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July 20, 2013

San Jose state cancels online classes after nearly all the students failed

83% of the students completed the MOOC (massively online course) but 76% FAILED. As in, they attended all semester but then utterly bombed the final. It's almost as if just watching canned lectures online isn't really like being taught. That Bright Shiny MOOC Future - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
In January, San Jose State University made a big announcement: It had reached a deal with the startup Udacity to offer college classes for credit online, for a modest fee, not only to its own students but to anyone who wanted to take them. The move was touted as a major step in online learning’s Clay Christensen-approved march toward the ultimate disruption of higher education. It seems, however, that there are a few more kinks to work out before we all toss out the books and the buildings for good. Inside Higher Ed reported on Thursday that San Jose State is suspending the Udacity partnership just six months after it launched. The problem: More than half the students in the first batch of online courses failed their final exams. Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun, a machine-learning legend at Stanford and Google, told the AP that the failure rates in the five classes ranged from 56 to 76 percent. Nor was the course material exactly rocket science—the five classes were in elementary statistics, college algebra, entry-level math, introduction to programming, and introduction to psychology. Thrun did note that 83 percent of students had completed the classes, a far higher rate than is typical for the free, open courses that have come to be known as MOOCs. Why so many failed is not fully clear, though the AP cites “officials” saying that a lot of the students who signed up had little college experience or were working full-time while taking the classes. On the bright side, Thrun said Udacity had gained some valuable data from the experience. “We are experimenting and learning,” he said. “That to me is a positive.”

July 18, 2013

25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore

25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore - jlsathre - Open Salon
3. If someone comes in and asks where to find the historical fiction, they're not looking for classics, they want the romance section. 4. If someone comes in and says they read a little of everything, they also want the romance section. 5. If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can't think of one, the person is not really a reader. Recommend Nicholas Sparks. 6. Kids will stop by your store on their way home from school if you have a free bucket of kids books. If you also give out free gum, they'll come every day and start bringing their friends. 7. If you put free books outside, cookbooks will be gone in the first hour and other non-fiction books will sit there for weeks. Except in warm weather when people are having garage sales. Then someone will back their car up and take everything, including your baskets. . . . 21. A surprising number of people will think you've read every book in the store and will keep pulling out volumes and asking you what this one is about. These are the people who leave without buying a book, so it's time to have some fun. Make up plots.

July 17, 2013

Utah Republican doesn't understand why Americans think Public School's job is to educate their kids, introduces bill to *end* schooling

This reads like an Onion article, but it isn't. Chilling, eh? GOP Lawmaker In Utah Wants To End Compulsory Education In The State | TPM LiveWire
A Republican lawmaker in Utah outlined a proposal last week to abolish compulsory education in the state. State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R) argued that certain "parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system." "As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness," he wrote in a post on the state senate's blog. Osmond told the Deseret News that he wants the public to view education as an opportunity rather than a requirement. "Let’s let them choose it, let’s not force them to do it," Osmond said.