobody else (science, social science, humanities) needs a "computer" class. Of course, typing in Office 2 days a week and having it count as a high school class was great :)

Re:um, you're taking this class why? (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971061)

well I also have a few programming classes that have given me college credit that are also transferable. But I know for a fact that atleast 1 of the schools I am applying to does require these software classes as a must. So I think these will be useful in the long run, if not, o well.

PeePee (2, Informative)

jefu (53450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970710)

Not just Power Point, but MS junk in general.

At my university (ewu.edu) every student is required to take a computer "literacy" (more like computer penmanship, I think) test to prove that they are computer literate.

Not only is this test MS product specific (PeePee, MS Worse, Eksell...) it is specific to the point where questions ask the student to do tasks using specific mouse clicks (or so I'm told - I'm doing my best to avoid the whole area myself) and the exam software won't let you do it in any other way.

And CS students can't graduate till they pass it. They can be expert coders in C, know low level OS internals, whatever - but if they can't get the right sequence of mouse clicks in MS worse to change a font (or whatever) they won't get that piece of paper.

Re:PeePee (3, Insightful)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971152)

...MS product specific (PeePee, MS Worse, Eksell...)...
This, gentlemen, is a fine example of when MS bashing begins to obscure the actual meaning of the post. I sat for a good 15 seconds going, "What the heck is PeePee? And is there an MS Better?" But I suppose that some people think it's cool to juvenilize Microsoft, or M|cr0$ux (depending on your maturity level).

Re:PeePee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7971560)

Yes. Those people are idiots. Rational discourse seems to elude them.

Re:PeePee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7974376)

And that's not the best part. I think it's funny that "PeePee" gets modded up as "+3 Informative"! I guess "PooPoo" gets modded up "+5 Insightful".

You can't take the mods seriously. That's why I never got an account.

Re:PeePee (3, Insightful)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7973670)

I think you're missing the point of the class.

More than likely, the class is to help people with average or below average computer skills to survive in an institution of higher education. For instance...lot's of people came to my school [vt.edu] , majored in Computer Science/Engineering, and had never written a line of code in their lives. Many had never, or very seldom, used a word processor or more commonly they hadn't used presentation (PP) or spreadsheet (Excel) apps. Every paper and most of the homework was required to be typed up or presented in an attractive, business like format. How does someone learn to do this when they're from south western Virginia and their high school is still using outdated Apples? Windows dumbfounded these people, let alone Word.

It was a running joke at Tech that if you didn't come into the CS curriculum with some programming experience, you wouldn't make it out. That's because they completely skip introduction to computers ("101 - This is a mouse") and go straight to programming. Great for some of us, horrible for others.

When the majority of your work is expected to come in some format, that format should be taught to you in your first semester. Since not everyone's first semester is the same, a single class presented when first entering college would be a good idea. Make it a 0 credit survey class or something, but still offer it so you aren't failing people for lame reasons like not knowing Word.

--trb

App- / language-centricity as a quality metric (4, Insightful)

melquiades (314628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969111)

Many opinionated people would say, perhaps prejudicially, that the job of any teaching institution that is not explicitly a vocational/technical training program is to teach principles and not isolated methods; that a good curriculum implements goals which could be accomplished to equal effect with many different tools; that in the rapidly changing landscape of the computer world, such a teaching approach is the only one that's likely to have any serious long-term benefit to students; and that the presence or absence in the curriculum of restrictions to specific applications, OSes, and programming languages is actually good indicator of the quality of a program.

As it happens, I am such a person. Give these bozos hell.

Re:App- / language-centricity as a quality metric (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971665)

I concur.

Teach PRODUCT, not PROCESS!

Re:App- / language-centricity as a quality metric (1)

Moeses (19324) | more than 10 years ago | (#7978544)

A concept IS more important than the tool, I will not contest that. Also consider that a concept can usually be taught using a variety of tools. Any tool that gets in the way of the concept is obviously a poor choice, but usually there are multiple good choices.

So there is a choice of tools that will do the job. A professor has the right to require the use of a tool (to support a concept) that also will have practical uses for the student upon graduation. What's wrong with the criteria for a class requiring a student to learn both concepts and practical training? Nothing. Sounds like a good idea to me.

For example, Eiffel is an excellent language for learning about OO programming. So is Java. Which is better is debatable, and I'm not going to get into that here, but they are both qualified for the task. Now, which one is more practical to know when you graduate?

There's no reason one can't have cake and eat it too in this situation.

FURTHERMORE, there is another important lesson here. LEARN TO FOLLOW REQUIREMENTS. Man, I pray to god I never have to work with someone who ignores requirements (or is incapable of properly understanding them) at their own whimsy. It would get you fired in the real world, so it warrents a bad grade or a redo in the academic world.

Welcome to Real Life, kids.

Re:App- / language-centricity as a quality metric (1)

melquiades (314628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7979087)

It's true that a prof has the right to set course requirements as they see fit. I'm simply suggesting that a prof setting tools requirements is a sign that they're not focusing on principles.

And honestly, if I were interviewing candidates, I'd take somebody who knows Eiffel and has a solid understanding of OO over somebody who knows Java and thinks procedurally.

Sure, it's nice to "have it both ways" and get somebody who already knows Java inside and out -- but in my experience, school training in Java gives very little compared to actual experience. I don't think an intelligent, adaptable program with one month of professional Java experience will write code that's any worse than somebody with lots of schooling in Java and no professional experience at all.

So I say, if they want to use Eiffel, why stop them?

Welcome to Real Life, kids.

I sure hope the business world / software industry doesn't count as "real life". I miss my college days -- maybe it's just the veneer of retrospect, or senility setting in, but I remember them being a lot more grounded than the inane world of business.

I prefer to call it "the unreal life you're stuck with half your waking hours if you want to be a software professional".

You're all missing the point! (1)

anotherone (132088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969113)

The point of this story is NOT to discuss Open Source in high schools, we're supposed to notice how awesome this guy is because he uses FreeBSD dailies! What's more, he got in trouble for doing a school project wrong! Down with The Man!!!!!! Hooray for bccomm!!!!

Re:You're all missing the point! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969388)

That's what I was thinking too. Hope your comment doesn't get marked as flamebait, it should be modded Insightful. Of course most posters in slashdot nowadays are high school kids.

HS vs University (2, Insightful)

smoondog (85133) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969121)

(potentially offensive blanket statements follow) I found that in High School, doing better work that required independent thought even though it was not assigned was, in almost every case, not understood and often treated critically. In my experience, at the University the opposite was true. The example above is perfect because it illustrates how, in some cases, following the instructions is more important than actually learning. I never followed instructions well either and my high school grades show it.

-Sean

Re:HS vs University (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969404)

I second that, although my school is less hostile than it seems yours was for you. For me, it's that my workload and deadlines prevent me from carrying it out that much. True story: I'm supposed to write a term paper, research starting in December, the paper due at the end of February; what I want to write is a thesis paper, so I can't turn it in until the end of June, because of the increased work involved in trying to prove something new, as opposed to the directions we were given (well, that, and I had null ability to meet the organizational guidelines). This is what happens when high school gets in the way of intellectual persuits... or is it the other way around...

(Although, to qualify my agreement with you, I would say that following directions is important when other people's lives are at stake; otherwise, yay 4 learning!)

Re:HS vs University (3, Insightful)

isn't my name (514234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970110)

I found that in High School, doing better work that required independent thought even though it was not assigned was, in almost every case, not understood and often treated critically.

Absolutely. In a much earlier incarnation, I taught Freshman Comp. at a Pac-10 university. It was easy to tell that what little instruction the majority of students had received on writing in HS was a prescriptive set of rules to follow that led to a standard form. When handed assignments that required critical thought (i.e. pretty much everything they'd be getting in many college courses) that would not be well served by following their formulaic rules, they fell flat on their face.

All too much of the class was spent getting them to unlearn much of the indoctrination they had received.

The exceptions were notable. I actually talked with some of them about this and found that most of the exceptions weren't exceptional because they were brilliant but because their HS did not teach the way most did. These kids were coming in with a leg up on their peers because their HS training had actually encouraged critical thinking and the ability to express it coherently. My guess is that many of those differences smoothed out after a year or so of college, but I'm pretty sure that these kids came out with higher GPAs and ultimately better job prospects because of the quality of their HS instruction.

In case you couldn't guess, I do find the situation described by bccomm deplorable. However, I will also offer some advice that I used to offer my students in freshman comp. Learn how to read your teacher and pick your battles. Bccomm is going to have a much better insight as to whether this a battle that is winnable and what effort that might require. If it isn't worth it move on. More importantly is learning how to read your instructors. If this teacher is the kind of idiot who can't recognize and reward independent thought and effort, then give him the minimal effort to turn in the dross that he thinks is important. When you find the kind of instructor who will challenge you to push your boundaries and actually learn something, go for it. Take advantage of it, and realize that often these types of teachers will grade more leniently for someone who aims high and fails than for someone who underacheives with sufficient work.

And, no, it is not that way in the 'real' world where results are primarily what matters. But, HS should not be aiming for a 'real' world simulation.

Yes, I've noticed. (2, Insightful)

Rysc (136391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969123)

I've noticed this, too. For handed-in projects which the stupid/clueless/pressed-for-time instructor must open, I try to do a final-pass export to the requested format. Sometimes I've been able/allowed to use PDFs for papers, but mostly I just export to .doc whenever requested. I'm the computer god, I can be the one who worries about formats.

I never, ever use the requested application if I can help it (Access can import and mysql can export, you know...). But that doesn't mean I'm obnoxious about it.. I only mention what I used to the instructors smart enough to not mark me down for it. If they can stand a little mild advocacy, I do that then.

My advice to you: suck it up, export to powerpoint.

Re:Yes, I've noticed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969230)

I never, ever use the requested application if I can help it...

Hey, if that's a good use of your time, go ahead. I find computers difficult enough without making spite a priority in my software choices. (Anyway, whom exactly are you spiting?)

Re:Yes, I've noticed. (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969734)

I have a different reason for not using the requested application: I can't affod Word. Okay, I could if I really wanted it, but $2000 isn't worth it. Word doesn't run on my FreeBSD system, and is so bloated (from what I hear, I've not tried it) that I don't think I'd want to try a current version so Wine is out. That means a new computer, running Windows. $1500 (If I'm buying a computer I'm getting a nice LCD monitor, lots of RAM, and a bunch of options like firewire), plus whatever MSOffice costs, $500? All for a few documents that I can create just as easially with kword (I've only used openoffice once) on my system and they work just fine.

In theory MSword has a lot of abilities that kword doesn't have, but kword is designed so it can eventially have more, and in any case if I need that ability everyone tells me I should learn TeX, which while complex is far more powerful. In reality kword does everything I need, which is mostly spell check plus some simple formatting. Save-as RTF, and rename it to .doc, and nobody even realizes I don't have MSWord.

Re:Yes, I've noticed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969882)

I can't decide if this is a very subtle troll (if so, IHBT and L) or just you being an idiot.

Holy shit, I don't think I've ever read a weaker bunch of arguments. Can't afford Word, but wait, you can, but you assume it won't run with your current hardware, and don't know what it costs. Word has features that kword doesn't have, but kword might have them one day. What a waste of bits.

Re:Yes, I've noticed. (1)

Rysc (136391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7987710)

It's not spite, it's practicality. I don't have Windows, my computer isn't fast enough to run most things under Wine. I vastly prefer to use my own computer rather than some crummy public box made available for those without computers.

The requested application is *always* windows-only.

I never use the requested application, not out of spite, but because I really have no viable option.

Whatever... (3, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969139)

Is anyone else bothered by this?

Yeah, and I wish my neighbors would clean up after their dogs, too.

It's hard to know what to make of your particular issue, since you left out such details as what the subject of the class is. But even giving you the full benefit of the doubt -- there are going to be things in life that are done in a less than optimal way, and your needing to do a presentation in a perfectly appropriate application instead of some new thing you found on Sourceforge is hardly the worst case you'll encounter.

Just be glad they didn't make you do it in Excel.

Thin Line (2, Insightful)

globalar (669767) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969320)

A lot of people only know how to use applications. For them, the application's interface is the program - that is what they see, know, and understand. The operation of the machine is summed up in that interaction.

In a school environment, you have to look at the practical picture. What are you trying to achieve by working with these programs? Are you teaching examples of GUI driven tools, the effectiveness of slideshow presentations, how to type, etc? Most of these courses are designed to teach students how to use their computer. This often translates into "how to do task-x with y-program on a computer".

Since Powerpoint is the widespead example and definition of a slideshow app, it seems logical to use Powerpoint and not another program. Forcing one app over another shows a lack of understanding on the institution's part (try not to blame the teacher) if the end result is the same. If students learn how to make slideshow presentations effectively, isn't that the goal? If this is Microsoft Office training, the end result is not entirely the same. Also, there are technicalities with different apps which might make the teacher exert more effort just to accomodate a few students. I am not saying this is bad/good, but I can understand wanting to do things one way, even with sacrifices.

It all depends on what the goals of the course actually are, vs. the specifics of how to reach the goals. Too many institutions and teachers are hung up about the "how" and stress formula or rule compliance to achieve their goals. In essence, they have lost the purpose of education - not conformity, but developement (i.e. improvement). OTOH, some teachers have found the extreme opposite.

Frankly, national governments in countries which have education branches should embrace open source. No reason why OpenOffice cannot be improved a little (a few less bugs, maybe a few more features) by government funds at least. The pay off is software which has no license fees and can be easily extended and ported. The software could be used in other places like libraries and government offices as well.

Education should be stressing alternatives rather than catering to the business world's trends. I understand that getting a job means you need experience in certain applications - courses for specific apps have their place. But in general education, especially requirements, the end result should be learning how to use a computer, not simply how to use $PROGRAM on a $CURRENT_YEAR computer running $OS. Sometimes these two goals are the same, but we should not assume that is always the case.

The closed-mindedness of faculty (my experience) (1)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969385)

I have found that faculty are generally closed minded about Open-Source software. They feel more secure if its in a box and has a phone number to call if something goes wrong.

Two Examples:

1) When I was in Grade 9, I tried to convince the Computer Administrator to shift the server over to Linux. Even after countless talks and demos, he still insisted on Windows. Screw him. I left that school the next year.

2) Next School. This one actually uses some OS software, but they are extremely selective. I've tried to convince them to use some alternatives to -certain- software products, but so far they've kept their ears shut.

Rather fortunately, they've (sort of) bribed me to keep my mouth shut, with an old P100 system and another old P233 system. Score.

Re:The closed-mindedness of faculty (my experience (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969936)

Dude, the guy who supports the box decides what goes on it. The Admin knew Windows, so Windows was used. As you said, you left the next year, so his support team would have evaporated at the same time. HE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE.

When I was part of a group in a startup, it came time to decide what to put on the server. Since I didn't want to support it, and I was the only guy with Linux experience, I kept my mouth shut. So, we ran Windows, and I got the enjoyment of seeing the admin physically kick the server over on a really bad day.

Re:The closed-mindedness of faculty (my experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7971577)

You are the worst sort of Linux zealot arsehole.

Seriously, get a fucking clue. They're not interested in your toy operating systems because (i) they are technically inferior for the task at hand, (ii) no-one will support them and (iii) they're not going to take any advice from a cock such as yourself.

The retardedness of faculty (my experience) (1)

chendo (678767) | more than 10 years ago | (#7972976)

I have found that my school's IT staff are just don't know anything about computers in general. They feel more secure spending money on expensive solutions but don't know how to use them, and when things go run, start running around the room in circles like a headless chicken.

Eight examples:

1) When I was down at the IT department not too long ago, I found most of them hunt and pecking. Not a good sign, I assure you.

2) Related to the first example, I was down there to help them install Apache, PHP and gVIM because they didn't know how to do it. Not that hard for me, but maybe to some people who have to hunt and peck.

3) The girl I was helping (she looked like an intern or something, maybe that explains it) gave me read/write access on one of the directories on the server's PUBLIC drives so I can make changes if needed without bothering her.

4) I have gotten 40 people in detention for playing games copied from the folder. They were caught in one day.

5) The whole network lags to shit whenever a class logs on. They don't seem to know how to subnet.

6) They only locked down the console, taskbar, file menus in explorer, removed the desktop, and almost everything else after I managed to install Counter-Strike on 10 computers, started the 'net send'ing craze, 'net send'ed to a whole domain, etc.

7) The school intranet website has some pages with 'Example #4 for file-uploading in ASP' on them. Seems to be a copy/paste/edit job to me.

8) Allowing -everyone- to access the academic details of a student by just using their student ID, which was easily found via GroupWise, until they realised and sorta locked it off until I came along, viewed the source and created a HTML that had a form with a text box named 'student_id' and it actually worked. It went around, some people got caught but I was never caught. Good ol' friends, eh?

Unfortuantly, they haven't bribed me with anything yet. Cheap bastards, they gotta have at least 20 old boxes sitting at the back.

Re:The retardedness of faculty (my experience) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7973258)

My God... I'm stunned by your total shitheadedness. It is my fervent wish that you get busted for what you've done and spend time in prison with Bubba the Boy Rapist as your cellmate.

Re:The retardedness of faculty (my experience) (1)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7973511)

I have found that my school's IT staff are just don't know anything about computers in general.

That's strange. After all, the lucrative income from the fast paced, high stakes world of public education usually attracts only the cream of the crop.

--saint

Re:The closed-mindedness of faculty (my experience (1)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 10 years ago | (#8024233)

You, sir, are an asshole. You actually--as a 14/15-year-old--harassed the admin of your school's/district's computer network, wasting HOURS OF HIS TIME "showing him demos," and then you left the school BECAUSE OF THAT? And then, you effectively stole some old computers from your new school? Wow, what a GREAT PERSON YOU ARE. What the fuck is wrong with you? Your in school to get an all-around education. Do you go into McDonald's, harass the manager about the fact that the LCD displays aren't the most cost-effective solution, and then never patronize it again? Schools are there for you to fucking learn, not to play with their computers. You're a moron.

I'm doing my bit (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969468)

Lame writeup aside, I have installed Open Office, Mozilla and The Gimp on all the college's computers (I'm the IT Officer, just so you don't think I've done this without permission). I'm not saying I got rid of Windows or Office, I just worked out that there was no reason not to include a few alternatives.

Powerpoint + kids = depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969521)

I find the whole notion of schools teaching powerpoint to kids to be pretty depressing.

When my niece was about 9, her mom told me that she was really great with computers, she could make her own powerpoint presentations.

I went out and bought a kids' logo system. If you haven't seen it, logo is a lisp variant, a system that's designed to let kids learn how to program. It's heavy on graphics and sound, and uses "turtles" to draw stuff on the screen.

It's not as spectacular as an x-box, but it's better than powerpoint.

No one wanted to deal with it, though. The kids didn't want to, the mom didn't want to. I came back a year later, and the box wasn't even opened. (I live in another town.)

People want to learn powerpoint. They want to work for insurance companies, drive sensible white cars, and make powerpoint presentations. They want to watch bonnie hunt sitcoms on tv.

Maybe some kid could make a powerpoint presentation about bonnie hunt. That would really be something.

A great philosopher once said: (1)

agent dero (680753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969565)

Cry me a river

Yeah, it was WordPerfect for me... (3, Informative)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969815)

Remember WordPerfect? Actually when I was a kid it was WordStar, but I never used it, since we had Apple 2s in school, and Atari (400) at home. Whatever word processer those systems used is what I used, when I wasn't useing pen and paper.

By the time I reached high school they were braging about the computer labs which taught WordPerfect 5.1, which was exactly what industry was using.

Then came college and MSWord was on all the non-unix systems. I used that when I had to. More often I used Emacs, or when I needed something more complex FrameMaker was on the Unix systems, and I generally spent most of my time writing programs for Unix so I was on them anyway.

Then I got into the real world and I only had an X terminal on my desk so it was FrameMaker. Eventially they switched us to Outlook for email, but it was done via Citrix, and Word was avaiable there. There I mostly used either whatever was built into the tools we used (a code generation package) or ed. (yes ed, when you telnet to a system without curses you use ed)

At the next job it was gvim on windows. I had MSWord though, and sometimes had to use it. Standard was to export everything to rtf before distribution, though I'm the onlyone who actually did that. Likely as close to the real world as I've ever been.

Today I'm unemployed (though I might be called back to the last job if they find more money). I don't have MSWord, and see no reason to buy it. I have kWord and it works great. I have vi, and it works fine. I also have emacs, though I haven't touched it in a long time, and OpenOffice which I just installed cause some potential employer sent me a word document.

In short, they will make you learn something. Learn it because that is what you have to work with. In the real world exactly what you use will change, so be ready to learn new things.

same problem (0)

Nihynjahs (680486) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970106)

I have the same problem, but i think its all in good reason. i mean you take the class to learn ms stuff. i use prosper and gnumeric and abiword instead of the microsoft stuff. the only reason i am taking it is because it is required to graduate at the school i attend. But if you look in your class and ask yourself do the people in here care about linux besides me youll realize that no one but the geek at computer 7 gives a flying rats ass about what computer os you run so windows is just fine, plus everyone who takes that class propbably has some prior windows experience so the class is easier. can you imagine what they would do when they see linux for the first time (remeber that time you took your laptop to get fixed at best buy... "hey ted come here. what the heck is this?". so until the world changes to linux for the desktop or bsd or whatever *nix, microsoft will be taght in school.

Powerpoint is THE presentation SW (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970748)

In my place of employment, we have people clueless enough to request "a laptop and a powerpoint projector" from us. Yep, Powerpoint IS all that they know.

I *want* applications..and so do employers ;p (1)

pocopoco (624442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970845)

I feel the exact opposite as the OP. I graduated with BS in CS a while back, worked for two years, then came back for graduate work (and my school is all theory courses, unlike some schools which have very specific technology courses like "Programming with .NET" and such which I'm starting to drool over). Almost every potential employer I talked to in the field, the first question out of their mouth would be something like "Can you use/have you used C#?" and other very specific application/technology questions - deciding if I could fit into whatever operation they were running.

So yes I would love to have been able to say I had been working with [insert very popular app] for quite some time as opposed to faking it and saying I'm familiar with the theory (ie. OOP or distributed computing or presentation software in general, etc) which is assumed knowledge anyway if you have the app.

Re:I *want* applications..and so do employers ;p (1)

mr.capaneus (582891) | more than 10 years ago | (#7974258)

Take a sunday afternoon and type out a "hello world" in every buzzword language there is. Then when they ask you if you can code in C# or whatever, you can say yes.

Why Didn't You Decline to Convert?!? (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971504)

If your goals are to learn, then choice of tool
should not come into it.

At worst, quality of [material and] presentation
would be evaluated.

BTW, LOTS of talented folks never completed school and/or univeristy... if you are one of them (but
only if you are...) then why not aim straight
for places that do interesting & challenging work
- if you have a hard copy (letter, printed eMail,
etc.) proof that "It's Powerpoint of nothing"
keep that to show more intelligent judges of your
work that you chose to walk away from narrow-
mined, commercially biased standards... & towards
a learning-centric / knowledge based ethic.

print this thread (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971712)

and post hard copies in locations slashdotter's suggest

Reading (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971856)

If the course requires your instructor to teach Microsoft Office products in class then thems the breaks. In most situations it will be the end result that actually matters to people. Who cares if you code in vi or emacs as long as it compiles and works like it is supposed to. In this particular instance the course is about Microsoft products, the actual assignments are just busy work to take you through the functions of the applications in the suite. The instructor doesn't really care about the class' hobbies, they just needed an assignment that was easy to itemize for PowerPoint.

Sounds a lot like my HS math class.. (1)

spitefulcrow (713858) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971974)

...where the official graphing calculator is the TI-83. We're given instructions on what buttons to press for various functions (including trigonometric and graphing functions) rather than being told why a postulate or theory works and how to apply it to different problems. Of course, everyone either has a TI-83 or borrows one from the school's set, so we don't have any problems with non-"standard" calculators as of yet. I suppose the cruddy education guidelines in NYS are to blame (Regents exams in almost every required course, etc). I haven't even tried signing up for a computer course yet, but there seems to be a "computer basics" course required before you can do anything else. Hopefully I can get away with challenging it and jumping into a programming course next year.

Editing formats vs Interchange formats (1)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 10 years ago | (#7972008)

Part of the problem here is that there isn't enough mindshare for the idea that the format you edit in isn't the format you share files in. MS are at least indirectly to blame here, their monopolistic status has given people the impression that MS Office formats are appropriate formats to share documents.

In the UK govt software market, people who make systems to support the Public Records Office standard - for archiving, ie sharing documents with our future selves - must support storing the original document, AND a 'rendered' copy that will still be legible in future.

Looking at them from this archival viewpoint, it becomes obvious that MS Office formats are inappropriate for rendered/interchange usage, as OLE containers can contain pretty much anything - you need every windows program on the planet to be sure you can read them. Not only that, they often preserve editing/versioning information which you don't want to share (see eg. the leaked origins of the UK WMD Dossier).

I don't expect things to change anytime soon, theres no money in it; and none of the available options are all that great (PDF also has plugins, PS isnt supported well in windows, XML can contain arbitrary meaningless binary data, etc). For now, the best you can do is to aim at xhtml+jpg as your interchange format, producing presentations using e.g. slideml [bitflux.ch] .

I am (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7983704)

Being a student, I am absolutely bothered by this. In fact, I have chosen to not take ANY classes at my M$ Biased school [vic.edu.au] at all. It's just a waste of time.

In November, I finally installed Debian on my (school supplied but owned by me) laptop and proceeded to use it for most of my school work. (I was initally delayed from doing this due to lack of NTLM-proxy support in Mozilla for non-win32).

I am yet to run in to a incident where I have been told to use <insert proprietary application here> instead of <insert OSS equiv here> , even though my Maths teacher (a clear M$ head) got a little irritated with my use of KGhostView instead of Acrobat.

But what still annoys me is this specific quote from the school "about" page:


The ready availiability of computers enables teachers and students to maximise usage of information technology. Students employ their laptops as more than mere word processors. Each unit exploits and develops student information technology skills through a range of programmes including WORD, EXCEL, PUBLISHER, PHOTOSHOP[1], POWERPOINT.....

[1] - They don't even use Photoshop. They use Jasc's Print/PaintShop/whatever it's called.

I sucks crud that they dumped NetWare, since I especially liked it's "Novell Delivered Applications" app, which allows me to purge a program to save disk space, and simply pull it back over the network later should I need it.

I can't still believe they wasted my parents precious $ on ~1,400 M$ client licenses. Even worse since they can't produce a real Acceptable Use Policy [dhs.org] , maintain network security [dhs.org] and have a crud anti-freespeech conduct policy [dhs.org] . Not to mention the fact their obsecure firewall idiotically blocks the xhtml mime type on w3c.org and still lets students search for their dose of pr0n on Google image search...

in a perfect world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7985611)

...people could get a license to DRIVE ALL CARS instead of nowadays Ford License, Toyota License etc.
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