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On-Line Educational Experences 
From in-class to on-line and at-the-fort, I have taught in many places, and under many circumstances.

Reviewing the results of decades of in-class consulting as well as on-line educational engagements with a prospective client recently allowed me to neuron-together a few interesting insights. I thought I would share them with you:


When comparing the quality of education received on-line with a traditional classroom it is true that - while classroom teaching is our classic model (and therefore understood by more people,) that on-line education requires allot more lower level, hands-on content. Why? Because impersonalized presentations simply cannot engage people long enough to keep an average student's attention!

Yet the demand to create allot of exercises to keep students engaged creates a classic case of a "top down," versus that "bottom up" approach... or perhaps a College, versus a Middle-School educational experience? (i.e. holding a student's attention for an average of 1 minute for every year-in life?)

Surely creating on-line versus in-person education also requires understanding that on-line students are usually allot more interested in a "how to," rather than the often-equally as-important "when to" and / or "why to." --Yet I believe that the problem lies with the delivery media. The problem seems to be engaging each student at a level that only an in-classroom educator seems able to achieve?

Simple Case Study

The USMC - for example - tried to save allot of money by not flying teachers out to students. Yet after less than a year of telling their students to "learn it all on-line," up-front & personal, instructor-lead classroom training is not only back, but it is becoming more popular than ever before.

Why? One reason is - when it comes to being taught - that people need an opportunity to participate, as well as to be mentored in terms that can be related to their problem domains. So while I "talk geek" on my Udemy training, I "talk financial" when teaching at financial companies, "talk military" when teaching at the DoD, and therefore turn on as many light-bulbs - as well as encourage as much classroom participation - as humanly possible.

Certainly those critiquing their own experience when comparing an on-line versus an in-room training experience may often discover that the mere potential of asking - or being asked - to participate if and of itself often encourages one to be more attentive & alert.

The "D Word"

So it is teaching on-line that tends to be the "knowledge dump" these days. Indeed, until 'chatbots get allot better ("Alexa, teach me Python"?) today one simply cannot mentor - let alone engage any student properly - en masse.

Hence the challenge with creating 5-star on-line education is to teach "knowledge," (a hands-on activity every 5 minutes is a good metric!) versus imparting "wisdom." Showing on-line students - whose attention spans are ALLOT less engaged - not only "how to," but also ramping-up to present those top-down / higher-educational concepts ... via a series of hands-on exercises ... every few minutes?!

Big changes, to be sure!

Interactive Video

Even when teaching students on-line and in real-time (WebEx etc,) allow me to observe that remote-only educational opportunities universally ignore the fact that the best educational experiences invariably connect with people in more ways than on-line educational experiences are presently able to provide. Without the ability to walk around & read the body language of each student, how can any instructor know if their message is even being received?

So perhaps in education - just as everywhere else - one truly tends to get no more than what one pays for?

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Python From Requirements 
Supporting yesterdays skill review session, we added a series of "sub-challenges" to project PR05. The additions were added to the bottom of the document.

Designed to help new students understand how to develop software in the professional software development world, such presentations are being extremely well received.

Those needing extra help with PR05 and / or any of the other activities can find the solutions to these & other projects in our new Python by Requirement book on Amazon.

Sharing is caring!


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Modern Software Development on Low-end Computers 
If you have an older computer - or a computer sporting a smaller amount of memory / hard drive - you need to know about Lubuntu.

Tiny Brains

While there are several flavors of Linux that will yet work on smaller footprints, those wanting to use modern incarnations of C/C++, Python, Java, PHP, and other technologies would also like to have the latest software development tools.

Yet while always possible for the do-it-yourselfer on just about any Linux 'Distro, even those unafraid of long DIY efforts prefer avoiding such safaris...

Did I mention that I also wanted to use a 32 bit computer?

Mac Mini Support

My A1176 (i5 Core Solo) came with 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive.

While I had RAM that I could pull from other devices in-the-closet, I did not mind waiting for the upgrade to arrive from China.

'Bagging the requisite 2x1GB DDR2 upgrade on eBay for under $4.oo for the pair (free shipping, of course ;), the game is now afoot.


Whilst waiting on that slow-boat to arrive from China, I went looking for a silver bullet OS for my Mac Mini. We originally opted for Ununtu 10.10.

No longer readily supported for those modern editions of R&D tools however, we resisted the temptation to go "big-game" hunting to instead set our sights on Lubuntu 14.04.

We are presently stalking 14.04.05. Will let you know how it works out!

p.s. If you are looking for a great 'IoT' (lol) server to use for posting content to 'Twitter & elsewhere, discover - at the time of this new-year's undertaking - that one can score an old Mac Mini on eBay for under $50.

While still 32 bits, a T7600 Processor (i5 Dual Core) upgrade for all Intel Mac Minis is under $20.oo.

Once explored, discover also that maxed-out versions of a Mac Mini - which are completely capable of using Ubuntu 17.x - can be proudly brought-down & operationally enthroned in your trophy-case for under $60!


16 days latter, the RAM arrived. With the assistance of some oversized putty knives, the update was relatively (read: 'for an Apple device' ;-) easy to do.

(1) After removing the cover, the most difficult thing was to disconnect that tiny 2-wire power cable to the main board... I could easily see how people might make the mistake of doing that incorrectly. (i.e. It is a socketed, plastic pair. The top of the connector connects to a plastic base, NOT staking pins, so BE SURE TO wiggle it apart, do NOT attempt to pry it off of the mother board!)

(2) Next, the antenna also fell off of the Airport card whilst pulling-apart that 'mobo, but - unlike the power connector (!) - the antenna was easy to replace. (i.e. While I thought the copper snapped-off something, after staring at it in disbelief for a few, it was just a funky, socketed, connector. -Was easy to push the antenna back on the Airport card once the cerebral-shock wore off. (lol))

(3) As fate would have it, version 17.10.1 of Lubuntu was also waiting for us in the wings... Can you say 'Booya?

Happy Apple-Hacking!


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