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Are High MOOC Failure Rates a Bug Or a Feature?

DrEasy I forget immediately (122 comments)

I've taken a few MOOCs and even completed a few. My big problem is that pretty much as soon as I completed the course I forgot everything I'd learned. I have a couple of explanations as to why that is:

- MOOCs don't usually have a project component where you'd get direct feedback from a TA (that's obviously due to the number of people registered). This is changing as peer-assessments are being used more and more as a way to handle project grading.

- the course in question wasn't directly related to what I'm doing in my day job. During university, a course you're taking is at least often useful as a prerequisite for the next one.

- I'm getting old and stupid. Maybe just smart enough to complete the course but not enough to retain it? I wonder how much more I'd have retained, say, 10 years ago.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

DrEasy my kind of book (796 comments)

I like fiction that makes me think:

Fictions - Borges
I, Robot - Asimov
Never Let Me Go - Ishiguro

about 9 months ago

France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

DrEasy Re:Translation (314 comments)

Because the quality of art and culture can be measured by its financial success?

about 9 months ago

French Team Implants First Long-Term Artificial Heart

DrEasy Re: Medical innovations from damn socialists!! NOO (106 comments)

Definitely not true on all counts, you are letting your ideology cloud your objectivity. Some aspects of French society might be called "socialist" (health care for all, free education, decent minimum wage and generally better protection for workers and the unemployed than in the US), but it is still a country where there is little to no public ownership of the means of production, and no central planning. It is a land of private enterprise just like the USA!

France just had a hardcore capitalist president with Sarkozy for 5 years (succeeding Chirac who was from the same party), and even under Hollande, nothing has changed regarding the general system of government. Ultimately, there's not much room to maneuver system-wise in the EU anyway.

To get back on topic, just like in the US the French government gives incentives for innovation in various sectors, and in France, public research institutes (CNRS, INSERM, CIRAD, etc.) and public hospitals have indeed been at the forefront of many breakthroughs, some that have won Nobel prizes, again thanks to support from the government, not in spite of it.

about 9 months ago

NSA Metadata Collection Program Has Stopped Zero Attacks

DrEasy Re:Zero-day attacks (199 comments)

I read it that way too...

about 9 months ago

Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

DrEasy Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (90 comments)

If I understand his point correctly, I guess in the post-information scarcity world you set up a kickstarter project and ask people to pay up *up front* to get to read your work. You then, hopefully, deliver (people won't pay up next time if you don't!). Once your work is delivered, it can be replicated ad nauseam and it won't have any resale value because information is cheap or free.

about 10 months ago

Amazon Gets Blow-Back Over Plan To Sell Kindles At Small Bookshops

DrEasy Re:Time for a different business model (176 comments)

I think that's a great idea. The ability to browse physical books in a nice environment is a service that I'm willing to pay for.

about 10 months ago

If Java Is Dying, It Sure Looks Awfully Healthy

DrEasy Re:It's shocking (577 comments)

With Oracle doing everything possible to kill Java, it's shocking that Java serializes.

FTFY. :)

about a year ago

Snowden Shortlisted For Europe's Top Human Rights Award

DrEasy Props to the Green Party (273 comments)

There's been a political vacuum when it comes to defending Snowden and more generally people's right to privacy. Good for Green politicians for showing their concern! There are many more orphan causes in search for a party to pick them up: copyright and patent law reform, standing up to lobbies, etc. They'd get my vote.

about a year ago

Tech In the Hot Seat For Oct. 1st Obamacare Launch

DrEasy Re:Is there really any point to this? (326 comments)

Well, in the US the poor don't get access to healthcare, in Canada no one does. I guess at least it's fair...

We need to look beyond North America to find a system that works...

about a year ago

Comments About Comments

DrEasy Re:God help us! (276 comments)

I only read Yahoo comments for a good laugh. I take a benign story, and then wonder "how can this be turned into a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist rant in the comment section?", and they never disappoint.

1 year,1 hour

Brazil Announces Plans To Move Away From US-Centric Internet

DrEasy Brazil: take Snowden (285 comments)

If Brazil wants to flex it muscles with respect to defending privacy, it should give political asylum to Snowden. Now that will send a message. It's crazy how no supposedly democratic country has stepped up yet.

1 year,4 days

100% Failure Rate On University of Liberia's Admission Exam

DrEasy Re:One more reason that such systems make no sense (308 comments)

On the other hand, the same overqualified people also make better decisions when voting or keeping in check their government. You have people who understand the world surrounding them (and well beyond their borders) and who aren't prone to democratic apathy (and I guess that's why frequent strikes are a well-known French phenomenon).

The economic/employment viewpoint is certainly a valid one, and I agree with you to a great extent, but it's good to look at the civic one as well. Ideally, maybe a great portion of the people out of high school should go to a vocational school first, then go work, make some money, gain some experience, and only then at some point spend some time at university to gain a better understanding of the world. With MOOCs now, this should be easier hopefully.

1 year,27 days

Obama on Surveillance: "We Can and Must Be More Transparent"

DrEasy Re:Abandon all Hope, all ye who voted here. (537 comments)

You have to start somewhere. If you make enough noise you'll be noticed, just look at the tea party or the gay rights movement. Then you'll influence decisions by the two big parties, but still you shouldn't stop there. There's so much similarity between the two big parties, so many political issues not covered by either and so much apathy toward both, that if there's a determined and well organized alternative it will eventually get a chance. Certainly not doing anything hasn't worked great so much, has it?

about a year ago

Obama on Surveillance: "We Can and Must Be More Transparent"

DrEasy Re:Abandon all Hope, all ye who voted here. (537 comments)

Start a party! Or join one that is in line with your ideology! Be active! Recruit others!

We need political groups who are endorsed by, or at least ideologically in line with, some of the NGOs and foundations that we (or at least I) support: EFF, Amnesty International, and others.

I wonder what the Nobel Peace committee thinks about this whole mess that they endorsed a priori?

about a year ago

Node.js and MongoDB Turning JavaScript Into a Full-Stack Language

DrEasy blur client-server line (354 comments)

One advantage I could see in having JavaScript used on both client and server sides is that ultimately we could imagine new frameworks that would completely hide the separation between client and server. After all, we're using MVC anyway, might as well have all components in the same language so that the glue part is as seamless as possible. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have an IDE that gives you the impression that you're programming a regular desktop application, but that would take care of the deployment aspects? And once you get there, you can imagine higher level, languages that would generate the JavaScript for you if you're not a fan.

about a year ago

The Chromebook Pixel Is Real, and Expensive

DrEasy Re:No. (392 comments)

Yup, the consolidation of the YouTube and the Google accounts made me logout from Google forever. I want to keep my YouTube identity separate from my Google identity, and since it's impossible to do so without constantly logging in and out of them, I gave up on the Google side of things (so I just use my old YouTube account). What made the decision even easier is when they announced the impending death of iGoogle.

about a year and a half ago

The Chromebook Pixel Is Real, and Expensive

DrEasy Re:OMG, the display! (392 comments)

The 3:2 proportion is perfect for programming. I also want something that I can hook up to a projector when giving a presentation and I don't have to fiddle with resolutions. Ideally I want my usual resolution on both the laptop screen and the projector. That used to be the case for example with the first gen MacBooks.

about a year and a half ago

Have Questions For MIT's Aaron Swartz Review?

DrEasy Re:Damage control? (175 comments)

Here's a few ideas:

1- publicly funded research should not copyright protected. Have a university-wide policy for that. Easily enforced by tenure and promotion committees.
2- to enable 1., get together with other top universities and start running a federation of open-access journals that are free to publish in and freely available to the public. Have your librarians run them.

about a year and a half ago


DrEasy hasn't submitted any stories.



XML Predictions

DrEasy DrEasy writes  |  more than 7 years ago This article outlines interesting new developments regarding XML. Check out in particular the blurbs on XProc, APP, XQuery.


Interactive Fiction

DrEasy DrEasy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

This post lists some great resources on IF:


cool mashup idea?

DrEasy DrEasy writes  |  more than 7 years ago Plot the origin of phishing scams on GoogleMaps using Google's blacklist below?

(found out about the existence of such list in: )


Cool Web dev stuff

DrEasy DrEasy writes  |  more than 8 years ago

The Google Web Toolkit is a java library that generates Javascript code:

OpenLaszlo is like XUL but cleaner, and it generates code that works for any browser.


web folder

DrEasy DrEasy writes  |  more than 10 years ago This post says it's possible in OS X to create a Web folder so that publishing to the Web is as easy as drag-and-drop.

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