tsukinofaerii: Missing: Presumed Nekkid (Missing: Presumed Nekkid)
[personal profile] tsukinofaerii
RANT. RANT RANT. RANT. WHINE. RANT. SLEEP.

Okay, that's out of the way. I am tired and extremely cranky right now, but I want to focus on the positive. Like the bunch of Robin Hood (Men In Tights) gifs I just skimmed off the internet. And also, this example of a kickass Aunt May. It totally explains why 616 and 1610 are split into separate universes. If they'd put Gail and May into the same continuity, they would climb out of the pages and take over the world with awesome.

I have a freakish urge to put Stevie onto a motorcycle. There's a gorgeous visual in my head of her taking a tight turn with her knee nearly scraping pavement, and no helmet so half-grown hair is all over and dirt smudges from a fight and... guh. Muscles. Trick riding. Leather (flail) I am so shallow. I'd also like to have Tony ride behind her, but I'm pretty sure that would be a convenient method of Tony-murder. He would be drooling. I've never even owned a motorcycle, and the idea of moving that fast without any significant protection scares me. D: WTF self.

Hmm. I really need to make a mod icon. :\ (lazy)

To cheerlead and beta, or no? I typically don't open myself up for beta work. It's just taxing, and different authors have different standards, and I admit that grammar/spelling are not my strong points. I will completely miss common misspellings or typos, and with grammar I can usually say "this sounds wrong" but I can't say why. (hands) IDK. I shall think on it.

One of these days, I am going to give DW monies.

(bounces and stares at bank account) Come on! Give me monies! I need to buy my plane tickets before it goes up any more! (bounce bounce flail)



Okay. So I get help calls from people taking distance learning courses, right? Web-based (internet only) and Web-assisted (internet sometimes) courses, mostly, though we have a spattering of hybrid courses and other such weirdness. I stay pretty busy. We're a large-ish school, and there's been a hard push to get instructors to use internet technology. Lately, we've been growing, because a lot of people who couldn't afford university courses anymore moved to us. So that's all good. I may complain quite a bit about some of it (I make a face every time I hear "I've read the instructions, now what do I do?"), but there's a lot to be said for the ease of access online courses provide.

That all being said, I am starting to headdesk over how "moar computers!!!!!!!" is being offered as the solution to everything that's wrong with education. It's not. It's so not.

Online courses are amazing. They really are. They're a solution to problems of distance and access. They help people who are uncomfortable in traditional classes, and they can be combined with Self Paced courses for people who have limited time. But they're only useful to people who are comfortable with computers, and relatively knowledgeable. Not just "can use Facebook" knowledgeable, but the sort who know what a browser is, what an operating system is, what a plug-in is, how to save a file, etc. The problem is that they're being pushed to everyone, as the sovereign remedy, the panacea.

Access to computers isn't a given. It's a privilege; a growing one, but not yet a general one. There are libraries and such, yes, if you're lucky enough to have a library with computer banks within convenient distance from your home. Even then, someone who isn't computer savvy isn't likely to sit at a library computer for long enough to really learn how to use it. They'll perhaps hop online to do something that needs doing, but if there's an offline option they'll use that first, sort of the same way I'll take a bus instead of a motorcycle if those are my only two options. The bus is slower and more inconvenient, yeah, but I don't know how to use a motorcycle, and only an absolute need is going to make me try.

Just like if I were to try and ride a motorcycle, the person who isn't computer literate but is taking a web-based course is going to crash. They don't know how to turn in their work, or how to e-mail the instructor, or sometimes even how to login to their course. Worse, there's no one to hold their hand and walk them through it—students who are 100% unfamiliar with computers need someone at their elbow looking at the same screen, physically pointing at things. They're unfamiliar with the vocabulary that rolls so easily off the tongues of those of us in the field, and it frustrates them when they don't understand. It hurts them when they can tell that a Help Desk person is struggling to change terms in order to explain. They feel dumb, inept, useless. That's if they can even find a Help Desk phone number to call. It's all online, if you know how to navigate a website. Their eyes aren't accustomed to skimming to the bottom of a page for a Help Link in the fine print.

Even worse, many instructors don't understand their difficulties. I have conversations regularly with instructors who are shocked to discover that some of their students use dial-up, or Windows 98, or even don't have computers. Frequently, these instructors aren't computer friendly themselves. They know just enough to put together a course, but not enough to make it convenient and easy for their students to navigate through it. I have had to have a conference with an instructor who honestly thought placing important information in red text on a green background was a good idea. This same person had links to (non-school) websites which required a fee to access, and PowerPoint files upwards of 20MB. That is a very bad pile-up of problems, but any one of those is an access issue by itself. For someone who isn't computer literate, it's an impenetrable roadblock.

As a result of all of this, students who aren't computer literate may have extremely low grades, or possibly be failing altogether. Some of them will drop the class. Some of them will drop the idea of education all together. They have no other choices. Even if they are able to avoid the online course trap, so many instructors require computer work: in their papers, in projects, in research. It's everywhere, and it's unavoidable.

I can't speak for other schools, but the "basic computer literacy" classes we offer are a joke. They're not basic, and they're not general "computer" classes. I was forced to take one in order to get my degree. We spent a day on hardware components, and then started off with MS Word. By the end of the semester, half the class had dropped because they didn't have the basic knowledge needed to complete the course. There is no "starter" course, which covers powering up the machine, the nature of passwords/logins, file management, internet use, single-click versus double-click, intuitive computing... Nothing. For what does exist, we make no effort to funnel students through those courses early on. They are required for most degrees, but it's possible to put them off, and most people do. There is no computer literacy test for taking Web-based or Web-assisted courses, nor a prereq, and no push to create either. No one wants to make a barrier to people giving us money.

And everyone says that online courses are so easy, and so convenient. Instructors push them, because they lighten the workload and deepen the paycheck. Admin pushes them because having a lot of courses online looks good for the school. Computer-savvy students push them because they're "easy".

There is a solution, but no one wants to take it. In the meantime I'm fielding calls every day from tired, frustrated, discouraged students who don't know how to take their course, and feel unintelligent because it's supposed to be "easy". "Children can use a computer, why can't I even manage this?" And all I can do is try to be encouraging, try to get them to call me for help, and try to walk them through as best I can.

I love my job, but we're doing a disservice to our students, and it's got to stop.

Date: 2010-07-28 10:49 pm (UTC)
elspethdixon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elspethdixon
I have a freakish urge to put Stevie onto a motorcycle. There's a gorgeous visual in my head of her taking a tight turn with her knee nearly scraping pavement, and no helmet so half-grown hair is all over and dirt smudges from a fight and... guh. Muscles. Trick riding. Leather (flail) I am so shallow. I'd also like to have Tony ride behind her, but I'm pretty sure that would be a convenient method of Tony-murder. He would be drooling. I've never even owned a motorcycle, and the idea of moving that fast without any significant protection scares me. D: WTF self.

*raises hand* I grew up around motorcycles, mostly vintage ones of the kind Steve/Stevie would own, so if you want someone to do a plausibility-check on motorcycle stuff, I probably could.

Date: 2010-07-28 10:57 pm (UTC)
elspethdixon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elspethdixon
I have a freakish urge to put Stevie onto a motorcycle. There's a gorgeous visual in my head of her taking a tight turn with her knee nearly scraping pavement, and no helmet so half-grown hair is all over and dirt smudges from a fight and... guh. Muscles. Trick riding. Leather (flail) I am so shallow. I'd also like to have Tony ride behind her, but I'm pretty sure that would be a convenient method of Tony-murder. He would be drooling. I've never even owned a motorcycle, and the idea of moving that fast without any significant protection scares me. D: WTF self.

You should definitely give her a motorcycle.

It begs the question - which would be hotter, Stevie doing a hang-over-the-side-of-the-bike handshift turn, a knee-nearly-to-the-track road-racing turn, or an almost parallel to the track dirt track slide with a giant roostertail of dust?

I think her bike should be an old side-valve Harley Davidson, A KR or XR, maybe. Something loud, fast, old/classic & American, and resistant to being bashed around.

Date: 2010-07-29 05:58 pm (UTC)
elspethdixon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elspethdixon
I vote that the SHIELD motorcycle be able to fly. Just like Sirius Black's. After all, SHIELD's cars fly.

I'll have to look through my hard drive to see if I still have some motorcycle racing pictures left over from college.

Can the old bikes take those hard, fast turns?

It depends on how fast, what kind of bike, what kind of surface the ground is (dirt has less traction than asphalt, and old-school dirt track bikes have no brakes, so they handle turns differently*), and how good the rider is. Since Steve/Stevie has superhuman reflexes, and Tony Stark to be her mechanic, and comicbook!physics on her side, you can probably get away with handwaving a lot. Plus, most of the vintage bikes I've seen ridden have been in vintage racing, where there are really strict rules about what kinds of modifications you're allowed to make (only X kind of brakes, not Y kind, only this kind of shocks, only that kind of tire, etc) that Stevie wouldn't have to follow.

The really spooky ones to watch go around hard, fast turns are handshift bikes - a lot of pre-WWII motorcycles, instead of having the clutch by your foot and the gear shift by the handlebars, have the gear shift down by the side of the bike, where you actually have to remove your hand from the handlebars and lean sideways to shift gears. People go around corners in handshift-class motorcycle races literally hanging off the side of the bike.


*dirt track bikes sort of slide around turns, while the rider puts their inside foot down on the track. My father once saw another racer who was a really experienced dirt track rider do this on wet asphalt during a road race when his bike started to hydroplane.

Date: 2010-07-29 06:09 pm (UTC)
elspethdixon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elspethdixon
Hah. I have pictures in my lj scrapbooks.

dirt track turn.

for scale: a 6'4" rider pushing a 1967 Harley Davidson KR. Which is why I think that kind of bike might be good for Steve - a six-foot-plus guy will actually fit on it. (Stevie probably won't have the same "how shall i fit my freakishly long limbs onto this motorcycle" issue Steve would have, though).

Date: 2010-07-28 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dieewigenacht.livejournal.com
Deleted to Edit:

One of the worst things about this kind of problem is that some instructors aren't exactly computer friendly and the way they set up courses is hell even for the students that have been using computers for a long long time. I can't even being to imagine how hard it must be for those who haven't had this privilege.

I however, can compare this with something that happens in my college. A lot of courses are offered en english, and some of this courses are a must for some majors.
This is a big problems for those students who have problems with a second language.
A friend of mine, let's name her K, has a very basic English level, most of the time she will get the words wrong and won't understand how certain things work. Her major is "International Relationships" which means that around half her lessons and the respective material is en English, which turns what could be a very simple homework into something that takes her hours, if not days.

Of course, my College has good language courses, but some people learn slower than others, and even those who can't speak English will eventually face a class in this language.

Date: 2010-07-29 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsukinofaerii.livejournal.com
Ohgods yes. I mean, I'm the tech support, and sometimes I can't figure out what they're doing! How are students supposed to? And I'm not allowed to say anything on classwork; all I can do is say "speak with your instructor". Lot of good that does when instructors are never in their offices and don't answer e-mail.

:\ I can sort of see why some courses would be in English, since it's good to learn a second language and all. But that, IMO, should be limited to courses which directly relate to learning that language—people taking an English Lit course, for example, should probably speak English, the same way I would expect someone taking French Lit or Spanish Lit to be fluent in those languages. (Not that they ever are up here, English being privileged, but they should be, IMO.) But really, whole courses in the second language? WTF? What if you don't speak English at all—what if your secondary is German or something? You just can't take those classes!

Schools should provide education in the primary language of the area. >:[ How is that hard for schools to grasp?

Yes, please, this.

Date: 2010-07-29 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deviouslint.livejournal.com
Lint!Mom tried an online class at one point... she barely knows how to turn the computer on, though she's gotten slightly better these days. (As in, she has figured out how to send e-mail.) It was a horrible experience for her and for me, because I was there to point at things and I still couldn't make clear to her how/why one does certain things. I can't imagine your frustration at this.

As an instructor now, I find minor things that my students can't do infuriating, and I have about 15 students who I see twice a week. I desperately wish that our IT department would/could offer better training for both instructors *and* students. Our people are great - they've helped me out bunches as I planned the online components of my class - but they're overworked and bogged down by problems that wouldn't *be* problems if I'd had access to some kind of tutorial. I run a brief tutorial in class to show students how to navigate our class page, but they still run into problems. (And, being shy freshmen, don't tell me they are having problems until it's the end of the semester and they have a zero for their homework grade.)

And our situation, of course, leaves out the many other problems that you've eloquently pointed out - access, basic computer literacy, and the like. I worry that many universities are going solely or largely the online route (Mind you this worries me for personal reasons too - teaching literature online presents shiny new problems for me!). Mind you, I understand why they are, from my privileged position and from the perspective of just trying to save money, but it's still worrisome.

Re: Yes, please, this.

Date: 2010-07-29 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsukinofaerii.livejournal.com
Lint!Mom tried an online class at one point... she barely knows how to turn the computer on, though she's gotten slightly better these days. (As in, she has figured out how to send e-mail.) It was a horrible experience for her and for me, because I was there to point at things and I still couldn't make clear to her how/why one does certain things. I can't imagine your frustration at this.

I work with a lot of returning and non-traditional students in the 50+ age range, and they really do have a hard time. Some of them may have used early computers, but we've come so far from DOS. It's like language—when you grow up with it, or get involved at the start, it's easy and intuitive. But learning it from rote as an adult is hard. And "native speakers" can't always explain how they know to do things. (And sometimes the people coming to it late in life jump straight into "slang" and bad habits without learning the proper forms first. My mother used leet speak until I threatened to gouge my eyeballs out.)

I desperately wish that our IT department would/could offer better training for both instructors *and* students.

We sort of have the opposite situation. Our student comp lit is ridiculously useless (our student orientation doesn't even tell students how to find get their email address), but the instructors have so many resources available. They have Faculty Training, workshops, open labs, closed labs, online tutorials, off-line tutorials, handouts, booklets... and yet, all of these resources go unused. I get an amazing amount of calls that amount to, "I didn't go to training, so I tried to do it on my own and now it's broken."

We will be upgrading Blackboard this year, and I have unfounded and unrealistic hopes of pushing through Mandatory Training as part of it. Instructors will have to get training on the new system anyways, right?

(And, being shy freshmen, don't tell me they are having problems until it's the end of the semester and they have a zero for their homework grade.)

Ohgods this! I don't think it's just a shy thing though. People just seem adamantly against calling a Help Line. IDK why. Back when I was a Lab Assistant, I ended up helping more people who were just staring blankly at a screen hopelessly than I ever did people who asked for help.

Online courses have so so so much potential, but there has to be a screening process, and there have to be resources for students who can't prove proficiency. And really, online courses really don't save money anywhere, since schools with a low graduation rate are a lot less likely to get donors hopping to throw money at us, and cuts in state funding mean we have to court those big donors.

Date: 2010-07-29 11:36 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You know I took one computer class in cegep. It was a joke.

It probably would have been useless to a trully computer illetrate personn, I didn't pay attention to that aspect at the time but to the best of my recollection it asumed you had basic computer knowledge ( ie: creating files and folder, surfing the web).

But it also failed spectacularily to teach anything new to those who already had that basic knowledge ( and I do mean basic. I don't know what a browser is, for example. If there are any problem I go to my dad. Hell I go to my dad when I'm instaling programs just to be sure I don't fuck it up.) the whole class was about teaching us about the finest points of microsoft word.

A lot of the students spent the classes surfing the web, I certainly never studied for any of the test. Because the great thing about word ? You can pretty much figure everything out by yourself by FINDLING WITH THE BUTTONS FOR A MINUTE OR TWO.

Anyway.

2 years later I had a great time when my psycholinguistic teacher decided to make us do a survey instead of giving us a finale exam. Nevermind getting the program to work on everybody's computer. The very first thing I had to do was unpack file into desktop. I couldn't figure out if that meant the poste de travail or the bureau. I tried both, neither worked.

No the really fun part was when we had to do some really intricate handling of the data with exel. We must have had at least half a dozen different version of exel between all of us some in French some in English. That took a while.

But at least the professor was very understanding.

Date: 2010-07-30 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsukinofaerii.livejournal.com
Because the great thing about word ? You can pretty much figure everything out by yourself by FINDLING WITH THE BUTTONS FOR A MINUTE OR TWO.

This is true enough, if you're comfortable enough with computer logic to intuit the controls. Very, very computer illiterate students aren't. It's not just a matter of not knowing which button is cut and which is paste; it's that they don't even know these are options. So instead of c/p, they rewrite the entire paragraph. That's what typewriter logic says to do, and typewriter logic is what they know.

Just spending time poking around on a computer, having fun and looking things up when they need it will eventually teach people to understand computer logic, but that requires both a computer and the leisure to play on it.

Professors really need to take care that their students know all the skills needed to complete a task. It's a case of poor planning otherwise, and it dooms the students. Even with a very understanding instructor, it does serious damage. Excel doesn't do anything a simple grid and calculator can't. It's just pretty. :\

Date: 2010-07-30 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It doesn't do anything a grid and a calculator do.

Probably.

In retrospective she probably though it would be the easiest way to get some 30 linguistic students with unknown math skills to caculate the error margin and the like. She may have been right. But back when I was trying to find a fonction that was in a different place depending on the version that I didn't even know the name of because my Excel was in French. I think I would have taken the grid and the calculator.

Date: 2010-07-30 02:24 am (UTC)
ext_84772: (SteveTony (Avengers Prime))
From: [identity profile] illuminatius.livejournal.com
how to save a file

Okay, so I get that there are students (I am assuming, of course, that they are the usual college ages) out there that don't know what OS stands for, but this? It shouldn't be so hard to grasp. I have yet to meet a student who doesn't know how to save. Be it image file or word document. Maybe it's the fact that I've been around computers since age six talking, but really.

I can understand that the lack of a Computer Literacy 101 course is terrible, but as a student and teacher (well, not yet, but I'll have that diploma even if it kills me) in Sweden, I have never felt the need for a computer course, and I haven't heard any of my peers/pupils have express a need for it either. We are taught basic computer literacy as a part of some course which requires computer usage, but the rest is up to us. Then again, having a computer with functioning internet is quite common in Sweden. I've taught in high schools that give their students a laptop, which they use daily both at school and at home. You could say that the easy accessibility to a computer has allowed us to be more familiar with them, but I guess that's not the case with the US. It's a privilege in Sweden, but a common one. (Makes sense? No? Thought so.)

Frequently, these instructors aren't computer friendly themselves.

Indeed. I remember when I decided to pay a friend of mine visit at the high school he was attending, and ended up participating in one of his web design classes. Quite fun...until the teacher decided to teach his students about inline CSS. I asked him why he didn't use an external CSS file, and he had NO IDEA WHAT THAT WAS. Not to mention that his CSS was broken. If you're going to teach web design, KNOW YOUR SUBJECT. That's like me teaching Spanish; I know two words, at most.

I also coded an entire layout for my friend which he handed in as homework (it got a B), because he had no idea how to do it. A part of me went "why did you take this course, then?" and another part wondered why they didn't have a proper prep course (the last part wondered if my friend had paid attention during his classes).



Schools should anticipate that not every student does have basic computer literacy and have prep courses ready. Not exactly Computers for Dummies, but yeah. Although, I can't really grasp why students who know next to nothing about computers sign up for online courses.

I broke the comments! Part 1

Date: 2010-07-30 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsukinofaerii.livejournal.com
I have yet to meet a student who doesn't know how to save. Be it image file or word document. Maybe it's the fact that I've been around computers since age six talking, but really.

The students I deal with are anywhere from 15 to 80. My school offers a large variety of noncredit courses, and some of them are required annually for certification in some professions. Those courses (APD course, we call them, since they come from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities) tend to be filled with low income older students, and they are only available online. There simply isn't an offline option, nor is there a traditional option. Many, many of these students have never used a computer in their lives, and now their jobs depend on it. There are also traditional students who are looking for a degree that they can't afford from a university, and returning students who are finding out that the job market is moving past them.

You could say that the easy accessibility to a computer has allowed us to be more familiar with them, but I guess that's not the case with the US. It's a privilege in Sweden, but a common one. (Makes sense? No? Thought so.)

I am pretty much positive that this is a difference between nations. In the USA, access to computers is still very much a class-based privilege. State funded high schools do not have significant numbers of computers available, and there's no notable subsidy to help people purchase one. I didn't get my first computer until I was 16, and that had no internet access and was years out of date. In the areas I grew up in, owning a computer was nearly unheard of. The area I'm currently in relies on dial-up even for credit and debit card use. State and federal education funding keeps being cut, and tech is expensive. I would venture to say that at least half of our traditional students (college age and degree seeking) don't own a computer.

I deal with computer illiterate students every day—5-10 daily on average that I have to walk through something beginning-level (how to turn on the machine, how to right click to find a menu, the scroll bar, save a file, etc). There's a lot of reasons for it, but mostly it's derived from lack of experience. They've never needed to use this tool, and they've never had the opportunity to play with this toy. Also, there's a lot of fear and humiliation involved. It's just flat out embarrassing to call and ask for help on something that, chances are, they've seen small children do on television.

I broke the comments! Part 2

Date: 2010-07-30 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsukinofaerii.livejournal.com
If you're going to teach web design, KNOW YOUR SUBJECT. That's like me teaching Spanish; I know two words, at most.

(facepalm) We see this a lot too. IDK what causes it there, but here it's the randomized shuffling of Adjuncts every term. A lot of them don't know what courses they'll be assigned until a few days before classes begin, and there's really no rhyme or reason to their assignments. IDGI, but I am grateful that it's not my problem.

Schools should anticipate that not every student does have basic computer literacy and have prep courses ready. Not exactly Computers for Dummies, but yeah.

Not Gonna Lie, I would love a Computers for Dummies course; maybe a non-credit. Start at the very, very basics and work your way up. Of course, students should be able to leap-frog if they already know it, but just having it there... (longing sigh) I have had to explain to people that no, I cannot "hack" their USB drive while it is in their purse, and the difference between the Google Search Bar and the Address Bar. An actual course to point them to would make me incredibly happy.

Although, I can't really grasp why students who know next to nothing about computers sign up for online courses.

It's really not just pure online courses (though those are problems for courses which have no traditional method), but the general, fluffy, undefined "web stuff" that instructors assume students know causes a lot of trouble. There is a big push to use online tools in "traditional" settings. Turn It In (http://www.turnitin.com) is one of the resources we use (though we're breaking away from it for a different but similar service). Students submit their papers, and the website compares the paper to a database to check for forgery. This is very popular, for obvious reasons, but its use requires that students have basic knowledge of internet use, file management and Word. E-mail is the only way to contact some instructors. Research online is impossible if you don't know how to search a database. It's such general knowledge that gets taken for granted, and trips up so many people.

TL;DR Essentially, many of our students are not computer literate, but you cannot complete a degree at my workplace without being so. And the school itself offers no recourse to become computer literate.
Edited Date: 2010-07-30 03:24 am (UTC)

Re: I broke the comments! Part 2

Date: 2010-07-30 04:11 am (UTC)
ext_84772: (McShep)
From: [identity profile] illuminatius.livejournal.com
The students I deal with are anywhere from 15 to 80.

Ah. I would expect people at 80 to not know much about computers.

Many, many of these students have never used a computer in their lives, and now their jobs depend on it.

A family member of mine was in an almost similar situation, where he had to learn computer literacy. He did complain over the difficulty and that they expected you to have a certain level of computer knowledge, even when entering basic courses.

I am pretty much positive that this is a difference between nations. In the USA, access to computers is still very much a class-based privilege. State funded high schools do not have significant numbers of computers available, and there's no notable subsidy to help people purchase one. I didn't get my first computer until I was 16, and that had no internet access and was years out of date. In the areas I grew up in, owning a computer was nearly unheard of. The area I'm currently in relies on dial-up even for credit and debit card use. State and federal education funding keeps being cut, and tech is expensive. I would venture to say that at least half of our traditional students (college age and degree seeking) don't own a computer.

This is radically different from Sweden, or at least my perception of it based on what I have heard and seen. I got my first computer at age ten; now, ten years later, I'm on my fourth computer (I'm not spoiled. Srsly. The one I have now I bought myself). I didn't have internet accesss when I got mine as well, but that came within a year.

Dial-up is almost completely extinct here (although that's how I started). We use broadband and mobile internet. I'm sure it still exists in places which can't get access to broadband (lack of infrastructure, I suppose), but I haven't seen a company offer such a service in ages. All schools now use broadband, and their internet is pretty high-speed. Can't always say the same for the computers.

Cutting education funds makes me so mad. Education is a necessity that required appropriate amount of funds. Decrepit tech won't help anybody. It's not that visible here in Sweden, unless we're talking about the lunch. (Oh yeah, did I mention that we get free food? Well, high school and below)

Not owning a computer here can be seen as something unheard of. I wouldn't say that every household has one, but a majority of them do.

I deal with computer illiterate students every day—5-10 daily on average that I have to walk through something beginning-level (how to turn on the machine, how to right click to find a menu, the scroll bar, save a file, etc). There's a lot of reasons for it, but mostly it's derived from lack of experience. They've never needed to use this tool, and they've never had the opportunity to play with this toy. Also, there's a lot of fear and humiliation involved. It's just flat out embarrassing to call and ask for help on something that, chances are, they've seen small children do on television.

The only computer illiterate people I deal with are family members, and just like those students, they have a lack of experience. There shouldn't be any fear and humiliation involved; if you haven't used a computer, it's perfectly understandable that you don't know much (or anything) about them. Beginner courses would help towards removing the F & H, something that just prevents people from making an effort to learn in order to not show their weaknesses. Also, the whole "but children on TV use them!" thing is just ridiculous. Obviously, someone told them how to use it. People aren't born with such skills. Affinities, yes, but not skills. We learn from experience. And that goes back to what you said about the lack of it. It's like a vicious cycle. Computer illiterate person wants to learn, but can't due to fear of humiliation which could be avoided if that person learned, but can't due to previously mentioned fear. The lack of courses which teach basic computer skills in school, where they (the students) could learn in a safe environment, makes it so. much. worse.

They should take some money from the rich and famous and add it to the education budget. I'm just sayin'. Students need that money more.

Re: I broke the comments! Part 2

Date: 2010-07-30 04:11 am (UTC)
ext_84772: (McShep)
From: [identity profile] illuminatius.livejournal.com
(facepalm) We see this a lot too. IDK what causes it there, but here it's the randomized shuffling of Adjuncts every term. A lot of them don't know what courses they'll be assigned until a few days before classes begin, and there's really no rhyme or reason to their assignments. IDGI, but I am grateful that it's not my problem.

Here, it's basically the lack of teachers in a subject, and they fill it with techers who teach subjects close to it. My high school biology teacher taught medicine because they didn't have any teacher handling that course, and admitted that it wasn't his forte (thankfully, he still did one hell of a job).

Not Gonna Lie, I would love a Computers for Dummies course; maybe a non-credit. Start at the very, very basics and work your way up. Of course, students should be able to leap-frog if they already know it, but just having it there... (longing sigh) I have had to explain to people that no, I cannot "hack" their USB drive while it is in their purse, and the difference between the Google Search Bar and the Address Bar. An actual course to point them to would make me incredibly happy.

I would too (not for me, but those that really need it), but the name would bother me. Like you said, a course which points basic facts out would be great. Oh my god, did you actually have to explain to someone that you can't hack USB drives while it's not plugged in a computer? Dear lord.


We use a program similar to "Turn it in", although I can't remember the name. The professors of pretty much every university course I have taken expect you to hand the assignments in via e-mail (although some do offer up the option to print and hand it in), except for some final assignments. Here, we don't have any issues with handing it in via e-mail, finding contact information on the internet or conducting online research. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, students in Sweden have an easier time getting the required experience.

Re: I broke the comments! Part 2

Date: 2010-07-30 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsukinofaerii.livejournal.com
Ah. I would expect people at 80 to not know much about computers.

It really depends on the person. My paternal grandmother is technophobic, but her husband is all over the internet.

Cutting education funds makes me so mad. Education is a necessity that required appropriate amount of funds.

Education is the go-to for cutting government spending here. :\ It's always played up as "cutting the fat", but teachers who aren't tenured university profs make almost nothing, schools are always short on funds, and kids are quitting school in huge numbers. But the results of education funding don't usually become apparent until the current incumbent is out of office, and even then it's usually not linked back to a specific cut. Meanwhile, the politician can promise to cut our already-record-low taxes.

They should take some money from the rich and famous and add it to the education budget. I'm just sayin'. Students need that money more.

THIS. Unfortunately, it's the rich that are in public office or who are funding the people in public office. Coincidentally, their children go to private schools and can afford the latest technology. Broken system is Broken.

I would too (not for me, but those that really need it), but the name would bother me.

I wouldn't expect them to actually use "for Dummies" (besides making light of computer illiteracy, it's also Trademarked, so unless they're using that as the text...), but Basic Computer Literacy would work.

Oh my god, did you actually have to explain to someone that you can't hack USB drives while it's not plugged in a computer? Dear lord.

Yep! It was a ridiculously long call. The student was convinced that basically the whole school was in a conspiracy against hir, and had no clue about computers. It was a very strange call.

The professors of pretty much every university course I have taken expect you to hand the assignments in via e-mail (although some do offer up the option to print and hand it in), except for some final assignments.

We use the Blackboard Learning Management System for most online/web-assisted courses. It has its issues, but it's really very handy! Instructors have all their student files in one neat and tidy location, and it's tied directly to the gradebook, so they can click a grade and see the file that it's connected to. We're moving from Turn It In to SafeAssign, which is the native Blackboard function that does the same. Blackboard isn't a fantastic system, but it could certainly be put to better use by the instructors and students both, if they just knew how.

Re: I broke the comments! Part 2

Date: 2010-07-31 12:16 am (UTC)
ext_84772: (Default)
From: [identity profile] illuminatius.livejournal.com
Oh, Blackboard! The first university I attended (switched to take stand-alone biology as a minor) used it. They gave us two pieces of paper with how-to info, and explained it briefly at the beginning of the first term. Nothing more. Strangely, everyone got the hang of it really fast.

THIS. Unfortunately, it's the rich that are in public office or who are funding the people in public office. Coincidentally, their children go to private schools and can afford the latest technology. Broken system is Broken.

*facepalm* *headdesk* That is so bad.

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