×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot Parent Re:AP and accessible (208 comments)

I can tell you my high school AP Calc class went at the same rate as a typical college Calc class. Maybe a little faster. So right there, my anecdotal evidence in juxtaposition with yours shows you can't generalize from your knowledge.

Was that BC Calc? Because if it was, then that's not really a fair comparison because BC Calc is supposed to cover 2 semesters. That being said, you're not seriously arguing that AP Calc is harder than taking the course in college, are you? Any day of the week, I'd rather learn calculus from an experienced, English-speaking teacher in a 20 person classroom whose career goal is to teach students mathematics than from a math prof who only teaches because he has to in a 300 person lecture hall and a TA from Elbonia. A few decades later, I remember a lot of calc from my AP calc class, but I don't remember a damn thing from calc 3 which I had to take in college.

Anyway, the AP classes that I was talking about were things like AP U.S. History, AP U.S. Lit, AP Chemistry, Physics, etc. These were all semester-long courses in university, but took a full year to teach in high school. Learning the same material in twice the time is not impressive to me.

The school system is a factory system. Factory systems that are tuned to the mean, roughly. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) set up after NCLB are esentially a selection of 7 or 8 learning supports or enrichments that are minor modifications of the base system.

Aren't we talking about a minor change, here? All I'm saying is that a motivated student ought to be able to take a bloody AP class if he or she wants to, even in the absence of a stellar transcript. I mean, really. If a kid is fascinated with history, why shouldn't that kid be allowed to take AP U.S. History instead of standard U.S. History? The kid'll get some exposure to college level work in a class that piques his or her interest instead of being told, "Hey, sorry kid. You're too dumb to handle college work."

Back when I was in school, there was this chick who really wanted to take AP Econ, but she didn't have good grades, and the teacher gave her the boot (it was in front of the whole class, too. Ouch!). All I'm saying is that there were plenty of supposedly qualified kids in that class who never even came close to grasping the material, but I bet this chick would have gotten it because she cared more than they did.

I know it's just an anecdote and I know it's just my opinion not a scientific study, but anyway, that's what I think. Because frankly, who cares if they fail? I'd rather see a motivated kid challenge him or herself and come up short than not to take the challenge at all.

yesterday
top

Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Slashdot Parent Re:Sly (391 comments)

The conversation was about it being so very cheap to roll out SSL because its trivial to get free SSL certificates.

Ahh, sorry. I missed that part of the conversation.

Maybe the "Let's Encrypt" initiative will help. Cloudflare is also a good option.

Cheers!

yesterday
top

Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Slashdot Parent Re:Sly (391 comments)

And whilst I use StartSSL, it's a pain that you can't get free wildcard certs for your domain...

And it fucking pisses me off that the grocery store won't just give me free food, too.

StartSSL is a business, and its business model is to give out free Class 1 certs with the hope of converting you into a paying customer. They charge for every possible thing other than issuing personal use basic certs, even cert revocations. So if you say wanted to revoke your "free" cert for a very good reason like, say, Heartbleed, then be prepared to be converted to a paying customer.

I'm not saying that you should never use StartSSL, though. I'm just saying that you should know what you're getting yourself into, and know why they don't offer (and never will offer) other free services like wildcard certs.

yesterday
top

Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Slashdot Parent Re:Bad for small business owners (391 comments)

I've considered https, but it's too hard for me as a small web site owner: first I have to manage to get an SSL certificate (costs serious effort and money), then I have to figure out how to install it correctly (tried it before with a self-issued certificate and failed; while I'm fairly computer savvy), finally I have to somehow remember to renew it every few years or so - which is an interval way long enough to completely forget how the installation worked, so I have to start all over again.

Ideally, your web host should hold your hand through this.

I don't want to come across as a shill, so I'm not going to name names, but I just looked at the customer panel for a large shared hosting provider, and the process for adding HTTPS was dead simple. You just click on "Secure Hosting", and it walks you through it. You can use a self-signed cert (which they create for you automatically), buy an SSL cert through them for $15/yr, or you can copy/paste in your own (if you want to save a few bucks and get a PositiveSSL from Namecheap for $9/yr or a "free" cert from StartSSL). It took me about 2 pointy-clickys to add SSL to a test domain.

yesterday
top

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot Parent Re:How (208 comments)

Imagine if you will, a scenario where you are given an opportunity to learn about a subject you truly love from one of the best experts in the field, but you would have to take the class with 10 of the most far right nut wingers imaginable.

Or even better, imagine going through college as a conservative. As you no doubt remember, only expressions of Leftist doctrine are permitted in the "marketplace of ideas" that we call college. Never mind examining the merits of all ideas; college is a place where everyone from the students through the professors consider it to be their moral duty to ignore what you say and then insult you personally while explaining how sensitive and inclusive and open-minded they are.

At the end of the day, the path to your dreams need not run through any club nor class nor approval of the tactless. It's consistent, persistent action that advances you toward your goals and dreams, and that is the lesson that I hammer into my children's heads. I have very little patience for "oh, but she might get awkwardly hit on!" Apparently that happens 742 times per hour just walking down the street, anyway.

2 days ago
top

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot Parent Re:AP and accessible (208 comments)

What it comes down to is that the educators will look at a number of predefined criteria that reasonably predict a child's aptitude.

I understand what they do. My point is that they should not do that. They should give motivated kids a chance to be challenged. And let's be honest, do AP classes represent an actual challenge? I took a metric assload of them, and I did not find them to be challenging at all. The reason for this should be obvious: they take a semester-long college course and consume a full academic year teaching it. Of course they're dead easy.

Naturally, the schools can't let all these kids in. The system isn't set up to support that.

Well, maybe they should change that.

2 days ago
top

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot Parent Re:AP and accessible (208 comments)

I'm not GP, but many schools restrict who can enroll in AP courses. Personally, I think that this is stupid. Even the lower-class-rank students should be able to take an AP class if they think that they can handle it. They may not be taking a full course load of AP, but why not let them try some college level work in a subject that they like?

2 days ago
top

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot Parent Re:Computer careers and gender (208 comments)

And then there are those brilliant guys I've worked with which I still can't figure out their code

I would argue that those guys are not brilliant at all.

Any programmer can solve a complex problem with a complex solution. The brilliant programmers are the ones who can take a complex problem, distill it down to well-organized chunks, making the solution appear straightforward and obvious (even when the solution was anything but obvious).

When you get a dev on your staff who writes clear, straightforward code, you keep that dev in high morale and you don't let him or her go.

2 days ago
top

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot Parent Re:How (208 comments)

This is silly. Girls already do way better in school than boys, on average, and US colleges are majority-female. If girls are so uncomfortable with boys in their class, how come they are kicking our asses in school?

2 days ago
top

Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

Slashdot Parent Re: Easier method (446 comments)

If memory serves, if a black person is shot and killed, it is something like 80x more likely that it was by another black person than that the shooter was a white police officer.

The better advice is to avoid high-crime areas, and that is without regard to skin color.

3 days ago
top

Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

Slashdot Parent Re:Easier method (446 comments)

You tell your kids not to go to Chicago because of the crime, I tell mine not to go because of the police.

Given all of the news stories lately I don't blame you for this, but you should look up the statistics don't support the fatherly advice that you've given your children. I don't really feel like googling, but if memory serves, among the number of black people who are shot and killed annually, something like 1% of those is by white police officers, and roughly 80% are shot by young, black men.

So..... yeah. You should probably consider giving your black children the same advice that I give my white children: to avoid high-crime areas, stay with friends, look like they know what they're doing, etc.

And for what it's worth, I have family in Chicago and my kids have been there many times. Chicago is a fine city, but like any other major city, you need to be aware of where you are because there are certain neighborhoods that are not welcoming toward white people.

3 days ago
top

Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Slashdot Parent Re:Zoning laws are tyranny (594 comments)

Not like we have a choice. Our state government mandates that all new developments must have an HOA. It's been that way for decades.

That being said, I don't live under an HOA. Just sayin' that many don't have a realistic choice and endure it out of necessity.

5 days ago
top

Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

Slashdot Parent I probably shouldn't have clicked this (190 comments)

Now that only drove up Bennett's click count. I guess commenting only drives up his comment count, too.

Oops.

But I just can't help myself. I have to click so that I can comment, and I have to comment so that I can bitch about what a shitty writer Bennett is.

One day I'll have to write a greasemonkey script to filter Bennett Haselton out.

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Similar to Affirmative Action - a white man (307 comments)

When did advanced students cease being role models and instead become problems that need to be kicked out of the room?

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Similar to Affirmative Action - a white man (307 comments)

I don't really get the point of the Google initiative. I think that most schools have an intro to computing/programming concepts course that is geared toward catching up those who don't have prior programming experience. Not sure why booting white males and Asians out of the room is necessary or fair.

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Radical thought here (307 comments)

I think most schools do the same thing. My college did. The intro to CS was two courses, but you didn't take the first one if you had prior experience.

We didn't even need to take a test or require the assistance of Google's affirmative action task force or anything. We just self-selected ourselves into the appropriate course and that was that. I guess life is more complicated now.

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Just let them test out! (307 comments)

80% of the class spoke some dialect of Chinese at home

That can be a little dangerous. A buddy of mine in high school spoke Russian at home and took Russian for the easy A. Wound up being an easy F because he was illiterate and his grammar was atrocious and he didn't realize until too late that he needed to study.

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Just let them test out! (307 comments)

His had animations and sounds when the exercise was only to add a column of numbers.

I like to think that a decent teacher wouldn't have let one outlier student screw up the grading for an entire class. Especially since animations and sounds were not required and introduced unnecessary complexity into his codebase.

I never did figure how to make a recursive function work.

You probably had a shitty teacher, then. Recursion is a little tricky to get the hang of at first, and it's easy to screw up and create an infinite recursion, but if you follow a few simple rules, you should stay out of trouble.

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Just let them test out! (307 comments)

I didn't know that American classrooms were a zero-sum game... Is that common?

Not really, but it's usually up to the teacher how to assign the grades, so it's entirely possible that the grading was normalized and only a certain number of each grade was awarded. That's not usual, however.

A typical grading curve in the US is to take the top X scores as a baseline for the highest grade and everyone who gets a certain percentage of the top X grades gets an A, then a certain percentage lower is a B, etc. In that sense, GP could have distorted the curve by being an outlier score.

I had that happen in an Econ class once. I had already taken the course in high school and had already finished my degree requirements, but still had to take the intro course to graduate. I earned 100% in the class (I was qualified to teach it at that point) and ruined a lot of freshmen's transcripts. I think the Econ department has since loosened up that requirement a bit.

5 days ago
top

Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

Slashdot Parent Re:Screw you white boys (307 comments)

I think the bell curve is likely the entire problem. There simply should not be one.

How many classes did you take that were graded on a strict bell curve where there were a certain number of each grade to be awarded, and the scores were forced into that grading distribution? I don't think I had even one course graded that way.

I had many courses that were graded on a curve, but the formula was generally based on a percentage of the top X scores achieved in the course. In theory, the entire class could earn As, but it would not be possible to have all students fail.

5 days ago

Submissions

Slashdot Parent hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

Slashdot Parent has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?