Tidbits on September 3, 2009
Bob Jensen

Another sunrise in the White Mountains


I'm justifiably proud to have taken these butterfly pictures
Erika calls a butterfly a Schmetterling



With our friends from Sugar Hill Community Church
Helmut spent four years on a U-Boat during World War II
Although he's retired, he has a machine shop and can fix almost anything mechanical
His wife, Helene, is also from Germany and serves up great German dinners
They also bring us hand-picked raspberries every week in the summer

Below you will see five of our pastor's ten wonderful children

Here's my pet woodchuck named Woody


On August 27, 2009 I received a nice plaque from the American Accounting Association that reads as follows:

American Accounting Association
AAA Uncommon Commons Award
Bob Jensen

For Being An Early Adopter Of
The AAA Commons, Consistantly
Contributing Your Intellecal Insigts,
And Helping to Make
The AAA Commons A Success

Annual Meeting 2009
New York, New York

This means a great deal to me and brings tears to my eyes!
The plaque was accompanied by a really nice handwritten note from the Executive Director of the American Accounting Association, Tracey Sutherland. Behind the scenes the award was instigated by Julie Smith David at Arizona State university.

I mention this award here not to personally brag but to encourage all AAA members to make more use of the AAA Commons that just seems to get bigger and better each month that passes by. If you are an AAA member, please give it a try daily or at least weekly --- https://commons.aaahq.org/signin
The Commons is free to all AAA members!

Julie Smith David points out that "Fabienne Miller also received this award, based upon her contributions to the research communities... in that case, the communities are private, so no one may know that Fabbiene has been using the AAA Commons to support her research efforts - and she's been very generous to help us refine these communities to make them even more valuable to our members."

People sent me the humor pictures below. The first one features Nancy Pelosi after a Republican holdout.

In San Antonio the opossums were all over our back yard.
One night I found one laying in the bottom of a trash can.
It seemed dead, but eventually it dawned on me that this was an opossum.
I turned the can over and went to bed.
Sure enough the can was empty in the morning.


In Memoriam - Mary Jo Kopechne – Dead at the Age of 28 --- http://ace.mu.nu/


Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations Between August 27-September 3, 2009
To Accompany the September 3, 2009 edition of Tidbits

Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm



Tidbits on September 3, 2009
Bob Jensen

For earlier editions of Tidbits go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   

Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

CPA Examination --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cpa_examination

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google --- http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/coolsearchengines

World Clock and World Facts --- http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

U.S. Debt/Deficit Clock --- http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Free Residential and Business Telephone Directory (you must listen to an opening advertisement) --- dial 800-FREE411 or 800-373-3411
 Free Online Telephone Directory --- http://snipurl.com/411directory       [www_public-records-now_com] 
 Free online 800 telephone numbers --- http://www.tollfree.att.net/tf.html
 Google Free Business Phone Directory --- 800-goog411
To find names addresses from listed phone numbers, go to www.google.com and read in the phone number without spaces, dashes, or parens

Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google --- http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/coolsearchengines
Bob Jensen's search helpers --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Searchh.htm
Education Technology Search --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm
Distance Education Search --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
Search for Listservs, Blogs, and Social Networks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Over 700,000 books are now available for downloading into Amazon's Kindle.

Bob Jensen's essay on the financial crisis bailout's aftermath and an alphabet soup of appendices can be found at

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI
The Master List of Free Online College Courses ---

On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/NHcottage/NHcottage.htm

Bob Jensen's blogs and various threads on many topics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
       (Also scroll down to the table at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ )

Global Incident Map --- http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

If you want to help our badly injured troops, please check out
Valour-IT: Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops  --- http://www.valour-it.blogspot.com/

Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Online Video, Slide Shows, and Audio
In the past I've provided links to various types of music and video available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

Financial WMDs (Credit Derivatives) on Sixty Minutes (CBS) on August 30, 2009 ---
I downloaded the video (5,631 Kbs) to http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/FinancialWMDs.rv 

I guess FSP 157-4 wasn't quite enough to color over the poison
Roubini Says Bank Balance Sheets Are The Greatest Risk To The Rally (Video) ---

The Genius of Charles Darwin (great video tutorial) ---

Link forwarded by Rick Lillie
Try VideoSurf ( http://www.videosurf.com/ ) to find videos of all types on the Internet.

A Chef's Table [Real Player, iTunes] --- http://www.whyy.org/91FM/chef/

Jeanne Robertson "Mothers vs. Teenage Daughters" ---

Jeanne Robertson "Don't send a man to the grocery store!" ---

Italian Pepsi Commercial --- Click Here

Video from The Economist Magazine:  Greg Davies on behavioural finance We are emotional investors The head of Behavioural Finance at Barclays Wealth says hot-brained humans often buy and sell right when they shouldn't ---

Free music downloads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm

One of My Favorite Concerts Ever:  A Powerful, Powerful Voice
k.d. lang and the Brooklyn Philharmonic

k.d. lang - Honky Tonk Angels Medley --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Cq50myLZs

Johnny Cash and The Muppets
Johnny Cash on the Muppet Show - Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog
 I captured this as Muppet audio at
If you do a word search on YouTube for “Egg Sucking Dog” you might find the Muppet version.
Without the Muppets --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYNK8A_bXwA

Other humor music --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/music.htm#Humor

Let's Rip It Up (Bill Haley video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrhGtXCGn6M

Amazing Grace in the Roman Coliseum --- http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1785324681?bclid=1338935106&bctid=1913313052

Marc Andre Hamelin: The Praiseworthy Pianist --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112039260

Pianist Hank Jones Plays With Vitality At 91 (Jazz) --- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112330985

Cotton Eye Joe (Bugs Bunny) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAltG2NrM0Y

Hollie Steel from the United Kingdom

Web outfits like Pandora, Foneshow, Stitcher, and Slacker broadcast portable and mobile content that makes Sirius look overpriced and stodgy ---

TheRadio (my favorite commercial-free online music site) --- http://www.theradio.com/
Slacker (my second-favorite commercial-free online music site) --- http://www.slacker.com/

Gerald Trites likes this international radio site --- http://www.e-radio.gr/
Songza:  Search for a song or band and play the selection --- http://songza.com/
Also try Jango --- http://www.jango.com/?r=342376581
Sometimes this old guy prefers the jukebox era (just let it play through) --- http://www.tropicalglen.com/
And I listen quite often to Soldiers Radio Live --- http://www.army.mil/fieldband/pages/listening/bandstand.html
Also note
U.S. Army Band recordings --- http://bands.army.mil/music/default.asp

Bob Jensen listens to music free online (and no commercials) --- http://www.slacker.com/ 

Photographs and Art

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule.

Fox News:  Taliban Mutilates Afghan Man for Trying to Vote --- Click Here
Jensen Comment
It's a relief that the Taliban usually stops short of the evils of water boarding. Hanging, torture, and mutilation are usually sufficient.

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms. In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen. To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.
Single molecule, one million times smaller than a grain of sand, pictured for first time --- Click Here

De Young Museum: The Harald Wagner Collection of Teotihuacan Murals --- http://www.famsf.org/teotihuacan/

Waterlife --- http://waterlife.nfb.ca/

National Portrait Gallery: Thomas Paine --- http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/paine/

The Civil Rights Digital Library --- http://crdl.usg.edu/voci/go/crdl/home/

Doris Ulmann Photograph Collection (rural South and Appalachia) --- http://boundless.uoregon.edu/digcol/ulmann/index.html 

The Civil War in America from The Illustrated London News http://beck.library.emory.edu/iln/index.html

American Civil War History Site --- http://www.factasy.com/

Tobacco Bag Stringing in North Carolina and Virginia --- http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/tbs/index.html

NASA photograph of California fire --- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/02/california_wildfire/

Design Observe --- http://www.designobserver.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on history, literature and art ---

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

WikiQuote --- http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Main_Page

How to write kick-ass opening lines (video) --- http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=g_82MgWBkaM
Richard Sansing forwarded the link to Monty Python ---

101 Best First Lines (Novels) --- http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0934311.html
Also see

Index of First Lines --- http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/lists/firstlines.html

Famous First Lines Quiz --- http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~dea22/quizjfic.htm

Faisal.com Quotations --- http://www.faisal.com/quotes/a.html

Quotations from Think Exist --- http://www.thinkexist.com/

Quotatio:  Over 50,000 Quotations --- http://www.quotatio.com/

Quotation Space --- http://www.quotationspage.com/

George Burn's Creative Quotations (Video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwvYYlhJ29o

All the Great Quotes --- http://www.allgreatquotes.com/one_hundred_years_of_solitude_quotes.sh

Josephson Institute Quotations --- http://www.josephsoninstitute.org/quotes/quotetoc.htm

Giga Quotes --- http://www.giga-usa.com/

Oneliners ---http://www.oneliners-and-proverbs.com/K-L1_k-li.html

Quotations on Character and Ethics --- http://josephsoninstitute.org/quotes/

Creativity Quotations --- http://www.creativityatwork.com/articlesContent/quotes.htm 

The Quotations Archive --- http://www.aphids.com/quotes/ 

The Phrase Finder (including commentaries on the history of the prase) --- http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/index.html

Famous peoples last words --- http://www.digital-karma.org/culture/quotes/famous-peoples-last-words
Last Words of Real People ---
Last Words of Fictional Characters ---
Famous Epitaphs ---
Other Last Words ---
Humorous Epitaphs --- http://clothos-web.com/ThisOldHaunt/LastLaugh_02.html

Wikiquote (quotations) --- http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Main_Page

The Comic Quote Blog --- http://wit.kitt.net/ 


Free Online Textbooks, Videos, and Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks
Free Tutorials in Various Disciplines --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Tutorials
Edutainment and Learning Games --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Edutainment
Open Sharing Courses --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations Between August 27-September 3, 2009
To Accompany the September 3, 2009 edition of Tidbits

"FIRST LOOK:  New Mac system not a dramatic upgrade," MIT Technology Review, August 26, 2009 ---

SECOND LOOK:  Microsoft photography is a dramatic upgrade
Should Bill Gates just claim the guy in the picture is an LA cop wearing OJ's gloves?

A photo on the Seattle-based company's U.S. Web site shows two men, one Asian and one black, and a white woman seated at a conference room table. But on the Web site of Microsoft's Polish business unit, the black man's head has been replaced with that of a white man. The color of his hand remains unchanged.
"Microsoft apologizes for changing race in photo," MIT's Technology Review, August 25, 2009

"Harvard's Sad Censorship Campaign," by Jessica Peck Corry, Human Events, August 27, 2009 --- http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33291
Poor, poor Harvard. The prestigious institution has once again found itself in the embarrassing position of defending a push for campus censorship. This round’s sad irony: student leaders are now the ones trying to throw the First Amendment out the school bus window.

Financial WMDs (Credit Derivatives) on Sixty Minutes (CBS) on August 30, 2009 ---
I downloaded the video (5,631 Kbs) to http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/FinancialWMDs.rv 

Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis. The interview features my hero Frank Partnoy. I don't know of anybody who knows derivative securities contracts and frauds better than Frank Partnoy, who once sold these derivatives in bucket shops. You can find links to Partnoy's books and many, many quotations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds

For years I've used the term "bucket shop" in financial securities marketing without realizing that the first bucket shops in the early 20th Century were bought and sold only gambles on stock pricing moves, not the selling of any financial securities. The analogy of a bucket shop would be a room full of bookies selling bets on NFL playoff games.
See "Bucket Shop" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucket_shop_(stock_market)

I was not aware how fraudulent the credit derivatives markets had become. I always viewed credit derivatives as an unregulated insurance market for credit protection. But in 2007 and 2008 this market turned into a betting operation more like a rolling crap game on Wall Street.


Of all the corporate bailouts that have taken place over the past year, none has proved more costly or contentious than the rescue of American International Group (AIG). Its reckless bets on subprime mortgages threatened to bring down Wall Street and the world economy last fall until the U.S Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped in to save it. So far, the huge insurance and financial services conglomerate has been given or promised $180 billion in loans, investments, financial injections and guarantees - a sum greater than the annual cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Why AIG Stumbled, And Taxpayers Now Own It," CBS Sixty Minutes, May 17, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
To add pain to misery, AIG lied to the media about the extent of bonuses granted after receiving TARP funds.
Bob Jensen's threads on AIG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Bailout

Simoleon Sense Reviews Janet Tavakoli’s Dear Mr. Buffett ---

What’s The Book (Dear Mr. Buffett) About

Dear Mr. Buffett, chronicles the agency problems, poor regulations, and participants which led to the current financial crisis. Janet accomplishes this herculean task by capitalizing on her experiences with derivatives, Wall St, and her relationship with Warren Buffett. One wonders how she managed to pack so much material in such few pages!

Unlike many books which only analyze past events, Dear Mr. Buffett, offers proactive advice for improving financial markets. Janet is clearly very concerned about protecting individual rights, promoting honesty, and enhancing financial integrity. This is exactly the kind of character we should require of our financial leaders.

Business week once called Janet the Cassandra of Credit Derivatives. Without a doubt Janet should have been listened to. I’m confident that from now on she will be.

Closing thoughts

Rather than a complicated book on financial esoterica, Janet has created a simple guide to understanding the current crisis. This book is a must read for all students of finance, economics, and business. If you haven’t read this book, please do so.

Warning –This book is likely to infuriate you, and that’s a good thing! Janet provides indicting evidence and citizens may be tempted to initiate vigilante like witch trials. Please consult with your doctor before taking this financial medication.

Continued in article

September 1, 2009 reply from Rick Lillie [rlillie@CSUSB.EDU]

Hi Bob,

I am reading Dear Mr. Buffett, What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street, by Janet Tavakoli. I am just about finished with the book. I am thinking about giving a copy of the book to students who perform well in my upper-level financial reporting classes.

I agree with the reviewer’s comments about Tavakoli’s book. Her explanations are clear and concise and do not require expertise in finance or financial derivatives in order to understand what she (or Warren Buffet) says. She explains the underlying problems of the financial meltdown with ease. Tavakoli does not blow you over with “finance BS.” She does in print what Steve Kroft does in the 60 Minutes story.

Tavakoli delivers a unique perspective throughout the book. She looks through the eyes of Warren Buffett and explains issues as Buffett sees them, while peppering the discussion with her experience and perspective.

The reviewer is correct. Tavakoli lets the finance world, along with accountants, attorneys, bankers, Congress, and regulators, have it with both barrels!

Tavakoli’s book is the highlight of my summer reading.

Best wishes,

Rick Lillie

Rick Lillie, MAS, Ed.D., CPA Assistant Professor of Accounting Coordinator - Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) Program Department of Accounting and Finance College of Business and Public Administration CSU San Bernardino 5500 University Pkwy, JB-547 San Bernardino, CA. 92407-2397

Telephone Numbers: San Bernardino Campus: (909) 537-5726 Palm Desert Campus: (760) 341-2883, Ext. 78158

For technical details see the following book:
Structured Finance and Collateralized Debt Obligations: New Developments in Cash and Synthetic Securitization (Wiley Finance) by Janet M. Tavakoli (2008)

AIG now says it paid out more than $454 million in bonuses to its employees for work performed in 2008. That is nearly four times more than the company revealed in late March when asked by POLITICO to detail its total bonus payments. At that time, AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh said the firm paid about $120 million in 2008 bonuses to a pool of more than 6,000 employees. The figure Ashooh offered was, in turn, substantially higher than company CEO Edward Liddy claimed days earlier in testimony before a House Financial Services Subcommittee. Asked how much AIG had paid in 2008 bonuses, Liddy responded: “I think it might have been in the range of $9 million.”
Emon Javers, "AIG bonuses four times higher than reported," Politico, May 5, 2009 --- http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22134.html

Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm

Bob Jensen's threads on the current economic crisis are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
For credit derivative problems see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Bailout

Also see "Credit Derivatives" under the C-Terms at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#C-Terms

Bob Jensen's free tutorials and videos on how to account for derivatives under FAS 133 and IAS 39 ---

I doubled up laughing at this headline. I don't know whether it was intentional or not.

DePaul U. J-Schoolers Study Breaking Tweets
The university is offering what is apparently the first college journalism class devoted entirely to the Twitter windbreaking  platform.


Bob Jensen's threads (down wind) on breaking Tweets --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

How Twitter Could Bring Search Up to Speed:  Some say that Twitter may be as important to real-time search as YouTube is to video," by Kate Greene, MIT's Technology Review, March 11, 2009 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/web/22272/?nlid=1848&a=f 

When Twitter was introduced in late 2006, asking users to post a 140-word answer to the question "What are you doing?," many criticized the results as nothing more than a collection of trivial thoughts and inane ramblings. Fast-forward three years, and the number of Twitter users has grown to millions, while the content of the many posts--better known as "tweets"--has shifted from banal to informative.

Twitter users now cover breaking news, posting links to reports, blog posts, and images. Twitter's search box also reveals what people think of the latest new gadget or movie, letting visitors eavesdrop on often spirited conversations and some insightful opinions.

Earlier this week, on The Charlie Rose Show, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, was asked directly whether Google might be interested in acquiring Twitter. He responded, somewhat coyly, that his company was "unlikely to buy anything right now."

Nonetheless, as Twitter grows in size and substance, it's becoming clear that it offers a unique feed of real-time conversation and sentiment. Danny Sullivan, editor of the blog Search Engine Land, compares this to the unique real-time feed of new video content offered by YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006, and says that Twitter could help improve real-time search. Notably, says Sullivan, this is something that Google isn't particularly good at. Even by scouring news sites, Google simply can't match the speed and relevancy of social sites like Digg and Twitter, he says.

Twitter's ability to capture the latest fad is evident from its "trends" feature, which reveals the most talked about topics among Twitterers. At the time this article was written, Twitter users were discussing topics including National Napping Day, DST (daylight savings time), and the new movie Watchmen. A quick search also reveals that five people within the past half hour have posted tweets about last weekend's Saturday Night Live skit called "The Rock Obama." The most recent tweet includes a link to the video and was posted just three minutes ago.

Bruce Croft, a professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says that Twitter search could perhaps help make news alerts more relevant. "If you could search or track large numbers of conversations, then there would be the possibility of developing alerts when something starts happening," he says. "And, of course, it's yet another opportunity to do massive data mining on people's activities to learn even more about what they are doing and when they are doing it."

Continued in article

March 12, 2009 reply from Steven Hornik

I use Twitter in my Financial Accounting class.  I have an account set up just for that course: http://twitter.com/acg2021  I use it for sending out extra credit questions randomly throughout the week so that they receive about 1 tweet per chapter.  Here is an example of the latest tweet I sent out:

In a period of rising inventory costs, Gross Profit will be __ (higher/lower) under LIFO because COGS are __ (H/L) than under FIFO.

In the tweet I tell the students when they must get the answer to me and I award extra points for the first n responses.  I find the students really enjoy this and it forces them to keep up the material or bring their textbooks with them wherever they go!  The concept behind it is to have students thinking about accounting all the time!

Hope this is helpful,


PS I also have a regular twitter account:
http://twitter.com/shornik if you wish to follow me.  I'm not sure my tweets will be as exciting as Roger's broken and now healed toe but feel free to follow.

Dr. Steven Hornik
University of Central Florida
Dixon School of Accounting
Second Life: Robins Hermano

yahoo ID: shornik

August 18, 2009 reply from Steven Hornik [shornik@BUS.UCF.EDU]

I recently created a wikipage for the CTLA workshop I did at the AAA in NYC. Its short and sweet (I think) so if anyone is looking for more info about twitter (terminology, links to applications, a few use cases) feel free to check it out at:


Dr. Steven Hornik University of Central Florida Dixon School of Accounting 407-823-5739 Second Life: Robins Hermano
Yahoo ID: shornik

Interesting Blog on Twitter --- http://glinner.posterous.com/the-conversation-23

The Hot, Hot Electronic Book Market

"Discovery E-Book Filing Raises Eyebrows:  Md. Firm Mum on Patent Application," Mike Musgrove, The Washington Post, August 29, 2009 --- Click Here

Is Discovery Communications gearing up for a jump into the suddenly hot e-book space? A filing made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office raises that possibility.

According to the filing, the Silver Spring-based media company applied in February for a patent on a product it describes as an "electronic book having electronic commerce features."

The company did not respond to a call Friday seeking comment on the matter.

Whatever Discovery's plans are, the electronic book market is shaping up to be this year's most sought-after space by consumer electronics makers. In the wake of considerable buzz for Amazon's Kindle, consumer electronics giant Sony has been aggressively courting the market, with a $200 version of its electronic reader announced this month and set for a release any day now. What's more, the tech industry abounds with rumors about a new tablet-shaped computer possibly on the way from Apple, a product that many think will incorporate some e-book features.

Discovery, by comparison, surprised the tech world earlier this year when it filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming that the online retailer's popular Kindle product infringes on an electronic book patent held by the media company, which is better known for its cable offerings such as the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Amazon has since countersued Discovery, claiming that the cable TV company is infringing on some of its own e-commerce patents.

Discovery had not -- and still has not -- made many public statements about moving into the consumer electronics arena. But according to the company's patent application, the device would be able to play audio and video files. While other e-readers currently on the market can play audio files, they typically don't play video clips.

Discovery's filing describes the device as being shaped like a paperback book and containing "a novel combination of new technology involving the television, cable, telephone and computer industries."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ebooks.htm

Wal-Mart attempts to follow Amazon's early lead on online selling
"Wal-Mart to sell goods from other vendors on Web," MIT's Technology Review, August 31, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
Living up here in the boonies I use this Amazon service weekly. It makes searching for products (e.g., rice bran at my age) much easier and more convenient. It is much safer to only have my credit card on file with one vendor (Amazon) rather than have it on file with many stranger vendors on the Web. And lastly, and most important, if an outside vendor does not deliver then Amazon guarantees a refund.

I've only had one problem with an outside vendor --- Silk Flowers sent my recent order to North Carolina by mistake. I was having trouble getting Silk Flowers to respond, so I complained to Amazon to make the Silk Flowers company jump. Within an hour I had a phone call from Silk Flowers asking "how high?"

By the way, we knew our order went to North Carolina because the woman (a stranger) who received our order by mistake took the time and trouble to look up our phone number, phone us, and explain that she'd received our order. Bless her!

After such good luck with Amazon, I will probably extend my online shopping to Wal-Mart.

By the way, I have a credit card that's only to be used for online shopping. On purpose, I have a very low credit limit on this card (I think $2,500).

Amazon frequently sends me $25 gift certificates. These make me happy.

The 3-2 Five Year College Degree Duo Gaining Steam
Mr. Taylor is not the only prophet of radical curricular change who has recently found an audience. Robert M. Zemsky, chairman of the University of Pennsylvania's Learning Alliance for Higher Education, has been promoting a three-year baccalaureate, which in his vision would often be coupled with a specialized one- or two-year master's degree. (That model is becoming standard in the European Union.) Like Mr. Taylor, Mr. Zemsky would like to see more courses of study that are built around specific problems, rather than the traditional disciplines.
David Glenn and Karin Fischer, "The Canon of College Majors Persists Amid Calls for Change," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/article/Amid-Calls-for-Change-College/48206/
Jensen Comment
This would shut out many students from careers. For example, a C-Average accounting, business, and finance now acquires enough credits in a career discipline to possibly get a job, but has no chance at graduate school if GMAT or GRE scores are also low. In the 3-2 model, there are not enough credits to have a shot at a career in accounting, finance, or business.

This is one of the reasons most states require 150-credits to sit for the CPA exam without explicitly requiring a masters degree. This practice was first started in Florida to give accounting majors a shot at the CPA examination when they either could not or did not earn a masters degree.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at


"Countries and Culture in Behavioral Finance," by Meir Statman ---

Behavioral finance has made important contributions to the field of investing by focusing on the cognitive and emotional aspects of the investment decision-making process. Although it is tempting to say that people are the same everywhere, the collective set of common experiences that people of the same culture share will influence their cognitive and emotional approach to investing. In this article, the author discusses the many cultural differences that may influence investor behavior and how these differences may influence the recommendations of a financial advisor.

Bob Jensen's threads on Behavioral and Cultural Economics and Finance ---

Here’s an example of where an outstanding teacher combines onsite teaching with online tools masterfully.
Jim Mahar clued me in about this link.

How can you build both a reputation for being the best teacher in your college and the hardest teacher in your college?

It's elementary Watson --- It's all a matter of deduction!

"Garven Receives Teaching Award from American Risk and Insurance Association," Baylor University, August 29, 2009 ---

Award recognizes finance professor's integrated teaching methods, accessibility outside office hours

The American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA) has named Baylor University's Dr. James Garven the recipient of its Excellence in Teaching award.

Garven, a professor of finance and insurance at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, holds The Frank S. Groner Memorial Chair of Finance and also serves as Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) Program director at Baylor. ARIA is the premier international academic association for research in risk management and insurance.

"What sets Dr. Garven apart is his unique teaching methods and genuine care and concern for his students," said Katie Emler, a 2009 Baylor graduate who earned her BBA in risk management and insurance. "Rumors had circulated about Garven being the hardest professor in the business school, and others that Garven's class was the best class offered at Baylor. Both of these rumors proved to be true," she said.

Garven, who teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate level, uses a pedagogical approach oriented toward building deductive problem solving skills that are based upon principles of finance, economic and statistics.

"In spite of all that risk management insurance and finance have in common," he said, "only recently have attempts been made in scholarship and pedagogy to synthesize the two fields."

Garven integrates information technologies such as the Web, blogging, e-mail, social media and instant messaging to provide his students access to course materials and research at their convenience. It also means he's highly accessible and responsive when students want to ask a question or discuss an issue with him outside of typical office hours.

Another former student, Rakesh Arora, MBA '08, described Garven as "excellent, dedicated and approachable... His discussion bridged the gap between the practical application and academic theory."

ARIA initiated the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007. This award recognizes excellence in risk management and insurance teaching. Applicants have a distinguished record of excellent teaching throughout their academic career. This award is a non-monetary award and is awarded only in years when an exceptional candidate is identified.

About Baylor Business

Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business holds to a visionary standard of excellence whereby integrity stands shoulder to shoulder with analytic and strategic strengths to build leaders, not simply careers. In addition to state-of-the-art skill development in the functional areas of business -- accounting, finance, marketing, information technology, management and others -- students develop ethics skills that yield credibility and true leadership potential in today's organizations.

The most likely source of the review-overload problem is that the reviewer pool has become too constricted. Editors are relying too much on the same set of reviewers. I'm guessing that many of the other 10,499 potential reviewers in the ASA are never asked to pitch in. Another segment simply refuses to review—burned out, tired of wasting time, or just plain selfish, their critical contribution to the discipline is lost.
"The Peer-Review System is Broken," by Daniel J. Myers, Chronicle of Higher Education's The Chronicle Review, September 4, 2009 , Page B4 --- http://chronicle.com/article/The-Peer-Review-System-Is-B/48187/

I fear writing this essay. I fear it because I'm sure that some journal editor out there is going to see my name and think, "Oh yeah, Dan Myers. We haven't asked him for a review in a while. He'd be perfect for that paper on X." Please, no, I beg you, a thousand times, no.

In the past month, I have been asked to review not one (which would be reasonable), or two (understandable), or three (excessive), four, five, six, or even seven manuscripts for publication, but indeed, a total of eight! While I confess to no small amount of pride in becoming what must be my discipline's pre-eminent arbiter of scholarly quality and its gatekeeper supreme, I really must object. It's getting impossible to produce any of my own work because I'm spending so much time assessing others'. And so far I'm only tallying journal manuscripts. On top of that, I have tenure and promotion cases, grant proposals, book manuscripts and prospectuses, and the everyday work of reading student papers and dissertation drafts (tasks for which I'm actually drawing salary).

Is this rate of review requests really necessary? Well, let's take a look at my discipline, sociology. The American Sociological Association claims to have some 14,000 members. Let's suppose that my past month's review rate is the accepted standard. Furthermore, imagine that only 75 percent (10,500) of ASA members are deemed acceptable reviewers. With those numbers, the association membership could generate more than one million reviews per year! Even if we cut the review rate to four per month, we'd still be able to produce 500,000 reviews per year.

Let's take that thought experiment one step further. Suppose a typical manuscript could claw its way through two rounds of reviews in a year (pretty speedy by today's standards), receiving three reviews on each round. Those 500,000 reviews could therefore handle almost 84,000 manuscripts each year, or six papers for every member of the ASA. Prolific as we are, sociologists don't produce an average of six papers a year, nor do we need a half-million journal-manuscript reviews to conduct our business each year.

Now if I were an isolated case, you could simply dismiss me as a crank and suggest that I learn to say no. Or if sociology were unique in its reviewing practices, you could just tell us to get our house in order. But I know from talking to colleagues in my own department, in other departments, and in other disciplines that I'm not all that isolated. I have many comrades (not "in arms" yet, but it is coming) who are experiencing an unbearable overload of review duties. And that is not the only problem with the review system.

Editors complain about frequent refusals from potential referees, low quality and brevity of reviews, lack of engagement with the papers' arguments and evidence, and the ever-increasing time it takes referees to produce their reports. Authors, especially graduate students and pretenure faculty members, also worry about the increased length of the review process and consider compromising on where their manuscript is published in hopes of getting another line on their CV before hitting the job market or submitting their tenure packets.

What are the sources of these problems? First, some journal editors are asking for too many reviews of each paper. Is it really necessary to have three, four, or five reviews to make a decision? Second, journal editors are far too reluctant to "reject without review." Many seem to reason that if a paper is submitted, it deserves to be reviewed. I disagree. By agreeing to review papers that have no chance of being published in the journal, editors are hobbling their journal's ability to give feedback where it really counts. Journals are not social-service agencies required to provide feedback to every poor soul with a half-baked idea. There are many ways to get feedback on one's work without submitting it to the premier journal in one's field. Every review wasted on an unworthy paper means fewer available for the papers that really need careful attention. Likewise, editors may be giving too many "revise and resubmit" decisions. It's nice to give authors a second chance, but the way most review processes unfold, issuing the R&R doubles the amount of review effort necessary for that paper. The paper ought to have more than just a chance—it ought to have an awfully good chance if we're going to double the amount of work that other people are putting into it.

Editors aren't the only ones creating the problem, of course. Authors too often submit papers to journals that are beyond their reach. Then, after the papers are rejected, the authors blindly submit them to other journals, having paid little or no attention to the critiques generated in the first submission. Reviewers write unengaged, useless reviews, requiring editors to get more reviews before making a decision. That produces an overload on other reviewers, who skim papers and write hasty reviews, or take forever to get to their eighth review request of the month.

The most likely source of the review-overload problem is that the reviewer pool has become too constricted. Editors are relying too much on the same set of reviewers. I'm guessing that many of the other 10,499 potential reviewers in the ASA are never asked to pitch in. Another segment simply refuses to review—burned out, tired of wasting time, or just plain selfish, their critical contribution to the discipline is lost.

Continued in article

Rankings of academic accounting journals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#JournalRankings

"Textbooks for the Disabled," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, August 28, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/08/28/access

The Association of American Publishers and the University of Georgia this week unveiled an electronic database aimed at making it easier for blind, dyslexic and otherwise impaired college students to get specialized textbooks in time for classes.

The database, called AccessText,, is designed to centralize the process by which electronic versions of textbooks are requested by colleges and supplied by publishers. Experts say it will allow disabled students to get their textbooks more efficiently, help colleges save money and avoid lawsuits, and protect publishers’ copyrights.

For students whose disabilities prevent them from using traditional texts, the normally straightforward task of acquiring books for their courses can be tedious and frustrating. Federal law requires that colleges and universities provide disabled students equal access to educational materials, but this is often easier said than done. College officials have to track down and contact the publisher of every textbook that each of its disabled students buys and request an electronic copy. If such a copy exists -- the likelihood shrinks the older the book and the smaller the publisher -- college officials still have to convert the file to a format that can be read by whatever reading aid the student uses. If not, the college has to wait, sometimes weeks, to obtain permission to scan the book and create its own electronic version.

Once a college has an electronic copy, converting to a readable format can be another complex process, says Sean Keegan, associate director of assistive technology at Stanford University. Math and science texts often arrive as scanned pages, and cannot always be easily read by the character-recognition software the university uses to turn them into standard electronic files, Keegan says. “That can take a longer amount of time to process that material internally and turn it around and give that to the student efficiently,” he says.

Meanwhile, delays in the process can make it impossible for disabled students to prepare for and participate in classes. “Students need to have a book in time so they can do the assigned reading and study for tests and papers,” says Gaeir Dietrich, interim director of high-tech training for the California Community Colleges system. “So if the book doesn’t come until the term has been in session for three or four weeks, that puts that student very far behind.” Some students have sued colleges over such delays, she says.

AccessText aims to mitigate these woes by streamlining the request and delivery process, says Ed McCoyd, executive director for accessibility affairs at AAP.

“There’s a lot of transactional friction taking place currently,” says McCoyd. “What AccessText is trying to do is take some of that out of the transaction by having parties agree to streamlined rules up front.”

Having colleges submit requests using the AccessText portal should eliminate the need for the publishers to require endless paperwork with each request to protect its copyrights, McCoyd says. Under the system, the copyright protection agreements can be handled once, during registration, and the requester’s bona fides can be verified by a log-in.

Currently, colleges that get tired of waiting for publishers to process the paperwork and procure an electronic copy of a text sometimes just scan a text themselves to try to satisfy the needs of disabled students in a timely fashion, says Dietrich.

AccessText is also set up to eliminate the need for different colleges to convert the same text to a readable format once it is acquired. Currently “numerous schools could be doing the exact same thing, converting the same text,” says Bruce Hildebrand, executive director for higher education at the publishers' association. Under the new system, “if one school has already spent the time and the money to convert a file to a format, they could advise the AccessText network, which could then make the info available that it was still available in that format, and that school could share it with another school” -- thereby sparing those colleges the time and resources it would have used to convert the file themselves, he says.

Eight major publishing houses paid a total of just under $1 million to develop the AccessText network and maintain it through its beta phase, which will end next July. From then on, it will sustain itself by billing member colleges between $375 and $500 annually, depending on size.

Dietrich notes that community colleges might not benefit from the AccessText network as much as other institutions, since “we have a lot more vocational classes and basic-skills classes, and a lot of those books don’t come through those big publishers, they come through specialized publishers,” she says. “It doesn’t solve that part of the problem for us.”

The network includes 92 percent of all college textbook publishers and is recruiting even more, according to AAP officials.

Bob Jensen's threads on technology aids for handicapped learners are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#Handicapped

Are students headed for the Facebook exits?

"Reports of Facebook's Death ... Exaggerated?" by Jeff Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 28, 2009 ---

Is the Facebook party breaking up? We still hear that plenty of students and professors are addicted to the social-networking site, but a New York Times Magazine article out today says that even though overall numbers on the site are up, a vocal group is heading for the exits.

"I have noticed the exodus, and I kind of feel like it's kids getting tired of a new toy," one writer told the Times in the very anecdotal account.

An article earlier this month in The Guardian took note of the trend as well, arguing that the "cool cyberkids" are starting to abandon Facebook because too many old fogies have showed up on the social network.

Some professors have been part of the recent group leaving Facebook. Dan Cohen, director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, left Facebook earlier this year and talked about it on his podcast, Digital Campus.

Will students' interest in Facebook fade this year? Will professors lose interest? Or are reports of the site's demise greatly exaggerted?

Bob Jensen's threads on social networking are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

Jensen's Helpers for Case Writers

August 28, 2009 message from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]

Here's an apropos question given recent threads.

What do you believe are the best resources available for learning how to write a good accounting case?

Are there any online resources?

(I should have checked Bob's website first!)


August 28, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Pat,

Becoming a case writer might entail a career shift in your “case.”

The number one thing that leads to great cases is access to information inside a corporation or not-for-profit organization. It’s here where the most prestigious universities with powerful alumni (e.g., Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, etc. have a valuable edge). The rest of us have to do the best we can.

Of course the prestigious schools also have professional case writing experts who work alongside faculty, such that professors who really want to write successful cases also have an edge when being on the faculty of prestigious universities like Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford.

Having said this, there are countless cases that emerge from Cactus Gulch Colleges of this world. Much depends upon the dedication to case writing and case writing organizations ECCH --- http://www.ecch.com/

My hero in this regard in Marilyn Taylor who got me involved in a number of NACRA teaching workshops (my job was only to make presentations on education technology). Marilyn is a management professor (University of Missouri in Kansas City) who has been very active in the North American Case Research Association. Among other things NACRA meets to critique each others’ cases, and critique they do. This can lead to much better case writing if you’ve got a tough skin for constructive criticism.
The NACRA home page is at http://www.nacra.net/nacra/

Most really active faculty in NACRA have made a career choice to concentrate writing efforts on cases. As a result they are great writers who seldom appear in TAR, JAR, or JAE. But they do get their case published and enjoy each others’ company.

NACRA reminds me of the annual poet critiquing conference that meets for a couple of weeks every summer down the road from where I live --- in the Robert Frost farmhouse museum. See my photograph and commentary on this way of learning to write poetry --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2007/tidbits070905.htm

The top case writers from Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton are not likely to be active in NACRA, Active people in NACRA are more apt to come from Babson, Bentley, Northeastern, and state universities like South Carolina.

Over the last four years in my capacity as the Associate Editor of the Case Research Journal I have reviewed numerous cases. Many of them had considerable potential but were poorly developed. This is unfortunate because even though there is no standard formula for writing effective cases there are certain guidelines which I believe consistently lead to better cases. Therefore, at the request of the North American Case Research Association, the purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the guidelines I use when reviewing cases. I will organize my discussion around the four criteria the Case Research Journal uses for evaluating cases: (1) case focus, (2) case data, (3) case organization, and (4) writing style.


Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well.

"What Will They Learn?" by Walter E. Williams, Townhall, August 26, 2009 --- http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/08/26/what_will_they_learn 

When parents plunk down $20, $30, $40 and maybe $50 thousand this fall for a year's worth of college room, board and tuition, it might be relevant to ask: What will their children learn in return? The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) ask that question in their recently released publication, "What Will They Learn: A Report on the General Education Requirements at 100 of the Nation's Leading Colleges and Universities."

ACTA conducted research to see whether 100 major institutions require seven key subjects: English composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. What ACTA found was found was alarming, reporting that "Even as our students need broad-based skills and knowledge to succeed in the global marketplace, our colleges and universities are failing to deliver. Topics like U.S. government or history, literature, mathematics, and economics have become mere options on far too many campuses. Not surprisingly, students are graduating with great gaps in their knowledge -- and employers are noticing."

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that only 31 percent of college graduates can read and understand a complex book. Employers complain that graduates of colleges lack the writing and analytical skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. A 2006 survey conducted by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 24 percent of employers thought graduates of four-year colleges were "excellently prepared" for entry-level positions. College seniors perennially fail tests of their civic and historical knowledge.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni graded the 100 surveyed colleges and universities on their general education requirements. Forty-two institutions received a "D" or an "F" for requiring two or fewer subjects. Twenty-five of them received an "F" for requiring one or no subjects. No institution required all seven. Five institutions received an "A" for requiring six general education subjects. They were Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Texas A&M, University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), United States Military Academy (West Point) and University of Texas at Austin. Twenty institutions received a "C" for requiring three subjects and 33 received a "B" for requiring four or five subjects. ACTA maintains a website keeping the tally at Whatwilltheylearn.com.

ACTA says that "paying a lot doesn't get you a lot." Generally, the higher the tuition, the less likely there are rigorous general education requirements. Average tuition and fees at the 11 schools that require no subjects is $37,700; however, average tuition at the five schools that require six subjects is $5,400. Average tuition fees at the top national universities and liberal arts colleges are $35,000 (average grade is "F").

Dishonest and manipulative college administrators might try to rebut the report saying, "We have general education requirements." At one major state university, students may choose from over 100 different classes to meet a history requirement. At other colleges, students may satisfy general education requirements with courses such as "Introduction to Popular TV and Movies" and "Science of Stuff." Still other colleges allow the study of "Bob Dylan" to meet a literature requirement and "Floral Art" to meet a natural science requirement.

ACTA's report concludes by saying that a coherent core reflects, in the words of federal judge Jose Cabranes, "a series of choices -- the choice of the lasting over the ephemeral; the meritorious over the meretricious; the thought-provoking over the merely self-affirming." A general education curriculum, when done well, is one that helps students "ensure that their studies -- and their lives -- are well-directed."

ACTA says that a recent study reports that 89 percent of institutions surveyed said they were in the process of modifying or assessing their programs. What these and other institutions need is for boards of trustees, parents and alumni to provide the necessary incentive to administrators and there's little more effective in opening the closed minds of administrators than the sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut.

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well.

Our Compassless Colleges:  What are students really not learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Berkowitz

Ga. Jury Awards $450K to Student Whistle Blower
A state jury in Georgia on Thursday awarded $450,000 to a former student at Appalachian Technical College who was expelled after she complained to administrators there about the performance of an instructor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. According to the newspaper's account, Sara Castle told officials at the college that an instructor in the nursing program in which she was enrolled repeatedly dismissed students from class early, making it impossible for them to complete their required clinical training. The instructor was fired, but Castle herself was soon expelled, and she sued. The jury awarded her $400,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 for emotional duress, the newspaper said. Georgia's attorney general represented the technical college, and a spokesman said the state disagreed with the verdict and would consider its options.
Inside Higher Ed, August 28, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/08/28/qt#206796

Money Market Funds Are Not as Risk Free as Bank Accounts
What very few people are talking about, however, is a more radical solution to the moral hazard question raised by money market funds. Maybe the right approach now is to acknowledge the truth. Money market funds are not, in fact, turbocharged bank accounts. They are investment vehicles. However “safe” the securities they invest in, they contain an element of risk. Indeed, the very reason they yield more than savings accounts is that they are riskier. That’s how investing works. So maybe, in this post-Reserve Fund world, it’s time for the industry — and investors — to stop pretending that money funds are risk-free. As it turns out, there is a pretty simple way to do this. As it also turns out, the money market fund industry is dead-set against it.
Joe Nocera, "It’s Time to Admit That Money Funds Involve Risk," The New York Times, August 28, 2009 ---

Why Active Investing is a Negative Sum Game
William F. Sharpe has a great article in the January/February 1991 issue of The Financial Analysts Journal (Vol. 47, No.1, pages 7-9). The title is "The Arithmetic of Active Management." It should be required reading for academics and investment professionals alike . . . Active management is always a zero sum game, before fees, expenses, and trading costs, regardless of market conditions. If there are active winners, they win at the expense of active losers. And active management is always a negative sum game after costs. This is an algebraic condition, not a hypothesis. We call it equilibrium accounting. Moreover, our research on individual mutual funds says that it's impossible to identify true winners on a reliable basis, even if one ignores the costs that active funds impose on investors. Funds that seem to be winners, based on past returns, were probably lucky rather than smart. After costs, that is in terms of returns to investors, there is no game to play; there is no evidence of managers with enough information to cover costs, other than on a purely chance basis. And there is no evidence that this depends on market conditions. If you are interested, see our paper Mutual Fund Performance.
Eugene Fama and Kenneth French, Q&A --- http://www.dimensional.com/famafrench/qa/

Bob Jensen's investment helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#InvestmentHelpers

"Madoff Inquiry Was Fumbled by S.E.C., Report Says," by David Stout, The New York Times, September 2, 2009 ---

In a damning report on the S.E.C.’s performance, the agency’s inspector general, H. David Kotz, said numerous “red flags” had been missed by the agency, including some warnings sounded by journalists, well before Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme imploded in 2008.

Mr. Kotz concluded that, “despite numerous credible and detailed complaints,” the S.E.C. never properly investigated Mr. Madoff “and never took the necessary, but basic, steps to determine if Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme.”

“Had these efforts been made with appropriate follow-up at any time beginning in June of 1992 until December 2008, the S.E.C. could have uncovered the Ponzi scheme well before Madoff confessed,” the report concluded.

That Mr. Madoff’s scheme, estimated to have fleeced as much as $65 billion from investors who ranged from the famous to middle-class people who entrusted him with their life savings, was not caught earlier was not because of his cleverness, the report said. Rather, it was because the S.E.C. fumbled three agency exams and two investigations because of inexperience, incompetence and lack of internal communications.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

I must be psychic, because I've been saying this all along --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm
So has Amy Dunbar --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/002cpe/Dunbar2002.htm

"The Medium is Not the Message,"  by Jonathan Kaplan, Inside Higher Ed, August 11, 2009 ---
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Introduction

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education released a report that looked at 12 years' worth of education studies, and found that online learning has clear advantages over face-to-face instruction.

The study, "An Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies," stated that “students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.”

Except for one article,
on this Web site, you probably didn’t hear about it -- and neither did anyone else.

But imagine for a moment that the report came to the opposite conclusion. I’m sure that if the U.S. Department of Education had published a report showing that students in online learning environments performed worse, there would have been a major outcry in higher education with calls to shut down distance-learning programs and close virtual campuses.

I believe the reason that the recent study elicited so little commentary is due to the fact that it flies in the face of the biases held by some across the higher education landscape. Yet this study confirms what those of us working in distance education have witnessed for years: Good teaching helps students achieve, and good teaching comes in many forms.

We know that online learning requires devout attention on the part of both the professor and the student -- and a collaboration between the two -- in a different way from that of a face-to-face classroom. These critical aspects of online education are worth particular mention:

At Walden University, where I am president, we have been holding ourselves accountable for years, as have many other online universities, regarding assessment. All universities must ensure that students are meeting program outcomes and learning what they need for their jobs. To that end, universities should be better able to demonstrate -- quantitatively and qualitatively -- the employability and success of their students and graduates.

Recently, we examined the successes of Walden graduates who are teachers in the Tacoma, Wash., public school system, and found that students in Walden teachers’ classes tested with higher literacy rates than did students taught by teachers who earned their master’s from other universities. There could be many reasons for this, but, especially in light of the U.S. Department of Education study, it seems that online learning has contributed meaningfully to their becoming better teachers.

In higher education, there is still too much debate about how we are delivering content: Is it online education, face-to-face teaching, or hybrid instruction? It’s time for us to stop categorizing higher education by the medium of delivery and start focusing on its impact and outcomes.

Recently, President Obama remarked, “I think there’s a possibility that online education can provide, especially for people who are already in the workforce and want to retrain, the chance to upgrade their skills without having to quit their job.” As the U.S. Department of Education study concluded, online education can do that and much more.

But Kaplan above ignores some of the dark side aspects of distance education and education technology in general --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm
The biggest hurdle, in my opinion, is that if distance education is done correctly with intensive online communications, instructors soon become burned out. In an effort to avoid burn out, much of the learning effectiveness is lost. Hence the distance education paradox.

Jerry Trites in Nova Scotia forwarded the link below:
"Online learning boosts student performance," by Don Tapscott,  Grownup Digital, August 20, 2009 --- http://www.grownupdigital.com/index.php/2009/08/online-learning-boosts-student-performance/  

The U.S. Department of Education has just released a report comparing traditional face-to-face classroom instruction to learning supplemented or completely replaced by online learning. The conclusion: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.”

The most effective teaching method blended face-to-face learning with online learning. The study notes that this blended learning often includes additional learning time because students can proceed at their own pace and lets them repeat material they find difficult.

The 93-page report, entitled an Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, was conducted by SRI International. Researchers looked at more than a thousand studies conducted between 1996 to 2008. Analysts then screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size.

Most of the comparative studies were done in colleges and adult continuing-education programs of various kinds, including medical training, higher education and corporate training. The researchers said they were surprised to find so few rigorous studies of K-12 students, so the report urges caution when applying the results to younger students.

Barbara Means, the study’s lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International, was quoted on the New York Times’ website that “The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing - it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction.”

The story notes that until fairly recently, online education amounted to little more than electronic versions of the old-line correspondence courses. That has really changed with arrival of Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools. The study was limited to research of Web-based instruction (i.e., eliminating studies of video- and audio-based telecourses or stand-alone, computer-based instruction).

The real promise of online education is providing learning experiences that are more tailored to individual students than is possible in classrooms. In Grown Up Digital, I describe this as “student-focused” learning as opposed to traditional “teacher-focused” broadcast techniques with the teacher in front of a large class. The story correctly notes that online learning enables more “learning by doing,” which many students find more engaging and useful.

The moral of the story: Students would be better served with much of the curriculum being online. And to repeat what I said in the book, this does not mean a diminished role for teachers. Their time would be freed up to give extremely valuable one-on-one teaching.

August 28, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

One of the most successful distance education programs in the world, in my viewpoint, is the masters degree program headquartered in Vancouver called the Chartered Accountancy School of Business --- http://www.casb.com/

If you live in Western Canada, you obtain your CA designation by enrolling in the CA School of Business. The CASB program is flexible, combining the successful completion of a series of online modules with a three-year term of professional experience. Find out more about our program.

Some years back I was one of the outside reviewers brought in to examine CASB. I was impressed by the quality of this degree program and the tough standards of the program.

CASB is one of the few competency-based graduate programs in the world. By competency-based I mean that instructors have inputs in designing examinations for all students in the program, but at the same time, have no input in grading individual students. There can be no instructor-option subjective factors when assigning grades, which means no changes in grade for effort and interpersonal relationships.

The success of the CASB program, however, is a bit biased as is the success of the ADEPT Masters of Engineering distance education program in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Firstly, students admitted to these programs were top undergraduate students majoring in very difficult concentrations. Secondly, in the case of the CASB, the students are all employed full time in Chartered Accountancy firms and are under heavy pressure to do well at all stages of the three year program.

Students do meet face-to-face on some weekends (monthly?) for some live classes --- case studies and examinations..

One other competency-based distance education program that has been booming in recent years is Western Governors University in the U.S. --- http://www.wgu.edu/

Most other distance education programs allow instructors more latitude in assigning grades.

Bob Jensen

The one thing to keep in mind is that there is no one pedagogy that is best in all circumstances. And our best students are probably going to get A grades under any pedagogy --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#AssessmentIssues 

The failing of distance education lies more in the instructors than the students. If done well, distance education tends to burn out instructors and takes an extraordinary amount of time relative to teaching onsite. If done poorly, the culprit is most likely the tendency to assign part-time or otherwise non-tenured instructors to the distance education courses. At the other extreme we have the dregs of the tenured faculty assigned to the distance education division.

The really bright spots in distance education are the times when the practicing professionals who are really good at their craft take on a distance education course either as a public service or as an experiment to see how they like teaching. The University of Phoenix has been good at attracting some top professionals.


The Chronicle of Higher Education has extensively studied performance of distance education
One such study was conducted by senior editor Blumenstyk

The Chronicle
's Goldie Blumenstyk has covered distance education for more than a decade, and during that time she's written stories about the economics of for-profit education, the ways that online institutions market themselves, and the demise of the 50-percent rule. About the only thing she hadn't done, it seemed, was to take a course from an online university. But this spring she finally took the plunge, and now she has completed a class in government and nonprofit accounting through the University of Phoenix. She shares tales from the cy ber-classroom -- and her final grade -- in a podcast with Paul Fain, a Chronicle reporter.
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2008 (Audio) --- http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v54/i40/cyber_classroom/

·         All course materials (including textbooks) online; No additional textbooks to purchase

·         $1,600 fee for the course and materials

·         Woman instructor with respectable academic credentials and professional experience in course content

·         Instructor had good communications with students and between students

·         Total of 14 quite dedicated online students in course, most of whom were mature with full-time day jobs

·         30% of grade from team projects

·         Many unassigned online helper tutorials that were not fully utilized by Goldie

·         Goldie earned a 92 (A-)

·         She gave a positive evaluation to the course and would gladly take other courses if she had the time

·         She considered the course to have a heavy workload

I don't usually post advertisements to my Web page unless I think they fit into the context of recent discussion
A unique online program—and the nation’s only advanced degree program in governmental accounting—the Masters in Governmental Accounting at Rutgers Business School prepares graduates to take advantage of career opportunities in one of today’s fastest growing specialized fields— governmental accounting, auditing, and finance. The 10-course program is designed for prospective CPAs, practicing CPAs, MBAs, MPAs, and accounting students who want to specialize and advance their careers in government financial management. Through its online offerings, students can earn the Masters in Governmental Accounting degree without ever setting foot in a classroom, allowing them to continue in their careers as they build their knowledge and expertise.
A September 2, 2008 email message from AccountingWEB.com [emailbulletin@mail.accountingweb.com]

There is strong empirical support for online learning, especially the enlightening SCALE experiments at the University of Illinois --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois

August 11, 2009 reply from Steve Markoff [smarkoff@KIMSTARR.ORG]


I've always believed that the role of the teacher is one of FACILITATOR.  My role in the classroom is making it EASIER for information to move from one place to another - from point A to point B.  This could be from textbook to student, it could be from the outside world to the student, from another student to the student, from the student him or herself to that same student AND from teacher to student (me to them).  In defining the word 'teaching', I think many people overemphasize the last transition that I mentioned, thinking that the primary movement of information is from them(the teacher) to the students.  In fact, it constitutes a minority of total facilitated information flow in a college classroom.  I think this misunderstanding leads many to underestimate the value of other sources in the education process other than themselves.  Online content is just one of many alternative sources. 

Unfortunately, online formats do allow certain professors to hide behind the electronic cloak and politely excuse themselves from the equation, which greatly hurts the student.  Also, online formats can be fertile ground for professors who lack not only the desire to 'teach' but the ability and thus become mere administrators versus teachers.


Hi John and Pat and Others,

I would not say that out loud to Amy Dunbar or Denny Beresford that they’re easy graders ---

I would not say that out loud to the graduates of two principles of accounting weed out courses year after year at Brigham Young University where classes meet on relatively rare occasion for inspiration about accountancy but not technical learning --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm#BYUvideo

Try to tell the graduates of Stanford University’s ADEPT Masters of Electrical Engineering program that they had an easier time of it because the entire program was online.

There’s an interesting article entitled how researchers misconstrue causality:

Like elaborately plumed birds … we preen and strut and display our t-values.” That was Edward Leamer’s uncharitable description of his profession in 1983.

“Cause and Effect:  Instrumental variable help to isolate causal relationships, but they can be taken too far,” The Economist, August 15-21, 20098 Page 68.

It is often the case that distance education courses are taught by non-tenured instructors, and non-tenured instructors may be easier with respect to grading than tenured faculty because they are even more in need of strong teaching evaluations --- so as to not lose their jobs. The problem may have nothing whatsoever to do with online versus onsite education --- ergo misconstrued causality.

I think it’s very rewarding to look at grading in formal studies using the same full-time faculty teaching sections of online versus onsite students. By formal study, I mean using the same instructors, the same materials, and essentially the same examinations. The major five-year, multimillion dollar study that first caught my eye was the SCALE experiments on the campus of the University of Illinois where 30 courses from various disciplines were examined over a five year experiment.

Yes the SCALE experiments showed that some students got higher grades online, notably B students who became A students and C students who became A students. The online pedagogy tended to have no effect on D and F students --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm#Illinois

Listen to Dan Stone’s audio about the SCALE Experiments --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/000cpe/00start.htm

But keep in mind that in the SCALE experiments, the same instructor of a course was grading both the online and onsite sections of the same course. The reason was not likely to be that online sections were easier. The SCALE experiments collected a lot of data pointing to more intense communications with instructors and more efficient use of student’s time that is often wasted in going to classes.

The students in the experiment were full time on campus students, such that the confounding problems of having adult part-time students was not a factor in the SCALE experiments of online, asynchronous learning.


A Statement About Why the SCALE Experiments Were Funded
ALN = Asynchronous Learning
We are particularly interested in new outcomes that may be possible through ALN. Asynchronous computer networks have the potential to improve contact with faculty, perhaps making self-paced learning a realizable goal for some off- and on-campus students. For example, a motivated student could progress more rapidly toward a degree. Students who are motivated but find they cannot keep up the pace, may be able to slow down and take longer to complete a degree, and not just drop out in frustration. So we are interested in what impact ALN will have on outcomes such as time-to-degree and student retention. There are many opportunities where ALN may contribute to another outcome: lowering the cost of education, e.g., by naturally introducing new values for old measures such as student-faculty ratios. A different kind of outcome for learners who are juggling work and family responsibilities, would be to be able to earn a degree or certification at home. This latter is a special focus for us.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in
Learning Outside the Classroom at 

Another study that I love to point to was funded by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Read about when one of the Chronicle’s senior editors took a Governmental Accounting Course at the University of Phoenix during which the instructor of the course had not idea that Goldie Blumenstyk was assessing how difficult or how easy the course was for students in general. I think Goldie’s audio report of her experience is still available from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Goldie came away from the course exhausted.

The Chronicle's Goldie Blumenstyk has covered distance education for more than a decade, and during that time she's written stories about the economics of for-profit education, the ways that online institutions market themselves, and the demise of the 50-percent rule. About the only thing she hadn't done, it seemed, was to take a course from an online university. But this spring she finally took the plunge, and now she has completed a class in government and nonprofit accounting through the University of Phoenix. She shares tales from the cy ber-classroom -- and her final grade -- in a podcast with Paul Fain, a Chronicle reporter.
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2008 (Audio) --- http://chronicle.com/media/audio/v54/i40/cyber_classroom/

·         All course materials (including textbooks) online; No additional textbooks to purchase

·         $1,600 fee for the course and materials

·         Woman instructor with respectable academic credentials and experience in course content

·         Instructor had good communications with students and between students

·         Total of 14 quite dedicated online students in course, most of whom were mature with full-time day jobs

·         30% of grade from team projects

·         Many unassigned online helper tutorials that were not fully utilized by Goldie

·         Goldie earned a 92 (A-)

·         She gave a positive evaluation to the course and would gladly take other courses if she had the time

·         She considered the course to have a heavy workload


"U. of Phoenix Reports on Its Students' Academic Achievement," by Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 5, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/06/3115n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en


The 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement, released November 13, 2006, for the first time offers a close look at distance education, offering provocative new data suggesting that e-learners report higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and academic challenge than their on-campus peers --- http://nsse.iub.edu/NSSE_2006_Annual_Report/index.cfm

"The Engaged E-Learner," by Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, November 13, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/13/nsse

August 27, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]

This email actually has a lot of related but seemingly unrelated questions. Thanks in advance.

Anyone know what type of compensation schools like the University of Phoenix offer to their instructors?

Is this compensation similar to adjunct compensation at most regular Universities?

My assumption is that full-time faculty compensation is comparable regardless of whether they teach on- or "off-" line but I could be mistaken.

Anyone know what the normal course load would be for an on-line instructor? (Amy?) Is is comparable to their colleagues in off-line classrooms?

As someone who spends much of her "free" time learning her avocations in workshops and off-line classes (even though youtube has good knitting videos), this is a whole new world for me.

The closest I've come to on-line teaching is collaborative review sessions for my exec students. I decided that these "in-between" calls and on-line sessions were essential if I was going to keep them on track during the month between in person classes. These sessions were actually more work for me than calling them into the classroom because all of the "lecture slides" had to be prepared "in good form" in advance.


August 27, 2009 message from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

Hi Pat,

I can respond to a couple of your questions:

>My assumption is that full-time faculty compensation is comparable regardless of whether they teach on- or "off-" line but I could be mistaken. 

>Anyone know what the normal course load would be for an on-line instructor?  (Amy?) Is is comparable to their colleagues in off-line classrooms?

I teach four sections of ACCT 5571, Taxation for Business Entities.  Three sections are in the summer and have between 85 and 105 students total.  We cap sections at 35 students.  I teach one section in the fall, and occasionally I have an overload for a FTF PhD seminar.  Our offload courses are paid at the same rate whether they are online of FTF.

I just finished reading a couple archive articles on online teaching from the Chronicle of Higher Education, one write who hated online teaching and another who loved it.  I am one who loves online teaching, but I miss being the “sage on the stage” on occasion.  But that’s because of my wants, not because I think it is a more effective way to teach.  There are ways to overcome every obstacle the negative article described, with perhaps time being the toughest one to handle. I have noticed, however, over the years that students use AIM, my chat tool of choice, to contact me less often, but instead work with other students online more often.  Perhaps my materials are becoming better over time, so there is less confusion.  I created my own online text with links to spreadsheets, videos, and self-tests incorporated in the modules. In addition, I create new homework sets every semester because I know my old ones are out there in cyberspace.  I do not charge any textbook fee because my modules are personal, incorporating pictures of grandchildren on occasion, and certainly humor here and there.  I really enjoy playing with technology, so teaching online gives me a chance to explore new ways of providing learning tools.

Perhaps the biggest advantage we have at UConn is that we have TAs for our MSA courses.  My TA was one of my top students, and he applied to become my TA after he earned his MSA.  He handles one of the 3 scheduled nights of office hours, works on the homework sets (either he writes them and I review them or vice versa), and he grades the three Excel projects after I run them through a grading macro. I generally go online at various times besides the scheduled office hours, which run from 7 to 10 three nights a week, with the deal that if anyone is online needing help we stay online to help.  Thursdays are my toughest days because I am frequently on until 11 or 11:30.  I also log on AIM when students set up a time they want to meet. 

My students meet at least once a week in a group chat session, and they post the chats on the group boards (or forums as some instructors call them)..  The most time consuming thing that I do is read the chats which sometimes go on for several hours, depending on how lengthy the homework quizzes are.  I create a summary of the week, using snippets of chat that made me laugh, cry, or go omg.  I do not use the student names, but as the semester goes on they try to figure out what will get captured in the summary of the week.  I also can figure out where students are having trouble when more than one group is struggling with an issue, and I can respond by revising the content module.  I also have boards that are dedicated to the content modules, the homework (quizzes), projects, and exams.  I praise students who find errors or confusing wording.  The course is very interactive.  At the end of the semester, I feel the same pangs of loss that I felt when my FTF classes ended.  In many ways, I know my online students better and many stay in touch.    

That was way more than you wanted to know, but I get carried away when I talk about online teaching.  And now I am going back to my vacation.  Today is the last day in an awesome week at Bar Harbor Maine in Acadia and Bristol Rhode Island in Colt State Park. 



September 1, 2009 message from Hossein Nouri [hnouri@TCNJ.EDU]

I am wondering how those teaching on-line courses give recommendation letters. Is only academic performance evaluated in the recommendation? i.e., is it possible to evaluate a student on team work, character, etc. when on-line teaching is used?

Hossein Nouri

September 2 reply from Bob Jensen

Outstanding distance education teachers are more about how much you got inside the head of a student rather than knowing what they look like. Great distance education teachers like Amy Dunbar will tell you that online is often the best way to get inside a student's head --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/002cpe/Dunbar2002.htm  This is especially so with her instant messaging (IM or AIM) messaging with students.

There are many important variables that affect our ability to recommend students or former students on some basis other than grades on projects, examinations, and courses. Firstly, there is the issue of class size. I think Harvard Law School and Business School live classes often have over 90 students. I don't think I would be able to get to know each student very well. I suspect I would have to search for records to remember where every student is from, each student's undergraduate major, each student's writing ability, each student's self confidence, etc.

Harvard's distance education courses are sometimes much smaller where I might be able to get inside a student's head much better. This is especially the case for shy students or some handicapped students like hearing impaired students.

One important variable in recommending a student is speaking skill. Live classes, especially case courses, make it possible to know more about each student's speaking skill in classes of under 30 students. How much air time do each of 90 students get in a 90-minute case discussion class? Remember that the instructor probably takes up a third or more of the time asking questions and making comments.

Another factor in a letter of recommendation is recall of a student's writing ability. I suspect that in distance education courses with lots of instructor-student communications, that the distance education courses have an edge on this one.

Another factor in a letter of recommendation is the student's team skills. Chat rooms and online team projects sometimes have an edge here because it is easier for the student to monitor communications between team members. And there can be more of a long-term record if such written communications are archived for years.

One last point is that, unless a professor has been really close with a student and writes pages for letters of recommendation, I'm not sure what letters of recommendation are really worth. This is the era of litigation. Many (most?) professors will not write negative letters of recommendation about any student or colleague. I wouldn’t.

Having said that, I taught live courses most of my career with very small graduate classes (usually less than 25 students). Virtually all students who feared a negative letter never asked me to write a letter of recommendation. Hence, I only had to write positive letters, and I usually tried to play to the strengths of the student that I'd learned onsite and online. On occasion, I wrote very long supportive letters, especially for my former students who, after working in practice, were seeking admission to doctoral programs.

I honestly think I could've written the same recommendation letters had I known the students only online. One exception might've been the issue of speaking skills. But if the student was a lousy speaker I probably would’ve not mentioned it in a recommendation letter in any case.

Bob Jensen

Post Script

I recently wrote several letters of recommendation for somebody on the AECM that I’ve never met face-to-face.

Of course I had that person’s resume and an archive of all that person’s messaging on the AECM. I also sneaked a bit and went to RateMyProfessor where I found many good student evaluations (even though I realize that submissions to RateMyProfessor are haphazard and self-selecting).

 In my letters of recommendation, however, I made it very clear that I’d never met this person face-to-face.

Having said this, I would never have recommended this person if I also did not have important private email messaging that let me know more about this person than anybody else on the AECM and enough messaging to know that this person has become a close friend.

This is an example of getting into someone’s head from afar.

September 2, 2009 message from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]

Harry and Hossein,

I write reference letters regarding personal characteristics based on my interaction with students and their student/student interaction in AIM chat sessions and discussion board postings. For example, enthusiasm and leadership skills come through clearly. On occasion, I am so impressed with a student, I tell him/her I would be happy to write a reference letter in the future if needed. As Bob noted, if there are skills, such as public speaking, that I do not observe, I do not evaluate those skills.

Bob, thanks for all your kudos, but I have no doubt there are many online educators who would leave me in their dust. I attended a faculty gathering at UConn yesterday that made me realize once again that many educators are incorporating technology into their classes with great success. The faculty who impress me are the program directors, like Andy Rosman, our MSA director, and Bruce Lubich at Maryland, who have the vision for how to design online programs. I simply deliver a class along with many other faculty. And as in FTF classes, the most important characteristic, imo, is simply to care about your students.

Amy Dunbar


Online education is now part of "fabric" of public universities, a new study finds. But teaching on the Web is a lot of work, and professors are not happy about lack of support from administrators.
"Going For Distance," by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed,  August 31, 2009 ---

Online education is no longer a peripheral phenomenon at public universities, but many academic administrators are still treating it that way.

So says a comprehensive study released today by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Sloan National Commission on Online Learning, which gathered survey responses from more than 10,700 faculty members and 231 interviews with administrators, professors, and students at APLU institutions.

“I think it’s a call to action,” said Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts and chair of the Sloan online learning commission. “The leadership of universities has been trying to understand exactly how [online education] fits into their strategic plans, and what this shows is that faculty are ahead of the institutions in these online goals.”

According to the study, professors are open to teaching online courses (defined in the study as courses where at least 80 percent of the course is administered on the Web), but do not believe they are receiving adequate support from their bosses. On the whole, respondents to the faculty survey rated public universities “below average” in seven of eight categories related to online education, including support for online course development and delivery, protection of intellectual property, incentives for developing and delivering online courses, and consideration of online teaching activity in promotion and tenure decisions.

Still, more than a third of the faculty respondents had developed and taught an online course.

“The urban legend out there was that many faculty out there don’t want to participate” in online education, said Wilson. “Contrary to popular myths, faculty at all ages and levels are participating.”

Indeed, neither seniority nor tenure status held a significant bearing on whether a professor had ever developed or taught an online course. At the time the survey was administered, there were more professors with at least 20 years’ experience teaching an online course than professors with five years’ experience or less.

This despite the fact that developing and teaching a course online is more taxing than doing the same in a classroom -- according to the survey respondents, teaching online isn’t easy. “Faculty who get involved in online teaching have to be more reflective about their teaching,” Wilson said. Professors need to organize lecture notes and other materials with more care. They get more feedback from students. It’s more apparent when a student is falling behind and needs special attention.

Almost two-thirds of the faculty said it takes more effort to teach a course online than in a classroom, while 85 percent said more effort is required to develop one. While younger professors seem to have an easier time teaching online than older ones, more than half of respondents from the youngest faculty group agreed it was more time-consuming. Nearly 70 percent of all professors cited the extra effort necessary to develop Web courses as a crucial barrier to teaching online.

So if teaching an online course is a ton of work and support from administrators is lacking, why bother doing it? Most professors said they are motivated by their students’ need for flexible access to course materials, and a belief that the Web allows them to reach certain types of student more effectively.

“As a faculty member, when you’re teaching online, suddenly you have to be teaching 24/7,” said Samuel Smith, president emeritus of Washington State University. “…It’s more difficult, but the students get more contact.”

Given the extra work, more than 60 percent of faculty see inadequate compensation as a barrier to the further development of online courses. “If these rates of participation among faculty are going to continue to grow, institutions will have do a better job acknowledging the additional time and effort on the part of the faculty member,” said Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group and the study’s lead researcher. For some, that might mean that their online work should figure into tenure and promotion decisions. For others, “acknowledgment” might equate to some extra cash in their paycheck.

This is not a new request -- nor is the fact that it takes longer to develop and administer a college course online a new revelation. The American Federation of Teachers report on guidelines for good practice in distance education acknowledges that it takes “anywhere from 66 to 500 percent longer” to prepare an online course than a face-to-face one, and “additional compensation should be provided to faculty to meet the extensive time commitments of distance education.” The report noted that only half of the faculty it surveyed reported receiving extra compensation. That was in 2000.

The authors of today's APLU study conclude by recommending that public universities not only institute policies that “acknowledge and recognize” professors’ online education efforts, but also work develop “mechanisms that effectively incorporate online learning into the fabric and missions of the institutions.”

“It’s now a factual statement that online learning is woven into the fabric of higher education,” Wilson said. “It has grown faster over the last six years than any other sector of higher education … and it will keep growing.”

Bob Jensen's threads on asynchronous learning are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/255wp.htm

Dream on and think twice if you really win the lottery
I want younger women, faster horses, and older whiskey
Erika wants give it all to our children
Must be a gender difference thing

"How to Lose $3 Million in Six Years," by Mike Krumboltz, Buzz on Yahoo, September 1, 2009 ---
Link forwarded by Jim Mahar

Stop us if this sounds familiar: A very lucky person wins the lottery and expects life to change for the better, but instead, things go horribly wrong. It's a story as old as the hills, but each time it happens, it causes a huge commotion in Search. The latest "victim" of sudden wealth is a young woman from the U.K. who won millions of bucks several years ago, only to lose the vast majority of it shortly thereafter.

Callie Rogers was just 16 when she won a whopping $3 million in the lottery. Six years later, she reports that she blew untold sums on drugs, partying, exotic cars, and breast implants. A staggering $730,000 went to designer clothes alone, Ms. Rogers explains in an article from AOL. Says Rogers: "I honestly wish I'd never won the lottery money — and knowing what I know now I should have just given it all back to them." She's currently left with around $32,000.

In these trying economic times, Ms. Rogers will likely find little sympathy. Still, it's worth noting that she's hardly the first big winner who wished she'd never bought a ticket. There is such a thing as the lottery curse: As mentioned in a previous Buzz Log, there are numerous cases of lotto winners getting divorced due to stress and losing everything from poor investments. A few have even died at the hands of greedy relatives. A 2007 article from ABC will fill you in on a few more examples.

Knowing she's not the first jackpot winner to suffer hardship won't make her life any easier. But perhaps Ms. Rogers can take some comfort from the fact that there are others out there with eerily similar stories: They won big then lost big, and often wish they'd never even played.

"Lottery winners: The myth and reality," by H. Roy Kaplan, Journal of Gambling Studies, September 1987 ---

This paper is based on a study of 576 lottery winners from 12 states. Respondents to a mailed questionnaire included winners of sums ranging from $50,000 to millions. The data indicate that popular myths and stereotypes about winners were inaccurate. Specifically, winners came from various education and employment backgrounds and they were clustered in the higher income categories than the general population indicating that lotteries might not be as regressive as popularly believed. Winners were older than the general population and more often male (60 versus 40%). There was significant association between the amount a person won and his or her work behavior. Individuals with psychologically and financially rewarding jobs continued working regardless of the amount they won, while people who worked in low paying semi-skilled and unskilled jobs were far more likely to quit the labor force. Contrary to popular beliefs, winners did not engage in lavish spending sprees and instead gave large amounts of their winnings to their children and their churches. The most common expenditures were for houses, automobiles and trips. It was found that overall, winners were well-adjusterd, secure and generally happy from the experience.
This study was funded by a grant from the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies in White Plains, New York.

Jensen Comment
In reality, I would get a bigger and better computer, Erika would spend a bit on the house and gardens, and we'd give the rest away (not all of it necessarily to our children, although we do love and admire our children). A lot depends upon how much we actually win net of taxes.

The share I give away would be to charities for younger women, faster horses, and older whiskey.

What would Socrates say about our computerized and networked world?

"Empathy in the Virtual World," by G. Anthony Gorry, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 2009 ---

We live increasingly "on the screen," deeply engaged with the patterns of light and energy upon which so much of modern life depends. At work we turn our backs to our coworkers, immersing ourselves in the flood of information engendered by countless computers. At the end of the workday, computers tag along with us in cellphones and music players. Still others, embedded in video displays, wait at home. They are all parts of an enormous electronic web woven on wires or only air. We marvel at what we can do with this technology. We turn less attention, however, to what the technology may be doing to us.

Recall Plato's allegory of the cave, in which Socrates tells of prisoners who are rigidly chained in a cave, facing a wall with a fire burning brightly behind them. Between the fire and the prisoners, people carry vessels, statues of animals made of wood and stone, and other things back and forth on a walkway. Held fast, the prisoners see only shadows on the wall and hear only echoes of the voices behind them. Mistaking these for reality, the prisoners vie with one another to name the shadowy shapes, and they judge one another by their facility for quickly recognizing the images.

A sorry scene, we say—a pale imitation of what life should be, a cruel punishment. We do not need philosophers or scientists to tell us that without social interaction, we would not be human. But what has the prisoners' plight to do with us? We are not in chains. We have many face-to-face engagements with others. And the centuries between that cave and the present have seen monumental developments in human consciousness: the emergence of language and imagination, and the invention of tools of communication that have enabled rhapsodes, scribes, and novelists to thrust us into lives real and invented. Today digital technology extends that reach, making possible ever-beguiling fabrications for entertainment and escape. It has put us at the gate of a magical garden crowded with many others who, from the flickers on a screen, clamor for our attention and concern.

If Socrates could wander the halls of our workplaces or visit our homes, he would be amazed by the advance of our multimedia computers over the primitive technology of his cave with its statues and firelight. Technology, however, never bestows its bounty freely, and Socrates might make us a bit uncomfortable with questions about the role that machines play in modern life: Do they bind us in subtle ways? Are they drawing us into such intimacy that life on the screen will soon replace the face-to-face community as the primary setting for social interaction? If so, at what cost?

I fear that we will pay for our entry into the magical garden of cyberspace with a loss of empathy—that our devotion to ephemeral images will diminish our readiness to care for those around us. We might hope, of course, for an increase in understanding, tolerance, and perhaps even empathy as technology makes more permeable the boundaries that presently divide communities and nations. Such benefits would surely be a boon to our troubled world. But as technology exposes us to the pain and suffering of so many others, it might also numb our emotions, distance us from our fellow humans, and attenuate our empathetic responses to their misfortunes. In our life on the screen, we might know more and more about others and care less and less about them.

What is the source of our feelings for others—the "pity for the sorrowful, anguish for the miserable, joy for the successful" that Adam Smith called fellow feeling? Perhaps it is simply in our nature to respond emotionally to those around us. Indeed, our emotional responses arise swiftly and unbidden, particularly in the presence of those bearing the weight of injury, loss, fear, or despair. We might, therefore, expect our natural sympathy and compassion to be impervious to corrosion by modern life. Yet for every heartwarming account of compassion, aid, and sacrifice, the daily news offers a story of indifference, hatred, or abuse that illuminates a second aspect of our nature: a willingness to advance our individual interests at others' expense.

Evolutionary theory and neuroscience both seem to confirm the view of those who attribute humans' compassionate acts to strict social controls —including laws, mores, teachings, and taboos—that alone keep our brutish self-interest in check. If that is so, then changes in the way we interact, and particularly the loss of those social controls, could undermine our caring for one another. Natural selection shaped the brains and behavior of our primate forebears to serve both self and others. By grouping, they could better meet environmental challenges and promote their reproductive success. Individuals still cared most for their own prospects and those of their kin, but increasing social integration demanded care for the interests of the community. Natural selection, therefore, favored primates that could sense the intentions and needs of others of their kind. In time, they became sensitive to the emotions and behavior of others. Our ancestors responded instinctively to body language—not only gross actions, but the twitch of an eye, tremor of a hand, tensing of a leg, and the dilation of a pupil, all subtle indicators of the intent of the brain within the body observed. Thus primates could forge alliances, exchange favors, achieve status, and even deceive. Those who were particularly skilled in "working the crowd" gained added advantages for themselves and their offspring. Because of those advantages, primate sociability became a powerful adjunct to a fierce focus on self.

Genetic adaptations to the demands of that long-ago time still influence our culture, and ancient emotional centers in our brains affect many of our social interactions. But the emergence of imagination set us on the path to what J.K. Rowling characterized as understanding without having experienced, to thinking ourselves into other people's minds and places. One hundred years ago, Joseph Conrad noted that there is a permanently enduring part of our being "which is not dependent on wisdom … which is a gift and not an acquisition." The artist speaks to that part of us, for through it, "one may perchance attain to such clearness of sincerity that at last the presented vision of regret or pity, of terror or mirth, shall awaken in the hearts of the beholders that feeling of unavoidable solidarity; of the solidarity in mysterious origin, in toil, in joy, in hope, in uncertain fate, which binds men to each other and all mankind to the visible world."

For hundreds of years, novels have engaged our empathetic faculties with the lives of imagined others. We learn to read through practice, shaping our brains to accommodate the linearity and fixity of text. Literacy repays that effort by introducing us to a multitude of fictional others whose lives can entertain and edify us. Today, as our brains acclimate to digital technology, a computer screen is increasingly our window to the world. Technology crowds our lives with others' experiences, each claiming a bit of our attention and concern. Some readers of novels say that by introducing us to fictional others, stories make us more sensitive to the feelings of real people. With its jumble of streaming video, elaborate games, social networks, news reports, fiction, and gossip, cyberspace could coax us to greater regard for the unfortunate and oppressed. The widespread grief that followed the death of Princess Diana is a vivid example of the power of technology's Muses to extend the reach of another's mythical life into our own. As digital technology increases its hold on our imaginations, perhaps it will do what novels are said to do: make us a more compassionate, "nicer" species.

Hesiod observed that the Muses have the power to make false things seem true. That, of course, is how they sustain fiction. Today's technology offers new ways to engage our imaginations. Movies, television advertising, and pictures in magazines depict tantalizing, unreal worlds that offer us, if we will suspend our disbelief, what Sontag called "knowledge at bargain prices—a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom." Even when we know that what we see cannot be, the falsity of our experience may not reduce our empathetic response, which is more automatic than considered. Our brains, seeking stimulation rather than knowledge, may find more engagement in a montage of simulated joys and agonies than in the lives of real people and events.

In the movie theater, for example, watching the Titanic slowly sink, we suffer with its desperate passengers and fear for their fate. We know the images we see are an amalgamation of the real and artificial. But our brains care little about the way technology weds fact and fiction; we care about the experience, not analysis, and for a few minutes, the sinking is real.

Of course, artists have drawn us into imaginative worlds for thousands of years. But when their performances were finished, their books read, or their movies seen, we returned to our everyday lives—and to our friends and neighbors. Now digital technology is erasing the boundary between the magic and the mundane. Computers give us not only a diversion or a lesson, but a fantastic life in which we can indulge our interests with the click of a link, where we can be any place at any time, where we can be who we want to be.

Technology is replacing the traditional social structures of the face-to-face community with more-fluid electronic arenas for gossip, preening, and posturing. Facebook and MySpace members "strut their stuff" with embellished self-descriptions and accumulations of "friends" from far and wide. Those affectations would mean little if we were not so sensitive to trappings of rank, so irresistibly drawn to judge and categorize others. Repeated encounters with those who present themselves as a blend of the actual and the fantasized alter our expectations of trustworthiness and reciprocity. Absent the accountability of face-to-face interaction, there seems little need to adhere to social conventions of the past. Users are free to invent themselves without regard for the concerns or needs of others.

John Updike said the Internet is chewing up books, casting fragments adrift on an electronic flood. We might say the same of lives; technology is cutting out pieces and offering them isolated from their natural context. Just as a dismembered novel loses accountability and intimacy, so too does a person who appears only in fragments. Other people's experiences are reduced to grist for the mill of our emotions, where our inclinations, histories, prejudices, and aesthetic preferences grind them to our liking. With technology as a remote control, we can tune in the emotional stimulation we crave and tune out what we find unpleasant or disturbing. As we shuttle from e-mail to hyperlinks to phone calls, we may find little time or inclination to uncover real suffering in the chaotic mix of the actual and the invented.

A century ago, in "The Machine Stops," E.M. Forster envisioned a time when a powerful Machine would mediate all experience. His Machine had woven an electronic garment that "had seemed heavenly at first." Over time, however, technology had imprisoned humanity in an electronic cave where the body had become "white pap, the home of ideas as colorless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars." The sudden failure of the Machine doomed its dependents, who knew no other life but that on the screen.

Continued in article

We are indeed getting smarter. Further, it has been suggested that the data deluge now available via the Internet makes the scientific method obsolete and reduces enormously our dependence on models versus the real, measurable world.
"Yes, the Web Is Changing Your Brain," by Kim Solez, Internet Evolution, March 12, 2009 ---


Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technologies are at

Maybe Pat Doherty should resign from the BU faculty and enroll as a clever student
There may be a new standard in luxury residence halls in Boston, The Boston Globe reported. A new high-rise at Boston University features magnificent views of the city and the Charles River. Amenities, which the Globe said leave parents stunned, include large private bathrooms, walk-in closets, and full-length mirrors.
Jensen Comment
I wonder if some enterprising student will sublet a dorm room for $3,000 a month (cheap for high rise views in Boston) to a non-student, rent a cheap loft, and apply the rent money toward BU tuition. And you know what? I'll just bet that 647 students thought of that before me!

"On Its Third Try, Microsoft Finally Gets the Video Editor Right," by Rob Pegoraro, The Washington Post, August 30, 2009 --- Click Here

Microsoft has a sometimes-undeserved reputation for needing three tries to get a product right, but in the case of Windows Movie Maker that description seems fair.

Movie Maker began life as a largely ignored part of Windows Millennium Edition and wasn't much better when XP arrived -- it couldn't even burn a DVD of your footage, instead limiting you to a proprietary, soon-abandoned multimedia disc format. Its Windows Vista incarnation added DVD output but offered little help with publishing videos online.

But Microsoft's new Windows Live Movie Maker ( http://download.live.com/moviemaker ) represents a genuine advance. The barely changed name understates how little this program -- a free download for Windows Vista and its upcoming replacement, Windows 7, but not Windows XP -- shares with older Movie Maker releases. It leaves out some features of its predecessors, incorporates a rewritten interface and adds a far more useful set of video-sharing options.

It also has a few bugs -- but they're nothing Microsoft can't fix in a maintenance release or three.

Live Movie Maker's installation experience, unfortunately, ranks among them. Getting this program requires downloading a Windows Live Installer setup utility that comes preset to install Microsoft's entire suite of Live software -- nine applications on a Vista laptop. Unless you opt out, installing Movie Maker will also switch your browser's search engine to Microsoft's Bing (a decent alternative to Google) and change its home page to MSN.com ( a decent way to remember how bad "portal sites" looked in 1999).

Movie Maker's installer didn't remove an old version of the program on that Vista laptop, but at least nobody will confuse the two. Where the prior release employs a conventional menu-and-toolbar interface, Live Movie Maker adopts the "ribbon" style of Microsoft's Office 2007, in which one large toolbar reveals different functions as you select tabs -- Home, Animations, Visual Effects and so on -- at the top of the window.

Many Office 2007 users say they hate the ribbon, but here it seems to work, presenting the program's features in manageable subsets.

Live Movie Maker can open video clips and photos already saved on your computer, or you can use Windows Live Photo Galley -- installed alongside Live Movie Maker even if you select only the video editor -- to import them from a camera or camcorder.

Microsoft advertises that in Windows 7, you will also be able to grab video from a Flip camcorder or an iPhone, but I had no problem pulling in clips from a Flip UltraHD and an iPhone 3GS in Vista. Yet on a computer running an almost-final version of 7, I couldn't play footage from either device, apparently because of a conflict with a Pinnacle digital TV program.

Live Movie Maker presents these clips as a series of thumbnails of varying length. You can flip any of them 90 degrees (helpful if you held a digital camera on its side when recording video), easily split or trim them, and rearrange their order before adding title screens, captions, closing credits and any of dozens of Hollywood-style transitions. If you're assembling a slideshow, you can apply fancy visual treatments and Ken Burns-style panning effects to your photos. And you can pick out a soundtrack, then have the program adjust the movie's duration to match the music's play time.

If you're in a hurry, you can just pick a song and click the AutoMovie button to have Live Movie Maker do the rest of the work for you.

But unlike older Movie Maker releases, this version doesn't record voice-over narrations. And unlike such non-free video editors as Apple's iMovie, it can't sharpen a grainy shot or stabilize a jittery clip.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's video helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm

Athletics creates a more vibrant environment,” said Terry Mohajir, associate athletics director. “There’s been a great deal of research on that.
As quoted by Paul D. Thacker, "If They Build It ...," Inside Higher Ed, November 10, 2006 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/10/stadium

Journal of Issues in Collegiate Athletics --- http://csri-jiia.org/

Athletics Versus Academics:  Is it possible to be great in both?
Jensen Comment
It's still really exceptional to be great in both, and it's becoming harder to become great in one and satisfactory in the other. The sad thing is that at K-12 levels, top athletes are often getting the changing message that without decent grades they probably will not be given an opportunity for making a name for themselves in collegiate athletics. Chances of making it in professional athletics without college are nearly zero except in rare, very rare, exceptions. Hence, K-12 athletes should be made to realize early on that grades are increasingly crucial for athletes. And so many failures in life can be attributed to good athletes who wash out of college admissions or college graduation.

The conference won't say how many athletes it has denied eligibility, but the increased scrutiny has made a difference, says Todd Diacon, executive director for academic assessment for the University of Tennessee system, and the faculty athletics representative on the Knoxville campus. "People have just backed off recruiting certain players," he says, "because they know they'd never get them past a review."
"A Powerful League Piles Up Its Advantages," by Brad Wolverton, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 2009 ---

On a quiet block in this sleepy Southern town sits an ordinary office building that, but for a few football helmets visible along a row of office windows, gives little hint of being the center of the college-sports universe.

But thanks to a $3-billion television agreement that kicks in with the start of the college football season this week, that is exactly what the Southeastern Conference, headquartered here, has become.

The 15-year deal with CBS and ESPN, the richest in the history of college sports, guarantees each of the league's 12 athletics departments an average of nearly $17-million a year, the equivalent of a major bowl payout. Add that to the tens of millions in guaranteed sponsorship revenue that SEC teams already generate, and ticket sales and private donations that, for many of the conference's programs, have seen little falloff during the economic slump, and it's no wonder this league seems to be separating from the pack among major conferences.

Even before the new TV contract, the Southeastern Conference was virtually minting money. Home to six of the country's 15 largest athletics budgets, and many of the highest-paid coaches, SEC teams increased their spending on sports by 36 percent over a recent four-year period, according to U.S. Education Department data.

Over the past decade, the SEC has been the rabbit in the race to build the nicest facilities, scored more top-20 finishes than any other conference in sports it plays, and smashed fund-raising records, giving it a leg up over other leagues in recruiting the best coaches and most talented players. (And for anyone who wants to dispute the conference's dominance, feel free to take up the case on one of dozens of blogs and Web sites where rabid SEC fans hang out.)

Not that the league is without detractors. The SEC's swagger—if it was a nation, conference officials like to say, its former and current athletes' Olympic medals would have placed it fourth in last summer's Beijing Games—has led critics to decry it as little more than a breeding ground for professional athletes. While its academic record is improving, the SEC still trails its peer conferences in several key measures.

And the league's heightened spending on a select group of sports—its departments sponsor an average of 20 sports, far fewer than many other universities do—has raised concerns that, to stay in the race, programs in competing conferences may have to streamline their own offerings.

"The SEC has been the catalyst for an escalation of spending in a select number of sports that I think ultimately is going to break the current model of Division I athletics," says Amy P. Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, referring to the broad-based programs that many departments support.

The only way other conferences will be able to keep up, she and others fear, is by ramping up their spending on football and basketball and reducing opportunities in other sports. But with an average of one SEC athletics event scheduled to be televised nationally every day of the year for the next decade and a half, even that might not be enough.

Recent Success Many factors have contributed to the league's rise to power, including the South's fast population growth, the lack of professional sports in most of the states where SEC teams play, and the conference's well-timed winning streak.

The SEC has a long history of success, but this may be its golden age. Last year the Southeastern Conference won national championships in five sports, and finished as runners-up in six others. Three straight national titles in football, and two of the past four NCAA championships in men's basketball, have given the SEC a Forrest Gump-like presence on the biggest stages.

The victories were piling up just as the league was renegotiating its media-rights package. Most people figured the SEC would blaze its own path, following the Big Ten Conference in creating a television network. But ESPN was hungry to hold on to SEC football, which it says some 77 million people watched last season.

When the league's commissioner, Michael L. Slive, one of the shrewdest negotiators in sports, laid out his list of demands, he was surprised when the powerful cable network came back with everything he wanted, and more. Last summer, just before the economy headed into free fall, ESPN agreed to pay the league $2.25-billion to broadcast its games. With a few strokes of the pen, the Southeastern Conference became America's Conference.

"There is no downside to this deal," Mr. Slive told The Chronicle in July, during the league's preseason media gathering here. Instead of fronting start-up costs for a separate network, bickering with cable companies over distribution, and trying to sell advertising spots on its own, league officials can kick back in their La-Z-Boys and click between one of several ESPN networks that will televise an unheard-of number of games. During the first four days of this season alone, ESPN and its sister channels will broadcast seven SEC showdowns. ESPN also picked up the rights to syndicated league games, such as Tennessee-Western Kentucky, a David and Goliath match-up that, until now, would have never aired outside the region. But in a world where the SEC rules the airwaves, games like that will now be broadcast from coast to coast.

SEC universities hope the exposure will help them attract students who might otherwise not have considered their institutions. One thing is for sure: The league's additional reach is something that highly recruited athletes have already noticed.

"I felt the SEC was the strongest conference, and where I could get the most publicity," says Brent Benedict, a Florida football standout who committed to the University of Georgia in June. "We're going to be on TV the most, and that's part of what my decision came down to."

A Damaged Reputation Until recently, such big television deals might not have been possible. While the league was well-known for its winning ways, it was also notorious for skirting the rules. Since the NCAA began keeping records, in 1953, Southeastern Conference teams have committed 49 major infractions, more than any league except the Big 12 Conference.

When Mr. Slive took over as commissioner, in 2002, nine SEC programs were either on NCAA probation or being investigated for purported violations, league officials say.

"You don't do yourself a lot of good if you're successful because you're cutting corners," says Gene A. Marsh, a professor of law at the University of Alabama, who served on the NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions from 1999 to 2008. "People think less of you."

Mr. Slive, a lawyer who in the 1990s co-founded a private practice to help athletics departments stay off NCAA probation, pushed hard for the SEC to clean up its act. His goal was to have every program in the clear within five years, and he established a committee to put an end to the infighting that had led many SEC programs to rat out their rivals whenever they thought they had crossed the line.

"In our league the crucible of competition is so intense and hot, there is sometimes a tendency for people to be happy if somebody else gets hurt," Mr. Slive says. "What I try to sell to people is that we are inexorably tied to one another, and our success helps all of us, and the failure of one of us—even if you think it makes you better—makes you worse."

Although some SEC football coaches have yet to get that message—within months of being hired last year, Lane Kiffin, Tennessee's coach, had (incorrectly) accused Urban Meyer, Florida's coach, of violating recruiting rules—the finger-pointing seems to have calmed down, and the major violations have slowed.

Mr. Slive has helped change the recruiting culture, too, acting as an impartial judge in reviewing controversial initial-eligibility cases. With the blessing of the league's chancellors and presidents, he established a process for evaluating recruits whose academic backgrounds raise red flags. If he doesn't like what he sees, he has the power to rule a prospective player ineligible.

The conference won't say how many athletes it has denied eligibility, but the increased scrutiny has made a difference, says Todd Diacon, executive director for academic assessment for the University of Tennessee system, and the faculty athletics representative on the Knoxville campus.

"People have just backed off recruiting certain players," he says, "because they know they'd never get them past a review."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on collegiate athletics controversies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#Athletics

"An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes':  Theorem:  Bayes' Theorem for the curious and bewildered; an excruciatingly gentle introduction," by Eliezer S., Yudkowsky, August 2009 --- http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes

Your friends and colleagues are talking about something called "Bayes' Theorem" or "Bayes' Rule", or something called Bayesian reasoning. They sound really enthusiastic about it, too, so you google and find a webpage about Bayes' Theorem and...

It's this equation. That's all. Just one equation. The page you found gives a definition of it, but it doesn't say what it is, or why it's useful, or why your friends would be interested in it. It looks like this random statistics thing.

So you came here. Maybe you don't understand what the equation says. Maybe you understand it in theory, but every time you try to apply it in practice you get mixed up trying to remember the difference between p(a|x) and p(x|a), and whether p(a)*p(x|a) belongs in the numerator or the denominator. Maybe you see the theorem, and you understand the theorem, and you can use the theorem, but you can't understand why your friends and/or research colleagues seem to think it's the secret of the universe. Maybe your friends are all wearing Bayes' Theorem T-shirts, and you're feeling left out. Maybe you're a girl looking for a boyfriend, but the boy you're interested in refuses to date anyone who "isn't Bayesian". What matters is that Bayes is cool, and if you don't know Bayes, you aren't cool.

Why does a mathematical concept generate this strange enthusiasm in its students? What is the so-called Bayesian Revolution now sweeping through the sciences, which claims to subsume even the experimental method itself as a special case? What is the secret that the adherents of Bayes know? What is the light that they have seen?

Soon you will know. Soon you will be one of us.

While there are a few existing online explanations of Bayes' Theorem, my experience with trying to introduce people to Bayesian reasoning is that the existing online explanations are too abstract. Bayesian reasoning is very counterintuitive. People do not employ Bayesian reasoning intuitively, find it very difficult to learn Bayesian reasoning when tutored, and rapidly forget Bayesian methods once the tutoring is over. This holds equally true for novice students and highly trained professionals in a field. Bayesian reasoning is apparently one of those things which, like quantum mechanics or the Wason Selection Test, is inherently difficult for humans to grasp with our built-in mental faculties.

Or so they claim. Here you will find an attempt to offer an intuitive explanation of Bayesian reasoning - an excruciatingly gentle introduction that invokes all the human ways of grasping numbers, from natural frequencies to spatial visualization. The intent is to convey, not abstract rules for manipulating numbers, but what the numbers mean, and why the rules are what they are (and cannot possibly be anything else). When you are finished reading this page, you will see Bayesian problems in your dreams.

And let's begin.


Here's a story problem about a situation that doctors often encounter:

1% of women at age forty who participate in routine screening have breast cancer. 80% of women with breast cancer will get positive mammographies. 9.6% of women without breast cancer will also get positive mammographies. A woman in this age group had a positive mammography in a routine screening. What is the probability that she actually has breast cancer?

What do you think the answer is? If you haven't encountered this kind of problem before, please take a moment to come up with your own answer before continuing.


Next, suppose I told you that most doctors get the same wrong answer on this problem - usually, only around 15% of doctors get it right. ("Really? 15%? Is that a real number, or an urban legend based on an Internet poll?" It's a real number. See Casscells, Schoenberger, and Grayboys 1978; Eddy 1982; Gigerenzer and Hoffrage 1995; and many other studies. It's a surprising result which is easy to replicate, so it's been extensively replicated.)

Do you want to think about your answer again? Here's a Javascript calculator if you need one. This calculator has the usual precedence rules; multiplication before addition and so on. If you're not sure, I suggest using parentheses.

Continued in article


From the Scout Report on August 28, 2009

PC Wizard 2009 1.90 --- http://www.cpuid.com/pcwizard.php

With so many free options for system utilities, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. PC Wizard 2009 1.90 is a most worthy option, and visitors can use the program to not only detect hardware performance, but it will also look at hard disk performance, and display a graph to note how various elements in a given category perform. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer.

VoxOx 2.0.4

For people looking to bring together their various forms of online communications in one place, the VoxOx application may be a useful tool. The VoxOx application can be used to chat with colleagues and friends around the world, link up email accounts, and also make mobile-to-mobile calls.

Visitors can also use the program to share files up to 100MB and also use create specialized phone lists and also record phone calls. VoxOx brings together almost all of the key communication channels including voice, video, Instant Messaging (IM), text, social media, e-mail, and content sharing, into a single interface. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer and Mac OSX and newer.

Several weeks before a planned shift of the right of way, some Samoans continue to air their grievances Shifting the Right of Way to the Left Leaves Some Samoans Feeling Wronged http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125086852452149513.html?mod=googlenews_wsj 

Bus drivers threaten to set fleet alight

Samoa drive switch campaign sabotaged http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=48605 

CIA The World Factbook: Western Samoa

Government of Samoa http://www.govt.ws/ 

A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa

Free online textbooks, cases, and tutorials in accounting, finance, economics, and statistics --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Education Tutorials

Link forwarded by Rick Lillie
Try VideoSurf ( http://www.videosurf.com/ ) to find videos of all types on the Internet.

Bob Jensen's threads on general education tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#EducationResearch

Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

The Genius of Charles Darwin (great video tutorial) ---

Darwin’s evolving thoughts and private communications on the boundaries of science and religion ---

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin --- http://darwin-online.org.uk/

BioEd Online: Genes, Health and Society --- http://www.bioedonline.org/courses/

Waterlife --- http://waterlife.nfb.ca/

Food Timeline --- http://www.foodtimeline.org/index.html

A Chef's Table [Real Player, iTunes] --- http://www.whyy.org/91FM/chef/

Design Observe --- http://www.designobserver.com/ 

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms. In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen. To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.
Single molecule, one million times smaller than a grain of sand, pictured for first time --- Click Here

Bob Jensen's threads on free online science, engineering, and medicine tutorials are at --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Social Science and Economics Tutorials

Video from The Economist Magazine:  Greg Davies on behavioural finance We are emotional investors The head of Behavioural Finance at Barclays Wealth says hot-brained humans often buy and sell right when they shouldn't ---

U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security --- http://www.bis.doc.gov/

Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture --- http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/beyondsteel/

Oregon Multicultural Archives Digital Collection http://digitalcollections.library.oregonstate.edu/cdm4/client/cultural/index.html

Design Observe --- http://www.designobserver.com/ 

Design Build Network (architecture) --- http://www.designbuild-network.com/

Multimedia from Stanford University (engineering, architecture)
R. Buckminster Fuller Digital Collection --- http://collections.stanford.edu/bucky/bin/page?forward=home


Bob Jensen's threads on Economics, Anthropology, Social Sciences, and Philosophy tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Law and Legal Studies

The Robbins Collection: School of Law, University of California at Berkeley --- http://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/robbins/

Bob Jensen's threads on law and legal studies are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Law

Math Tutorials

Bob Jensen's threads on free online mathematics tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

History Tutorials

De Young Museum: The Harald Wagner Collection of Teotihuacan Murals --- http://www.famsf.org/teotihuacan/

The Civil War in America from The Illustrated London News --- http://beck.library.emory.edu/iln/index.html

American Civil War History Site --- http://www.factasy.com/

Tobacco Bag Stringing in North Carolina and Virginia --- http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/tbs/index.html

The Robbins Collection: School of Law, University of California at Berkeley --- http://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/robbins/

Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture --- http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/beyondsteel/

Oregon Multicultural Archives Digital Collection http://digitalcollections.library.oregonstate.edu/cdm4/client/cultural/index.html

National Portrait Gallery: Thomas Paine --- http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/paine/

The Rochambeau Map Collection --- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/rochambeau-maps/index.html

Bob Jensen's threads on history tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#History
Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm  

Language Tutorials

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Languages

Music Tutorials


Bob Jensen's threads on free music tutorials are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Music

Writing Tutorials

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob3.htm#Dictionaries

Updates from WebMD --- http://www.webmd.com/

If Pres. Obama’s mom had named him Al, he would have been Al Obama.
Ed Scribner

Jeanne Robertson "Mothers vs. Teenage Daughters" ---

Jeanne Robertson "Don't send a man to the grocery store!" ---

Ole and Lena --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_and_Lena

Funny commercial for the L.A. County Fair --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmn38FqWlBk

Forwarded by Dick and Cec

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 & 70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.


Tidbits Archives --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/

World Clock --- http://www.peterussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/

Interesting Online Clock and Calendar --- http://home.tiscali.nl/annejan/swf/timeline.swf
Time by Time Zones --- http://timeticker.com/
Projected Population Growth (it's out of control) --- http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
         Also see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations.html
Facts about population growth (video) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U
Projected U.S. Population Growth --- http://www.carryingcapacity.org/projections75.html
Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 
Enter you zip code to get Census Bureau comparisons --- http://zipskinny.com/
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Three Finance Blogs

Jim Mahar's FinanceProfessor Blog --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/
FinancialRounds Blog --- http://financialrounds.blogspot.com/
Karen Alpert's FinancialMusings (Australia) --- http://financemusings.blogspot.com/

Some Accounting Blogs

Paul Pacter's IAS Plus (International Accounting) --- http://www.iasplus.com/index.htm
International Association of Accountants News --- http://www.aia.org.uk/
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries --- http://www.accountingeducation.com/
Gerald Trites'eBusiness and XBRL Blogs --- http://www.zorba.ca/
AccountingWeb --- http://www.accountingweb.com/   
SmartPros --- http://www.smartpros.com/

Bob Jensen's Sort-of Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm

Online Books, Poems, References, and Other Literature
In the past I've provided links to various types electronic literature available free on the Web. 
I created a page that summarizes those various links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm

The Master List of Free Online College Courses --- http://universitiesandcolleges.org/

Shared Open Courseware (OCW) from Around the World: OKI, MIT, Rice, Berkeley, Yale, and Other Sharing Universities --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#OKI

Free Textbooks and Cases --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ElectronicLiterature.htm#Textbooks

Free Mathematics and Statistics Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#050421Mathematics

Free Science and Medicine Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Science

Free Social Science and Philosophy Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm#Social

Free Education Discipline Tutorials --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob2.htm

Teaching Materials (especially video) from PBS

Teacher Source:  Arts and Literature --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/arts_lit.htm

Teacher Source:  Health & Fitness --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/health.htm

Teacher Source: Math --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/math.htm

Teacher Source:  Science --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/sci_tech.htm

Teacher Source:  PreK2 --- http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/prek2.htm

Teacher Source:  Library Media ---  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/library.htm

Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

VYOM eBooks Directory --- http://www.vyomebooks.com/

From Princeton Online
The Incredible Art Department --- http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/

Online Mathematics Textbooks --- http://www.math.gatech.edu/~cain/textbooks/onlinebooks.html 

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives --- http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/doc/intro.jsp

Moodle  --- http://moodle.org/ 

The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. The Scout Report stated the following about Moodle 1.7. It is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer.

Some of Bob Jensen's Tutorials

Accounting program news items for colleges are posted at http://www.accountingweb.com/news/college_news.html
Sometimes the news items provide links to teaching resources for accounting educators.
Any college may post a news item.

Accountancy Discussion ListServs:

For an elaboration on the reasons you should join a ListServ (usually for free) go to   http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm
AECM (Educators)  http://pacioli.loyola.edu/aecm/ 
AECM is an email Listserv list which provides a forum for discussions of all hardware and software which can be useful in any way for accounting education at the college/university level. Hardware includes all platforms and peripherals. Software includes spreadsheets, practice sets, multimedia authoring and presentation packages, data base programs, tax packages, World Wide Web applications, etc

Roles of a ListServ --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListServRoles.htm

CPAS-L (Practitioners) http://pacioli.loyola.edu/cpas-l/ 
CPAS-L provides a forum for discussions of all aspects of the practice of accounting. It provides an unmoderated environment where issues, questions, comments, ideas, etc. related to accounting can be freely discussed. Members are welcome to take an active role by posting to CPAS-L or an inactive role by just monitoring the list. You qualify for a free subscription if you are either a CPA or a professional accountant in public accounting, private industry, government or education. Others will be denied access.
Yahoo (Practitioners)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xyztalk
This forum is for CPAs to discuss the activities of the AICPA. This can be anything  from the CPA2BIZ portal to the XYZ initiative or anything else that relates to the AICPA.
AccountantsWorld  http://accountantsworld.com/forums/default.asp?scope=1 
This site hosts various discussion groups on such topics as accounting software, consulting, financial planning, fixed assets, payroll, human resources, profit on the Internet, and taxation.
Business Valuation Group BusValGroup-subscribe@topica.com 
This discussion group is headed by Randy Schostag [RSchostag@BUSVALGROUP.COM

Many useful accounting sites (scroll down) --- http://www.iasplus.com/links/links.htm


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
190 Sunset Hill Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone:  603-823-8482 
Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu