[ExI] chain rule

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri May 20 18:25:12 UTC 2016



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2016 10:30 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] chain rule


I could hug that man.  Oh wait, already did that.  He was cool with it.  I imagine he gets that a lot.


My grandson is taking a totally online course this summer.  May have to go to the school to take the tests. My question is:  what will perfectly adequate online courses do to colleges and universities?  What if a person applies for a job and presents no educational credentials, but can ace any tests they give him?

Colleges then are relegated to providing labs and such and play little part in the dissemination of information.  Then, out side of labs, the teachers are free to write grants for support from gov and business and only have lab work to do.  Theses and dissertations are done online with online mentors, who may not be associated with colleges at all.  

I think it will take a long time before most of this is free, but I can see it happening..   An online course may charge if it gets a larger number of 'likes' on Facebook.  What a strange world compared to what we grew up with.

bill w



No BillW, way no sir, at least to one important part of it, and yes Bill yes to the rest of it.

First the no part.  I left your entire post in there for a reason because you wrote a lot of important ideas in there, even the no part, and I want especially you to ponder the hell outta this, my grandpa friend.  This is important, more so that the political stuff we have been posting.

You commented:

>…I think it will take a long time before most of this is free…

No sir, way no.  It has already happened.  Read on please:

>…but I can see it happening…

You sure can, anyone with internet can see it happening, and you already have that.  You can see it now, no waiting required, and there is no time to wait.  Our world is in a desperate race between education and utter chaos.  So far chaos is ahead, but I see education coming up fast from behind.

>…What if a person applies for a job and presents no educational credentials, but can ace any tests they give him?

Thanks for asking sir.  In Khan Academy, they don’t offer you a piece of paper explaining how smart you are (have you ever pondered the fact that two from the same class get the same diploma when the one had mostly A average and the other was lucky to make it to e?  (Does that make sense?  (And does it make sense that the guy with the e average is likely better set up to succeed (because he spent much of his college days making important business and political contacts while his scholarly buddy was holed up on the fourth floor of the library alone, sweat on the brow, studying her ass off?  (But I digress.)))))

Khan Academy doesn’t offer degrees or diplomas, but they offer badges and patches, which are specific skills and milestones.  These are not controlled in the sense that you could theoretically hire a ringer to take the mastery challenges and fake your way through the class and get your badge or patch.  But… you can do that now, in actual universities, if you have the funds.  You can hire ringers, even in those places where they check ID on the way in.  I have seen this done, especially with the foreign exchange students.  The people checking IDs know what is going on, they don’t give a damn, they know the student is going to buy their phony diplomas and take them back to over there somewhere, and the local employers know what gives when a foreign accent guy shows up with sparkly credentials and no actual detectable brain activity.  But I digress.

Khan Academy offers these badges and patches and things.  It goes up on the student’s online trophy shelf.  The job applicant could show up in person, offer to let the employer choose any skill Khan Academy claims the student has mastered, any skill that employer wanted or needed, then the applicant could demonstrate in realtime mastery of that topic or that skill with a realtime demonstration right there.  You can choose and retake any KA mastery challenge.  

In some ways this is better than a degree: an employer doesn’t really know what to ask sometimes.  What if a lawyer is hiring an engineer?  How would she even know how to determine if this guy with the diploma is the real deal?  With a Khan Academy badge or patch, she doesn’t need to know that.  She looks at this profile, picks something, anything, gets to see realtime if he can do what it says he can do.  This looks like it would make the entire interview process so much simpler and more accurate.

The cool part of this is that it is free, more free than public education.  You need to fit the profile to go to school, you need at least some semblance of clothing and shoes, you need to be under 18 to get into public schools etc.  Now anyone can go to the local public library, any ragged nearly naked homeless person may do it, get on the public terminals, educate herself on any topic and get online credentials, and it is all free as free gets.  Then she may go over to Salvation Army (they give clothing to people who really are needy (I loooove Salvation Army (give them stuff often (those fine people know how to determine who really is needy and who is just some stoner out on a lark))))) put together some semblance of an interview outfit, go in with that online profile with head held high.  

Conclusion: Sal Khan has offered a free ticket out of the poverty trap, for anyone who will stretch out and grab it, with intentional emphasis on “stretch out” because a free education with credentials does not mean credentials will be handed to you like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.  It still takes a lot of work.

BillW, ponder this please sir, for you are perhaps the most qualified person here on this topic, being an educator yourself.  We value your opinion, and your own grandson values your opinion on this, and your thoughts and speculations on where this leads.













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