Shorter, More Frequent Posts

I'm realizing now that I need my posts to be shorter in order to remain feasible with respect to my limited time.

Student Led Courses - Update

Every time I type "Student Led Courses" or "SLCs," I chuckle. Since Patrick and I proposed the program, we've kept the title and acronym constant. The Academic Senate prefers "Student Facilitated Courses." Undergraduate Education prefers "Student Led Seminars." None of us are above a little passive-aggressiveness.

Speaking of Undergraduate Education, they're out. The Senate found out that an administrative body was leading the program and responded ferociously to what they perceived as an invasion of their territory. The Chair of the Senate and I are engaged in a small flame war (ember war?), as he mistakenly blames me for leading UE away from the Senate's policy that I proposed, researched, defended and secured approval for.

Last Friday (10/2), I hosted a forum for undergraduates interested in teaching their own courses. Over 50 have expressed interest. I expect that less than 10 will make it through the process, but hope remains that my guess is proved wrong. They are all passionate, determined, and many have the connections with professors and departments necessary to secure course approval.


While searching through the campus calendar, I stumbled across SURVEILLED.US, a series of speakers on privacy and mass surveillance. If anyone is free Tuesdays from 12 to 1, feel free to attend!

ECS289G - Scalable Machine Learning

I'm taking Prof. Hsieh's ECS289G Scalable Machine Learning course (syllabus available here). I've been looking for large datasets to use for the term project and had a fantastic meeting with IAMSTEM today about potentially acquiring their data on undergraduates. I also emailed the Vet School for access to all their data and the head of the Vet School actually responded to my email! She said no, but I will hopefully be able to persuade her. After glancing at IAMSTEM's data, I'm starting to realize just how much information the University collects, which leads me to my last topic...

Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

Last Friday, Prof. Rogaway hosted a screening of The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. The film referenced the Open Access Manifesto, written by four individuals, but signed and posted by Aaron Swartz. As I search for data sets, I can't help but think that he's right. "Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world." And yes, I realize the risk in saying this as I ask the campus to trust me with confidential information. Individual privacy is a strong consideration and I don't know whether simple actions like hashing names is sufficient to provide anonymity for students (or animal patients).