Thursday, October 18, 2012

MOOC good vs bad

I have undergone a dozen of MOOC courses with cool groups like coursera, udacity, khanacademy, edx etc

As expected I completed a few and dropped off a few...

From a student's point of view, I am convinced now that the success of a MOOC depends on the following in the decreasing order of importance:

1. Teacher.
2. Course content.
3. Pedagogy.

The knowledge/educational qualification of a teacher plays an unimportant role in motivating/convincing a student over the internet. Remember, this teacher can't be reached beyond the video. In my understanding, a teacher's job is to install the basic building blocks and motivate the students so that the students rediscover the wheel by themselves. Spoon feeding doesn't help at all if you really want to "learn". I found that a number of teachers on the MOOC just failed to convince/motivate me. The were lecturing as if a student will approach them outside the class to clarify the doubts!
In at least four courses I found an interesting pattern. If you don't have access to the books, you will fall flat on your face. I could smell that the content was designed as a teaser, you know what I mean, like those movie teasers! No free education. hehehe

Monday, October 15, 2012

A very helpful website on Indian tax and related matters bu Gulab A. Singh

Gulab A. Singh has been doing wonders on his webpage here. He is very helpful with his advice related to Indian tax and related matters.

In his words he has introduced himself as:

 I wish to state that I am a practising Chartered Accountant from Mumbai, India and also qualified the Law Degree. Currently I am pursuing final year in Masters of Law (LL.M) and hope to pursue Ph.D in future. I always had the inclination to write and present my views – both on professional & other areas comprising of Political, Social, Legal and Cultural.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Human brain a wonderful approximating engine

Human brains are perfect approximating engines.

The Idealists are adjusted to become Practicals.
And lo and behold!
The Practicals are adjusted to become Corrupts.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

All the languages are just domain specific languages.

In a software engineer's terminology, mathematics is just another domain specific language. It was developed to suit a very specific set of needs of humans. Try expressing Love in mathematics. Try expressing Kangaroo in a non-australian-native language. And then try expressing a matrix of 1000 dimensions in mathematics.

But does that mean that spoken languages are also domain specific languages? Yes, they are. All the spoken languages can't express everything. They evolved to serve the local and specific needs. Try expressing Kangaroo in a non-australian-native language. Ty expressing a matrix of 1000 dimensions in English. And then try expressing Love in your mother tongue.

All the languages strive to be short, precise and sufficient to satisfy local needs.

Counting by my 2 years old daughter

My 2 years old daughter can now express counting:

If present it is "one". One or more present, all are counted as "one".
If absent it is "aa". She supports "aa" with a complex hand gesture conveying "it is gone, it is no more".

It is no big deal. But what caught my attention is that she learnt her "aa" first and "one" next! In other words she understood the meaning of "absence" and could express it long before "one" came in.
Food for philosophical thoughts? ;)