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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Major change due to higher education

Uploaded: Jan 17, 2013
With the costs of higher education soaring faster than health insurance costs, look for disruptive changes across the higher education establishment.
Many will be driven by the internet, an area both existing higher education establishments and start-ups are starting to utilize. Some are modest—a webcast of an 8 a.m. class that students can watch from their apartments.
Others such as Stanford University have embraced free online courses. There were16 classes offered last fall.
California Gov. Jerry Brown jumped into the mix this week when he announced that San Jose State will offer three low-cost online courses that will cost just $150 per class. Books will not be required—a huge savings and classes will earn college credits.
The governor reached out to education entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun, the co-founder and CEO of Udacity, which offers free online classes. Thrun has agreed to partner with San Jose State and registration will open next week. Initial classes will be limited to 100 students and will include contact with San Jose State faculty.
The governor is to be commended for this pilot program. It offers the potential of providing remedial classes online to high school graduates who need help in English or math before starting college-level work. Getting those classes on a community college site can be very challenging because of the number of students who need them. Offering them online dramatically improves access for students as well as freeing up college resources (faculty and facilities) for college-level classes.
Thrun is an expert in artificial intelligence and holds a doctorate. At Google, he led the team that developed the driverless car and continues to lead Google X. He's been a professor and a research professor at Stanford. Bottom line: He is a heavy hitter in both cutting edge research and has worked in the multiple disciplines necessary to develop a driverless car or robots capable of helping elderly patients. To read more about Thrun, Google him and look for the Wall Street Journal piece on him last fall.
Here's hoping the pilot program works well and expands rapidly. To use a phrase popular in Washington D.C., the current trajectory of college costs is unsustainable.
Newly sworn-in Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, has hit the ground running in Washington D.C. He won appointment as an assistant whip in the House of Representatives, a slot that will be interesting during the various machinations that can be expected around spending and entitlements with Democrats controlling the Senate and the presidency while the Republicans are solid in the house.
More interestingly, he appeared on Fox News as a spokesperson for the further regulating guns and particularly so-called assault weapons. His status as a former Alameda County deputy district attorney undoubtedly helped. He held his own in the debate with Sean Hannity of Fox News. Swalwell described himself as the son of a gun-owning hunter and an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment.

Comments

Posted by Tennessee Jed, a resident of Jensen Tract,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:03 am

I saw that debate on Hannity's show. I completely disagree that he "held his own", in fact, what we saw was an extension of Pete "potty-mouth" Stark. Believe me, he got his clock cleaned!

I was hopeful that we would get a more moderate rep. in his election. But alas, there is no hope. Only more of the same idiotic drivel from liberal California pols.


Posted by Louisiana Curly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

I saw the "debate" too, and it wasn't a contest. Tim's point about so-called assault guns is right on. AK-47s are not assault guns but mostly defense guns. You show me your gun, I show you a bigger one. Let's do away with these onerous gun laws that forbid me from exercising my constitutional right to buy hand grenades in bulk.

What ol' Tim forgets to mention in his deep-thought piece is that the real trend toward online classes is found in the for-profit universities, which have lowered academic standards, raised tuition, and have made a killing on in-house student loans. I'm surprised Tim didn't hear that while out on the golf course. At any rate, the important thing for my kids is that books are not required in these classes. One of the more onorous things in higher education, besides having entitlement and affirmative action types getting tuition breaks, is required books. Who needs them?


Posted by Louisiana Curly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

I saw the "debate" too, and it wasn't a contest. Tim's point about so-called assault guns is right on. AK-47s are not assault guns but mostly defense guns. You show me your gun, I show you a bigger one. Let's do away with these onerous gun laws that forbid me from exercising my constitutional right to buy hand grenades in bulk.

What ol' Tim forgets to mention in his deep-thought piece is that the real trend toward online classes is found in the for-profit universities, which have lowered academic standards, raised tuition, and have made a killing on in-house student loans. I'm surprised Tim didn't hear that while out on the golf course. At any rate, the important thing for my kids is that books are not required in these classes. One of the more onorous things in higher education, besides having entitlement and affirmative action types getting tuition breaks, is required books. Who needs them?


Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Not trying to be a cynic relating to on-line education and how California is 'piloting' a program, we have experts in the field locally, etc, but why is there so much 'happy chatter' about this topic? Open University in the UK has been in existence since 1969 and has provided effective, quality distance learning to huge numbers of people. Again, cynically, a fatal case of 'not invented here'- these options should have existed on a wide scale basis years ago and would have saved a lot of people time and money.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm

And to add further cynicism -not too surprising that all of the previous posts went straight to the gun issue (what, it was 20% of the article?) and who 'won' the debate. It isn't about winning, it's about people. I'm sure the thousands of families affected by gun death yearly are keeping tabs on who 'won' - the correct answer is no-one... 3 words on who 'won' -Sandy Hook Elementary


Posted by Student, a resident of Del Prado,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Online classes are so easy to cheat they should not be eligible for college credit.


Posted by franco, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm

franco is a registered user.

This comment is incredible:

"I saw the "debate" too, and it wasn't a contest. Tim's point about so-called assault guns is right on. AK-47s are not assault guns but mostly defense guns."

Both Tim and this author are out of their minds. An AK-47 is unquestionably the premier assault weapon. A quote from wikipedia:

"The original AK-47 was one of the first true "assault rifles" to be manufactured, after the original Sturmgewehr 44.[8][9] Even after six decades the model and its variants remain the most widely used and popular assault rifles in the world because of their durability, low production cost, and ease of use."

Web Link

Another reference describing what is considered to be assault weapons:

Web Link

The mis-information presented by Tim Hunt's reference to "so-called assault weapons" together with the poster who writes that they are defense weapons is no less than astounding!

You have to be brain dead not to notice what that Taliban or Iraqi insurgent is shooting with in the many videos seen on the TV news as well as many Youtube videos. Jeesh!


Posted by Louisiana Curly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Guns don't kill people, people do. Back in Louisianne we'd hunt wild hogs with AK-47s, and defend our property against the entitlement folks who got roust around a little bit by the big hurricane. AK-47s are hunting tools in the hands of good patriotic citizens, and defensive weapons when the entitlement hordes want to cross your property.

Franco sounds like he's been brainwashed by the Obama regime and the liberal media that he's got in his pocket.


Posted by franco, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

franco is a registered user.

Poster is a name-calling with his use of "brainwashing" and "liberal media". Not much of a counter argument.

What amazes me is Hunt's throwing into his last paragraph of his article comments that drags in the gun controversy into an article that purports to report on major changes in higher education. This from a guy who supposedly had a career in journalism. What was the point?


Posted by Louisiana Curly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I admit this Hunt feller isn't the brightest bulb on the tree. He seems to spend most of his time at the 19th hole where he mails in his opinions which aren't any better then most of the posters here.

But I take offense to Franco. Cuz I have an argument. AK-47s are what is in the eye of the beholder. My kin back in Louisianne use em to kill wild hogs. They's huntin rifles, though I admit things can get a little messy. And then they's defensive when your protecting yer kin against the "livin' dead" who wandered across our property after Katrina. When King Obama tries to take em away, he's takin away a way of life for the most of us. AK-47s are as American as the flag, apple pie, and the death penalty.


Posted by franco, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Jan 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm

franco is a registered user.

Mr. Hunt, when you start out reporting on a topic like higher education and then mix in opinions about current controversies such as gun control you attact posters like the present who make preposterous claims like AK-47s are defensive weapons against wild hogs in Louisiana!!!! Of course, the posters are the usual suspects who post under numerous pseudonyms (Steve?) and make mockery of your legitimate posts and try to bait people like myself into debate with them. You would do well to stick to topic.

Good night.


Posted by Ben Johansen, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

It's crazy how people actually comment on something they truly do not understand. Let's deal with the term assault rifle. The definition from our Department of Defense: "assault rifles" are "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges." (as taken from the United States Defense Department's Defense Intelligence Agency book Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide). Next, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "assault rifle" as "any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use." The keywords here are "designed for military use." So, an assault rifle is a 'battlefield' rifle that can fire automatically. And since any weapon that can fire fully automatic is heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, and requires hundreds in fees and an extensive FBI background check, virtually all supposed assault rifles purchased by civilians are of the semi-automatic type,one pull-one bullet, which look like their military counterpart, but are not capable of firing fully automatic. Thus, by these two definitions, an AK47 civilian rifle does not fit the definition of our government as an 'assault rifle'. It is the anti-gun and left who continually throw the term out there to confuse a uneducated public. You know, the more you say it, the more it becomes the truth or fact.


Posted by Louisiana Curly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Excellent point, Ben. The semi-automatic goes pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop, unlike the nonautomatic hunting rifle that goes pop-manual discharge and reload-pop-discharge and reload-pop. And unlike the fully automatic poppoppoppoppoppop. It's a relief to know that the kids in Connecticut were shot with a semi-automatic assault weapon and not a fully automatic assault weapon.

We prefer the semi-automatic assault weapon in Louisianne because sometimes the wild hogs are in a herd and you need ta shoot fast and furious. Keep up the good work, Ben.


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