Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education


Daphne Koller

Daphne Koller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free — not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. With Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng), each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed.


With Coursera, Daphne Koller and co-founder Andrew Ng are bringing courses from top colleges online, free, for anyone who wants to take them.





Is tech making us stupid?

Nicholas Carr speaking at the VINT Symposium h...

Nicholas Carr speaking at the VINT Symposium held in Utrecht, Holland on June 17, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above statements have been pouring in from scientific studies across the world. This is their essential premise: that multitasking between emails, Facebook, Twitter, TV, mobile phones, tablets and gaming consoles have made us perpetually distracted and a scatter-brained race. Not only is the

new era of information technology making us less creative and more muddled – it’s put into place a permanent change in the way our brain maps information, how it retains it, which parts are used how and even the size of the brain is going through a metamorphosis. Very scary, right? Wait, there’s more.

Shallow and fried
The first news of this came when a series of articles and a book was released by Nicholas Carr. His argument was that ever since the advent of the Internet, we as a human race have been becoming more stupid. His book (The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember) made some very compelling points. Taking himself to be the guinea pig, Carr said that over the last few years the way he read and absorbed books was completely changing. He said, “I was losing my own capacity for concentration and contemplation. Even when I was away from my computer, my mind seemed hungry for constant stimulation, for quick hits of information. I felt perpetually distracted.”

Read more here…

Dell Hell : CSAs treat us like blithering idiots

Dell Inspiron 9300 - tag


My Dell Inspiron 1720 Laptop first froze and then failed to reboot on the 21st of September, 2011.

On calling Dell Customer Service and running diagnostic tests, I was informed that my system’s motherboard was faulty and would have to be replaced.

I was then asked to renew my warranty since it had lapsed. I did and was charged a sum of Rs. 14, 500 that included the renewal fee and a service incident and parts charge. However, despite repeated calls, I was not attended to by any Dell CSAs nor was there any engineer sent to my residence to service and replace the parts.

Finally, on the 29th of September, 2011, (after posting a couple of uncomplimentary remarks publicly on Facebook), there was a response;an engineer and parts were dispatched.

The engineer (Mayuresh of Wipro),  discovered that the problem was with a dust-covered RAM chip; surprisingly the inner one—under the keyboard. 

Mayuresh replaced the RAM.
The other dispatched parts were sent back.
Now, what I’d like to know from Dell is why did it take them almost a week to service my machine?
Also, why a service incident charge, exorbitantly high so much that it covers half the paid sum?
Now, although my laptop was similarly not under warranty once before, I was only charged the warranty charge (the full charge though, not the renewal charge)  for replacing a faulty keyboard.
I have corresponded with Dell Computer Service regarding a partial refund—in vain.
There has been a lackadaiscal response and I am afraid that if I speak to them orally , the conversation will end in a shouting match.

Why did I have to speak to 10 CSAs to get my problem resolved? Do I have to post all grievances publicly to achieve the desired response?

The Power of Identity

In a world of global flows of wealth, power, and images,the search for identity-collective or individual, ascribed or constructed-becomes the fundamental source of social meaning, says Nandan Nilekani

It succinctly reflects the power of identity in today’s world and this is no way more evident than in India where thousands are denied basic rights and benefits due to the lack of an identity. The UID (unique identification number, now known as Aadhaar) project2 is a critical component of the inclusive growth that we all seek. If India is going to achieve economic prosperity as well as social equality, we not only have to grow but we have to grow along a path where people are not left behind in the process of change. Identity would be an important aspect in achieving this. A national identification number or National Identity Card number is used by the governments of many countries as a means of providing their citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents with services in the areas of work, taxation, government benefits, health care, and other government related functions. The ways in which such a system is implemented varies between countries, but in most cases, an individual is issued a number at birth or when they reach a legal age (typically the age of 18).

In Chile, for instance, the National Identification Number is called RUN (Rol Único Nacional). It is used as a national identification number, tax payer number, social insurance number, passport number, driver ‘s licence number, for employment, etc. It is also commonly used as a customer number in banks, retailers, insurance companies, airlines, etc.

Read more here…

Web-services, SOA, BPM & Cloud Computing – XI

Business Process Reengineering Cycle

Image via Wikipedia

The term Business Process Management (BPM) has been buzzing around for quite a while.

What exactly is BPM?

Is it solely about technology?

Or is it more than that?

Yes, BPM is in vogue because the technology to model processes, simulate them, improve them, and maybe even improvise is available in a huge way.

Continue reading

Ten days to results: Mumbai university starts off on the right foot

University of Mumbai library, India

Image via Wikipedia

Mumbai University have set a record of sorts by declaring the October TY B Com exam results within ten days. This minor miracle was made possible by a change in ‘methodology’; six centralised assessment of papers were set up at South Mumbai. Navi Mumbai and Thane. This had the effect of reducing the travel time of the evaluators who would previously travel to Kalina campus.

Just goes to show that more than technology itself, it is change effected in processes that has more of an impact.

The statutory requirement is that results are to be declared within 45 days of the exams.

This year’s March-April examinations were declared after 89 days ;the university was severely criticised for a lackadaisical attitude towards the students.

The number of CAP centres will be raised to 15 – 20 for next year’s March exam.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.

Albert Einstein

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