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Industry Group Sponsors College Course To Create Fake Blog 124

Posted by kdawson
from the paid-me-to-do-it dept.
Scott Jaschik writes "At Hunter College, professors are debating the ethics of a course in which an industry group paid for a class to develop a fake student who would write a fake blog to discourage other students from buying knockoff products. The controversy involves both commercial interference with academic freedom and the ethics of 'guerilla marketing.'"
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Industry Group Sponsors College Course To Create Fake Blog

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  • This is different from all of the 419/v1@gr@ blogs on blogger how, exactly...?
    • The peer review will render it less connected with reality, I'd expect.
    • they're talking about knock off products, not plain old fakes. They could be Taliban members sending you gerbil food for all you know with those blogs advertising their crap. That's right, I'm breaking that story right here, right now. The Taliban sells fake gerbil food Viagra on blogs. Anyway, this was way more deceptive too. Marketing people are evil bastards with no morals and I think they should all go to hell. That's my solution. Oh and the students should be expelled for being such douchebags.
      • by arivanov (12034)
        In that case the university may have to expel most of its MBA school. We now provide special training so that the students can become improved and proficient douchebags.
  • It sounds like those companies really have a handle on how to get the youth on-side.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      "Why does the porridge bird lay its egg in the air?"
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:38PM (#22630250)
      Authenticity and originality are key to the youth demographic and they know it. The problem is that ads have failed at those for a long time. Some ads can still do it through humor and strange premises (like the old spice ads I love so much). Unfortunately, people are smart, and copying another ad campaign's success backfires more often than not.

      It's a problem that's crept up on them for the last few years. Frankly, I'm shocked that corporations are struggling to look authentic and original.
      • Authenticity and originality are key to the youth demographic

        Which is pretty funny considering what a bunch of sheep the youth demographic is.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:32PM (#22630694) Homepage Journal

          Which is pretty funny considering what a bunch of sheep the youth demographic is.
          As someone who's old enough to have seen several "youth demographics" come and go, I can tell you that this generation is less sheep-like than the previous 3 or 4.
          • Give them a couple of weeks, and the mohawk will grow out.
          • I'm with you but unfortunately it may be a simple matter of these sheep looking less sheep like to our aging eyes.

            Somewhere in there is a good joke, but I'll leave that to those whippersnappers messin' around on my lawn.
          • "As someone who's old enough to have seen several "youth demographics" come and go, I can tell you that this generation is less sheep-like than the previous 3 or 4."

            Respectfully, I disagree. I think they are more sheep-like and that their "entitled" attitude stems from that sheep-like lack of critical thought. They have been completely sold on being consumer entities and not having to work to get the consumer items they want.
            • by NevermindPhreak (568683) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @08:44AM (#22634302)
              I think you two are defining two different "youth" groups. You're probably thinking of high-schoolers or college kids. Your parent post is probably thinking of people in their early to mid twenties. From a marketing standpoint, the 18-25 age group is more desirable, or so I'm told.

              You two probably have different personal experiences with "youth demographics" as well.

              Personally, I'm 23. I have a full time job, pay for school on the side, and pay my own mortgage. While I think some commercials are funny (Chuck Norris Old Spice comes to mind), I almost never buy that product. Most of my friends feel the same way.
              • "I think you two are defining two different "youth" groups. You're probably thinking of high-schoolers or college kids. Your parent post is probably thinking of people in their early to mid twenties."

                Actually, I was really referring to all of the above. I'm a jaded, cynical old fart of 41.

                "Personally, I'm 23. I have a full time job, pay for school on the side, and pay my own mortgage. While I think some commercials are funny (Chuck Norris Old Spice comes to mind), I almost never buy that product. Most of m
      • by jimdread (1089853) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:33PM (#22630702)

        Authenticity and originality are key to the youth demographic and they know it.

        Once they work out how to fake authenticity, they'll crack the youth demographic wide open.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Darinbob (1142669)

        Authenticity and originality are key to the youth demographic and they know it.

        Oh come on now, let's be serious. Any youth who is original is picked on by the rest of the herd. Anyone who displays product labels prominently as a means of self expression is not being unique, no matter how "authentic" all the other youth claim it to be. The youth demographic is all about peer pressure and fitting in with a group, even for the statistical outliers (goths, emos, hippies, punks, and other counter-culture). T

      • by vyrus128 (747164)
        Authenticity and originality are key to the youth demographic and they know it.

        Seriously. Once you can fake authenticity, you've got it made.

        (Apologies to George Burns.)

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:20PM (#22630096) Homepage
    Cooperate sponsored fraud in order to deter legal purchases of questionable knock-off products.
    • It's to prepare them for their careers in advertising.
      • It's to prepare them for their careers in advertising.

        Most of them have already been employed.

        They're all over in this [slashdot.org] discussion explaining how Vista isn't really slow and annoying.

  • What a screw up. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gnutoo (1154137) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:23PM (#22630114) Journal

    I love the brag [iacc.org]. The Industry Conclusion is correct, though not the way they want it to be.

    Conclusion:
    The campaign will live beyond the event as the Web sites will remain live, and students will be reminded by the giveaways to Break the Chain of harmful of harmful events that can result from counterfeiting.

    They are going to have a hard time living this one down. Fake blogs, with more than 300 myspace friends, including Justin Timberlake! What they have managed to do is indelibly link their brands to fake. Hyped, expensive fake regardless of real quality. How do they expect anyone to trust them again? Their stuff is better why? Because they spend money on BS like this? Because the "real" stuff comes from a sweat shop with a sharper whip? It's hard to imagine a better example of the harm imaginary property does and they festering pile of lies that supports it.

  • by HairyNevus (992803) <hairynevus AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:24PM (#22630124)
    The blog finally admitted that it was fake: http://encounterheidi.blogspot.com/2007/05/here-is-catch-i-am-totally-not-real.html [blogspot.com] . I love how the students who created this blog chose the ditsy valley girl stereotype to convey their message, and stuck with the persona 'till the bitter end: "Here is the catch- I am totally not real!"...the bolding was me.
    • by Is0m0rph (819726)
      I like how the fake blogger blogged that she couldn't make the anti-counterfeiting event because her uncle had a stroke! WTF?: "first off, let me start by apologizing for not being there today! my uncle had a stroke Wednesday night and we all had to drive out to jersey to be with him. Crappy timing right? Everything is ok now, hes fine... his lip was paralyzed but hes slowly regaining feeling and movement now =D Well I wasn't about to let that get in the way of ruining my anti-counterfeiting event! The
    • I love how the students who created this blog chose the ditsy valley girl stereotype to convey their message, and stuck with the persona 'till the bitter end


      Um... I don't think that's a persona...

    • Barf out! Gag me with a spoon - that comment was like totally grody...

      I won't get that damn song [lyricsfreak.com] out of my head all afternoon now, you insensitive clod!

    • by monxrtr (1105563)

      Oh, my, god. "Heidi", look at her "counterfeit product".
      It is so "fake". *scoff* She looks like,
      one of those "stereotypical group" girlfriends.
      But, you know, who understands those "stereotypical group"? *scoff*
      They only talk to her, because,
      she looks like a total prostitute, 'kay?
      I mean, her "counterfeit product", is just so "fake".
      I can't believe it's just so "low quality", it's like,
      out there, I mean - gross. Look!
      She's just so ... "poor"!

      I like big "knockoffs" and I can not lie
      You other "slashdotters" can't deny
      That when a girl walks in with an "counterfeit product"
      And a round thing in your face
      You get sprung, wanna pull out your "trademark"
      'Cause you notice that "counterfeit product" was "copied"
      Deep in the jeans she's wearing
      I'm hooked and I can't stop staring
      Oh baby, I wanna get with you
      And take your picture
      My "lawyers" tried to warn me
      But that "counterfeit product" you got makes me so horny

      This Public Service Message brought to you by the Nudist Front Group Foundation to Stop Stealing the ideas of others by wearing clothing, or by making clothing, for that matter.

  • Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Presence1 (524732) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:25PM (#22630134) Homepage
    They are attempting to create a counterfeit person to persuade people to dislike counterfeit goods.

    Counterfeiting of goods does suck, but this does not seem to be the way to get people on your side...
  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:26PM (#22630140)
    The industry group in question was the IACC - International anti-Counterfeiting Coallition - their mandate being to fight the production and sale o fraudulent knock off products. They were essentially paying for a class to create a fraudulent student with a fraudulent blog while preventing any sort of critical discussion or analysis in the class.

    Ho hum. Just another case of corporate hypocrisy, move along, move along....
  • OUTRAGE! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Urger (817972) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:36PM (#22630226) Homepage
    As a Hunter student I am outraged that I was not monetarily compensated with part of this graft.
  • by owlnation (858981) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:40PM (#22630264)
    You can add patronizing to that list.

    If students are so dumb that they need to be told basic smarts by a blog (fake or otherwise) then they should not be in University.
    • by Protonk (599901) on Monday March 03, 2008 @08:54PM (#22630384) Homepage
      to what basic smarts are we referring? Distinguishing counterfeit products from the real thing? Can you do that unerringly? Can you tell me the difference between a knockoff of windows XP and the real thing? Can you tell me the difference between a knockoff brake cleaner and a brand name brake cleaner? Maybe, but I would hardly classify that as "basic smarts" or a prerequisite to entering college.

      Perhaps you are referring to a willingness to choose the "real" product over the knockoff. Here you are on unstable ground. In some cases (heart surgery, car parts, etc), the quality of the product is not immediately visible to the buyer and can't be divined by inspection. In that case, there is a strong argument to be made that avoiding knockoff products is good sense. You can't eyeball a hydraulic line to see if it will fail catastrophically. In the case of DVD's, CD's and purses, the need is less severe. There isn't a buyer safety issue. if your knockoff version of Rush Hour XXVII sucks, then it isn't the end of the world. the people who suffer are the industry (because they can't sell you a copy of something you already have) so it is THEIR interest that is being protected here, not yours.

      Which part of this is common sense?
      • by amplt1337 (707922)
        Can you tell me the difference between a knockoff of windows XP and the real thing? Can you tell me the difference between a knockoff brake cleaner and a brand name brake cleaner?

        Sure. The knockoff is cheaper.

        Everything else is knowing when it pays to spend more and get quality. People generally know what is and is not worth paying more for -- and your examples to the contrary are things they have no control over (because they're paying someone else to fix their brakes, or because their health insurance w
      • Can you tell me the difference between a knockoff of windows XP and the real thing?

        Bad example. "Counterfeit" copies of Windows are (almost always*) simply "unlicensed" copies (mistakenly called "pirated") and are identical to the real ones. The only difference being Microsoft and retailers did not authorize their distribution and get money off them.

        * It's possible for counterfeiters to change the Windows CD producing a non-identical copy. I can think of no good reason for this other than allowing them to add their own advertising, spyware or such nastiness to the junk Microsoft puts

  • I want to meet the kids that would sign up for a class like that. It's like those anti-piracy commercials they put at the beginning of rental dvd's "Hey kids, do what the man says, or we'll make you sign a settlement for a couple grand, and tell your friends how not cool it is"
    • by Protonk (599901)
      I think it probably fills up because there is a big requirement at most colleges in order to ensure that students have a strong "liberal arts" background. What really happens is that classes like this get filled up as students look around for easy classes to pad a schedule.

      If I had to choose between this class and Intermediate Macroeconomics as a filler, I would probably choose this course.
      • I never understood students who choose filler. There are so many interesting courses, I was struggling with fitting them all in. With the exception of a foreign language, I never had to take any class I did not want to take. And yes, a foreign language is a good thing to know, but I found it extraordinarily difficult.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Protonk (599901)
          Why not? I mean, there are interesting courses to take but for most students at large universities the course description doesn't really provide a very good guide as to the nature of the course and the expectations. I'm not interested in filler courses completely--they tend to make me not want to show up and to ride on prior knowledge but I will take them for a few reasons:

          1. Prereq's: I don't want to take into to biology in order to take a zoology course. I don't want to take (this is probably a bette
          • by powerlord (28156)
            I guess I was lucky, since I was able to fulfill those "Breadth" requirements by taking courses that I was interested in.

            The trick most people miss out on is planning ahead. Start on day one with the list of classes you need to take (for your major/minor). Then start filling in classes around it that look interesting. You might not be able to take everything you want to, but that way, if an interesting class you were interested in shows up (since not all classes are given each semester), you'll keep an e
          • 1. Prereq's: I don't want to take into to biology in order to take a zoology course. I don't want to take (this is probably a better example) Psych 101 in order to take a course on the pathology of brain disorders and the functions of the brain on a chemical level. I know that for some of these courses I can have the prerequisites waived by the instructor, but I don't want to have to go through that with every class.

            Okay, I understand this. Personally, I always tried to get the prereqs waived, but sometim

            • by Protonk (599901)
              there ARE errors in the decision making process. they occur from limited information and high tradeoffs. Personally, I have the advantage of not paying per credit (I'm on the GI Bill), but if I were, 300-500 per credit (it's a public school) is a pretty strong incentive to chose a class that I can pass and that I like. Given that pressure and a limited time frame for decision, problems can occur.

              Another thing we have to consider is that going to school isn't the only thing people do. This is similar to
  • by nomadic (141991)
    Idiotic. As a Hunter alum I'm extremely disappointed. The professors at the school always kicked ass, but we got screwed on the administration a few times.
    • I think you mean 'alumnus' don't you? Assuming you're a bloke (fairly safe assumption on /.) Tell any facebook moderators you know as well, that quirk always irks me.
      • by nomadic (141991)
        In the U.S. "alum" is a widely accepted, informal way of saying alumnus/alumna, suitable for informal channels such as slashdot or facebook.
  • They should be debating the ethics of high book costs and the small changes that force you to buy a new book each year for no new info as well other carp fees that are pushing College costs up not stuff like this.
    • Do you propose that there is a tradeoff? Does the debate over academic integrity somehow preclude a debate over textbook pricing? Also, it is patently clear how and why textbook price increases world. Textbooks are durable goods, but are used only once (usually) by the first owner. The owner then has a strong incentive to resell the book to the next student in line. Textbook makers KNOW this, so it is in their interest to get schools to push to "student editions", "editions with added material" and new
    • Why not both? Personally I'm more miffed about forced non-textbook purchases than I am about textbook costs themselves. For instance, there are professors who mandate textbooks for the electronic homework or testing accounts they come with, even though the book itself is essentially unnecessary for the course. I haven't been burnt by that personally, but I have had to purchase other supplemental learning software that was entirely unnecessary in principle but required for my grade.
  • by iamacat (583406) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:03PM (#22630458)
    The blog was not sponsored! I met this poor Heidi girl and she was really heartbroken about that counterfeit handbag, so we swapped our sob stories. I got real cool Dell as a birthday present, but then it turned out it had a counterfeit copy of Vista installed. Not only the wallpaper had a slightly different color, but the fonts on the screen were not as crisp and defined as on REAL Vista. Worst of all, I couldn't enjoy any of the Windows Genuine Advantage downloads.

    Then I started reading up on that and discovered that software counterfeiting is invariably linked to crime and even terrorism. Wouldn't somebody think of the children! Be a broken link in the chain and stop software piracy! Most importantly, don't undermine american capitalism by using free software that is anyway full of stolen code and patent infringements!
    • by ealex292 (758889)
      Oops. I definitely just moderated you "Overrated" when aiming for "Funny"...
    • by emil10001 (985596)

      Worst of all, I couldn't enjoy any of the Windows Genuine Advantage downloads.
      ... Isn't that how Vista was "designed" to work?
  • by Protonk (599901) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:04PM (#22630468) Homepage
    The "fake blog" portion of the story is compelling, but it isn't the whole story. all in all, the actions of the university and the coalition (the IACC) were pretty repugnant. The school engineered the course to teach the industry viewpoint and ensured (via industry observers) that the professor did not deviate from the talking points. when the story initially broke, the school decided that it was an internal matter and didn't merit any outside scrutiny.

    The professor in question voiced real ethical problems with the course but was basically told to shut up and teach--because he didn't have tenure that was pretty much his only option. The job market for PhD's without tenure isn't exactly robust.

    Never mind that this was basically taxpayer subsidized indoctrination.
    • The school engineered the course to teach the industry viewpoint and ensured (via industry observers) that the professor did not deviate from the talking points. when the story initially broke, the school decided that it was an internal matter and didn't merit any outside scrutiny

      The professor in question voiced real ethical problems with the course but was basically told to shut up and teach--because he didn't have tenure that was pretty much his only option. The job market for PhD's without tenure isn't exactly robust.

      I don't think the professor deserves nearly the same amount of blame as the administrators and the IACC, either. The course sounds like it was designed by a fascist regime than any American company, which is ironic, since the list of IACC members is a who's-who of American conglomerates: [iacc.org] Abercrombie & Fitch, AOL Time Warner, and The Walt Disney Company, to name just a few.

      • by Protonk (599901)
        I don't think that he deserves a fraction of the blame that the administration and the companies do. I'm not prepared to call this fascist or what-not, but it is pretty indefensible as education and inadvisable as marketing.
      • Fascism. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
        • Ok, fascism is not the word, but the orders given by the IACC to Portlock definitely sounded like the course was intended for something other than academia. Otherwise, they would not have aimed it at college students.
        • When I do the gardening, and cut off birch branches, I tie them up in a bundle with cord and leave them for the trash guy - and my neighbors call them fasces. It bothers me.
      • by powerlord (28156)
        Its more a case of the Department.

        The departments are individually given a fair amount of latitude. The article mentions that this was a "Media" course. When I went to Hunter I had a few friends who took some media courses, on web design, because they wanted to get some "practical" experience that they didn't get in the Comp-Sci department.

        Its a pity, but this seems more like a case of "What do you expect when you let Marketers teach technology".

        On a side note, the Professor heading the committee investig
  • Won't it be a little obvious that it's fake when people read "So yesterday I was listening to my Ipod, don't buy a zune or anything else, buy an ipod because they're so much better, and I saw a cute girl" "and then today I was driving in my DODGE CHARGER, buy a dodge charger, don't buy ford made products".

    Also, why are professors debating the ethics of the course? Was the course created knowing that some company was going to pay the students to make a fake blog? Seems to me this issue should have been de
    • I'm so tired of instances of astroturfing or guerrilla marketing where the entity creating the fake material doesn't respect the target audience enough to make it look convincing. To you corporations looking to create more fake blogs: Sprinkling "omg this sucks" and gratuitous exclamation points does not automatically convince even the most idiotic member of the younger generation that you are one of them. Please try to have some tact, some sense of subtlety, both in the writing and the artificial circumsta
  • As opposed to a real student?
  • As long as there was a prominent disclaimer at the top saying "this blog is a work of fiction and is done as a class project under the auspices of Dr. I. M. Controversial at QuestionableEthics University" then I don't see the problem.

    What's that you say? There wasn't a disclaimer? The student gets an F.
  • by protektor (63514) on Monday March 03, 2008 @09:33PM (#22630700)
    I would love to know if the students also had to pay for the class, just like they do for any other class. Also did the students get a full outline of the class before they signed up for it, like most other classes offer?

    Sounds to me like this is a case of double dipping. The school gets the corporation to pay for the class, and then they turn around and get the students to pay for the class as well. I'm sure every University and College would love to be paid double for each class they teach. Sounds like this is more about the greed of the school, than it is about actual teaching.

    Also where is the state on this? I don't know about their state but the state of Missouri has Sunshine laws. Basically if you take state or government money, then everything has to be open and clearly detailed about what you do with the money and everything associated with it. You can't have secret board meetings, or secretly spend the money on anything. Everything in the school has to be open and transparent, even school groups that receive money from the school, since they get it from the government.

    Sounds like a *HUGE* violation of the "Sunshine laws" to say that this whole review, etc. is an internal school matter. It certainly would not be the case in Missouri.
    • by amplt1337 (707922)
      Hunter College [wikipedia.org] is the largest school in CUNY [wikipedia.org], NYC's public university system. So it's all publicly funded.

      I'm pretty sure that the school administrators should have known better. New York does have Sunshine Laws, but I don't know the precise details, IANAL,JSGOSWHSBDRW. (....,Just Some Guy On Slashdot When He Should Be Doing Real Work)
  • Thank God it wasn't a Facebook profile. They could have ended up in jail.

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/threatchaos/?p=545 [zdnet.com]
  • ...George P. Burdell will hijack that blog in about five minutes.

    rj
  • For anyone interested in complaining to the member companies about this... here is a link [iacc.org] to their membership list.

    Some members are no surprise and don't care if their customers hate them (RIAA, MPAA). Others are more likely to respond to bad press (Apple, Microsoft, Vivendi). Other sponsors are directly responsible, such as the government agencies (many in the USA and Canada) and the states of North Carolina and Wisconsin.

    Send a letter or e-mail, maybe this crap will not happen again, at least not in aca

  • Don't believe everything you read online, from any source. MSM, bloggers, etc. Look at what they're saying and evaluate it against other information.
    • by Protonk (599901)
      That's the accidental lesson here. The course COULD be taught critically. in other words, company materials could be used alongside materials from people critical of international copyright consortiums. Or, 1/2 the class could write a fake blog about the subject with clever but clear hints that it is fake and the other half could be assigned a paper on it (assuming they didn't communicate). Each side could get a bonus for tricking the other or ferreting out trickery.
  • The people at the IACC seem like your typical corporate droids, but they can't be stupid. The must have known when they first commandeered the course that the truth would come out after the course ended ("Heidi" herself admitted she was fake May 2007, at the end of the spring semester), and that guerrilla marketing has a failure mode which frequently involves consumer backlash.

    This makes me wonder: Was this whole thing (or at least part of it) an experiment to gauge the intensity and duration of our bac
    • by Protonk (599901)
      I HIGHLY doubt this. Remember, "never attribute to conspiracy what may be explained by incompetence" (or words to that effect, I dodn't remember the exact quote). Although the people responsible for this might not have been stupid, that isn't a necessary condition. They clearly had the administration by the balls on this one, so why not pursue any goal? They were probably sponsoring a course and some research at the university, so why not move it along?

      The backlash inherent to astroturfing is not someth
  • Honestly, if we had an F.T.C. with any balls in this country, they'd spent a lot more time coordinating with the Fraud division of Justice Department and stop this kind of crap, plus all the damn astroturfing, and that stupid "guerilla marketing" stuff. It's all fraud, pure and simple.

    With any sensible reading of the fraud and deceptive marketing sections of the law (sections under US Code Title 15, plus others) surely covers all the tactics used in this kind of activity. Remember, we're talking commercia

    • by Murrquan (1161441)
      That's why we need to take things into our own hands.

      The corporations can't do anything without our money, and the more informed people there are, the fewer uninformed purchases to finance dumb projects like the one we're discussing here.
  • Students, especially in technology and business programs, like to receive real hands-on experience. These courses review case studies of real companies facing real challenges on a regular basis. In any other situation, students doing work for credit at a private firm would be considered an internship. There's no real difference, so what's different here? Coach has a counterfeiting problem. How do marketing and PR students handle this? They explored the idea of using a fake blog. It was academic resear
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Protonk (599901)
      are you serious? Do you really think the fundamental problem cited in the article is the existence of the blog? While I conceed the point that students in more hard science fields see corporate sponsorship more regularly, the issue here was that the IACC was obviously dictating course content as well as monitoring the professor for compliance. On top of that, students were forced to do unpaid marketing work for the IACC and not allowed to explore in class the possibility that such a demand might not be r
      • by harm5way (616066)
        I don't disagree that it was unsettling. From what I understand, the CEO is a Hunter alum, a keynote speaker at one convocation, and sought to develop ties with his alma mater.

        If the problem is "outside" course content, this is done on a regular basis. Textbook publishers do this often.

        Also, not to belabor this, an adjunct, in other words a temp, has absolutely no authority to change course content. Obviously some F/T faculty member in the department did.
    • In computer science, it's either the Microsoft suite...

      Only one class I was in ever allowed Visual Studio building. Everything else was either Sun or Redhat Linux, due to the command-line handin program for machine problems.

      ... or specific open source products like MySQL (why not PostgreSQL?)

      I don't remember ever using MySQL in a single computer science. We used Oracle/JDBC for a databases course (MySQL probably wouldn't cut it, from a technical "look at the guts" point of view). The graduate level

      • by harm5way (616066)
        I would agree that this is extreme, but there are programs out that place more emphasis on the tool set, especially community colleges and technical colleges which prepare their students for employment. How many courses in finance or economics don't use Excel, for example?
    • IF one RTFA, one sees that the teacher was a Computer Graphics nontenured faculty who admits to not being qualified to teach a marketing course. When he tried to introduce multiple viewpoints, his curriculum was rejected. So the course was like a cheap workforce to push an industry group's viewpoints, not a true academcic course where many issues and perspectives would be explored.

      There are productive and mutually beneficial ways that industry and university can help each other. Many science and engineer
      • by harm5way (616066)
        This isn't a question of RTA. It isn't clear if this is Marketing 101 or not. It could have been a topics course.

        Professors teach courses outside of their departments all the time, sometimes without any expertise. I work at a university and have been told this-- I've had the same concern. It comes with job. As for the curriculum, well, many are already set up by the textbooks and their publishers just by virtue of selecting the text. Some professors are too busy and will just review a text, make sure
        • by Tungbo (183321)
          If one RTFA, one would see that the instructor wanted to make changes to the curriculum and was derided and denied by the representatives from the sponsoring company. This is very different from a lazy instructor just going with a published text.

          PS. What collge do you teach at? I want to be sure my children don't go there since "Professors teach courses outside of their departments all the time, sometimes without any expertise."

          I put up with this at H.S. due to shortage of qualified teachers, but it's ine
  • ...when education deviates from first principles. You start getting courses like "guerilla marketing" or "late Byzantine Women's Studies" or "Topics in Gay Poetry". Though these are probably worth someone's time to study, are they really right for undergraduates who need an education rich in basic skills? Disclaimer: Not against guerillas, late Byzantine Women, or Gay Poets. Just *for* learning basic skills first.

    Pretty soon, everything is a potential topic and departments find they can be talked into anyth
  • Shit like this is why I want to scream whenever I hear corporations whining about anti-trust laws and how the free market should be allowed to self-regulate. Here's a thought; stop working so hard to break the perfect information that is a fundamental requirement of efficient free market capitalism, and maybe I'll take you a little more seriously.

    If you're going to show such complete lack of respect for Adam Smith's ideals, it is unreasonable to ask the government to abide by them. Once you decide to stand
  • ...you're supposed to get your ideas of which brand of product to buy by reading blogs? Even ones apparently run by a valley girl? Wow! I have been truly been barking up the wrong tree.
  • Hello. I ate at Subway and lost 200 lbs. So start eating so you can lose weight too!

    I've used BioFlex, and I have rock hard abs. Of course, I earned mine through lots of situps, but I did use BioFlex for a minute before they paid me a lot to be a model on this commercial.
    • What's your point...those people have lost X pounds, have used the BOWflex, even if it was only a few times. They are exaggerating the effect that this miraculous machine has had to sell more units, and if people are stupid enough to believe them, then they deserve to be parted with their wallets.
  • Did anyone else check out the fake blog/pages? There was a banner ad for a service where you can rent designer purses so you can show them off and then return them without having to pay the full price. It seemed to be a real service. The fact that such a company can stay in business is probably a sign of the apocalypse. Does anyone really know anyone who is so obsessed with designer brands that they would do such a thing? I can actually understand buying a designer product if you believe they actually make

  • Marketing agencies spend a lot on infomercials and they never, ever ring true. They're always obvious inside of 60 seconds of viewing. I can't see how a fake blog would be any different.

    • by AlXtreme (223728)

      Marketing agencies spend a lot on infomercials and they never, ever ring true. They're always obvious inside of 60 seconds of viewing. I can't see how a fake blog would be any different.

      100% infomercials are naturally easy to spot, but what about product placement in regular programs? That bottle of Coke(r) that your favorite star just drank? Or even movies like The Island, with over-the-top-obvious Microsoft-placements, but only if you're a geek? A random person might just think that that Xbox-thingy looks

  • by guerrilla marketing to the social fabric vastly outweighs any possible social benefit it could bestow. People practicing it should be wiped out of business without mercy or restraint. For society to work, we have to routinely extend a certain level of trust to people we don't know personally. When that trust is abused by people trying to sneak their products in front of your face with lies and misrepresentation, one of the pillars of society is undermined.

    I always thought if I was one of the people

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