Replying to the Apple v Google charges and my misunderstanding (closed topic, I’ve been away for a while and had replies pointing out I was wrong)

Yeah, sorry my mistake. I think the reason for my misunderstanding is that I recently moved to an Apple phone and a lot of things stopped taking payment due to the charges that Apple have. Like Bandcamp and the local bus service (they’ve since started processing on apple phones but they’ve done Android for years). Why this is I don’t know and why they baulk at paying Apple when they pay the same fees (it turns out) to Google is beyond me, but it is out there.

That Google are exactly as evil as Apple in this is of course utterly unsurprising as they are utterly dreadful.


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Continuing the discussion from Student loans as a strategy for social control:

I’m in the middle of a good example right now. I’m in a meeting of faculty and staff, listening to a software group talk about some peer-mentoring software that we pay for. A year-end wrap-up kind of thing.

They tell us that it’s very successful, based on how many students are using it, and how often. So, I asked “Very good. Do you have data that students who use this expensive software (2 faculty lines-worth a year, I think) are more successful (better grades, or better persistence/retention) than their peers who do not use this software?”

The answer? 15 minutes of meandering babble, no part of which answered yes or no. Also, a scolding that “we do not consider ourselves a software platform.” lol, stop. It’s an app that connects students to mentors, with a team in the background to help. Take your marketing people and give us our money back.

That’s the stealth bloat.


Great question!

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A great way to describe it… They’ve added another layer of metrics for us over here, which we have to roll out in the spring (I have no spring courses, but I do have 2 in the summer). They had a training course on it, but had to miss it for a scheduling conflict… They plan to have another in the spring, so I’ll see what all the fuss is about then.

Maybe part of the problem is that the focus is too much on metrics and not enough on a more organic approach to whether or not students are grokking the material that we’re trying to get across. I think that a better focus might be on critical analysis of sources, and how to think “historically” and on educating students on what we do as historians, by having them do some of that work, rather than simply on fact acquisition and/or testing, It’s fuzzier type of grading, than the metric based, but given that it’s easier now to look up facts, but harder to know if the fact is an actual fact as opposed to ideological driven lies, it seems like imparting some of those critical analysis skills would be far more valuable for them…


that was a brilliant question

i’d also be suspicious of what a “use” is. does that mean they sent a push notification, “remember to study today”, and all students dutifully read and dismissed the notification? or did students meaningful engage with the app and get a question they had resolved?

one of those is just slightly easier to measure than the other…



This. 1000x this. Historians as a group, though, are generally horrible at articulating why the liberal arts are important. “Critical thinking,” and “good citizens” mean nothing to people. And we generally shy away from “gets you a good job.” I asked my chair to help us develop a list of jobs students could get where a history degree was helpful. After “teacher” and grad school to become a professor," there was silence.

It’s not just us. English faculty are the same. We’ve started talking about “situational skillsets” instead, and pointing to people in industry who have a history degree that they use.

So, like, this is awful:

But this is cool:

I mean, Sacha Baron Cohen? Come on!

Anyway, bloat was the topic. That particular stealth bloat (as you are acutely aware) is because we’re under so much pressure to retain and graduate. And that’s great. It starts with good teaching and, I hate to say it, the need for a better way to get rid of horrible teachers.

Well! Off to see the university give a 40-year service pin to one of the worst teachers I’ve ever encountered in my life, and one who has no intention of retiring.


The college my daughter goes to has both an ombuds department and an academic student advocacy department, and neither would help or really listen to her.

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Ugh, I’m so sorry. This is how students fall through the cracks. Id’ suggest a favorite prof, if she’s comfortable doing so. Even if she’s never met with the prof before, just having a student show up to say “nobody else will help me” can lead to a hell of a lot of action.


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That’s good advice. I even have an idea of who she could ask - a mentor she’s worked with who is even in the department she is lobbying for an exception.


Absolutely. I’ve had students (of various genders) come to my office to say “I don’t know if you can help, but nobody else can.” Even (or especially) when I’ve only barely known them, it’s an honor to be entrusted. If she has a trusted faculty member, that’s a great avenue.

I’d also suggest a good talk beforehand, if you haven’t already. You may be aware that if what your daughter has experienced is a Title IX thing, the faculty member will be required to report the event/incident to someone. There is no messing around with that. The reason I suggest the talk is that I’ve found that even the parents with the best connections to their students, even those with the most open lines of communication and so forth, are often not aware of the full situation. I obviously don’t know you or her, so obviously this is not a judgment. But this happens frequently enough that I know it has no reflection on parenting.

ETA: Fixed link


There are so many huhs? in this.


More on this case (from the state, not federal level):

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The real Jewish space lasers.


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Oh, it’s Latin. In that case: