[ExI] virtual education, was: RE: virtual travel

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Wed Apr 1 16:11:43 UTC 2020



From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat
Subject: Re: [ExI] virtual education, was: RE: virtual travel


>…'vastly superior'   - research studies, please.   I will never be convinced that for some topics, some students, a live person is not essential…


Agreed, no dispute there at all.  For subjective fields of learning I do agree collaborative efforts and personal interactions are required (humans in physical contact, eeewww, ick, take me away Calgon.)  


The fields of study which interest me and those which I know about are mostly solitary vices.  Interaction with other humans often involves reading what someone wrote a century ago, such as the marvelous accomplishment of Andrey Markov, which has kept my son and me entertained for the past week:




>…I answer thousands of questions on Quora…


BillW I am one of your followers over there.  I haven’t posted anything on your responses, but might eventually do so if I deem myself sufficiently knowledgeable on the topic.


Quora has noted the number of responses to my posts there and have offered to pay me a pittance for each one, if I register.  So now I am a professional internet influencer, or would be if I were to follow thru with registration, which I will not do.  Reason: I have casually mentioned what firearms I own in that forum.  I do not wish the world knowing who I am or being able to figure out where I live: it makes me a burglary target.


>…I will refer again to the TV-taught psych 101 course I monitored.  The students hated it.  


If you have ever tried to watch even excellent lectures, such as those available thru Great Courses, 




you already know why: a video tape of a classroom lecture introduces all the traditional shortcomings of any other course taught in a classroom with few advantages.


>>…the academically rich are getting dramatically richer, the academically otherwise are getting little or nothing.   


>…Did you just contradict your 'vastly superior' statement?


Not at all.  If one’s goal is increasing the average, then online instruction is superior.  If one’s goal is reducing the standard deviation of the bell curve inherent in education, then online learning is not only a failure, it is a catastrophe.  If one is over on the right side of the bell curve, online education pushes one farther to the right.  In that sense it is vastly superior: it is more concentrated and more focused learning.


>…For psych 101 and some others, most of the A students and some of the B students just don't need to come to class if all you want from them is good test scores.  Is that all we want from students?


Sure.  I am not suggesting I know how to help the unmotivated or under-skilled.  In my educational volunteer efforts, I work with the highly motivated highly skilled students only, for that is the only area in which I have anything to offer.  I have been repeatedly asked to help struggling students, and have repeatedly turned down those opportunities.  Reason: I don’t know how.  


I justify my existence however, since there are other volunteers who are willing and able to help struggling students, along with many local businesses in tutoring.  I modestly claim that there are very few volunteers available who know how to create a Markov Chain, derive a transition matrix from it, calculate an absorbing matrix, take the determinant and find the answer.  I might be the only one of the volunteers who knows how to do that.  So… I do.


>…What about developing the ability to interact with a superior?


I see your point.  If my students work at it, they are the superior.  They need to interact with inferiors.


>…Virtual learning has a big place, but it's not the only one for sure.  bill w


For sure.  No argument there.


This loops all the way back to the efficiency available to us in education, at least in some areas.



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