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My Failed Grad School Term Paper

Date: February 20, 2018

      I was a child who never was in one place more than 2-3-4 years – my mother needed bigger and bigger houses and my stepfather built them. At one point, we went, with a trailer he built that was a covered wagon, no shit, to Idaho from Connecticut. I was a Junior in High School—Norwich Free Academy, in Norwich, Connecticut to Idaho Falls High in—Idaho Falls, Idaho. The Mormon side of the world.
      It was an interesting education. So close to Vegas, the student assemblies were strip shows. Pregnant girls roamed the halls—which you did not see in New England. They were “married” to dead men. Seems they had a sex education class with labs. In New England, you went to visit your “aunt.”
      At this age, I believe that the girls do belong in High School. They have the care and raising of these little “mistakes.” It’s the boys who need to be kicked out and who should have to pay child support. We are such a dumb nation not to teach and foster birth control in all its forms, education, pills, appliances, condoms, and abortion. Abortions would not be in demand so much if everything else was in place. We know that.
But that’s not the story here.
      Just my soapbox.

      What else happened while displaced into the realm of the backwoods, is the fact that I had twenty hours of study hall because the Idaho schools didn’t have my classes. You could mount a burlesque show but you didn’t have advanced math. Twenty hours. I read all of Shakespeare, all of Nathanial Hawthorn, All about the various queens of England, anything I could get my hands one to prevent boredom. You get the picture. I missed three months of my high school education. This pissed me off. I was sentenced as a “B” student. Done and done. Too much missed.
      I graduated in 1960.

      I had a full scholarship to the University of Hartford anyway, turned down MIT because they s’t offer me one, and graduated college the first time in 1964.

      Within three years I was with the Space program (and Defense).  And I was sent to graduate school. The first graduate degree was the MSE. To get that, I had so many classes and then a thesis. The classes required term papers. I learned on the job and while in class how to research. How to assemble multiple sources into coherence.  How to write papers. I was good at it. (In fact, once started, it was my whole career).
      In one class, we had a list of topics for the papers. Now, I was on computers at work. I knew more or less what they could do. One of my grad majors was Computer Architecture. In the 1960s. I worked where they had built the LEM. Moon shot. My graduate University was UCLA—with ARPA net, the precursor for the Internet. NINETEEN SIXTY.
      Think about it.

      I thought how I had been so messed up in high school with the trip to Idaho, even if it had established my forever relationship with controllers. Another tale.
      I was also reading about the migrant workers. Their children have the same problem. They move around and classes are interrupted.
      I decided to tackle that problem.
      If you know me you know I am very big on Computer-Based Instruction, which is now called eLearning.
      My paper, based on my IBM exposure, set out this following:

      •       Every student, migrant or not, every student goes in the database.
      •       All their classes from all over the country go in the database.
      •       Student could access their records from the database.
      •       Students could log into their course work from anywhere, anytime.
      •       The children of the migrants could have a complete education.
      •       Children dragged out of school for a few months, a day, a week, whatever, could log into
              their coursework. I could have been an “A” student.
      •       Snow days—covered.
      •       Illness—covered.
      •       Accident, Bullying, Language problems—covered.
      •       If your classes included college courses as mine did—covered

You get the picture.
Problem solved.

Well, I got a “C” on the paper—which is grad school is a fail. He thought it preposterous.
I had to take another class and delayed my MSE by a quarter.

It is now 2018.
In California, we have K-12 on-line. Has been these last few decades. Maybe not as elaborate or as big as it could be, but it is there.  Every college has its courses on-line. You can be in a different country and still attend class.
We call it eLearning and it so needs to be expanded.

I’ve been laughing about that failed paper for decades.
I won.

But they still haven’t seen the full potential I saw decades ago.





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