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Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?

blanchae Online education difficult to deliver effectively (81 comments)

"The problem with most online courses is that the vast majority of people who sign up for them never finish — they aren't engaged " - Exactly.

As an educator who pioneered online courses: http://www.cadvision.com/blanc..., I see the same issues being repeated over and over again. It is very difficult to deliver online courses effectively. In my 20 years of experience, I have seen only one effective online delivery and that is from The SIP School who provides certification for the Session Information Protocol for VoIP.

People learn using a combination of learning styles: visual, auditory, doing and thinking. Usually one style is predominant over the others. Plus there's the participation factor: if you attended a university lecture where the instructor presented the material and you sat back and just took notes, after 3 days, you would remember about 10%. If you did a laboratory exercise, after 3 days you would remember 80%. Doing things works the best.

The SIP School example uses an animated visual presentation with a voice over. The script is available for reading and reviewing also. Periodic quizzes are provided to re-enforce the material and provide a "doing" portion. I consider The SIP School the bar for online learning over anything the institute that I work at.

You can take a demo of their material to see what excellent online training looks like: http://www.thesipschool.com/co...

The other issue is that online courses focus on those individuals who primarily learn by reading (visually oriented). This makes it difficult for those who learn in one of the other methods.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

blanchae Cisco SOHO WiFi router believe it or not! (427 comments)

I stumbled across the Cisco SOHO series of WiFi routers about a year ago and I have to say that they are pretty nice. I've purchased 4 of the RV180W for labs in the school that I work at to replace Linksys WRT-54G routers - some running DD-WRT. They have a very complete web GUI that covers more then you ever want to do with a router from VPNs, VLANs, QoS, Security, etc.. They are on the pricey side as coming in around $150 a pop. First Cisco product that I really like - I've been teaching enterprise Cisco ISRs and VoIP for about 10 years now.

about 3 months ago
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Radar Data Yields High-Resolution Views of Near-Earth Asteroid HQ124

blanchae New geometric unit of measurement? (29 comments)

NASA announced today that the latest geometric unit of measurement is the Teletubby. It will augment the square, rectangle, circle and oval.

about 5 months ago
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Louis Suarez-Potts Talks About Making Money with FOSS (Video)

blanchae Two good business models (33 comments)

I like the business model that Schmooze/FreePBX has. It provides a free Linux distribution based on the Asterisk private branch exchange (PBX) VoIP telephony switch. It does about 80% of what a large company would want and pretty much what a SOHO would need. They have paid support for those that are serious about providing a telephony solution for a business.

The part that I really like is that in the pull-down menus, they have options for the paid modules which are disabled but instead are links to the specs with instructions to purchase. This is nice because you don't have to hunt all over the place to find a particular compatible module and you can easily see what is available. This form of advertising works for both Schmooze/FreePBX and the user.

They also provide weekly emails that indicate new features, howto articles and other tidbits.

Another good example is ClearOS and their "marketplace". ClearOS is a headless CentOS server that you can load up with whatever services that you need (web server, email, ftp, etc..) They have a free community edition and an enterprise edition. The basic modules are free and there are paid subscription modules. Some are very inexpensive like Zarafa - $10. You can't beat that! And of course you can pay for support.

about 9 months ago
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Cobalt-60, and Lessons From a Mexican Theft

blanchae Dead in 60 seconds? (174 comments)

Everyone is claiming that if you were within 3 feet of the Cobalt-60, you would be dead within 30 seconds or within an hour. How come the guys who stole the Cobalt-60 and opened the box are still alive? Lots of doom and gloom but the thieves are still alive days after and none appear in grave danger.

about a year ago
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Can the US Be Weaned Off Ethanol?

blanchae EPA protecting engines now? (330 comments)

So the big reason for the EPA to suggest reducing ethanol gas is to protect the engines of cars? Yes they are a protection agency, yes they protect the environment but please tell me the reasoning behind protecting car engines? What next?

1 year,7 days
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Full Details of My Attempted Entrapment For Teaching Polygraph Countermeasures

blanchae The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (465 comments)

If you are ever asked to take a lie detector test then you should read this free pdf book: The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. It will answer all of your questions about the game that is played. Lie detectors can not read your mind and cannot tell the truth from lies.

1 year,19 days
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US Academy President Caught Embellishing Resume, Will Resign

blanchae Asked to resign???? (124 comments)

WTF is with that? If you lie on your resume, you are terminated immediately and walked out the door. What a bunch of two faced hypocrites. When's the last time that any of you were asked to resign because you screwed up? There are rules for the 99% and then the 1% get politely wrist slapped - don't do that again and here's your pension package. This is what's wrong with business today. The top 1% can do anything they want without repercussions while the 99% pay.

about a year ago
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1967 Gyro-X Car To Be Restored

blanchae How about eliminate the gyro, add a 3rd wheel? (140 comments)

If you want stability, add a 3rd wheel in the rear and eliminate the gyro. Way simpler, more stable, less expensive, already proven and done...

about a year and a half ago
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Tech Leaders Create Most Lucrative Science Prize In History

blanchae Problem: Scientist retire after receiving award! (147 comments)

If I were one of the scientist and researchers who received $3 million, the first thing that I would do is retire. Don't need to go to work anymore.

about 2 years ago
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The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

blanchae Re:Sorry, I'm to blame.... (215 comments)

Forgot to mention one last thing: assimilation of information. One thing that many educators fail to realize is that it takes time to assimilate information. People require time to learn. In between learning, they need to relax and think about the subject. Sometimes, it just means not even thinking about it for a while. They may need a couple of days, just to let it all sink in.

A typical course is presented over a period of months, a couple of days per week and only a couple of hours per day. It gives you time to assimilate the information. Crash courses typically fail because they cram the same information in the same number of hours but all at once. It becomes overwhelming!

about 2 years ago
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The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

blanchae Sorry, I'm to blame.... (215 comments)

I pioneered online learning back in 1994 with the Internet. After a year of struggling with online learning with post secondary learners and the problems that they faced, I came quickly to the conclusion that nothing beats face to face learning. I wrote up a multipage report on the problems and presented it to the Dean of our department. The report was ignored, shelved and never read. The attitude was that I must of been doing something wrong and that they could do it better.

Almost 20 years later, the same problems are occuring for online learning, it focuses on one predominat learning style: seeing. There are 4 basic learning styles: seeing, hearing, doing and thinking. The "seeing" learning style is characterized by a person who can pickup a book or read a webpage and gather knowledge in that manner. A "hearing" oriented learning, learns by listening. They are characterized by being able to follow verbal instructions or directions easily: "go two blocks North, turn left, go 4 blocks then turn right next to the blue garbage bin, etc..".
The "doing" learning style, learns by doing the work, this is the best way to learn. Our institute is heavily loaded with lab work, up to 50% of classroom time is spent in the lab. Another way to re-inforce doing is by taking notes, either through pen and paper or laptop. The last learning style is "thinking". A person who is predominantly a thinker will have to "think" about what was said or presented to him in order to understand. They "go away" for a little while to assimilate the information then return back to the conversation. A typical reaction from a thinker is that they will briefly look away when you tell them something new.
Nobody has just one learning style, we have combinations of all 4 and are predominate with one or two.

If I gave a University theatre style lecture, no interaction with the students, straight power point presentations with powerpoint handouts already given out, the students will remember about 10-15% after 3 days. If it was a smaller class size of 30 students or less, interactive questions between the students and instructors, note taking, then after 3 days, the students will remember about 30%. If it was a lab with hands on exercises and interaction, the students will remember about 80% after 3 days.

Online learning fails by not delivering multiple learning styles and by missing the teacher/student interaction. It falls somewhere in the University large theatre learning results - that's why the high failure rate. Often, it takes a person to explain how things work. I found that the majority of students were particularly hesistant to use online tools (email, forums, blogs, twitter, 1-800 numbers) to contact the instructor to ask questions when things didn't make sense. They preferred to struggle "days" trying to figure it out until they could meet face to face.

The best learning is obviously "to do", my preference is to have no theory classes, just lab classes and pass on the information on a need to know basis. It's time to do this lab, this is what you need to know to do this. In the past, I've found that no matter how many times, you talk about a particular topic: in the classroom, online, at the beginning of a lab, it will be forgotten until the time is right and the student is ready for the information. In one course, I used to repeat the same explanation to each student in the lab when they needed to know it. I would repeat the exact same 5 minute explanation over 100 times a week. The students appreciated the one on one time and I got really good at explaining it! LOL.

The problem with having "just lab" classes, is that it flies in the face of everything that Universities teach about learning. The mantra is present the material, give an example, students practice the material and then assess the students. That is the "best practice" (I hate that phrase!) teaching method. In my labs, I don't feel that it is right to be assessed on the first time that you attempt something. Where's the learning in that? How about the first time, you attempt to drive a car, you have to take the driver's exam? In my labs, you do the lab until it is right, make as many errors as you want, no sign-off until it works to my satisfaction and the student shows an understaning of the lab. Then the student is assessed.
The other issue is that labs cost money. Small lab/class sizes are expensive compared to large theatres on a cost per student basis. Large theatre size classes are money makers.

about 2 years ago
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Iran Unveils Its Own Stealth Fighter Jet, the Qaher F-313

blanchae Snake in the grass! Phoney propaganda.. (260 comments)

So Iran is posting lots of photoshopped, obvious false boasting of their miltary might. The US is thinking what a bunch of farmers, we're going to walk all over them. In reality, Iran probably has some pretty top secret shit hidden away, waiting for the right time (war time) to jump out and bite ya. Iran is lulling the enemy into thinking they are inept and you guys are falling for it. What military strategist would annouce to the world that they have a stealth fighter? The US had their stealth fighter for something like 20 years before the general public heard about it during the war with Iraq. Think about it. There's a lot of highly educated people in Iran

about 2 years ago
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Dozens Suspended In Harvard University Cheat Scandal

blanchae Re:Grade inflation (264 comments)

I agree whole heartedly. When I went to college and to a post secondary institute, you needed 90%+ to get an A, 80-89% got you a B. Now in the institute, I work at,
an 80% will get you an A-, then 85% gets you an A and 90%+ gets you an A+. This marking scheme makes it almost impossible to get a poor grade.

about 2 years ago
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Dozens Suspended In Harvard University Cheat Scandal

blanchae What were the exam instructions/restrictions? (264 comments)

What were the instructions to the students taking the exam? What restrictions or instructions?

I'm a teacher in a post secondary institute and all of my quizzes are take-home 'do it at your own time" within a specificed time frame using whatever resources you can find. It allows me to create exams that test more than just rote memorization and I can ask higher level questions that require an understanding of the problem. If you can't understand the question then you won't even know what to google for. I also expect that there will be collaboration between students. This is real life testing, in the real world (job/career), you are asked to solve problems with whatever resources are available to you: google, library, references, friends, colleagues, etc..

There is an added bonus, in that if you don't know the answer, you have the opportunity to research and learn about it. In my assessments, you are assessed on your ability to come up with solution and you have the opportunity to learn while you are doing it.

The final exam is open book, open computer, randomized questions, randomized answers, online with a limit of 3 questions per page in a monitored environment - no friends or colleagues to help you. The exams typically span about 20 pages which makes collaboration very difficult in the limited time frame. The final exam mark is the real indication of your abilities.

Open book exams are always harder than closed book. I've found that the struggling students will do just as poorly in an open book exam as a closed book exam. They figure that all they have to do is look it up in their notes or text. Unfortunately, it is usually the first time they crack open the text and the first time they realize that they were too busy checking facebook, playing world of warcraft, instagramming, etc. to take good notes.

On the lab side, you receive 0% for doing the actual lab work. It triggers an online quiz that tests your understanding of the lab and the lab results. The lab quiz is worth 100% of the lab work. I've found that giving marks for the actual lab work artificially raises the student's grade, it becomes a mark for attendance. I feel that it separates the learning (lab work) from the assessment. I also feel that it is not fair to evaluate someone's ability on the first time that they attempt a procedure or lab. Do the lab, do it right then get graded on how well you understand what happened.

about 2 years ago
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China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

blanchae Re:It's not just money (233 comments)

They are spending more than twice now if we compare wages. Their $200 billion gets a lot more R&D then the States $400 billion. There is such an inequality in wages in the order of 10 to 1, that I would guess that they are actually getting the equivalent of $2 Trillion in State's R&D.

about a year ago
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China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

blanchae Re:Correct for economic value (233 comments)

I agree, I figure it's worth about $2 Trillion in comparison.

about a year ago
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China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

blanchae Re:That is not a fair comparison... (233 comments)

Screwed up my math, in comparison they are spending $2 TRILLION not $2 billion.

about a year ago
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China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

blanchae Re:Does not compute (233 comments)

I remember in the 70s, that attitude was the same for "made in Japan" then Japan became one of the technological leaders in the world. China is doing things that the States can't even dream of considering its economic situation. They are making most every thing that you buy now under as name brands as most manufacturers out-source the actual assembly to China. We can start with the iPhone, pretty much every apple device, computer, stereo, television, network equipment, etc.. Keep your blinders on because you don't want to see the reality of the world where the States aren't the techno king anymore.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: What would you say to an alien in order to save mankind?

blanchae blanchae writes  |  about 2 years ago

blanchae writes "If something happened like the movie: "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and an alien, who was omnipowerful like Klaatu, arrived to evaluate whether to thumbs up or thumbs down the earth and mankind. What would you present as mankind's greatest triumphs and accomplishments and why?"
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A speech to create a nation that ranks with the be

blanchae blanchae writes  |  about 3 years ago

blanchae writes "A speech that ranks with the best from JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill: the Address of Syrian National Council President; Dr. Burhan Ghalioun to The Syrian Nation, 5 November 2011:

An excerpt:

"It is a country where the principles of citizenship and equality reign and where people are judged on the basis of their capacities to give and sacrifice for the sake of their country.""

Link to Original Source
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Thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-gover

blanchae blanchae writes  |  more than 3 years ago

blanchae writes "In Bahrain, thirteen doctors and nurses who treated anti-government protesters during demonstrations in Bahrain earlier this year have been jailed for 15 years for crimes against the state.

Seven other medical professionals were given sentences of between five and 10 years by a special tribunal on Thursday that was set up during the emergency rule that followed the demonstrations.

This is outrageous that medical personnel who have devoted their lives to helping people regardless of circumstances are sentenced to prison. During times of war and conflict, never has the Red Cross or other agencies stopped to ask what your political alignment is. Medical personnel must be politically neutral and free from persecution of this type.

While we are safe at our computers on the other side of the world, there is something that we can do. Please contact your local government officials through email, phone calls, etc.. and register a protest against the Bahrain government. With your help, we can make a difference and apply enough political pressure that we can free these innocent people."

Link to Original Source
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Open Source Project Begging for Funds

blanchae blanchae writes  |  more than 3 years ago

blanchae writes "Asterclick, a promising open source project is facing a disaster in funding. It's main sponsor has had a major fire at its facilities and is concentrating on rebuilding. This means that Asterclick funding has been temporarily canceled and is desparately looking (begging) for donations. The Asterclick project is an open source real-time web/HTML5 based GUI for the open source Asterisk VoIP project. It is a very worthwhile project. If you can spare some change it would be very appreciated."
Link to Original Source
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How to Find a Job in IT

blanchae blanchae writes  |  more than 3 years ago

blanchae (965013) writes "Here's a couple of webpages called How to Find a Job in IT that I put up that gives you everything I've learned on looking successfully for a job in the IT field. Most new graduates and new-comers to North America don't realize how the job process works and get discouraged when they come to the promised land and are out of work. Hopefully this opens up the doors ."
Link to Original Source
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Copyright on images not hosted on your server?

blanchae blanchae writes  |  more than 6 years ago

blanchae (965013) writes "How does the copyright laws regard linking to images from another website on your own webpage? For example if your code had:

img src="http://www.freepbx.org/files/pictures/picture-9680.jpg" (brackets removed to sidetrack Slashdot's image filter)

This image is not hosted on the webpage and does not physically exist on the webpage's web server. Is a website breaking copyright laws by having an viewable image linked from another website?

I think that it would be easy to prove that at no time is the image present or in the possession on the server. The only time that the image appears is on the viewer's web browser."

Link to Original Source
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IP rights? Server hosting site hijacks content

blanchae blanchae writes  |  more than 7 years ago

blanchae writes "Over at The Ranger Station (www.therangerstation.com), there is a battle over who owns the rights to the Ranger Station's online forum. The Ranger Station owner was unhappy with the service of OnlineSolutions.org and changed server hosting. Online Solutions have hijacked The Ranger Station's forums stating that they own the databases and content and started their own Ranger Station forum under www.therangerstation.org. This doesn't seem right to me and I want to know who owns the content on a hosted server?"
Link to Original Source
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blanchae blanchae writes  |  more than 7 years ago

blanchae writes "BMW's TED (Technology Entertainment Design) center has a MUST VIEW feature video by Hans Rosling on the United Nation's wealth of data that has been collected since 1960. He shows how the new innovative software called GapMinder can utilize the data and create visual images that explain statistical data in ways not seen before. His example of the narrowing gap between the perceived poor 3rd world countries of the 60s and how far they've come is amazing. Google has a beta version of the GapMinder program that you can play with. I've proved that countries with more pollution have a lower infant mortality rate..."

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