Month: September 2013

Favorite Stand Up Monday – Patrice O’Neal “Typical White Guy Crimes”

Patrice O’Neal is one of the few black comics that is able to relate to any crowd. Others like Katt Williams and Kevin Hart are as close to black-only comics as you can get, much like Jeff Foxworthy is to rednecks. Unfortunately Patrice was so dirty, that he never quite made it to the level that Hart or Williams did, before his untimely death about a year ago.

But he left gems behind like this one. I highly recommend the full Comedy Central special, or his HBO special “Elephant in the Room”.

The Future of Higher Education – Part 1 of ????

The bold visionaries of the computer who said it would change the world didn’t know how dead right they would be. In the last 10 years, especially with the help of smartphones, we’ve seen software become a part of most of the things we do day-in and day-out, in other words “software is eating the world“, as mentioned in a previous blog post. So when large industries, particularly the capital intensive ones, get disrupted there tends to be heated debates whether technology could truly replace the current way of life.

2013-09-16 08_22_37-College tuition, other costs climb again this year - Oct

Look at your alma-mater (On Wisconsin!), the campuses can spread several miles, with elaborate and ornate buildings, all in the name of education. Common sense tells you that all of this is VERY expensive to build, maintain, and update. Yes, this part of the education system creates jobs, but at what cost?  There are countless articles highlighting the cost of education sky-rocketing, especially over the last 20 years.

What’s a low-cost solution for those who want to learn, but bypass the ever-rising costs of an education? Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s). You have a handful of different MOOC’s, some of the big names are Coursera, Udacity, and edX.

With the intentions of keeping my posts relatively short for a quick read, I’ll discuss more of the pros/cons in follow-up posts. But to give these MOOC’s some credibility before we do that, let’s discuss how these online platforms work.

A professor wants to teach about a new topic or wants to reach a wider audience with its current lectures, with median class sizes on Coursera of 33,000. This may give him an opportunity to: be a nice guy and preach to the masses for free, or an opportunity to sell his/her textbook they have written on the subject. The incentives for the teacher vary, but at the end of the day is a resume-booster more than anything.

For the student, there are completely free courses (no fees or books to purchase). The best part for the student is they can take classes that are currently being taught at MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and along with hundreds of other great universities. You can take these classes at home in your underwear, if you want, all the while building a better foundation for your future. The downside, currently, is that most MOOCs don’t offer accreditation for taking the course, but that is slowly changing, starting with the University of Wisconsin and their UW Flexible Option program. And more Coursera courses are allowing tests that do in fact result in transferable college credit (if you pass, which roughly 2,600 students pass in a class of 33,000; but classes have a large attrition rate right now, so don’t let that passing rate discourage you).

Digest all of that and comment, but I’ll follow up with another post highlighting the great debate: from a student’s perspective, the higher education system’s perpsective, and the professor’s perspective. But I’ll leave you with this video from the Lieutenant Governor of California, with the article version here.

Favorite Stand Up Monday – Dov Davidoff “Love Drug”

Dob Davidoff is the man. Odd personality on-stage, normal off-stage. Saw him live down the street a few months ago, tore the place up. After that I talked to him and tried to buy him a drink, and he said “What are you doin’ tonight? Why don’t we just go to the strip club down the road?” And he was serious, and for the first time in my life I said no when asked if I wanted to go to a strip club…..

Saw Chappelle this weekend. He was legit, but it was a short set, 30 minutes. And he did all three bits I’ve posted on her from 2010/2011. Last comedian I need to see, Dane Cook, although he’s not that high on my list, largely because he sold out after his first album…