2772
I Interviewed Dozens Of Tech Executives About Trump and Thiel. Here’s What The Numbers Tell Us. — The Ferenstein Wire — Medium
KEY QUOTE!!

Much of the tech industry subscribes to a unique political ideology that sees “government as a platform” for innovation — a phrase famously coined by publisher Tim O’Reilly. Under this view, the government has an essential role in innovation as an investor in research, education and immigration, while providing ample low-regulation opportunity for experimental entrepreneurship (after all, the Internet began in a military lab, spread to public universities like Berkeley, and then was adopted by startups in the surrounding cities).
For adherent’s to government-as-platform, the state is a pillar of stability.
platformization  siliconvalley  politics 
2 days ago
A Postcolonial Look at the Future of #EdTech — Not Evenly Distributed — Medium
There are four main ways in which MOOCs (and the wider internet) reproduce privilege:
a. The majority of content comes from Western, developed countries — where is the voice of the rest of the world? Not only that, but within those countries, the content comes from the privileged institutions that are able to afford paying their professors to offer MOOCs (ironically while continuing to employ adjunct faculty).
b. The majority of content comes in English (and a handful in a few major world languages) — again, where is the voice of the rest of the world? What about people who are not fluent in English? And moreover, what is the English-speaking world missing out on by not reading the content written in other languages? Translation apps continue to leave much to be desired.
c. There are still many people in the world without internet access, or with insufficient infrastructure to support richer forms of media including audiovisual and synchronous communication. Giving people content on CDs, as some suggest, would not solve the problem because I believe connectivity is necessary to realise the power of the internet in enabling learners to find the content they are interested in, and to empower learners to connect with others.
d. Digital literacies, not just digital skills, are needed to navigate the potential of the internet for connection and learning — and not everyone who has access to the internet has these skills and literacies. These literacies are needed also for people to become producers of content and not just consumers of it. This all explains why the majority of people benefiting from MOOCs have been those who already have a college degree — it takes a
moocs  public_discourse 
4 days ago
What's Wrong With Public Intellectuals? - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The huge personal disappointment—and it puzzled me for a long time—was that junior professors did not, by and large, give us work I wanted to print. I knew their professional work was good. These were brilliant thinkers and writers. Yet the problems I encountered, I hasten to say, were absolutely not those of academic stereotype—not esotericism, specialization, jargon, the "inability" to address a nonacademic audience. The embarrassing truth was rather the opposite. When these brilliant people contemplated writing for the "public," it seemed they merrily left difficulty at home, leapt into colloquial language with both feet, added unnatural (and frankly unfunny) jokes, talked about TV, took on a tone chummy and unctuous. They dumbed down, in short—even with the most innocent intentions. The public, even the "general reader," seemed to mean someone less adept, ingenious, and critical than themselves. Writing for the public awakened the slang of mass media. The public signified fun, frothy, friendly. And it is certainly true that even in many supposedly "intellectual" but debased outlets of the mass culture, talking down to readers in a colorless fashion-magazine argot is such second nature that any alternative seems out of place.

This was emphatically not what the old "public intellect," and Partisan Review, had addressed to the public. Please don’t blame the junior professors, though. (Graduate students, it must said, did much better for n+1, as they do still.)

Suppose we try a different, sideways description of the old public intellectual idea. "Public intellect" in the mid-20th century names an institutionally duplicitous culture. It drew up accounts of the sorts of philosophical, aesthetic, and even political ideas that were discussed in universities more than elsewhere. It delivered them to readerships and subscriberships largely of teachers and affiliates of universities—in quarterly journals funded by subscriptions, charitable foundations, and university subsidies. But the culture it made scrubbed away all marks of university affiliation or residence, in the brilliant shared conceit of a purely extra-academic space of difficulty and challenge. It conjectured a province that had supposedly been called into being by the desires, and demands, of "the real world." And this conceit, or illusion, was needed and ultimately embraced on all sides—by the writers, by the readers, by the subsidizers—even, in fact, by parts of that "real world" itself, meaning bits of commerce, derivative media, politics, and even "official" institutions of government and civil society. The collective conceit called that space, in some way, into being.

But the additional philosophical element that made this complicated arrangement work, and the profound belief that sustained the fiction, on all sides, and made it "real" (for we are speaking of the realm of ideas, where shared belief often just is reality), was an aspirational estimation of "the public." Aspiration in this sense isn’t altogether virtuous or noble. Nor is it grasping and commercial, as we use "aspirational" now, mostly about the branding of luxury goods. It’s something like a neutral idea or expectation that you could, or should, be better than you are—and that naturally you want to be better than you are, and will spend some effort to become capable of growing—and that every worthy person does. My sense of the true writing of the "public intellectuals" of the Partisan Review era is that it was always addressed just slightly over the head of an imagined public—at a height where they must reach up to grasp it. But the writing seemed, also, always just slightly above the Partisan Review writers themselves. They, the intellectuals, had stretched themselves to attention, gone up on tiptoe, balancing, to become worthy of the more thoughtful, more electric tenor of intellect they wanted to join. They, too, were of "the public," but a public that wanted to be better, and higher. They distinguished themselves from it momentarily, by pursuing difficulty, in a challenge to the public and themselves—thus becoming equals who could earn the right to address this public.

Aspiration also undoubtedly included a coercive, improving, alarmed dimension in the postwar period. The public must be made better or it would be worse, ran the thought. The aspiration of civic elites was also always to instruct the populace, to make them citizens and not "masses." Both fascism and Sovietism had been effects of the masses run wild (so it was said). The GI Bill, and the expansion of access to higher education after 1945, funded by the state, depended on an idea of the public as necessary to the state and nation, but also dangerous and unstable in its unimproved condition. This citizenry would fight for the nation. It would compete, technically and economically, with the nation’s global rivals. And it must hold some "democratic" vision and ideology to preserve stability. Even the worst elitists could agree to that. Hence the midcentury consensus that higher education should "make," or shape, "citizens" for a "free society"—which one hears from the best voices, and the worst, from that time.
politics  research 
6 days ago
The Calling | Dissent Magazine
In search of an answer, Fish identifies five schools of academic freedom, “plotted on a continuum that goes from right to left.” (It’s worth pointing out that this ideological framing is Fish’s; I would argue that there are left and right versions of all of the positions he describes.) At the conservative end of the spectrum, we have the “It’s just a job” school (Fish’s own position), which holds that, “[r]ather than being a vocation or holy calling, higher education is a service that offers knowledge and skills to students who wish to receive them.” Thus, “academics are not free in any special sense to do anything but their jobs.” Second is the “For the common good” school—the mainstream position in the American academy today—which insists that academic freedom has special value to a democratic society; Fish traces it back to a founding document, the American Association of University Professors’ 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure (drafted by Arthur O. Lovejoy and John Dewey, among others). Third is the “Academic exceptionalism or uncommon beings” school, which essentially treats academics as an elite class with special privileges. Fourth is the “Academic freedom as critique” school, which finds the real value of the academy in the “ruthless criticism of everything that exists”; fifth, and most radical, is the “Academic freedom as revolution” school, which travels further down the same road by advocating not only the critique but the abolition of existing social structures.
Fish presents his book as a “taxonomy of approaches” to academic freedom, a study in its varieties—or versions, as he puts it—and the arguments by which they are justified. But, as long-time readers of his work will not be surprised to learn, he has a dog in the fight himself, and he doesn’t treat all these approaches with equal generosity. The left-of-center positions all bring out varying degrees of exasperation in him, particularly the “Academic exceptionalism” school, which he clearly sees as total hogwash. (Despite devoting twenty pages to it, Fish is not entirely persuasive that anyone actually holds this view.) The “Academic freedom as critique” school—represented here by Judith Butler—is too abstract and diffuse for him. It is also, in his view, “the very antithesis of academic freedom” since it challenges the legitimizing authority of the academy itself, a move that consummate professionals like Fish are not willing to make. The “Academic freedom as revolution” school is even worse: it not only lacks the theoretical sophistication of the “Academic freedom as critique” school, but it also insists that “when university obligations clash with the imperative of doing social justice, social justice always trumps.” Its vision of academic freedom is, in other words, freedom from the academy, and it is embodied by the Canadian physicist Denis Rancourt, who in 2005 refashioned a required course in environmental physics at the University of Ottawa into a class on social activism. (The symmetry with Fish’s scrupulous conduct at Berkeley in the 1960s is almost too neat; Rancourt is the anti-Fish.) Fish’s opposition to the emancipatory politics advocated by the likes of Rancourt and the Free Speech Movement is not a reactionary one; he doesn’t dispute their rights to agitate, he just doesn’t think it should be justified in the context of the university. “A passion for justice is of course a good thing,” Fish admits, magnanimously; “it’s just not an academic good thing.”
research  higher_ed  college 
6 days ago
Amazon’s Quiet Dominance of Higher-Ed Learning Platforms - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The big change occurred around 2011 with the release of Canvas, an upstart challenger to Blackboard’s course-management system released by a company called Instructure. This LMS was designed natively for the cloud and built on top of Amazon’s cloud service. Initially this approach was viewed with some trepidation by the higher-education community. You mean my data is not even at the vendor’s site, and I share computing resources with potentially hundreds or thousands of other schools? We’re all running the same application without true versions to control? With the rise in popularity of Canvas, these concerns started to fade away. But colleges gradually accepted the change as they saw that using the cloud meant fewer crashes and the ability to temporarily add more processing power during peak periods, such as the start of the term or during finals.
Meanwhile, new niche learning platforms such as those for competency-based programs and adaptive-learning products were also designed natively for the cloud.

Established providers such as Blackboard and D2L (formerly Desire2Learn) eventually shifted with the market. D2L recently announced its move to the cloud and, for an increasing portion of its platform, AWS. Blackboard in the past week announced a new partnership with IBM to manage its existing data centers and to expand the cloud option using AWS. In fact, as part of this new partnership, Blackboard is moving away from its own data-center technology and adopting AWS as the default. I expect cloud-based options on AWS for both of these vendors to become the norm for all of their customers in the coming years.

Open-source platforms like Moodle are increasingly adopting AWS. And the newest LMS competitor — Schoology — is based on Amazon's cloud service. Among the MOOC providers, Coursera also runs on AWS and is featured in an Amazon case study. Udacity runs on Google App Engine but does a segment of its homework and grading on AWS. The nonprofit MOOC provider edX has a partner company that runs the platform on AWS.
lms  moocs  platformization 
7 days ago
In a nutshell, why do a lot of developers dislike Agile? - Quora
Being one of the people that participated in the creation of the Agile Manifesto, I find myself very disappointed by the reaction of engineers to the question “Are you practicing Agile?” Their shoulders drop. They tell me agile is horrible. I ask why. Reasons that stand out are:

We’re being micromanaged
The pressure is constantly on for every two week deliveries so quality suffers
All they care about is the date
Unfortunately, none of those activities are part of Agile, though I can see how it comes to be. The usual starting point is one of mistrust (note they above). Then you get a Scrum Master with two-days of training and pressure for two week deliveries; engineers will get the idea they are the Scrum Slaves.

They won’t be as happy as these slaves either.


I’ll dig a little deeper, why do you feel micro-managed? “We have to update the boss every morning instead of once a week.”

Why is there so much pressure in your two week iterations? (I don’t use the ‘S’ sprint word, but that is another story) “The stories we are told to do are so huge there is no way to get the work done with any quality. The PO says they are priority one. We have to do what the PO says, right? No documentation; no thought; just do it! That’s Agile! Right?”

No, that’s not Agile but that is a demoralizing way to work. As one manager told me when In the early days of coaching and training Extreme Programming “This all sounds great, but instead of being beat up once every six months now I get beat up every two weeks!” (His VP was definitely not quite on board with the realities and values of Agile.)

Agile shops like this are really missing a lot, even in just plain old Scrum, like:

Choosing your work
Committing to how much can be done in an iteration
Updating each other in the stand up. It’s not a manager update, though they participate.
Talking responsibility for design and other technical decisions
Retrospective to identify problems to facilitate continuous improvement
agile  platformization  software  software_engineering  softwarestudies 
7 days ago
Are MOOCs Forever? - The Chronicle of Higher Education
As of now Coursera has 145 partners!

Q. There’s been a lot of talk about MOOCs as an experiment because you have these large student populations that have never been gathered before. At this point, now that it’s been a few years, what’s the most interesting or important thing you’ve learned from the MOOCs?

A. I think what we learned is the extent to which, once you have learners or students who know their own mind, what they’re looking for is so very different than the kind of experience that we’ve been providing on campus. They’re looking for shorter, more-to-the-point modules of knowledge. They’re looking for things that have direct relevance to problems that they’re trying to solve, and I think one of the transformations that we see when talking to instructors is first the realization that you can’t teach your MOOC students the same way you teach your on-campus students, because your MOOC students are going to just walk away and not complete the course.

They come to a point of view, it’s like, "OK, my campus students are different from my MOOC students." The next stage of their evolution is like, "No, they’re not actually different." It’s just that the MOOC students have the option to walk away, whereas your on campus students don’t, and maybe what we should be providing to our on campus students is actually more like what we’re providing to our MOOC students.
moocs  public_discourse  coursera 
7 days ago
Why Higher Ed Must Resist the ‘Platform Revolution’ | Technology and Learning
The bad thinking that will lead to higher ed leaders wanting to turn their schools into platforms should not be blamed on the authors of this excellent book.  Platforms are changing the world of business, and business writers (and academics that study business) have every obligation to explain this trend.
Where the authors of Platform Revolution get themselves in trouble - and the reason that you should preemptively read the book before your president/provost/dean can get their hands on it - is when they claim that higher education is ripe for transformation by platform.
platformization  moocs  public_discourse 
7 days ago
The Only Good Tarzan Is a Bad Tarzan — Pacific Standard
Director David Yates’ new Legend of Tarzan is not a cartoon, and it doesn’t try to gloss over the character’s unsavory past. Indeed, you could call it the first post-Tarzan Tarzan: Instead of reviving or rebooting the franchise, it’s the first iteration that begins by attempting to reckon with the franchise’s anachronisms head-on. Thus, the title: Tarzan comes with such baggage that his legend itself turns out to be what the film is about. It could be a self-conscious metaphor for the very making of the film: A famous but basically retired Tarzan gets called back into service, forcing him to face, for the first time, a shameful past from which he has been hiding.
movies  research 
9 days ago
The Best Time I Pretended I Hadn’t Heard of Slavoj Žižek — The Hairpin
ind someone who is crazy about Morrissey, and pretend you have no idea who that is. It drives people nuts. I don’t know why, but it does. Just kidding, I know exactly why, because I myself have been on the receiving end of the Žižek Maneuver. This girl I had a bit of a crush on told me she had never watched “Twin Peaks,” and it damn near killed me. The reason I had a crush on her in the first place is because we liked so many of the same books, and movies, and music. How could she have never watched “Twin Peaks?” Was she messing with me? How? It did not for a second occur to me that she just hadn’t got round to it. My immediate response was to believe that she had deliberately not watched it in order to get on my nerves. When she told me later that of course she had watched “Twin Peaks,” my eye started twitching.
generalinterest 
9 days ago
Who are the Uber & Lyft drivers? — Uber Screeds — Medium
For months, I’ve been running around the U.S. and Canada, interviewing drivers from Uber, Lyft, other ridehail services, and some taxi drivers, to find out more about who the drivers are and how they manage their work across a diverse set of regional contexts. I’ve heard some stories over and over again, like driver dissatisfaction with unfair ratings, or driver appreciation for being able to set their own schedules. There are fascinating edge cases too, like anxieties around information privacy, that might anticipate other services companies can offer to help drivers. I’m going to start writing out some of my early findings (all the names are changed to protect driver privacy).
ESL
Some drivers are using Uber and Lyft to improve their English language skills. This is one of the amazing things about ridehail work — you can be instantly employed with limited or no dominant language skills. One driver in Palo Alto spoke no English, and the app instructed him in (what I think was) Mandarin.
uber  platformization 
10 days ago
Udacity Turns Five, by Sebastian Thrun — Udacity Inc — Medium
Fast forward to today. Udacity is now rapidly becoming the place to go for lifelong learning, where millions are learning the latest skills that Silicon Valley has to offer. Tech giants like AT&T, Google, Facebook, Amazon, GitHub, and MongoDB are using us to reach any willing learner in the world. And companies are eagerly hiring our graduates. We have educated more students than many four-year colleges. And recently, we started placing our graduates in jobs in the tech industry and beyond, based on their Nanodegree program credentials.
Our fifth anniversary is a great moment of reflection. To many, education is a numbers game. It’s about tuition, graduation rates, enrollment. To me, education is all about people. Every time I receive a thank-you note from a student, a letter on how we changed a person’s career, I am in tears. I have this very deep belief that if we open up high-quality education, if we truly democratize it, if we give every human being on this planet a fair chance, we will make a huge difference. Today, high-quality education is a privilege of the few. Our vision at Udacity is to make high-quality education a basic human right. If we do this, I truly believe we can double the world’s GDP.
moocs  public_discourse  udacity 
13 days ago
Online learning could help more people achieve — if they knew about it — Medium
Note the word "tools":

"Raising awareness of today’s digital learning tools will take much more than sharing information and signing people up for classes. The real issue is getting people to accept that all of us need to continue our education beyond high school and even college. I experienced my own dose of reality a few years ago when I did my first broadcast interview and realized afterwards how much better I would’ve done if I’d been media-trained. Today’s workplace is evolving so quickly, you’ll get a wake-up call like that too, if you haven’t already, but you’re probably not about to drop your career and go back to school."
platformization  research  moocs 
23 days ago
A Student’s Guide to PC Meetings — Medium
How computer science papers are accepted or rejected in program committee conferences

"To a limited extent, a paper’s review scores can dictate its destiny. The committee progressed quickly through the highest and lowest rated papers (perhaps the top and bottom 5% in terms of aggregate score), accepting or rejecting most of these with minimal deliberation. Almost all other papers received more significant discussion.
Of course, this discussion is the most interesting aspect of the meeting. And it’s largely controlled by ACs. While in theory the committee makes decisions as a whole, it relies on each paper’s ACs to frame and interpret its contributions. When both ACs think a paper should be accepted or rejected, that’s almost always the end of the story, whatever the state of the external reviews. And for the majority of papers, ACs are in agreement.
When ACs disagree about a paper, things become a bit more interesting. External reviews are more likely to be leveraged in discussion (“Why did famous person X recommend rejection?”), and there is room for other members of the committee to play a stronger role. Papers with disagreeing ACs tend to create conflict at the meeting, and these papers are usually tabled for further discussion. But more often than not, if one AC is strongly opinionated the argument will resolve in her favor, often after both ACs have discussed the paper privately.
In practice, these private deliberations play an important role at the meeting: most AC disagreements are resolved off the record. The rest of the committee becomes involved only when its clear the ACs won’t be able to reach a consensus among themselves.
What does this mean, then, if you’re new to the reviewing process? The obvious lesson is that you should pay attention to what ACs say about your paper: these are the people who control its fate, and you should aim to convince at least one of them to be your advocate. You also shouldn’t be too worried about one cranky, negative reviewer. If it’s clear this person falls outside the consensus, their review won’t play much of a role at the PC. Finally, you shouldn’t take paper rejections personally — especially those that garnered high scores from some subset of reviewers. This was, for me, the most visceral takeaway from the meeting. When you see two senior members of the community arguing over the merits of a paper, it becomes clear about how subjective and noisy the review process can be."
computer_science  platformization  research 
25 days ago
The Good News at Trump’s Least-Favorite Paper -- NYMag
"Data is now at the heart of virtually every strategy discussion. Last year, the Post built an analytics system, Loxodo, that can track virtually all the ways readers engage with Post content. It tests which headlines and photos are encouraging the most readership, a feature common to widely used industry software like Chartbeat. But Loxodo’s algorithm automatically publishes the winner of each test so editors don’t have to continually monitor it. Another project analyzes reader behavior in the days leading up to when they subscribed, so that, instead of putting up a universal paywall of a certain number of free articles per month, the Post can better target potential subscribers. For instance, if a reader clicks on mostly articles on health, then he would be asked to subscribe after reading a fifth health article, when he’s most likely to want to keep reading.

Recently, the Post unveiled software that allows readers to bookmark articles and continue reading across multiple devices. It also gives the Post a fuller view of how readers are engaging with content. That 7,000-word investigation of a sexual assault in the Marines had an average reader engagement of 21 minutes. “This is an insanely high number. Higher than any other story we’ve done in the past year,” says Kat Downs, the graphics director.

It’s not just technology helping to sell the editorial brand; the editorial brand is being used to sell technology. Last year, the Post began licensing its custom publishing platform to publishers and universities. So far, only about a dozen publishers have signed on, including the Toronto Globe and Mail, Alaska Dispatch News, Willamette Week, and Santa Fe Reporter, but the Post believes it can eventually generate $100 million a year from the business. This spring, it launched software that solves certain problems for digital advertisers: One rapidly reduces load times for mobile display ads; another reformats video ads for vertical cell-phone screens. The goal, again, is to sell to other media companies. “I want the New York Times to call me and say, ‘Holy shit, I want that,’ ” says Jarrod Dicker, the Post’s head of ad product and technology."
amazon  journalism  platformization 
25 days ago
Guide of creation of modules of Lms and cms for the open edx - Google Groups
Course data is stored in Mongo, and student data is stored in MySQL.  But we strongly recommend against talking directly to the database.  The schemas are not guaranteed public interfaces, and they can change without notice.

Can you tell us more about the interface you are desigining?
edx  openedx  forums  debates 
26 days ago
What it’s like to be a political moderate working in a ridiculously polarized Senate - Vox
Great piece on how on issues that very few people care about "rational" and "technical" solutions can be drafted. This is a first-person narrative.

"A few months into the job, I was offered the opportunity to help on an issue almost no one was following — the adoption crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of international families, including Americans, had legally adopted children from the DRC. But in 2013 the DRC blocked their departures from the country, so these children were in limbo. Some children had even died of disease while waiting to go to their adoptive families.

The first meeting I attended on the DRC crisis was unlike anything I had seen on Capitol Hill before. There was no clear ideological divide on the issue, just reasonable people who differed reasonably over the best solution.

I was proud to be part of Sen. Warner's efforts to draft a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the DRC government calling for action. And I hoped that the letter, along with other efforts by our Democratic and Republicans colleagues, would make a difference.

It was what I dreamed of when I went into policy: Republicans and Democrats sitting together, where all smart ideas are welcome and politics does what it should –- sorting through competing ideas to achieve the best possible outcome. It was the political equivalent of unicorns and rainbows. But the only reason we could operate this reasonably was because the issue didn’t fall along ideological lines. No interest groups were calling in and telling anyone not to budge."
research  sciencevspolitics  polarization  expertise 
26 days ago
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian
Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
Paul Verhaeghe
Read more
Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.
research  neoliberalism  platformization 
26 days ago
A DSM for Achievement — Learning Machine Blog — Medium
Author visualizes a DSM-like system for cataloging abilities - and decoupling credentials from institutions so that employers know what skills they have. Article is based on lecture by Arthur Levine who founded the MIT organization that Justin works for. Interesting insight into what's driving MOOCs - the social imaginations.
moocs  higher_ed  public_discourse 
27 days ago
Who's Responsible For the Euromess? | Mother Jones
Great piece from Drum on how core EU countries share blame for what happened to Greece and Spain and Portugal during the Great Recession
generalinterest  politics  europe 
29 days ago
Society in the Loop Artificial Intelligence — Medium
Silicon Valley ideology of empowerment in action.

"Human-in-the-loop machine learning is work that is trying to create systems to either allow domain experts to do the training or at least be involved in the training by creating machines that learn through interactions with experts. At the heart of human-in-the-loop computation is the idea of building models not just from data, but also from the human perspective of the data. Karthik calls this process ‘lensing’, of extracting the human perspective or lens of a domain expert and fit it to algorithms that learn from both the data and the extracted lens, all during training time. We believe this has implications for making tools for probabilistic programming and for the democratization of machine learning.
At a recent meeting with philosophers, clergy and AI and technology experts, we discussed the possibility of machines taking over the job of judges. We have evidence that machines can make very accurate assessments of things that involve data and it’s quite reasonable to assume that decisions that judges make such as bail amounts or parole could be done much more accurately by machines than by humans. In addition, there is research that shows expert humans are not very good set setting bail or granting parole appropriately. Whether you get a hearing by the parole board before or after their lunch has a significant effect on the outcome, for instance.
In the discussion, some of us proposed the idea of replacing judges for certain kinds of decisions, bail and parole as examples, with machines. The philosopher and several clergy explained that while it might feel right from a utilitarian perspective, that for society, it was important that the judges were human — it was even more important than getting the “correct” answer. Putting aside the argument about whether we should be solving for utility or not, having the buy-in of the public would be important for the acceptance of any machine learning system and it would be essential to address this perspective.
There are two ways that we could address this concern. One way would be to put a “human in the loop” and use machines to assist or extend the capacity of the human judges. It is possible that this would work. On the other hand, experiences in several other fields such as medicine or flying airplanes have shown evidence that humans may overrule machines with the wrong decision enough that it would make sense to prevent humans from overruling machines in some cases. It’s also possible that a human would become complacent or conditioned to trust the results and just let the machine run the system.
The second way would be for the machine to be trained by the public — society in the loop — in a way that the people felt that that the machine reliability represented fairly their, mostly likely, diverse set of values. This isn’t unprecedented — in many ways, the ideal government would be one where the people felt sufficiently informed and engaged that they would allow the government to exercise power and believe that it represented them and that they were also ultimately responsible for the actions of the government. Maybe there is way to design a machine that could garner the support and the proxy of the public by being able to be trained by the public and being transparent enough that the public could trust it. Governments deal with competing and conflicting interests as will machines. There are obvious complex obstacles including the fact that unlike traditional software, where the code is like a series of rules, a machine learning model is more like a brain — it’s impossible to look at the bits and understand exactly what it does or would do. There would need to be a way for the public to test and audit the values and behavior of the machines."
machinelearning  moocs  platformization  siliconvalley 
4 weeks ago
A DSM for Achievement — Learning Machine Blog — Medium
Rather than degrees, certify competencies; take DSM as guide. See also Chris Petersen's response...
moocs  public_discourse  higher_ed 
4 weeks ago
On Story and Execution: Sebastian Thrun, Udacity, and The Future — Udacity Inc — Medium
Written by a udacity employee and has some choice quotes from Thrun

“We’re now at this place where we can make the evolution of academic content match the evolution of the world.”
udacity  moocs  public_discourse 
4 weeks ago
The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems — The Development Set — Medium
et’s pretend, for a moment, that you are a 22-year-old college student in Kampala, Uganda. You’re sitting in class and discreetly scrolling through Facebook on your phone. You see that there has been another mass shooting in America, this time in a place called San Bernardino. You’ve never heard of it. You’ve never been to America. But you’ve certainly heard a lot about gun violence in the U.S. It seems like a new mass shooting happens every week.
You wonder if you could go there and get stricter gun legislation passed. You’d be a hero to the American people, a problem-solver, a lifesaver. How hard could it be? Maybe there’s a fellowship for high-minded people like you to go to America after college and train as social entrepreneurs. You could start the nonprofit organization that ends mass shootings, maybe even win a humanitarian award by the time you are 30.
research  technology  technologyvspolitics 
4 weeks ago
The worst thing I read this year, and what it taught me… or Can we design sociotechnical systems… — Medium
Am I advocating codesign of prisons with the currently incarcerated? Hell yeah, I am. And with ex-offenders, corrections officers, families of prisoners as well as the experts who design these facilities today. They’re likely to do a better job than smart Yale students, or technology commentators.
design  research  technology 
4 weeks ago
Giving Young People an Alternative to College - The New York Times
"As I traveled the country the last two years talking to employers of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy for my new book, “There Is Life After College,” what I heard most is the worry they have about filling so-called middle-skill positions in advanced manufacturing, health care and information technology.

Nearly half of the American work force has these jobs today, but many of them are baby boomers who will soon be retiring. It’s expected that as many as 25 million of all new job openings in the next decade will be for middle-skills jobs.

What we need are job-training institutions on par with academic institutions as prestigious and rigorous as the Ivy League to attract students interested in pursuing skilled jobs critical for the economy that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree.

The modern version of what an apprenticeship could look like for American students interested in alternatives to college is on display at The Apprentice School in Newport News, Va., where students choose from one of more than 20 occupational areas and are guaranteed a job with the military contractor that operates Newport News Shipbuilding."
higher_ed  public_discourse 
4 weeks ago
Bad Articles about Grad Student Unionization — Crooked Timber
Lots of arguments about faculty tenure, the no. of PHDs, and grad student unionization
moocs  higher_ed 
4 weeks ago
Sad! - The Huffington Post
Fascinating - if a bit self-serving. The most interesting part was the number of times I read the word "analytics" "measured" and others. Political consulting in the US today is clearly very data and analytics driven.
research  politics  platformization 
5 weeks ago
Teaching the teachers | The Economist
Those who do so embody six aspects of great teaching, as identified by Mr Coe. The first and second concern their motives and how they get on with their peers. The third and fourth involve using time well, fostering good behaviour and high expectations. Most important, though, are the fifth and sixth aspects, high-quality instruction and so-called “pedagogical content knowledge”—a blend of subject knowledge and teaching craft. Its essence is defined by Charles Chew, one of Singapore’s “principal master teachers”, an elite group that guides the island’s schools: “I don’t teach physics; I teach my pupils how to learn physics.”

Branches of the learning tree
Teachers like Mr Chew ask probing questions of all students. They assign short writing tasks that get children thinking and allow teachers to check for progress. Their classes are planned—with a clear sense of the goal and how to reach it—and teacher-led but interactive. They anticipate errors, such as the tendency to mix up remainders and decimals. They space out and vary ways in which children practise things, cognitive science having shown that this aids long-term retention.
moocs  public_discourse 
5 weeks ago
Same Time, Many Locations: Online Education Goes Back to Its Origins - The Chronicle of Higher Education
online education is going back to synchronous rather than asynchronous; let's see how that goes...
moocs  public_discourse 
5 weeks ago
Not-yetness and learnification | the red pincushion
Amy Collier talks about learnification - which is about the removal of teacher from the loop of teaching and learning.

She proposes a concept of "notyetness" to deal with learnification.

"We have to rethink our approaches to and views of education. I love this quote from George Siemens because it reiterates the point that we should make space for things that don’t fit into our tidy conceptions about education. Biesta would also argue that we should be looking into, inquiring into, the purpose of education and the relationships of educators and students, which have seemed to have been diminished in the intense focus on learning. When we embrace not-yetness, we should not just look at it in terms of process, but also not-yetness in the purposes of education. For example, we could probably name several purposes of education (jobs, citizenship, socialization) and sometimes those purposes could be at odds with each other. Not-yetness invites us to savor those tensions as fertile opportunities for better understanding education as a whole. Same with relationships with students. Biesta says that the focus on learning has decontextualized education from the teacher/student relationship. Not-yetness invites us to place more value on teacher/student relationships by embracing the messiness and under-determinedness of those relationships."
moocs  platformization  learning_research  stanford 
6 weeks ago
Understanding the Origins of Ed-Tech Snake Oil - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The problems with a certain kind of learning analytics research conducted by companies as reported by Feldstein and Hill.

"As you might have guessed, these statements are not hypothetical but historical facts. The product in question is called Course Signals, and the designers were staff members working for Purdue University at the time of the controversy. The author of the candy retention simulation is Alfred Essa, who now works at McGraw-Hill Education but whom I met when he was CIO at MIT’s Sloan School of Business. The root of the problem is not raw greed but a failure of the scientific peer-review process, amplified by the echo chamber of conventional and social media.

I can’t even say that amplification was caused by "marketing," at least in the conventional sense. The university was spreading the word among its peers about the findings of its institutional research. An earlier study of Course Signals conducted by the same research group, which showed that Course Signals helps students succeed within individual courses, was well received by the academic research community and has not been questioned. The researchers, one of whom I know fairly well, have good reputations. They probably just made a mistake in the experimental design of their second study. It happens. As now-former staff members, they are not at liberty to comment about institutional research. I honestly don’t know why Purdue itself failed to respond to its critics."
moocs  learning_analytics 
6 weeks ago
What is a Learning Platform? -e-Literate
irst, let’s look at the metaphor. A platform is typically defined in the generic sense as a raised surface of some type that supports other interacting objects. Within computer and software terminology, a platform can be defined as “A platform is any base of technologies on which other technologies or processes are built”. The idea is that the platform is not intended to stand on its own, as its definition includes the support of other technologies or applications.

Given this context, there is a rather extensive Wikipedia entry on learning platforms with some useful definitions included. I have excerpted several below.

A learning platform is an integrated set of interactive online services that provide teachers, learners, parents and others involved in education with information, tools and resources to support and enhance educational delivery and management.
platformization  moocs 
6 weeks ago
Chart of the Day: For-Profit Vocational Schools Are An Unholy Rip-Off
New study on earnings of for-profit graduates and dropouts. Answer: not good.
moocs  higher_ed 
7 weeks ago
What Presidents Talk About When They Talk About Hiroshima - The New Yorker
These critiques can seem shocking today, because they upset our understanding of how Hiroshima and Nagasaki map onto modern politics. We assume that Republicans, especially those in the military, are retrospectively pro-bomb, and that liberals see the attacks as something between a mistake and a war crime. But this interpretation removes the critiques from their historical context. Many commanders in both the European and Pacific theatres resented that the bomb got credit for ending the war. They saw their own strategic efforts, including the ruinous firebombing of at least sixty-seven Japanese cities, led by General Curtis LeMay, as being overshadowed by a scientific “gadget.” They feared that nuclear weapons would become an excuse to cut funding for conventional armed forces: if the bomb maintained the peace, who needed generals? (Their fears proved not entirely unfounded—Truman’s second Secretary of Defense, Louis A. Johnson, did try to slash military budgets—but they eventually learned to love the bomb.) When these leaders proposed that the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary, they meant that they were unnecessary because Japan had already been bombed to dust. It was not a peacenik argument.
research  nuclear 
8 weeks ago
Robocalls have triumphed over the Do Not Call list. Whose fault is it?
The same voice over internet protocol technology that eliminated the long-distance telephone surcharge also revolutionized telemarketing. Companies could set up shop outside the United States—and outside the reach of regulatory authorities—where for pennies they could blast consumers with prerecorded, autodialed calls. They could also use spoofing technology to disguise where their calls were coming from. A call claiming to be from Microsoft, for instance, might show a 425 area code. That’s Redmond, Washington, where Microsoft is headquartered. And the IRS scam? A 202 number for Washington, D.C., would show up on caller ID.
research  regulation 
8 weeks ago
Tinder Has an In-House Sociologist and Her Job Is to Figure Out What You Want - Los Angeles Magazine
Puff piece - all it does is show that Tinder employs a "sociologist"-researcher but could be useful with names, etc.
tinder  platformization  dating 
8 weeks ago
Donald Trump's horrifying gullibility, as revealed in his energy speech - Vox
This is a wonderful observation:

"The second is that Trump was encountering his own speech, if not for the first time, then something close to it. The difference in tone and affect between the parts he read and the parts he freestyled was almost comical. He would squint at the teleprompter for a moment, read a fully formed English sentence with correct grammar and multisyllabic words ... and then grin, look out at the audience, and fire off a few hortatory exclamations.

What made this effect particularly disconcerting is that many of Trump's spontaneous interjections were reactions to his own speech.

[squint] "American energy dominance will be declared a strategic, economic, and foreign policy goal of the United States." [grin] "About time!"

It happened again and again. He'd read some statistic about the Environmental Protection Agency and then interject, "Wow, can you believe that?"

It was as though he was discovering Donald Trump's energy policies alongside his audience, and he liked what he saw. Oh, look here, Donald Trump is going to cancel the Paris climate accord, that's great!

It was amusingly Trumpian — Donald Trump often expresses admiration for things Donald Trump does or owns — but it was also revealing of some of his less commented-upon but more unsettling qualities."
generalinterest  politics  america 
8 weeks ago
California’s Upward-Mobility Machine - The New York Times
David Leonhardt on the colleges with the most economic diversity and how it is achieved. California leads, esp. by recruiting students from community colleges through their transfer program.
moocs  public_discourse  higher_ed 
8 weeks ago
Stanford teams up with edX
Mitchell compared the Stanford/edX effort to the evolution of Webkit, an Internet browser software package developed by Apple to compete with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Apple used Webkit to create the Safari browser – which comes installed on every Mac, iPad and iPhone – but kept the underlying Webkit software open source. Google eventually used Webkit to create its own browser, Chrome.
So that leaves the question, if edX is Apple and Stanford is Google, who is their Microsoft?
Asked that question during a conference call, Agarwal laughed. Mitchell immediately praised the "great arrangement" Stanford has with Coursera.
He also said Stanford, which has a unique startup-based culture, has no aversion to for-profit companies. But, he said, Stanford does want to leave its options open.
“There are certainly some choices if we have access to the code and the ability to modify it if we like, and also the ability to brand our site as we like, to partner with other organizations as we like,” he said.  
Mitchell said Stanford faculty members will continue to post material on Apple’s iTunes U, on Google’s YouTube and on Coursera, and to also generally allow faculty to pick among different platforms.
“We will work on a case-by-case basis with individual faculty,” Mitchell said.
And, even though it is nonprofit, edX will also eventually need to make money. MIT and Harvard both chipped in $30 million apiece to get edX off the ground.
moocs  public_discourse  stanford  edx  openedx  opensource 
8 weeks ago
American kids are getting too smart for the Spelling Bee
Comparing the spelling bees to the IIT JEE - I wouldn't be surprised if some of these Indian kids didn't have IITian parents.
toblog 
8 weeks ago
How well online dating works, according to someone who has been studying it for years - The Washington Post
One of the most interesting questions about the Internet as a sort of social intermediary is whether it brings different kinds of people together more than would have been brought together before. If you think about the traditional technology of family, which was the marriage broker of the past, the family was very selective in terms of its reliance on introducing you to people of the same race, religion and class as potential partners. What’s more, if you were marrying young — at the age of 20 or younger — you really could only marry people from within your close network, from your neighborhood. These were the only people you knew, and they were probably very much like you.

The question about Internet dating specifically is whether it undermines the tendency we have to marry people from similar backgrounds. The data suggests that online dating has almost as much a pattern of same-race preference as offline dating, which is a little surprising because the offline world has constraints of racial segregation that the online world was supposed to not have. But it turns out online dating sites show that there’s a strong preference for same-race dating. There’s pretty much the same pattern of people partnering with folks of the same race.

What’s unclear is how much of this tendency online is really a result of preference and how much is due to the websites feeding you potential partners that are of the same race as you. These websites use algorithms to try to figure out who you like. And if they assume you’re going to prefer people of your own race, they might feed you a steady diet of potential matches of the same race. Since the algorithms tend to be proprietary — they don’t share them — we don’t know whether this is skewing the data.

There are other aspects in which online dating leads to different results than offline dating. One is that people are more likely to date someone of another religion. I think that’s because you can’t tell what someone’s religion is from their picture. On online dating, the picture marks you with gender and race pretty clearly, but religion is something that you have to dig through to figure out.

The other big difference is that same-sex couples are much more likely to meet their partner online. In my data, about 22 percent of straight couples met online. For gay couples, it’s about 67 percent. Online is tremendously more efficient for gays and lesbians. And that’s because it’s much harder for them to identify potential partners offline.
dating  platformization 
8 weeks ago
Karl Polanyi for President | Dissent Magazine
Nicely written - although the comparison of Sanders and Clinton at the end that shows that they differ on their ideology just strikes me as a little forced. Just saying that Sanders thinks health-care is a right while Clinton thinks affordable health care is a right is perhaps putting too much emphasis on words. Even if you think healthcare is a right, someone's going to pay for it, and that is going to have distributional consequences. And it's the distributional consequences that one should focus on, rather than the words themselves. No?
capitalism  economics  polanyi  generalinterest  toblog 
8 weeks ago
In Service Sector, No Rest for the Working - The New York Times
About how computerized scheduling is reducing gaps between shifts and making it harder for service sector employees to manage their lives
labor  computing 
8 weeks ago
Distance Ed’s Second Act - The Chronicle of Higher Education
ow that the MOOC hype has died down and almost no one is arguing that those free online courses will upend the traditional university, are we instead entering a period where online education is having a real impact on the core of higher education? Not just for the for-profit outliers and not just for distance-education titans like Rio Salado College and Liberty University, but for the mainstream? While I would not argue that fundamental change has already occurred, there are some signs of a turning point.

About This Series

This commentary is part of a series by the authors of the ed-tech blog e-Literate, Michael Feldstein and Phil Hill.

The Babson Survey Research Group, which has tracked online college enrollment for the past 12 years, reports growth from 9 percent of U.S. students taking at least one course online in the fall of 2002 to more than 28 percent in the fall of 2014. The overall growth has slowed recently, but the drastic decrease in for-profit enrollment masks two very interesting numbers:

Sixty-seven percent of students taking online courses do so at public institutions.
The number of students at public and private nonprofit colleges who took at least one online course rose by 26 percent in just two years (2012-2014).
moocs  public_discourse 
8 weeks ago
The thriving Russian black market in dissertations—and the crusaders fighting to expose the country’s fake Ph.D.s.
Fascinating. There's a market for PhDs in Russia which means many plagiarized dissertations. And this group is trying to find them by creating automatic plagiarism detectors.
toblog  research 
8 weeks ago
Fraudulent claims made by IBM about Watson and AI | Roger Schank
Roger Shank goes ballistic about IBM Watson...

Of course, what upsets me most is not Watson but what IBM actually says. From the quote above:

Unlike traditionally programmed computers, cognitive systems such as Watson understand, reason and learn.

Ann Rubin, IBM's vp of branded content and global creative, told Adweek that the commercials were needed to help people understand the new world of cognitive computing.
I wrote a book called The Cognitive Computer in 1984:

I started a company called Cognitive Systems in 1981. The things I was talking about then clearly have not been read by IBM (although they seem to like the words I used.) Watson is not reasoning. You can only reason if you have goals, plans, and ways of attaining them, and a comprehension of the beliefs that others may have and a knowledge of past experiences to reason from. A point f view helps too. What is Watson’s view on ISIS for example?

Dumb question? Actual thinking entities have a point of view about ISIS. Dog’s don’s but Watson isn't as smart as a dog either. (The dog knows how to get my attention for example.)

I invented a field called Case Based Reasoning in the 80’s which was meant to enable computers to compare new situations to old ones and then modify what the computer knew as a result. We were able to build some useful systems. And we learned a lot about human learning. Did I think we had created computers that were now going to outthink people or soon become conscious? Of course not. I thought we had begun to create computers that would be more useful to people.

It would be nice if IBM would tone down the hype and let people know what Watson can actually do can and stop making up nonsense about love fading and out thinking cancer. IBM is simply lying now and they need to stop.
artificial_intelligence  machinelearning 
8 weeks ago
How Factory Farms Play Chicken With Antibiotics | Mother Jones
Turns out I'm not the only one asking. Dr. Bob Lawrence, the director of the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins, which has generated reams of research on the dangers of routine anti­biotic use on farms, ran into ceo Jim Perdue at a conference recently. Lawrence asked Perdue what had driven the company's flight from antibiotics. "I was hoping he would say, 'The research coming out of your center,'" Lawrence says. Instead, Perdue credited worried consumers.
research 
9 weeks ago
How presidential campaigns are building the perfect website | Fusion
Campaigns using Optimizely to A/B test. I don't know how Fusion got access to it though unless they were reverse engineering it.
abtesting  platformization  politics 
9 weeks ago
Demon Core: The Strange Death of Louis Slotin - The New Yorker
Slotin was one of only two people to die from radiation exposure at Los Alamos while the laboratory was under military control. In those early years, from 1943 to 1946, there were about two dozen other deaths—truck and tractor accidents, inadvertent weapons discharges, a suicide, a drowning, a fall from a horse. Four of the fatalities were just bad luck, involving a group of janitors who shared muscatel wine that was laced with antifreeze. But only Slotin and his co-worker Harry Daghlian, Jr., succumbed to the special hazards of the Manhattan Project. Three months to the day before Slotin’s accident, Daghlian had been working with the very same plutonium core, performing a different criticality experiment that used tungsten-carbide blocks instead of the beryllium tamper. He dropped one of the blocks, and the core briefly went critical. Daghlian took nearly a month to die.
generalinterest 
9 weeks ago
A Trump campaign will only increase the Democrats’ advantage in data and analytics - The Washington Post
The absence of investments in data and analytics by the Trump campaign will only deepen the Republican Party’s disadvantage when it comes to political data. In 2004, practitioners in both parties believed that the reelection campaign of George W. Bush had better voter data and more robust systems for collecting, managing and analyzing it, more sophisticated field efforts and better technologies that supported voter contact. As I have chronicled, the Democrats then invested in new infrastructure, including a voter database and interface system called VoteBuilder, that underpins nearly every Democratic campaign to this day.

While the Democrats were developing this party infrastructure, a degree of complacency set in within the Republican Party. Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, hamstrung in part by its reliance on public financing, hired just 15 staffers in the areas of technology, digital, data or analytics over the course of the campaign.

In contrast, the comparatively flush 2008 Obama campaign, which eschewed public financing, hired 131 staffers in technology, digital, data and analytics. The Obama campaign gave resources to many vendors — most notably Blue State Digital and Voter Activation Network (now NGP-VAN) — which helped them build capacity. The Obama campaign also provided the party with an extraordinary pool of small donors, millions of voter contacts generated by its expansive field operation, and staffers with specialized expertise and presidential campaign experience.

This paid dividends for the 2012 cycle, and Democrats are still reaping its benefits today. In an interview with me early in 2012, one former Republican Party staffer summed up the differences between the two parties like this: “where they maybe could have 500 or 1,000 people that could manipulate state level voter data, and we had 50, maybe.”

This meant that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was already behind Obama at the start of the 2012 campaign. That disadvantage was significantly compounded by the fact that Romney faced a protracted primary and Obama enjoyed what I call a “technical advantage of incumbency.”

The Obama campaign had a year and a half and comparably greater resources to start putting together its data and analytics teams, coordinate with the Democratic Party and develop its technology “products.” According to FEC data, Obama’s campaign had $250 million more than Romney’s, which for Romney translated into fewer in-house staffers, technology projects, field infrastructure and political data. (Candidate spending is the most important with respect to political data because campaigns make investments in field infrastructure, data and analytics, while outside groups primarily engage in broadcast advertising.)

For example, of the Obama reelection bid’s 342 staffers in technology, digital, data and analytics, 58 had primary work experience in commercial industry, and 48 came to the campaign with primary work backgrounds for technology or data/analytics firms. By comparison, the Romney campaign hired 87 staffers in technology, digital, data and analytics, 34 with primary backgrounds in commercial industry and seven in technology or data/analytics. These differences are important because these staffers often go on to work for other campaigns, such as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s, or found new ventures that carry political knowledge and technologies across cycles.

[The real story about how the Obama and Romney campaigns used Twitter]

One example is Civis Analytics, a data and analytics firm founded by Obama 2012 veteran Dan Wagner that was staffed by about one-third of the Obama 2012 analytics department. Several former Civis staffers are now working with Clinton’s campaign. Civis is one of 19 new organizations founded by Obama 2012 staffers, compared with three founded by veterans of Romney’s run.
politics  platformization  digitalSTS 
9 weeks ago
What can I do right now to get into NIPS? : MachineLearning
There's a conference called NIPS and I just saw their website https://nips.cc/ and it says the deadline is in less than 20 hours. I realize that it's cutting it a bit close, but the website says it only has to be 8 pages which doesn't seem like that much. I want to submit a paper, but I can't think of a topic. Can someone help me? What can I do that will get my paper into NIPS? I saw that not all papers get accepted so I only want good ideas. I don't know much about Machine Learning, but I just read the wiki page on it and it seems really interesting.
Edit: Serious replies only PLEASE
machinelearning  artificial_intelligence 
9 weeks ago
Online School Enriches Affiliated Companies if Not Its Students - The New York Times
Dropout is clearly a major problem with online learning.

"Mr. Lager declined requests for an interview. In an emailed statement on Tuesday, he did not respond to questions about his affiliated companies but said the Electronic Classroom’s graduation rate did not accurately measure the school’s performance.

In the statement, he said many students arrived at the school already off-track and have trouble making up the course credits in time to graduate.

“Holding a school accountable for such students is like charging a relief pitcher with a loss when they enter a game three runs behind and wiping out the record of the starting pitcher,” his statement said.

The statement added that the school “should be judged based on an accountability system that successfully controls for the academic effects of demographic factors such as poverty, special needs and mobility.”

Continue reading the main story

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In an interview, Rick Teeters, the superintendent of the Electronic Classroom, said many of the students were older than was typical for their grade, while others faced serious life challenges, including pregnancy or poverty."
moocs  public_discourse 
9 weeks ago
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