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Harvard: Prospective CS50 AP Teachers Must cc:Microsoft On Training Applications 79

theodp writes: Did you know that Microsoft has supported Harvard in creating a new version [of its wildly-popular CS50 course] called CS50 AP, designed specifically for secondary school educators?" asks a Microsoft Born to Learn Blog post. "If you might like to teach CS50 AP (and, in turn, AP CS Principles) in your own classroom this year," Harvard informs prospective teachers, "you are cordially invited to join us at one of our teacher training workshops to be held in various locations around the country and the world!" But before applications can be successfully submitted, teachers are required to respond to the following statement, and Harvard won't take 'No' for an answer: "Our friends at Microsoft are helping us distribute the teacher support materials for this version of CS50 for secondary school teachers and students. By checking the box below, you acknowledge that we may share the data you submitted through this form with them as part of this planning process." Microsoft is certainly calling the K-12 CS education shots these days — heck, the White House even let Microsoft President Brad Smith brief reporters about plans to spend $4B in tax dollars on a new CS for All K-12 initiative before the President told taxpayers about it. By the way, the CS50 AP Wiki contains a CS50x/CS50 AP Authorization and Release form which, among other things, requires camera-shy CS50 AP students to agree to "sit in a 'no-film' zone" if they do not want photos or videos of themselves used by Harvard to promote the Microsoft-supported course."
From the agreement: "I understand that my teacher will take reasonable steps, with my cooperation, to avoid including identifiable images of me in the Recordings. I understand that I am free to opt out of the Recordings in this way, and that doing so will not affect my grade or my ability to participate in course activities. Unless I opt out of the Recordings as described above and take the steps that will be outlined by the instructor to avoid being filmed, I authorize Harvard and its designees to use the Recordings. I understand and agree that the Recordings may include my image, name, and voice. I also understand and agree that, even if I opt out of the Recordings, my spoken name and voice may be picked up by microphones outside any "no-film" zone and may be included in the Recordings.
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Harvard: Prospective CS50 AP Teachers Must cc:Microsoft On Training Applications

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  • by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:43PM (#51513469)

    Would people be okay with the idea of Exxon helping to design AP Environmental Science curriculum? Should criminal justice coursework be overseen by Smith and Wesson? Corporate sponsors don't belong in these roles but for some reason everyone throws caution to the wind when they hear "computer."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:44PM (#51513475)
      If you don't like it, don't participate. Nobody is putting a gun to anyone's head. It's really that simple.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:49PM (#51513525)

        Then we wouldn't have anything to complain about

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:53PM (#51513573)

        That's irrelevant whether it's coerced or not. A major corporation is trying to gain control of education in order to promote their products and services. So the question is whether we should stand by meekly and allow this or to tell Microsoft to shove off.

        CS 50 AP is a silly idea anyway. It's not really computer science and it would be better for studens to know core fundamentals about mathematics before learning computer science. We need to stop treating universities as job training mills.

        • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:23PM (#51513819)

          You could easily do the same thing with Jupyter Notebooks and they're free.

          It's trivial to spin up a JupyterHub instance on an old machine. It exports to PDF, HTML, LaTeX and Markdown.

          If you don't want to do it Microsoft's way don't take their money and do it your own.

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:16PM (#51514227)

          We need to stop treating universities as job training mills.

          Then perhaps we should stop acting like university degrees are required for jobs.

          And further we should stop promoting government (tax) funded university education. Those who can do better without a university education shouldn't be paying for those who want it.

          • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:45PM (#51514473)

            There are already schools oriented towards being job mills. They're called trade schools. For engineering related stuff these would be IIT, DeVry, and so on. And trade schools can produce graduates who are very good and who continue their learning process after graduation. However these are not the same as universities. A university should be preparing the student for a lifetime in a particular field, whereas a trade school prepares the student for their first few entry level jobs only. A university is overkill for a technician whereas a trade school underprepares people for a full engineering mid level job.

            Of course there are university graduates who are incompetent as well as made trade school graduates who are top notch. The difference is that the former didn't make good use of their education while the latter excelled above and beyond their education.

            A university education is absolutely not needed for many jobs; street cleaning, traffic cop, board rework technician, IT help desk, etc. But if you have a knowledge worker then it makes sense to have someone who's been given knowlege and trained in how to learn. A lot of companies outsource the lower level jobs to places in the third world; not because those workers necessarily have a better education but because they're cheap. So skipping out on good education means competing directly against those workers. If the US wants to remain a top country with the best knowledge workers then it needs to encourage high level education instead of just enough to get a basic job.

            There are people who can do without a university education and still succeed, but everyone can do better with one.

            • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @06:11PM (#51514703)

              There are people who can do without a university education and still succeed, but everyone can do better with one.

              I've known several people who received university degrees, and they didn't use their skills in their eventual job at all. They felt like they "should" have gone to college even though they had no specific career plans, and maybe they'd figure out something... but that didn't really improve by the time they finished.

              Even if the university experience marginally helps them at their current job, it wasn't nearly worth the cost.

              Also, you can't outsource many jobs easily. Particularly jobs that require you to be local like restaurant workers, construction workers, and so on.

            • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:26PM (#51515171)

              A university should be preparing the student for a lifetime in a particular field

              Then you'd need to ratchet up the difficulty a notch or two and have no qualms about kicking out the people who can't keep up (or just not admitting them to begin with) or just want to party. Given the high and growing cost of a college education, subsidizing something that often turns out to be of no real value to so many individuals (either because they've done nothing with their degree or as you mentioned didn't make good use of their education) is absurd.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:19PM (#51514251)

          Harvard is a private university; they can make deals with whoever they want. And if students don't want to take the kinds of courses Harvard offers, nobody is making them to. I suspect that a lot of students actually do want to learn about Microsoft's products (awful as they may be).

          Pretending that a private university deciding what curriculum to offer is trying to "gain control of education" is ludicrous. And you're right: we shouldn't stand by, we should denounce people like you, because obviously you won't rest until your favorite political groups have taken complete control of education and eliminated all possibility of choice.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @08:35AM (#51518361)

            Harvard is a private university; they can make deals with whoever they want.

            If they want to call themselves a university and give degrees respected by the rest of the world - no. They would have to take great care to maintain academic integrity.

        • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @06:03PM (#51514621)

          We need to stop treating universities as job training mills.

          Oh yes, because no one goes to university to improve their chances of being employed once they leave university.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:14PM (#51515093)

          That's irrelevant whether it's coerced or not. A major corporation is trying to gain control of education in order to promote their products and services. So the question is whether we should stand by meekly and allow this or to tell Microsoft to shove off.

          CS 50 AP is a silly idea anyway. It's not really computer science and it would be better for studens to know core fundamentals about mathematics before learning computer science. We need to stop treating universities as job training mills.

          I'd agree, given that most students attending colleges these days are woefully underprepared in math, science, and english.

          CS50 AP is pure idiocy at it's best, you can learn MS Office/apps by getting some books or via youtube.

          If students are serious about majoring in comp sci, they'd better take math thru Algebra II/trig in high school, 3 credits of science (two of which are lab sciences), 4 units of english (including composition and literature), 3 units of history/government, and a foreign language (along with having ACT/SAT scores which actually match grades received in high school).

          Given that 40 percent of all college freshmen need one (or more) remedial courses in math or english (at a 4 year univ/college) or upwards of 80% at a community/junior college, I'd forget this malarky in a hurry and get cracking in grades K-12...

          Just My Humble Opinion...

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @02:33AM (#51517317)

          But then the corporations would have to pay to train people again... it's so much more "efficient" to drive the entire middle class into debt.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @12:23PM (#51519893)

          A major corporation has already been controlling education for decades. If it's not Microsoft, then it's Apple.

          In my class, the students learn BASH and Gnu C++ on Linux. We also program BrickPi using Python. The students leave very employable and in high demand as programmers, systems admins, and robot techs.

      • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:00PM (#51513623)

        I'm thinking one can't opt out of contributing to that $4.1B CS For All budget item, the need for which arose after Microsoft suggested producing a national CS K-12 crisis [slashdot.org] to advance their workforce agenda. :-)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:13PM (#51513721)

        It doesn't take a gun to force someone to do something. The fact that a corporation is forcing public schools to segregate students based on if they want to be photographed for advertisement is disturbing in itself. Take the larger privacy implications into account and we have to wonder if we are slowly turning our educational system into a corporate hegemony.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:22PM (#51513811)
          That's kind of like saying hotels are forcing non smokers into non-smoking rooms.
          • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:21PM (#51514263) Journal

            That's kind of like saying hotels are forcing non smokers into non-smoking rooms.

            No, it isn't.

            You may or may not want to smoke. Hotels don't give you a smoking room unless you request otherwise. Instead, they ask your preference without presuming what it is.

            The course presumes you want to be photographed unless you indicate otherwise. That's wrong on its own. But what's worse is the presumption that course participants would be used to promote a private company at all. Any such promotion agreement should be strictly between the company and the participants, and should be decoupled entirely from the course and the institution that is hosting it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:40PM (#51513987)

        So don't complain about anything until there's guns to people's heads? That's your position?

        Let me guess, when things get so bad that there's absolutely no ugly way out, you're the first to respond with "You should have said something long ago, before it got this bad!"

      • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:18PM (#51515129) Journal

        If you don't like it, don't participate. Nobody is putting a gun to anyone's head. It's really that simple.

        Simple and wrong.

        The "if you don't like X, then don't have anything to do with X" argument has rarely been an effective solution to anything. It's particularly ineffective when X has a pernicious effect on things that matter.

    • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:49PM (#51513521)
      Because no one else is stepping up to the plate?
      • Exactly. It used to be Apple who dictated what was taught in high school computer science courses, but it looks like they let Microsoft take over.

        If you don't like it, get your big tech company to throw some money at lobbyists and fix the problem. Facebook is already working on the younger generation of future coders.

        • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:09PM (#51513691)

          >> Apple who dictated what was taught in high school computer science courses

          Given their direction on Swift 2, I wouldn't let Apple within 100 yards of anyone who wanted a job in CS someday. (http://www.infoworld.com/article/3027100/mobile-development/seven-swift-2-enhancements-every-ios-developer-will-love.html)

          • by west ( 39918 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:18PM (#51513773)

            Okay, totally off-topic, but I'll bite.

            What makes Swift 2 the Black Death of programming languages?

            • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:30PM (#51515679)
              I don't know either (and I've never used Swift), but in reading through the article, some of the choices seem a little bizarre. the defer keyword seems like a nice idea, but I have to wonder if it won't also end up in some poorly behaving code due to misuse. It's not a bad idea, but you could accomplish the same thing by leaving a comment to yourself as a reminder to cleanup resources or just write that deallocation/cleanup code immediately before going any farther. However, it does make the cleanup code live next to the allocation code, which does make it easier to refactor code without having to jump around a file as much if you've got a large amount of code.

              Changing do to repeat and then adding new functionality for the keyword (couldn't the same functionality be produced with a stand alone code block or did the language not have additional scoping inside function?) and showing an example where you use the same identifier seems like a bad idea. I'm guessing that the additional scoping inside of a function must be a new feature, otherwise this doesn't make much sense.

              Also, the author claims that the guard keyword somehow cleans up code, but from my reading it's no different than writing an if statement with a negation (basically an unless keyword) but I suppose it is handy as it reads different which marks the code as pre-condition verification (although a comment could do the same) which provides some use.

              The error handling stuff seems half-baked as try must be used for any code that throws an error. Seems to make the code slightly longer if I'm just going to pass the error back through the call stack as it now requires some explicit handling in the middle. Some would argue that this is a good thing, but it is a minor nit-pick.

              Some of the other stuff seems nice, but makes me think that the first version of Swift was rushed out the door before it was fully ready. While it's unfeasible to expect everything to be done perfectly the first time around, some of the omissions or stuff being added in Swift 2 make it seem like the language lacks polish, especially when they break existing code. I suppose it's better to do some of this stuff now while the language is still in its infancy, but they eventually need to settle into things or at least figure out what still needs to be added so they can make sure that their future additions don't keep breaking existing code.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:28PM (#51513887)

            Why not?

            Just:

            <puts on sunglasses>

            Tailor Swift to your needs!

        • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:17PM (#51514237) Journal

          Exactly. It used to be Apple who dictated what was taught in high school computer science courses, but it looks like they let Microsoft take over.

          Umm, yes and no.

          I did the teaching thing for a living (HS and Collegiate-level CS, no less), and here's how it really works:

          Option A: Write your own curriculum, your own syllabus, your own tests, your own labs, select your own textbooks (within an approved list, from state-approved vendors), insure your classroom and your school both have the budget for it (doubly so if any of it relies on equipment such as desktops, servers, networking gear, etc), insure that it all tracks with state education standards for your subject matter and level of competence, get it all approved by the state office of education... And then maybe next year you can start teaching it, but note that you'll have to do it all over again as soon as newer information and technologies come out. Also note that anyone in the bureaucratic morass can (and sometimes often will) happily veto the whole thing with a long list of objections, causing you to spend countless hours and metric tons of paper in justifying it.

          --or--

          Option B: Have $megacorp arrive and provide all the syllabi, curricula, tests, labs, and in some cases even the textbooks - for free! Hell, they'll even give you a massive discount on the equipment. The state board of education (never known for their technical acumen) has already rubber-stamped approval for it, and as a bonus you, your managers, your principals/administrators... they're all salivating at the massive PR (and potential career) boost they'll get when they present it to the public with lots of pomp and circumstance. Oh, and the school board will just love you to death - maybe even give you a plaque for your wall at home, calling you an 'innovator' or suchlike.

          Now... throw in the fact that most (not all, but disturbingly "most") teachers are career-oriented folks (to be too charitable about it), and they are inherently averse to either rocking the boat, or to doing more work than they already do.

          So, in light of those facts, guess which option gets chosen the most? Note that I've done Option A [linuxtoday.com], and I gotta tell you; it's not the class-side grunt work that's so intensive - it's the bureaucracy that sucks down all your time (and your soul, etc). But then, a labor of love is exactly that, so I don't regret it... however, way too may teachers out there, sadly, think differently on the subject.

    • by trylak ( 935041 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:49PM (#51513523)
      Would we allow Ford to help design an automotive engineering course? Would we allow Dell to help design a computer repair course?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:23PM (#51513823)

        My biggest concern, is if high schools should be turned into trade schools or not. Certainly, it would help prepare students to work, but you'd be lucky to find even 5% of high schoolers that actually know what they want to do in their future, thus the whole electives system.

        If I have any specific problems, it is that the direction all this money (a drop in the bucket on a national scale) and effort sounds like they are trying to force these classes onto students.

        Is it as important as a second spoken language, as teaching english comp, as learning how to use math to solve problems, or learning about different sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics)? I think not.

        At this point in time in the life cycle of the generations, if there is one thing that should be taught at schools in regards to computers, it is how to use them. I'm not talking opening a browser and typing in a web address, but about different systems. What the general components for a computer are. They should understand what a hard drive and CPU are, but shouldn't bother teaching what the north bridge or math co-processor are. They should teach students how to use what they have to fix simple problems, like adjusting the startup with the msconfig tool. Just a general IT course. What plug goes where. Hell, even putting together a 486 computer in class would be a good use of resources (time and money) to go towards teaching people that computers aren't just some mysterious thing with a screen.

      • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:24PM (#51513829)

        It already exists. You have the misconception of thinking that "CS" is still a college required career. It's a skilled trade. Ford did (and still does) have a hand in helping to craft automotive repair tech courses.

      • by vel-ex-tech ( 4337079 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:33PM (#51514375)

        Would you allow Ford to design an automotive engineering course that danced around the actual principles of operation of internal combustion engines (2-stroke/4-stroke, carburetor/fuel injector, petrol/diesel, timing, intake/exhaust systems, operation of turbochargers for diesel, etc) the left the student out of their depth when presented with a Mitsubishi or Volvo design?

        That being said, I always bring my Ford car to the Ford dealership because all the independent garages around here are incompetent scumbags, and I've come to trust in the dealership to ensure that its mechanics are at least experts on engine models used by Ford.

        So, such a class does have limited value.

        I, for one, and sick of the masses of MSCEs who can't function when I start talking about the LDAP, Kerberos, and CIFS components of Active Directory as separate systems and have conniptions when I even get close to mentioning that I can join my Linux box to their domain just fine. Given that there's nothing I can do about the mystification of computers as magical palantirs, as I've been saying, I'll just select a more rewarding career like flipping burgers.

        Fuck 'em. The media and big players have no respect for those of us who know how information systems work from the low level to the high level. I'm not claiming to be an expert in everything. If I were still interested in the field, I would be studying distributed algorithms and protocols, high availability, and dynamic scalability. I would also like to know more about machine learning, machine vision, and natural language processing. All I'm saying is that I am tired of the constant mystification of computing and dancing around the fucking basics like filesystems, file formats, basic internetworking, memory management, data structures, etc and the constant trivialization of those subjects in the media in favor of the latest insecure shiny from Apple or Microsoft.

        Sure, I can make a Disney princess ice skate with a few drag drops and clicks. Big fucking deal. Apparently that's all that's necessary to be a computer expert these days. I'm not tolerating it, but I'm also not sticking around to weather it.

        To get back to the analogy: would you trust a mechanic who can't completely tear an engine down and rebuild it? What if that were the kind of lack of knowledge and skill Ford were passing off as fully-certified technicians? (No idea if this is actually the case, but the mechanics at my dealership seem to have a very good grasp on WTF they're doing and have never once led me down a $1,000+ we're not sure if that's the problem but give us $300 and we'll do $this which may or may not fix it goose chase.) What if the president changed the oil in his car and started calling himself a mechanic on national TV?

    • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:00PM (#51513625) Journal

      Would people be okay with the idea of Exxon helping to design AP Environmental Science curriculum?

      No, because they have a vested interest obfuscating the issue, and a history of doing so in the past. Designing a curriculum in geology, or mineral extraction? Why not, they probably have quite a bit to offer, here.

      Should criminal justice coursework be overseen by Smith and Wesson?

      No, because they're a manufacturer of precision machined products, and have no core competency in law. I'm sure, though,they their engineers and machinists would do a hell of a job in educating those on the vo/tech side of the high school educational path.

      Should Microsoft be able to contribute to CSCI educational coursework? (I'm putting words in your mouth, for the sake of argument)

      Yes, yes, they should. Apple, Google, Cisco, HP or whatever they're calling themselves these days, etc, yes, they can absolutely play an important role, here.

      Corporate sponsors don't belong in these roles

      Now we come to the crux of the issue. Despite my statements above, the idea that Microsoft should be interesting themselves in the AP process to the point where they must be included on all correspondence is absolutely ridiculous and should NOT be allowed. "Giving back" by devoting some of the talent an experience these companies have at their disposal? Yes, absolutely. Being part of the "process?" Fuck no.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:53PM (#51514091)

        This, and I'd go a couple further.

        In a value-neutral way, what's basically happening here is that Microsoft is looking to make the education system produce graduates who can work in IT fields.

        However, in a less value-neutral way, they're looking to socialize vocational training for future employees by making the educational system turn out graduates skilled in what they believe is useful in their business.

        You could possibly view this as a positive -- schools are open to all kinds of criticism for teaching subjects with little practical application, and in the case of colleges, charging a king's ransom for it, only for students to find they can't earn a living with the education they received.

        You could look at this as a negative, in that businesses don't really care (and may actually want) ignorant drones who don't ask questions about history or politics or any of those topics, as long as they are up to speed on what business needs to increase profits. 10 dollars spent by a student educating themselves in what the corporation wants is at least 5 dollars into some executives personal bank account.

        My guess is MS motivation is less nefarious in this regard, but I think generally speaking corporate America needs to stop expecting that "Filling out TPS Reports" will be learned before an employee starts and that they would benefit greatly from spending some of their own money providing the knowledge and skills they want employees to have, rather than constantly firing and hiring employees and being frustrated that they can't find people with 10 years' experience in a 5 year old technology.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:30PM (#51514347)

        All of that text and you STILL miss the point at the end. If Microsoft doesn't support these courses, WHO WILL? The open sores community? LOL. The freetards around here couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag, and we should expect folks like them to teach new generations of coders how to fail?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @06:41PM (#51514917)

        The core of the issue here is that through patent and copyright, there is no public domain computer science material.

        Fix that problem and academia starts to drive the horse more. And they should.

        Because what passes for CS Training these days is just plain painful.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:04PM (#51513651)

      So if the experts in a given field shouldn't be designing courses, then who the fuck should be?!

      Are you saying that you want courses designed by people who don't know what the fuck they're talking about?

      We already have that! They're called the "social sciences", and they're a total disaster!

      • I don't think the experts in the CS field come from Harvard, no matter which billionaire dropped out of there.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:24PM (#51513833)

        So if the experts in a given field shouldn't be designing courses, then who the fuck should be?!

        Setting aside your false implication that a software tool vendor (aka Office) is an "expert" in educational curriculum development, it should be done by people, preferably experts, who do so without abrogating their rights to a third party corporate entity. Since the MAJORITY of funding comes from the tax payer, I propose a random professor from the field, from each public university submits a draft. The widely agreed parts can be approved by consensus and variations of the themes from more contentious portions can be consolidated "supply vs demand siders", for an economics example.

        Are you saying that you want courses designed by people who don't know what the fuck they're talking about?

        No. Are you saying you want to be reamed by a horse? Because I didn't see anyone suggest your tangential diatribe. Is this the part where the in-eloquent AC rages impotently about SJW, "the blacks" or whatever thing they don't understand but blame for an unrelated matter? If so, have a good day fellow AC, I hope those penis pills you ordered work this time. If not, consider your impotence may be the product of your rage. Try exercising with a slow waddle around the couch. Be sure to catch your breath after every step. It might take the EMS guys a while to cut open a hole in the wall wide enough to crane you out of the basement.

        We already have that! They're called the "social sciences", and they're a total disaster!

        Ah, so it is the part where you attack unrelated things that you don't understand. Sure, there's some iffy stuff swept under the social science label. It's hardly a disaster though, much less a total one. I'm pretty sure you have to opt in to those majors. Unlike this "all your image are belong to MS" policy. Or should I write "M$" to fit in your meme space? And just like that we are back on topic.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:40PM (#51513991)

      Would people be okay with the idea of Exxon helping to design AP Environmental Science curriculum? Should criminal justice coursework be overseen by Smith and Wesson? Corporate sponsors don't belong in these roles but for some reason everyone throws caution to the wind when they hear "computer."

      Nobody seemed to care when Apple did worse than this all through the 80's and 90's. Not sure why it's suddenly an "issue" when it's Microsoft.

    • by radarskiy ( 2874255 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:44PM (#51514015)

      -1, moot

      Microsoft is not participating in the design of public school AP curricula. Microsoft is participating in the design of the teacher training conducted by another private entity.

    • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:00PM (#51514141) Journal
      Hear, hear. Microsoft has it's fingers in way too many pies now, and is doing whatever they damned well please, and they DGAF. I think it's time for Microsoft to be broken up into many smaller independent companies.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:12PM (#51514199)

      Exxon (and many large oil companies) are HUGE contributors to all things "environmental." For example, the Sierra Club would literally not even exist without the millions of dollars it gets every year from "big oil."

      Also, what the fuck does Smith & Wesson have to do with Criminal Justice? Is there some kind of conflict that I'm not seeing when the same people who are arming police officers are also helping to pay to educate lawyers?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:36PM (#51515723)

      "Should criminal justice coursework be overseen by the New York Crime Families?" FTFY

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @11:05PM (#51516607)

      I'd fully expect a large oil company to take part in mineral exploration and other applications of geological sciences. Likewise, I'd expect defense contractors to take part in courses targeting game theory, real-time software, etc.

      Apart from that, this is no different than any other business relationship wherein you allow a second party to share information with a third party.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:53PM (#51513569)

    The real issue is that Microsoft, or any other commercial stakeholder for that matter, should not be setting the curriculum.

    So Microsoft gets you contact details to setup distribution of the materials ? meh. just do not give out student details and just chuck anything you receive in the bin, no student harmed.

    And having to agree to this privacy statement makes sense. They want to put the recording on line, if you don't like this don't go.

    Now focus on the real problem please.

    • by lhowaf ( 3348065 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:20PM (#51513799)
      How can it be legally binding to have K-12 students sign an agreement that gives up their privacy?
      • by sirsky ( 53613 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:39PM (#51513985)

        It's not, and they don't. This is purely for the teachers interested in presenting CS50 AP to their students - that is all.

        • by lhowaf ( 3348065 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @11:31PM (#51516709)

          This is purely for the teachers interested in presenting CS50 AP to their students - that is all.

          From TFS:

          By the way, the CS50 AP Wiki contains a CS50x/CS50 AP Authorization and Release form which, among other things, requires camera-shy CS50 AP students to agree to "sit in a 'no-film' zone" if they do not want photos or videos of themselves used by Harvard to promote the Microsoft-supported course.

          From the agreement: "I understand that my teacher will take reasonable steps, with my cooperation, to avoid including identifiable images of me in the Recordings. I understand that I am free to opt out of the Recordings in this way, and that doing so will not affect my grade or my ability to participate in course activities. Unless I opt out of the Recordings as described above and take the steps that will be outlined by the instructor to avoid being filmed, I authorize Harvard and its designees to use the Recordings. I understand and agree that the Recordings may include my image, name, and voice. I also understand and agree that, even if I opt out of the Recordings, my spoken name and voice may be picked up by microphones outside any "no-film" zone and may be included in the Recordings.

          Also, the form (complete with legalese) linked from the summary has a signature block for the Student (or Parent/Guardian). I guess it's Ok as long as they don't steal the kids' candy.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @03:57PM (#51513607)

    Really? When is this silliness going to end?

    They aren't there to teach you, they are there to take your money and make a profit.

    Stop pretending this organizations are about education and you'll stop looking stupid when you talk about them. American Universities are profit centers, not educational facilities. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in America, thats the case.

  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:01PM (#51513633)

    What are you, twelve years old? Harvard is a private institution that can do what it wants. And trust me, the student body and faculty are MORE than capable of fighting back against policies they don't like.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @06:33PM (#51514859)

      What are you, twelve years old? Harvard is a private institution that can do what it wants. And trust me, the student body and faculty are MORE than capable of fighting back against policies they don't like.

      http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/why-is-harvard-subsidized-by-the-taxpayer/

      Except they get federal funding. Historically and still to this day. And tax subsidies and abatements. And preferential tax treatment on their investment income.
      Other than that though sure. I'd like to open a chain of private toll roads, focusing on bridges acquisition. Once I do, its private, and I should be able to say "No Blacks, Jews or A-Rabs." because it's private right? OR maybe a private security firm that goes around murdering people who refuse to sell their homes to me for low ball offers. I mean it's a private institution, I can do what I want with it right? As long as it is a corporation, the law shouldn't apply.

  • Harvard can't make money because its education quality is falling through the floor, thus they have to rely upon partnering with large corporations.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:10PM (#51513697)

      Harvard has about 17 applicants for every available spot. Whether the education quality is falling or not, it is not reducing demand for their product.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:41PM (#51515309)

      Um, and you know this how? You are a college flunk out yourself. Truth is you are a failure at life and come here to try to convince others that you aren't.

      • "Um, and you know this how? You are a college flunk out yourself."

        It's funny when you can't even get the details right.

        So let's correct them for you.

        First, it's high school dropout. Katrina hit and fucked our home business over. I took survival in comfort over living in the streets, and used my prior work experience starting at age 15 as an apprenticed Oriental chef to land work.

        Second, I continued my education on my own. I did everything from hacking college accounts to get access to library materials and research papers to signing up for non-credit supplemental learning classes.

        Third, I proved my worth by designing an experiment that showed that most typical crops grew perfectly fine or better under targeted LED lighting, and then went on to develop a system to make highly-enriched fodder without additives using zero light (but inducing an electrical charge into the nutrient solution) and got that company on the BBC.

        So, please, tell me, what have you done besides bitch and be unconstructive?

  • by destinyland ( 578448 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:06PM (#51513671)
    CS50 starts students off with C, but by the end you've moved on to PHP, SQL, JavaScript, and HTML. It's nice that people care so much about CS50 that they're now just arguing about how it's being implemented. But for what it's worth, everyone can also take the course free online at EdX, the Harvard-MIT partnership. (That's what I did.) They'll even give you a (free) certificate of completion.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:09PM (#51513693) Homepage
    microsoft certrified AP: I was trained in a microsoft approved and endorsed course sponsored by a carte blanc effort by taxpayers to learn to code or die trying. I couldnt tell a router from a switch, but so long as its in visual basic im good to code!

    anyone else: I couldnt afford harvard, couldnt afford community college, but spent my nights and weekends playing doom and hacking underhanded C. I wrote my own autoresponder in perl. I interfaced my coffeemaker in python with an arduino. ive been "suspended" from school for a combination of wearing too much black, not attending enough pep functions, and knowing more about computers than the teacher. I will be hired for 1/3rd the salary of the AP grad, but be charged with fixing or replacing nearly everything he did. but dont worry about all that...just fixate on the fact that im a girl, and girls + code == important.

    US President->Next() learn to code! future! grlz in coding! programming is fun! everyone must code! code is future! all glory to the hypnocode!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:48PM (#51514049)

      That's when you just quietly sit back and digitally rip these motherfuckers off wholesale, while they sit there picking their noses.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:49PM (#51515367)

      just fixate on the fact that im a girl, and girls + code == important.

      #define DO_NOT_HIRE 0
      #define HIRE 1
       
      typedef char BYTE;
       
      bool hire_peon(const BYTE * name, const size_t nameLen, const bool bFemale, const BYTE * qualifications, const size_t qualificationsLen, const BYTE * jobReqs, const size_t jobReqsLen)
      {
        bool ret = DO_NOT_HIRE;
       
        if (Check_Meets_Job_Requirements(jobReqs, jobReqsLen, qualifications, qualificationsLen))
        {
            ret = HIRE;
        }
       
        return ret;
      }

      Results:

      #define AE "anyone else"
      #define MS_AP "microsoft certrified AP"
      #define NEXT_PREZ "US President->Next()"
       
      bool retNextPrez = FALSE;
      bool retAE_MALE = FALSE;
      bool retAE_FEMALE = FALSE;
      bool retMS_AP = FALSE;
       
      retMS_AP = hire_peon(application->name, application->nameLen, application->bFemale, MS_AP, sizeof(MS_AP), job->reqs, job->reqsLen);
       
      retAE_MALE = hire_peon(application->name, application->nameLen, FALSE, AE, sizeof(AE), job->reqs, job->reqsLen);
       
      retAE_FEMALE = hire_peon(application->name, application->nameLen, TRUE, AE, sizeof(AE), job->reqs, job->reqsLen);
       
      retNextPrez = hire_peon(application->name, application->nameLen, application->bFemale, NEXT_PREZ, sizeof(NEXT_PREZ), job->reqs, job->reqsLen);
       
      if ((retNextPrez) || (retMS_AP) || (!retAE_MALE) || (!retAE_FEMALE))
      {
        ret = UNIT_TEST_FAILURE;
      }
      else
      {
        ret = UNIT_TEST_PASSED;
      }
       
      return ret;

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @10:28AM (#51518935)

      what's being a girl got to do with doing the AP Grads work at 1/3rd the cost? It's pretty standard arrangement at every company regardless of the sexes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:15PM (#51513741)

    I want to buy old consoles using black market e-commerce only sites to get specific components hidden inside portable video game consoles that can also have the encryption codes used by a rare console, problably a new generation of chips, which is the basis of a smartphone embeded system?

  • by ISoldat53 ( 977164 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @04:21PM (#51513801)
    Take the cost out of what MS owes in taxes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:15PM (#51514219)

    Always remember that the sole reason a corporation exists is to maximize shareholder's equity (wealth). If an activity doesn't maximize the shareholder's equity, or doesn't do so enough, then it isn't done. Plain and simple. So, with that in mind, all of these strings attached to this program are for the sole purpose of monetizing the program so as to maximize shareholder's equity.

    Put differently, individual shareholders may make an altruistic donation -- Bill Gate's foundation does that all the time. As a matter of fact, he is prohibited under law from personally benefiting from the foundation or its projects. Microsoft, however, is not a foundation, it is a corporation with a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. As such, this cannot be altruistic and in the big scheme of things is for the specific benefit of Microsoft. If not, and it really is charity, then remove the strings and make a simple donation. Plain and simple!

  • by RedMage ( 136286 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @05:30PM (#51514351) Homepage

    I wouldn't read too much into the "no film zone". All Harvard classes that are recorded have that clause, and have had it for at least 10 years. Maybe longer, but I can't remember that far back.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:31PM (#51515231)

    Microsoft is one of the chief architects and cheerleaders behind Common Core.

    No wonder it's so wildly successful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @05:09AM (#51517739)

    It's not a college

    small demonic minions finance fraud
    no 1st or 2nd amendment is fucking brain damage

    JANET NAPELATANO

    as of NOW your degrees are worthless.
    (fuck your degree, you better be able to talk to me and fucking think for yourself without your degree - trot out your degree = INSTANT FUCK YOU )

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @06:31PM (#51523139)

      Oh yes and an update 2:05 pm my friends.. Check this out. Here's what your Harvard White Shoe-Boy 's churn out.


      "...a moratorium on printing new high denomination notes would make the world a better place."
      - Larry Summers, Harvard Professor

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-16/larry-summers-launches-war-us-paper-money-its-time-kill-100-bill

      you thought I was kidding above-time you wake up to the COUP on the United States!
      It starts with these fuckin shoe-boys and doesn't stop with those who broke their oath of office, and dual citizens who working with them internationally against us.

      You go to school (Definition: School, those places NATO keep accidentally bombing)
        then you would NOT know this, which is fuckin evilly ironic at plethoric levels of shit turned up past 11 on all of our big knobs of life.

      bohica again , bend over and feel this big knob. it's coming! and this time it's BIG! you can laugh at me now, but when your sucking your water though a lifestraw because of the toxic radiation, you wont have that snicker anymore trust me. YOU fuckers are already drafted, you just don't realize it yet.

      you better pray that these fucking get arrested soon or the will prey on you

      Me it don't matter I already told ya.
      I can tell you only how to not be like me.
      I can teach you hot to fix your gun, or radio, or computer.

      You are going to have to flush my childhood bullies out of office. They're mean, they are tough, this crap they teach in schools here won't fucking cut it. Take these russians I grew up with. They could snap you like a twig, yet somehow I am still here. Today I look back and think, wow it really was fuckin cool how you taught me to untie myself while hangin from a tree by my feet. Harvard fights this with politically correct in full conjunction with corporate owned media. pwned is more like it. This is broadcast to you though ABC, CBS, FOX, MSNBS CIABS BBC whatever they are currently fuckin called "the big five" and all their subsdomains and all their websites and all their AM, FM, and BROADCAST and CABLE and SATELITE channels, and when I say their, I meant YOUR, since they have basically done the same as the bundy's with FREQUENCY and POWER under the blessing of the POTUS via the PROXY the FCC chair.

      Fuck Harvard. Fuck your degrees

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @06:25AM (#51517909)

    They used to 'donate' computer labs to schools but the contract said you could only run and teach Microsoft products and you had to go to them for all of the service needs. Schools who had been told that they needed to 'do computers' but not given a budget or any support on how were left with no other options. Fuck it, many of the qualifications were based around Word and Excel. Microsoft is a large part of why pre-University computing education sucks.

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