Monthly Archives: April 2012

Weekly Roundup April 6, 2012

  • You Can Teach Problem Solving and You Should (PDF of a PPT)
    • Any skill is teachable. “Working with bozos is not fun. People who cannot problem solve will behave like bozos.”
  • The LMS: It’s Not All About You
    1. The core value proposition of the LMS is that it allows instructors with limited technical skills to create and manage web-based courses with limited assistance.
    2. The LMS is designed to integrate with other school systems – student data, registration, finance, and so forth
    3. The LMS places a number of important institutional activities under a single, consistent system – one managed by the institution itself, and according to its’ own logic and requirements.
    4. Learning management systems also provide institutions with the opportunity to capture and report on its activities.
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Data Mining but Were Afraid to Ask
    • Terms it covers: 1) Anomaly detection, 2) Association learning, 3) Cluster detection, 4) Classification, 5) Regression


from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

Should CS Be Required?

Each of the nearly 2,000 freshmen entering Georgia Institute of Technology each year must take a computer science course regardless of their major, says Charles Isbell, associate dean for academic affairs at the school’s College of Computing… Similar to traditional general education requirements such as philosophy or world history, the purpose of each courses is to turn out well-rounded graduates, Isbell says.

“Why you need to take a CS1 … is the same reason why you need to take humanities, why you need to take a science, why you need to take a math,” he says. “It’s not because you’re going to be programming …. it’s because each of those represents a different way of thinking.”

Computer science was not a requirement at my alma mater (not GT). Introduction to Computers was an easy core class lots of students took. The class offered by Mathematics and Computer Science was about the components of a desktop, using Microsoft Office, and making a web page. The College of Education and the College of Business offered their own versions tailored to their disciplines.

At first, I did not want to go through a class on “This is a mouse. This is a keyboard.” At the time I was looking at upgrading from an AT form factor to ATX. Microsoft Word 95 was my fifth word processor. Plus I had made the web site for African American Studies for the university. In the end I took the class because it would improve my GPA. Like, I thought, it was an easy A, but the instructor did challenge me by making me available to help the others in the class.

This was not a real CS class though. I had already taken one, FORTRAN, which apparently did not count towards my core to graduate, oddly enough. I took another, Introduction to Programming, where I picked up some Java. Both programming classes gave me novel practice at the time for how I solve problems, plan, and researched. They were good for me.

Despite not graduating with a computer degree, I did have a strong computer background and ended up in a computer profession. So my perspective pretty much is skewed in a positive direction for all college students taking computer science classes.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

TED Talk: Pursuit of the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce

This is an older TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell just before his book Blink dropped. He tells the story about how the food industry figured out that there is not a single perfect product that meets everyone’s needs. Instead there are a number of different clusters that meets the majority of wants.

We find this in the Learning Management System world where there is no perfect product for every student, teacher, department head, dean, or administrator. Maybe just maybe the solution is many different approaches to tools for online learning that meet the needs. The LMS, the Personal Learning Environment, digital textbooks, publisher sites, synchronous communication tools, and anything else an instructor can successfully achieve students mastering course objects probably is good for students. This would suggest the rigor part of Laura Gekeler’s post on LMS Evaluations the most important. But not to arrive at a single LMS but to identify the clusters of needs and what tools best help meet their needs.

Even worse, people will self-report what they like as being what they think we want. So identifying their needs probably is not looking at what they say they need. Analytics probably tells a better story of what is effective.

The mind knows not what the tongue wants. — Dr. Howard Moskowitz

If the above video does not work, then try Pursuit of the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4