Teachers leave grading up to the computer | CNET News.com
“Ed Brent, professor of sociology at the Columbia, Mo., university, spent six years developing the program, which is called Qualrus, and has been testing it on his pupils for the past two. It works by scanning text for keywords, phrases and language patterns. Students load papers directly into the system via the Web and get nearly instant feedback.
How can a cold, mechanical computer comprehend the art and nuance of writing? The program is actually quite sophisticated, Brent said. It’s not enough to just throw keywords into an essay willy-nilly. The program analyzes sentence and paragraph structure and can ascertain the flow of arguments and ideas. It gives each work a numeric score based on the weight instructors place on various elements of the assignment.“
I wonder if this would choke on a law school final?
Slashdot | AOL Enters the VoIP market
“AOL is entering the VoIP market with its new service entitled ‘AOL Internet Phone Service’. The service will be available in 40 cities around the US and offer integrated IM presence indicator, voice/e-mail and features like Call Waiting, CallerID. As a bonus current AOL members will receive a wireless AP when signing-up for the service.“
VoIP is all fine and dandy so long as you actually have the IP part. I’ve been experiencing considerable difficulty with my cable broadband over the past few weeks and it has been a good thing that i wasn’t relying on it for phone service.
This is the basic flaw in VoIP: no way to guarantee the same level of service availability that you get from a telco. When I pick up my land line, I get dial tone. I don’t get that from any other service. My cells are plagues by ‘dead spots’, dropped calls, and poor reception. My cable and broadband are not always there when I want them. If VoIP is ever going to be anything other than a novelty, VoIP and broadband providers need to work together to make sure that the service is up all the time.
BetaNews | Duke Modifies iPod Giveaway Program
“However, the faculty will be the deciding factor this year as to which students will receive the iPods.
Reaction from students has been mixed, with many claiming the program was a waste of money, as most already owned Apple’s player. Students felt that more pressing issues, such as financial aid and campus security, should have been addressed first.“
More on this here and here. The original release from Duke is here, as is the Duke iPod homepage.
Why indeed. I’ve been blogging since October 19, 2000, mainly as a sort of scrapbook/clipping service/notebook. I blog to note things of interest to me that I may want to quickly find again. On occasion I opine. The bonus is that I choose a public place for this and a few other folks are interested enough in what I post to follow along.
For law faculty, I can think of 2 reasons to blog: self-publishing in areas of interest (scholarly and otherwise) and communicating with students. It is important to keep in mind that a blog and the software that powers it are just a set of tools that you use to accomplish something. While most blogs have certain off-the-cuff, spur-of-the-moment diary quality about them, that is not all that they are good for. The key thing about blogging is that it is web-publishing made easy. Blogs can do anything a ‘regular’ website can do, without the overhead.
For further reading about weblogs in education I would suggest Educational Blogging by Stephen Downes, (EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 14–26).
Why start a blog?
- pick a topic
- pick a schedule
- pick an editor
- pick an audience
- quickly, easily post course material
- allow for student comment and interaction
- not email
- less ‘overhead’ than Blackboard, TWEN
What’s in it for me?
- A wider audience for your work
- Increased communication with students
Click here for the ClassCaster audio.
You got your Ajax in my Ruby
Well, this clears up a few things. Now it the questions is how does this help me? I did find this toolkit, Sajax, that includes a PHP backend.
WordPress Under Fire for Search-Engine Spamming
“One of the most popular Weblog-publishing tools, WordPress, is stirring a controversy over search-engine gaming because it included thousands of articles related to popular search terms on its Web site while largely hiding them from site visitors.
Bloggers and search-engine marketers are accusing the open-source WordPress project of spamming the major search engines, while at the same time being one of the advocates in an effort to combat comment spam in blog postings.“
In a nutshell, the lead developer of WordPress took money to link to articles that are invisible to regular visitors to wordpress.org, but are seen as links by crawlers. The result is that the weight given to the articles by search engines is increased by the volume of traffic to WordPress. Disclosure: this blog is powered by WordPress.