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Fred Blauer’s Web log

August 23, 2009

Please note that this is my personal blog.

The Fred Blauer and Associates blog on Open source business software and cloud computing is now at:

http://openacct.wordpress.com

Thanks.

Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online

September 3, 2013

Zvi Galil, the dean of the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The institute plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

By

Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.

Sebastian Thrun, a founder of Udacity, a Silicon Valley MOOC provider. He and Dr. Galil have teamed up to offer the online degree, which will cost students $6,600, far less than the $45,000 that it would on campus.

From their start two years ago, when a free artificial intelligence course from Stanford enrolled 170,000 students, free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have drawn millions and yielded results like the perfect scores of Battushig, a 15-year-old Mongolian boy, in a tough electronics course offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But the courses have not yet produced profound change, partly because they offer no credit and do not lead to a degree. The disruption may be approaching, though, as Georgia Tech, which has one of the country’s top computer science programs, plans to offer a MOOC-based online master’s degree in computer science for $6,600 — far less than the $45,000 on-campus price.

Zvi Galil, the dean of the university’s College of Computing, expects that in the coming years, the program could attract up to 10,000 students annually, many from outside the United States and some who would not complete the full master’s degree. “Online, there’s no visa problem,” he said.

The program rests on an unusual partnership forged by Dr. Galil and Sebastian Thrun, a founder of Udacity, a Silicon Valley provider of the open online courses.

Although it is just one degree at one university, the prospect of a prestigious low-cost degree program has generated great interest. Some educators think the leap from individual noncredit courses to full degree programs could signal the next phase in the evolution of MOOCs — and bring real change to higher education.

“Perhaps Zvi Galil and Sebastian Thrun will prove to be the Wright brothers of MOOCs,” said S. James Gates Jr., a University of Maryland physicist who serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. “This is the first deliberate and thoughtful attempt to apply education technology to bringing instruction to scale. It could be epoch-making. If it really works, it could begin the process of lowering the cost of education, and lowering barriers for millions of Americans.”

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Here is a certificate that I got from a course that I took online at coursera:

CourseraIHS_certificate

coursera.org

AUGUST 21, 2013
Statement of Accomplishment
WITH DISTINCTION
FRED BLAUER
HAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED
Internet History, Technology, and
Security
This undergraduate (first-year level) course reviews the history of
the Internet, explores the technical underpinnings of the Internet
and finishes with an overview of how we communicate in a
secure manner across the Internet.
CHARLES SEVERANCE
CLINICAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF
INFORMATION
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
PLEASE NOTE: THE ONLINE OFFERING OF THIS CLASS DOES NOT REFLECT THE ENTIRE CURRICULUM OFFERED TO STUDENTS ENROLLED AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN. THIS STATEMENT DOES NOT AFFIRM THAT THIS STUDENT WAS ENROLLED AS A STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY
OF MICHIGAN IN ANY WAY. IT DOES NOT CONFER A UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN GRADE; IT DOES NOT CONFER UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
CREDIT; IT DOES NOT CONFER A UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN DEGREE; AND IT DOES NOT VERIFY THE IDENTITY OF THE STUDENT.

Here is the certificate from the guitar course that I took:

Coursera_Guitar_certificate

 

 

Today’s Phones and Tablets Will Die Out Like the PC

July 22, 2013
       The mobile computers killing the PC will themselves be replaced as computing becomes embedded into the world around us.

The personal computer is dying. Its place in our lives as the primary means of computing will soon end. Mobile computing—the cell phone in your pocket or the tablet in your purse—has been a great bridging technology, connecting the familiar past to a formative future. But mobile is not the destination. In many ways mobile devices belong more to the dying PC model than to the real future of computing.

Instead, the future of computing is at a very large scale. I am not referring to the room-size monstrosities from computing’s dawn in the 1960s. I’m talking about a diffuse and invisible network embedded in our surroundings. Chips and sensors are finding their way into clothing, personal accessories, and more. These devices are capturing information whose impact is not yet meaningful to most people. But it will be soon enough. The question we need to answer is: how will these intertwined systems of hardware and software be designed to meaningfully add to our lives and to society?

Today we are enjoying what computing has done to enhance our lives, but we do not like having to baby-sit all the devices that give us access. We have to tell them what to do. The next wave of computing devices will be different because they won’t wait for our instructions. They will feel more like natural extensions of what we do in our lives. The hardware and software technologies behind this ubiquitous-computing model will become the focus of a radically changed computing industry.

These technologies will also change the way we look at computers. For example, making payments through a smartphone requires that the user unlock the phone, swipe to find the application, launch the application, and then initiate the payment function. But a smart watch could be designed to initiate a payment when you tap it on a payment terminal. There are so many of these ordinary functions that can be enhanced by computers but should not involve the overhead of operating a computer.

Read more

Watch A Great Short Film On The Future Of Technology And Education

November 2, 2012

We’re still teaching our kids using a 20th-century paradigm, but many visionaries–like the ones in this video–have plans to take our advances in computing and technology and use them to explode the idea of what education can be.

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And the World’s Most Educated Country Is…

October 18, 2012
By Samantha Grossman | @sam_grossman | September 27, 2012 |
Image Source / Getty Images
Image Source / Getty Images

With spiking tuition costs, insurmountable loan balances, and the unemployment rate for recent college graduates hovering around 53%, it’s clear that a college education hasn’t gotten the best rap lately. Despite the ongoing financial woes across the globe, though, many think that college is still worth the investment. A new study shows that we’ve continued to flock to institutions of higher learning, enrolling at record rates over the past few years. Not surprisingly, the percentage of adults with degrees soared highest in developed nations, reaching 30% in 2010. But which of these nations can boast the status of most educated?

(MORE: Where Are America’s Most Well-Read Cities?)

Based on a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the 10 countries with the highest proportion of college-educated adult residents. Topping the charts is Canada — the only nation in the world where more than half its residents can proudly hang college degrees up on their walls. In 2010, 51% of the population had completed a tertiary education, which takes into account both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Canada commanded the top spot in the last study in 2000, but even still has shown serious improvement. A decade ago, only 40% of the nation’s population had a college degree.

Snagging the number two most-educated spot was Israel, which trailed Canada by 5%. Japan, the U.S., New Zealand and South Korea all ranked with more than 40% of citizens having a higher-education degree. The top 10 most-educated countries are:

1. Canada

2. Israel

3. Japan

4. United States

5. New Zealand

6. South Korea

7. United Kingdom

8. Finland

9. Australia

10. Ireland

Read the original article here at 24/7 Wall St., for a detailed breakdown of each nation and its education status.

MORE: And the Most Peaceful Country in the World Is …

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/09/27/and-the-worlds-most-educated-country-is/#ixzz29f3mWQ2K

Colin Dodds – Debit Credit Theory (Accounting Rap Song)

October 17, 2012

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

July 18, 2012

The Potential and Promise of Open-Source Judaism

June 20, 2012

Jun 12 2012, 12:03 PM ET 14

One community’s pioneering effort to make its materials of worship more widely available and remixable.

jericho_615.jpgMap of Jericho in the Farhi Bible by Elisha ben Avraham Crescas, circa 14th century (Public Domain).

New technologies are naturally and generally controversial, but perhaps nowhere more so than in religious communities. For many religious leaders (and their followers), recent digital technologies are corrosive solvents of community life: the old ways are surely best. For others, new technologies offer opportunities to extend the reach of religious bodies, to draw more people into the fold.

One might think that a highly traditional religion like Judaism — whose core practices are so ancient and burnished by custom — would be inclined to techno-suspicion. But Aharon Varady doesn’t see it that way: for him, digital technologies can come to the aid of traditional practices. Varady is a man of wide-ranging gifts who, among other things, runs the Open Siddur Project. A siddur is a Jewish prayer book containing the daily prayers, and the Open Siddur Project is working to create the first comprehensive database of Jewish liturgy and liturgy-related work — and to provide an online platform for anyone to craft their own siddur. In this way Varady hopes “to liberate the creative content of Jewish spiritual practice as a commonly held resource for adoption, adaptation, and redistribution by individuals and groups.” For him, openness is key to the success of the project.

The Open Siddur Project strikes me as a deeply thoughtful, innovative way of trying to make new technologies and modern religious life reinforce each other, instead of being inimical or at cross-purposes. So I proposed that Aharon answer a few questions about the ideas behind his work, and he readily agreed. Here’s our conversation.

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