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Friday, August 18, 2017

Digital inclusion leaves older Australians out | Talking Aged Care

"The latest results on Australia’s Digital Inclusion Index have revealed that people aged over 65 are among those scoring the lowest on digital inclusion" continues Talking Aged Care.

Photo: Pexels

Focusing on three key areas of digital inclusion: access, affordability and digital ability, not only does it see older Australians among the lowest scoring, it also shows that as older people age, their digital inclusion declines. It also reports that among older Australians, women are less digitally included.

While the Australian Government has been offering digital support for older Australians through Broadband for Seniors since 2008, National Seniors Advocate Ian Henschke says it is clear from the research that more work needs to be done to ensure older Australians are not missing out.

“The facts are quite clear – there is lots of research and data that shows that we have got issues when it comes to digital inclusion and older Australians and we have to accept the fact that it is a big problem,” Mr Henschke says.

“The over 65’s is a large group of people and something that we need to take into account is that more people are accessing services online and to have this large group of people missing out is a huge issue.
“It’s not just older Australians missing out and not able to be digitally inclusive, those from low-socio economic areas are impacted too which shows that this is a cost and educational issue.”

The new Be Connected program that the Australian Government announced late last year is currently in the development stages and aims to build on the framework of Broadband for Seniors to provide a family and community approach to supporting, coaching and teaching older Australians to improve their skills and confidence using digital technologies. 

Source: Talking Aged Care

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Bhagwant University – Offering Higher Education A Special Meaning | eGov Magazine - Elets

Follow on Twitter as @IamDrAnilSingh
It is must to develop professional competence in students and faculties to use their intrinsic potential for uplift of the society, says Dr Anil Singh, Chairman, Bhagwant Group, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Photo: Bhagwant University

To make students professionally competent, what strategies are being adopted by Bhagwant University in teaching-learning process?
Bhagwant University, located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, is a co-educational private university, which emphasises on practical training of students. We encourage students to organise and participate in seminars and workshops. Eminent industry leaders, professionals and esteemed professors are invited to deliberate on latest industry trends and technologies. Technical experts from reputed organisations are employed as senior faculty members to teach and guide students about core subjects, practical training and projects.

Tell us about the academic departments and researches being conducted at the university. Are there any corporate sponsored researches and courses available at the university?
Bhagwant University lays strong emphasis on the sponsored research, collaborative research funded by the national and international agencies. The institute has set up modern laboratories. Faculty members of the institute maintain strong industrial links by undertaking consultancy assignments and run short-term company specific training programmes. To achieve enhanced industrial participation in the engineering education, the institute has taken various initiatives to start the industry sponsored masters degree programmes.


Source: eGov Magazine - Elets

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Overview - Research Network | Dublin City University

The Digital Learning Research Network fosters a network of leaders and strong communities of practice at the forefront of research on new models of teaching and learning. 

Figure 1: Research and Innovation Framework

Additionally it aims to engage strategically with professional bodies and key external stakeholders in order to influence policy and benchmark the effective use of digital, blended and online learning against international best practices. 

The activities of the Research Network are anchored around the four main platforms of a wider Research and Innovation Framework (see Figure 1), where strong emphasis is placed on fostering Innovation and contributing to Societal impact. More specially, we try to frame our research activities and interests around the following broad research strands:
  • Life-long Learning
  • Opening Up Education
  • Student Transitions and Success
  • Curriculum Innovation and Teaching Enhancement
  • Learning Futures
The work of the Research Network also interfaces with other research centres and defined areas of interest and expertise in DCU's Institute of Education. A distributed leadership model is adopted by the Research Network to harness the skills and expertise of members. The Research Network currently includes over 50 staff with a research interest in Digital Learning and who individually and collectively have a track record of producing a wide range of scholarly outputs in the area. In this respect the Digital Learning Research Network brings together a unique mix of leading scholars and professional educators across Dublin City University (DCU), with considerable expertise in a range of levels, disciplines, methodologies and technologies. A small Steering Group guides the Network’s activities and a dedicated email listserv is used to facilitate regular communiction amongst members. We maintain links to a number of research and development centres within Dublin City University (DCU) and our International Advisory Board also helps to keep us focussed on achieving our overarching mission and strategic objectives. 

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Study Philosophy With Me In Fall 2017! | Patheos (blog) Camels With Hammers

"Year round, I enroll new students in my live, interactive, private, personalized online philosophy classes but I typically launch the most new classes in September when the most people feel like getting started. This year is no exception" says Daniel Fincke, APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor.

Photo: Patheos (blog) Camels With Hammers

Below is the full roster of classes I have tentatively scheduled to run starting in September 2017 and information on a limited time deal.

*Try out my classes for free with a no-commitment trial! Write me at or friend me and write to me on Facebook in order to schedule one or to get to know me and keep in touch with an eye towards taking one in the future.

*Classes are $42/session, with a choice of recording or refunds for missed sessions.

*A Special Back-to-School Rate is available until September 9, 2017. The School Year Subscription costs $1,276 and covers weekly classes from September 2017 through May, 2018. At just $33.58/session for 38 sessions you save 20% savings compared to the $42 Weekly Subscription rate. To get a similar discount (22%/session) for a full year’s worth of classes purchases the Year Long Subscription for $1,699. See details on each payment plan below.

*Immediately below is a tentative list of the classes you can take with me from September 2017 onward, subject to changes to accommodate the most number of students. Click on course titles for course descriptions. Some of the classes are ongoing ones that have been running for a while already. You can join them midstream without worrying about what you missed. Others are brand new and labeled “NEW” below. Write me with your schedule and your interests if none of these class times or topics fits your interests.

I earned my PhD in Philosophy from Fordham University. I wrote my dissertation on Ethics and Nietzsche’s philosophy. Over 11 years I taught 2,500 university students spread across 93 classes from 7 universities.

Since January 2013 I have been leading self-motivated independent learners from around the world in small group and 1-on-1 classes. My small group online classes offer you live, dynamic, interactive class discussions with other students and me, held over videoconference (using Google Hangout, which downloads in just seconds). Classes are flexible enough to meet the needs of both beginners and students with existing philosophical background. Usually we read a primary or secondary philosophical text together live in class, using Google Hangout’s easy and convenient screen-share feature, and discuss it as we go. In more introductory style courses I will also overview some concepts in a traditional lecture style before opening the floor for discussion. In either case, classes wind up tailored to your specific interests, ideas, and questions related to the material as vigorous, rigorous, and potentially wide-ranging class discussions almost inevitably emerge in response to the ideas we are covering and these freewheeling discussions determine the direction of the class from there. My classes are university quality but I offer no university credit whatsoever.

I typically propose whole new classes in January, June, and September. But I also wind up starting new classes in other months when students come available then instead. I schedule all classes by learning the regular time availabilities and topic interests of potential participants and putting as many people together with classmates as possible. I run as many sections of a class as necessary to accommodate everyone. 

Source: Camels With Hammers

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A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry | New York Times

Photo: Kyle Spencer
"Mastery-based learning allows students to learn at their own pace" reports Kyle Spencer, award-winning journalist and frequent New York Times contributor.
Students at Flushing International High School in Queens working on projects during a summer program.
Photo: Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Few middle schoolers are as clued in to their mathematical strengths and weakness as Moheeb Kaied. Now a seventh grader at Brooklyn’s Middle School 442, he can easily rattle off his computational profile.

“Let’s see,” he said one morning this spring. “I can find the area and perimeter of a polygon. I can solve mathematical and real-world problems using a coordinate plane. I still need to get better at dividing multiple-digit numbers, which means I should probably practice that more.”

Moheeb is part of a new program that is challenging the way teachers and students think about academic accomplishments, and his school is one of hundreds that have done away with traditional letter grades inside their classrooms. At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests. Ten school districts in Illinois, including Chicago’s, are testing the approach. In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature approved 19 incubator programs to explore the practice.

More than 40 schools in New York City home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement. In communities where the shift was mandated — high schools in and around Portland, Me., for example — the method faced considerable resistance from parents and teachers annoyed that the time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, change has come from top-tier school administrators. Some contend that giving students an unlimited amount of time to master every classroom lesson is unrealistic and inefficient.

New York City Department of Education officials have taken a contrasting position. The city has a growing program called the Mastery Collaborative, which helps mastery-based schools share their methods around the city, even as they adopt different styles. To date, there are eight lab schools, whose practices are being tested, honed and highlighted for transitioning schools. M.S. 442 is one of them. Some struggling schools hope the shift will raise test scores. But the method is also growing in popularity among high-performing, progressive schools, as well as those catering to gifted and talented students and newly arriving immigrants.

This fall, the Education Department plans to spread the method further, by inviting schools to see how the Mastery Collaborative works, even if they aren’t yet considering making the switch. They will be encouraged to attend workshops and tour schools, with the hope, one D.O.E. official said, that they will find elements that they can use in their own classrooms.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times

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You Need an Afternoon Routine | Lifehacker

Photo: Patrick Allan
"People are always telling you how to maximize your mornings, but your morning routine—whatever it may be—is fine. What you really need is an afternoon routine" according to Patrick Allan, Staff Writer,


Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to start your day off on the right foot. For me that means chugging a glass of water, walking the dog, making a quick protein-rich breakfast, then having a cup of strong black coffee. After that, I sit down to scan for important emails, check Slack, put on some music that matches my mood that day, then get started writing. It hasn’t changed much for me in the last few years.

But come afternoon, my energy dips. I’m still full from lunch (food coma time), I’m drained from my morning writing session, my focus starts to fade so I start to mindlessly browse the internet, and my video games and Netflix queue are whispering sweet nothings in my ear. You probably know the feeling. The afternoon is when distractions have the most power—you’re fatigued, irritable, and way more impulsive. So I had to come up with a routine that kept me productive in the afternoon yet still acknowledged my natural workflow. Here’s what I recommend.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

When to Stop Trying to Win an Argument by Patrick Allan.
"This week’s selection comes from Epictetus."

Source: Lifehacker  

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Educational Approach | University of Denver

Learn by doing at University of Denver

At DU, we believe the genius is in the doing. Students take part in small, focused classes, where they improve understanding through conversations that draw from the vast range of experiences and perspectives of our diverse community.

Photo: University of Denver

Learning here goes far beyond the lecture hall. We create opportunities for research, scholarship, performance and engagement. Our students collaborate with peers and faculty across disciplines and explore the subjects that move them. Our students develop important skills, find meaning and fuel their passions through exploration and collaboration with peers and faculty across disciplines.

Our students work with professors and patients to examine how chemicals in foods like tea and chocolate could help with the effects of ALS. They collaborate with Nike to develop footwear that enhances performance and reduces injuries. Immersion programs prepare students to provide aid in humanitarian crises and understand the health needs and difficulties of the homeless.

Students gain knowledge and direction from lively, discussion-based classes, internships and community engagement. They work here in Denver to ensure children in the foster system have the support they need and collaborate with locals in Panama to protect biodiversity. Wherever they are, we make sure our students can use their passion to create a better world.

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How A.I. Is Creating Building Blocks to Reshape Music and Art | New York Times - Technology

Follow on Twitter as @CadeMetz
"Project Magenta, a team at Google, is crossbreeding sounds from different instruments based on neural networks and building networks that can draw" notes Cade Metz

An artwork created using DeepDream, which researchers at Google developed in 2015. The newer work at Google, with Project Magenta, involves music, and has led to creation of a tool called NSynth.
Photo: New York Times

In the mid-1990s, Douglas Eck worked as a database programmer in Albuquerque while moonlighting as a musician. After a day spent writing computer code inside a lab run by the Department of Energy, he would take the stage at a local juke joint, playing what he calls “punk-influenced bluegrass” — “Johnny Rotten crossed with Johnny Cash.” But what he really wanted to do was combine his days and nights, and build machines that could make their own songs. “My only goal in life was to mix A.I. and music,” Mr. Eck said.

It was a naïve ambition. Enrolling as a graduate student at Indiana University, in Bloomington, not far from where he grew up, he pitched the idea to Douglas Hofstadter, the cognitive scientist who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on minds and machines, “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.” Mr. Hofstadter turned him down, adamant that even the latest artificial intelligence techniques were much too primitive. But over the next two decades, working on the fringe of academia, Mr. Eck kept chasing the idea, and eventually, the A.I. caught up with his ambition.

Last spring, a few years after taking a research job at Google, Mr. Eck pitched the same idea he pitched Mr. Hofstadter all those years ago. The result is Project Magenta, a team of Google researchers who are teaching machines to create not only their own music but also to make so many other forms of art, including sketches, videos and jokes. With its empire of smartphones, apps and internet services, Google is in the business of communication, and Mr. Eck sees Magenta as a natural extension of this work.

“It’s about creating new ways for people to communicate,” he said during a recent interview inside the small two-story building here that serves as headquarters for Google A.I. research.

The project is part of a growing effort to generate art through a set of A.I. techniques that have only recently come of age. Called deep neural networks, these complex mathematical systems allow machines to learn specific behavior by analyzing vast amounts of data. By looking for common patterns in millions of bicycle photos, for instance, a neural network can learn to recognize a bike. This is how Facebook identifies faces in online photos, how Android phones recognize commands spoken into phones, and how Microsoft Skype translates one language into another. But these complex systems can also create art. By analyzing a set of songs, for instance, they can learn to build similar sounds.

As Mr. Eck says, these systems are at least approaching the point — still many, many years away — when a machine can instantly build a new Beatles song or perhaps trillions of new Beatles songs, each sounding a lot like the music the Beatles themselves recorded, but also a little different. But that end game — as much a way of undermining art as creating it — is not what he is after. There are so many other paths to explore beyond mere mimicry. The ultimate idea is not to replace artists but to give them tools that allow them to create in entirely new ways.

Source: New York Times

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New lunchtime learning classes to offer languages, art, music and more | Imperial College London

Photo: Andrew Czyzewski
"Imperial's Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication is due to launch a new programme of lunchtime classes for staff, students and visitors" summarizes Andrew Czyzewski, Central Faculty, Communications and Public Affairs.

Maria Fernandez, Spanish Teacher
Photo: Imperial College London

The classes at South Kensington include Spanish, French and Italian language at beginner or conversational level; Music for Listening; The Joy of Art; Creative Writing; Photography; and London (Art, Literature and People).

The Lunchtime Learning series builds on the success of Imperial’s ever-popular Evening Classes which have inspired many people, helped them navigate different countries and even launched new careers.

Photo: Anna Nyburg, 
Imperial College London
Dr Anna Nyburg is Coordinator of Evening Classes and has been involved in teaching humanities subjects at Imperial since 1989.

“This all came about because I represent the Centre [for Languages, Culture and Communication] at Imperial Insights - a meet and greet session for new staff. I was increasingly hearing people express an interest in the Evening Classes, but they simply couldn’t consider it because they had a young family or other important commitments. So we’re trialling it this year, and if it’s successful we’ll have a larger offering next year.”

Anna also notes that the lunchtime classes offer the chance to break up the day, and do ‘something for yourself’ and also helps with the overall work-life balance...

Registration for the Lunchtime Classes opens on 1 September, with classes commencing in October. For more information and to enrol, please visit:
Read more... 

Source: Imperial College London 

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How Machine Learning Is Helping Morgan Stanley Better Understand Client Needs | Harvard Business Review - Technology

Photo: Thomas H. Davenport
Photo: Randy Bean
"Investment advisers are using technology to build deeper relationships" says Thomas H. Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor in Management and Information Technology at Babson College and Randy Bean, CEO and managing partner of consultancy NewVantage Partners. 

Photo:  Harvard Business Review

Systems that provide automated investment advice from financial firms have been referred to as robo-advisers. While no one in the industry is particularly fond of the term, it has caught on nonetheless. However, the enhanced human advising process — augmented by machine learning — that was recently announced by Morgan Stanley goes well beyond the robo label, and may help to finally kill off the term.
New York–based Morgan Stanley, in business since 1935, has been known as one of the more human-centric firms in the retail investing industry. It has 16,000 financial advisors (FAs), who historically have maintained strong relationships with their investor clients through such traditional channels as face-to-face meetings and phone calls. However, the firm knows that these labor-intensive channels limit the number of possible relationships and appeal primarily to older investors (according to a Deloitte study, the average wealth management client in the U.S. across the industry is over 60).

So Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business unit has been working for several years on a “next best action” system that FAs could use to make their advice both more efficient and more effective. The first version of the system, which used rule-based approaches to suggesting investment options, is being replaced by a system that employs machine learning to match investment possibilities to client preferences. There are far too many investing options today for FAs to keep track of them all and present them to clients. And if something momentous happens in the marketplace — for example, the Brexit vote and the resulting decline in UK-based stocks — it’s impossible for FAs to reach out personally to all their clients in a short timeframe.

The next best action system at Morgan Stanley, then, is focused on three separate objectives — only one of which is common in the robo-adviser market. There is, of course, a set of investment insights and choices for clients. In most existing machine advice, the recommended investments are strictly passive, that is, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. The Morgan Stanley system can offer those if the client prefers them, but can also present individual stocks or bonds based on the firm’s research. The FA is given several ideas to offer the client and can use their own judgment as to whether to pass along any or all of them.
The second aspect of the system is to provide operational alerts. These might include margin calls, low-cash-balance alerts, or notifications of significant increases or decreases in the client’s portfolio. They might also include noteworthy events in financial markets, such as the aforementioned Brexit vote. FAs can combine personalized text with the alert and send it out over a variety of communications channels.

Finally, the Morgan Stanley system includes content on life events. If, for example, a client had a child with a certain illness, the system could recommend the best local hospitals, schools, and financial strategies for dealing with the illness. That life-event content isn’t found in other machine advisor systems, and has the potential to help create a trusting and value-adding relationship between clients and FAs.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Photo:  Harvard Business Review
How the Imagined “Rationality” of Engineering Is Hurting Diversity — and Engineering by Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center of WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and Marina Multhaup, Research & Policy Fellow for the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
"Just how common are the views on gender espoused in the memo that former Google engineer James Damore was recently fired for distributing on an internal company message board"

Source: Harvard Business Review

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