Sunday, June 25, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: Making Cybereducation Creepier

CURMUDGUCATION: Making Cybereducation Creepier:

Making Cybereducation Creepier




Do you think that cyber-education is just kind of creepy, with students sitting alone in the glow of a computer screen, navigating hundreds of little standardized quizlets and activities, their every keystroke and answer compiled in an undying data file that will follow those students around forever.


 Do you find it hard to imagine how it could be worse? Well, a company called LCA Learning has found a way. They've come up with a program called Nestor which adds a whole new feature to online learning-- while you're watching the course, the course is watching you:


The idea, according to LCA founder Marcel Saucet, is to use the data that Nestor collects to improve the performance of both students and professors. The software uses students’ webcams to analyze eye movements and facial expressions and determine whether students are paying attention to a video lecture. It then formulates quizzes based on the content covered during moments of inattentiveness. Professors would also be able to identify moments when students’ attention waned, which could help to improve their teaching, Saucet says.

First, the software will not "formulate" quizzes-- it will pull quiz questions out of a bank of questions according to an algorithm. Let's just stop talking about algorithms tied to question banks as if they're artificial intelligence. They aren't any kind of intelligence.

But lets think about the rest of this picture. You have to keep your face in place, and mimic whatever the computer thinks an "interested" face looks like (and as anyone who has taught for 
CURMUDGUCATION: Making Cybereducation Creepier:

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