Tidbits on September 24, 2009
Bob Jensen

The end of Summer 2009

The foliage up here commences with the red colors in some trees/bushes and the changing of the hydrangeas from white to pink. Although we had a cold and wet summer, the September days have been warmer and dryer than usual. This may delay the peak of the foliage season that normally hits about the third week of October. Thus far we have the bright reds but not the more prevalent yellow and orange turnings of the leaves.

Although Erika's roses and some of our flowers are still hanging on, the days up here are shorter with fall foliage are in the air. The historic name of our cottage is Brayton Cottage." It was named after a man named Brayton converted the golf club house and tennis pavilion into a summer cottage sometime after 1900. In 1973 the big hotel was torn down, the cottage was moved to where the hotel's main dining room was demolished. You can read about the history of the old Sunset Hill House Resort at

Our cottage has the address 190 Sunset Hill Road

Mt. Lafayette before snow blankets the Kinsman Range








Foliage Network --- http://www.foliagenetwork.com/default.php
Foliage in New Hampshire's White Mountains --- http://www.nhliving.com/foliage/index.shtml
Fall Foliage --- http://gonewengland.about.com/cs/fallfoliage/l/blfoliagecentrl.htm
Foliage Pictures --- http://photo.net/travel/us/ne/foliage

Below are some pictures I took in October 2008

To the east we look out on the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Presidential, Twin, and Kinsman Ranges

By my studio the leaves eventually get knee deep

The golf course behind our cottage in the direction of Vermont's Green Mountains

This is our back mountain road (Lafayette Road)
You don't want to drop a wheel off the edge
Trucks are not allowed on this road
And we do not use this road in the wintertime
Our good friends Lon and Nancy are building a new home on this road
This summer they added a Chinese girl and her brother (Yani and Tad) to their family of two daughters


Below are some fun pictures that friends sent to me.

Mothering is tiring

Do you think they're too old to drive, when all they heard
was a strange noise before they reached McDonald's?

Innocence is where you're eyes are pointed

Statistics Lesson of the Week

Now in Another Tidbits Document
Political Quotations Between September 16 and September 24, 2009
To Accompany the September 24, 2009 edition of Tidbits

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

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



Tidbits on September 24, 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

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

Great Comedy Video About What to Say to Bill Collectors
It just gets better and better as it rolls along
Clean Comedy from Tim Clue (Debt) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5bbvMR8Ee4
The above link was forwarded by
Paul Bjorklund
Alternate link when opening for George Bush Sr. ---

Great video on Complexity Theory:  Simplicity (stars) versus Complexity (guppies) ---
Complexity Theory --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory
Jeffrey Kluger --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Kluger
September 17, 2009 reply from Helmi Hammami [helmi.hammami@GMAIL.COM]

Robert, The video is great ! Also a look at the work of the French Philosopher Edgar Morin would be of great addition to those interested in complexity theory:

Optus The Whale Song Commercial ---

Human Physiology Animations Homepage at Connecticut College ---

Darwin 200 --- http://www.darwin200.org/ 

Scott's a little late this year, but he produced a really great Father's Day video ---

Road sign test --- http://www.autoinsurance.org/road_sign/

Video:  Students find wonderful ways to use an accounting book ---

Frank Sinatra's Tribute to MySpace --- http://americancomedynetwork.com/animation.html?bit_id=25239
Bob Jensen's threads in social networks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

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

Frank Sinatra's Tribute to MySpace --- http://americancomedynetwork.com/animation.html?bit_id=25239

West Coast Swing (as danced by an older couple) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEli2rrrJwI

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

Artist's incredible paintings look just like photograph --- http://www.wnd.com/diversions

Museum of Contemporary Art
Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson --- http://www.mcachicago.org/eliasson/

Darwin 200 --- http://www.darwin200.org/ 

Optus The Whale Song Commercial ---

Jacques Burkhardt and the Thayer Collection Expedition to Brazil --- http://library.mcz.harvard.edu/wp/?page_id=63

University of Miami Libraries: Lydia Cabrera Papers --- http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cubanHeritage/chc0339/

Architectural Drawings of Willis and Lillian Leenhouts http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/digilib/leenh/index.html

The Architecture of Jefferson County --- http://lib.virginia.edu/digital/collections/image/jefferson_country.html

Thomas Jefferson's Library [video] http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/jeffersonslibrary/Pages/default.aspx

Beaked Whale Identification Guide --- http://vertebrates.si.edu/mammals/beaked_whales/pages/main_menu.htm

Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933-1945 --- http://provenance.si.edu/jsp/index.aspx

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

But sadly, the academic profession shows a strong tendency to create stable and self-sustaining but completely false legends of its own, and hang on to them grimly, transmitting them from article to article and from textbook to textbook like software viruses spreading between students' Macintoshes . . . But the lack of little things like verisimilitude and substantiation are not enough to stop a myth. Martin tracks the great Eskimo vocabulary hoax through successively more careless repetitions and embroiderings in a number of popular books on language. Roger Brown's Words and Things (1958, 234-36), attributing the example to Whorf, provides an early example of careless popularization and perversion of the issue. His numbers disagree with both Boas and Whorf (he says there are "three Eskimo words for snow", apparently getting this from figure 10 in Whorf's paper; perhaps he only looked at the pictures).'
Linguistics Hoax:  Pullum-Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, 1991 --- http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/temp/Pullum-Eskimo-VocabHoax.pdf
Forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly

University of Miami Libraries: Lydia Cabrera Papers --- http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cubanHeritage/chc0339/

"Why Students Don't Like Poetry," by Mark Bauerlein, Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review, April 19, 2009 ---

No Brief Candle: Reconceiving Research Libraries for the 21st Century --- http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub142/pub142.pdf

Books in Depth --- http://www.booksindepth.com/period.html

storySouth (showcases top fiction) --- http://www.storysouth.com/

Mickle Street Review: An Electronic Journal of Whitman and American Studies [iTunes] http://micklestreet.rutgers.edu/index.htm

New York Review of Books ---

Electronic Literature Directory --- http://directory.eliterature.org/

How to Publish in Top Journals --- http://www.roie.org/how.htm

Arts and Letters Daily --- http://aldaily.com/?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

The Atlantic book reviews from the 1800s --- http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/classrev/crindex.htm

Digital Defoe Reviews of 18th Century Literature --- http://www.english.ilstu.edu/digitaldefoe/features/index.shtml

From the Nature Journal of Science
Archives of 19th Century Science (Free Online editions of Nature) ---

Forwarded by Eileen on August 21, 2008
"Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber..."
So begins the winner of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which competitors write incredibly bad opening sentences to incredibly bad novels. Read the full results here (
http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/scott.rice/blfc2008.htm ).
Visit the following URL to read the rest of the article:

Books in Depth (including downloads of sample chapters) --- http://www.booksindepth.com/
Magazine, Periodical and Website Book Reviews from around the World ---

Third Coast, one of the nation's premier university-based literary magazines, is published twice annually by the Department of English at Western Michigan University --- http://www.wmich.edu/thirdcoast/

The Best Review --- http://www.wooster.edu/beatstudies/reviews/default.html

Digital Humanities Journal ---  http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/index.html

From Virginia Commonwealth University
Blackbird: An Online Journal of Literature and the Arts ---

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 September 16 and September 24, 2009
To Accompany the September 24, 2009 edition of Tidbits

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

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

"How to Send and Receive Text Messages for Free," Gina Trampani, Harvard Business School Blog, September 18, 2009 --- Click Here

Even though SMS text messages are only 160 characters and cost your cellphone carrier virtually nothing to transmit, many mobile plans charge subscribers 5 to 20 cents per message. If you're a text message fanatic — or you have a teenager in your house — you already know that these costs can really add up in a month.

However, using online services, you can get around SMS overage costs. Here are a few ways to text to your heart's content without breaking the bank.

Text via instant messenger: For years, the popular AOL instant messenger service has offered little-known SMS support. To text message a cellphone from AIM (and therefore avoid the sending fee), send an IM as usual to the phone number prefixed by a +1. For example, to text 718-555-1212, in AIM, send a message to +17185551212. That message will arrive on the cellphone as a text message. You can use this trick via any AIM client — be it Meebo, iChat on your Mac, Digsby, or your cellphone's IM client. Keep in mind that your recipient does get charged to receive the message, so IM sparingly. Note also that the first time you send a message to a phone via AIM, the recipient gets the choice to accept or decline your messages going forward.

If you're not an AIM user, Gmail Chat offers a similar feature (U.S. only). In Gmail Labs, enable the "Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat" feature. Then you can send an SMS to any cellphone from within Gmail by just entering the phone number as your recipient.

In both cases, if your recipient replies to your message as usual, you'll get it via instant messenger. The bad news is that if you don't have your instant messenger set up on your cellphone and you walk away from the computer, you might not get it.

Text for free via Google Voice. Google's new phone service Google Voice is still invitation-only, but when it opens up to the public it will take a monster-sized bite out of cellphone carriers' SMS fee pie. Google Voice gives you a new phone number (porting existing numbers is supposed to be coming soon) and lets you text message from that number for free via the web site and various mobile applications, now available for BlackBerry and Android phones. The advantage to Google Voice's SMS service is that unlike the IM options above, the text message you send comes from your personal Google Voice phone number instead of AIM or Gmail Chat's special middleman codes. You can also have your Google Voice text messages fwded to your phone via email or SMS, so you can get replies whether or not you're at your computer.

(Google Voice also does all sorts of other interesting phone-related things, like voicemail transcription and rules based on time of day, sender, and contact group — but that's a whole other post.)

How do you reduce text messaging costs (without paying for the unlimited plan)? Let us know in the comments.

Jensen Comment
I'm becoming a luddite. I've never sent a text message or tweeted/

Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm

Bob Jensen's education technology threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm

Sending Large Files and PDF Creation

Students and instructors sometimes need to send each other very large files, including files with lots of graphics, audio, and even video (such as video recorded using Camtasia). Email attachments are limited to relatively small files.

Sometimes faculty and/or students are also looking for free services that create PDF files.

"Send Large Files via Yahoo Mail:  Can't get by with Yahoo's 25MB attachment limit? Have no fear: a newly added Drop.io application effectively raises the limit to 100MB," by Rick Broida, PC World via The Washington Post, September 18, 2009 --- Click Here .

Good news for Yahoo Mail users: If you've had trouble sending large files, help is at hand. A new Drop.io application lets you send attachments as large as 100MB.

By default, Yahoo allows attachments no larger than 25MB. That's pretty decent, but it probably won't cover a video, big batch of photos, or the like.

Enter Drop.io, one of my favorite file-sharing services. When you sign into your Yahoo account, look for Drop.io's new Attach Large Files option in the Applications box. Give a click and follow the instructions to select your file(s) and compose your message to go with it.

Don't worry about the clogging up your recipient's inbox with your mammoth attachment: Drop.io doesn't send the actual file, but rather a link to where it can be downloaded.

Drop.io is an easy to use, online collaboration and file sharing service that provides users with a simple, real time and private way to chat and share  --- http://drop.io/about
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop.io

When possible, files that are not extremely private are best placed, temporarily at least, on a Web server such that only the link need be transferred. Users can then download these files files. I've had large files that I kept on a Web server for less than 20 minutes --- just long enough for particular persons to download the files.

How can you both send large files across the Internet and convert them to PDF format?

From the Scout Report on December 12, 2008

You Send It Express 1.7 http://www.yousendit.com/cms/standalone-app 

Sending large files to colleagues and friends around the world can be cumbersome, so it's nice to learn about YouSendIt Express. Visitors who sign up to use the application can send up to 2GB, convert files to the pdf format, and also take advantage of password protection and certified delivery. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, Vista, or Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher. Additionally, it's worth noting that this is a trial version which is offered for free for fourteen days.

December 19, 2008 reply from M Robert Bowers [M.Robert.Bowers@WHARTON.UPENN.EDU]

Just a reminder if you want to convert files to pdf. There is a program, cutepdf ( www.cutepdf.com ) that converts any file to pdf. If the program has a File|Print feature, it allows you to print to cutepdf.

Bob Jensen's threads on other alternatives for transferring very large files across the Internet --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#SendingLargeFiles 
I like YouSendIt's free service.

Update on Virtual Worlds Learning and Second Life

September 15, 2009 message from Steven Hornik [shornik@BUS.UCF.EDU]

The University of Texas is announcing a statewide initiative in Second Life that will connect to the states' 16 campuses, with a program "that emphasizes teaching in the areas of science/math, international/ intercultural, and health/medical, among other areas."

from: http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2009/09/new-world-newsfeed.html 

Official announcement here: http://tuelearningcommunity.com/vlci/ 

It is referred to as the Virtual Learning Community Initiative

My hats off to them!


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

yahoo ID: shornik

September 16, 2009 reply from Nicole Geary

Here’s a link to a university gym class that can be done on the Wii:


Nicole Geary

Bob Jensen's threads on Second Life and virtual learning are at

SmartPen --- http://www.livescribe.com/smartpen/index.html

How To Pencast Demos --- http://math247.pbworks.com/How-to-embed-a-pencast-into-a-PBWiki-page

LiveScribe Featured Files ---

Note the file on carbon bonding (as an illustration) ---

Watch a Pencast video of simple algebra --- http://www.pencasts.org/blog/?p=32

Jing (but not Jing Pro) is free software for recording video from your computer screen such as SmartPen movements with capturing of your audio narrations --- http://www.techsmith.com/
Scroll your pointer over the left side to see product links (including Jing).

Screencast from TechSmith offers a limited amount of free space for storing and serving up your videos to the world ---
More space requires monthly rental fees.

Grade Inflation and Teaching Evaluations

Especially note the grade inflation graphs at www.Gradeinflation.com

For many years teaching evaluations were private (often anonymous) communications between students and teachers. When colleges commenced to share teaching evaluations with department heads, deans, and promotion/tenure committees, grade inflation commenced to soar. When employers commenced to refuse to even interview students below a B+ or A- overall grade average, college students commenced to lobby intensely for higher grades.

Especially vulnerable are assistant professors whose careers are on the line when their teaching evaluations are shared with promotion and tenure committees. Especially vulnerable are all professors in colleges that share teaching evaluations with the entire college community and/or the world. Also vulnerable are over a million professors who are on public display at RateMyProfessor.com --- http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/

Sadly, many of our "Coach Grahams and Gazowski's" of the teaching world commenced to care more about their careers than their students --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/tidbits/2008/tidbits080415.htm

To obtain data on GPA trends, click on the institution of interest. Median grades of graduates, the 50th percentile of a graduating class, will be about 0.1 higher than the GPAs shown here. When data sources do not indicate how GPAs were computed, this is denoted as "method unspecified." All non-anonymous sources are stated on the data sheets.


From GradeInflation.com --- http://www.gradeinflation.com/


Coastal Carolina

Frances Marion


Norfolk State


Texas A&M - Kingsville

Western Michigan





North Carolina - Asheville

Roanoke College

Texas State

Western Washington


Community College of Philadelphia



North Carolina - Greensboro


The College of New Jersey




George Washington


North Carolina State


U Miami



Colorado State



North Carolina-Chapel Hill

SAT Comparison

U Southern California

Wheeling Jesuit

Appalachian State



Louisiana State

North Carolina-Wilmington

Sam Houston State




Columbia Chicago

Georgia Tech

Los Angeles Mission

North Dakota

Santa Barbara CC


William and Mary


Community College of Philadelphia



Northern Arizona






Grand Valley State

Maryland Baltimore

Northern Iowa

South Carolina



Ball State



Maryland - College Park

Northern Michigan

South Carolina State

UC-San Diego

Wisconsin - Green Bay


CSU-East Bay




South Florida

UC-Santa Barbara

Wisconsin - La Crosse

Boston University




Ocean County

Southeastern Louisiana


Wisconsin - Madison



Harvey Mudd


Ohio State

Southern Connecticut State

Utah State


Bowling Green



Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ohio University

Southern Illinois

Valdosta State

Wisconsin - Oshkosh


CSU-San Bernardino




Southern Methodist


Wright State


CSU-San Jose


Michigan Tech

Old Dominion

Southern Polytechnic State








Southern Utah



California CC's: System Wide Average




Oregon State


Virginia Commonwealth

Newest additions:




Minot State University

Pacific Lutheran

St. Olaf

Virginia Tech

Florida Gulf Coast

Case Western

Dixie State



Penn State


Wake Forest

Florida International

Central Florida



Missouri State



Washington - Seattle

Florida State

Central Michigan

East Carolina


Missouri Science and Technology



Washington and Lee

North Florida

Central Piedmont CC

Eastern Oregon

Iowa State


Portland State


Washington State








Washington University

West Florida



James Madison

Montana State







Johns Hopkins


Queensborough CC









Texas A&M

West Georgia



Florida Atlantic

Kennesaw State

New York University

Rensselaer Polytechnic






Kent State






gradeinflation.com, Copyright 2002, Stuart Rojstaczer, www.stuartr.com, no fee for not-for-profit use


Especially note the grade inflation graphs at www.Gradeinflation.com

Valen E. Johnson, a biostatistics professor at the University of Michigan and author of "Grade Inflation: A Crisis in College Education" (Springer Verlag), said the use of student ratings to evaluate teachers also inflates grades: "As long as our evaluations depend on their opinion of us, their grades are going to be high."
Links to several formal studies if the impact of teaching evaluations on grade inflation ---

The investigation revealed that 91 percent of Harvard's students graduated cum laude.
Thomas Bartlett and Paula Wasley, "Just Say 'A': Grade Inflation Undergoes Reality Check:  The notion of a decline in standards draws crusaders and skeptics," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 5, 2008 --- http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i02/02a00104.htm?utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en

It is also commonly said that grade inflation is by far the worst in Ivy League schools. This isn't exactly correct, either. I discuss this issue at length in our recently finished research paper on college grading in America. It's beyond the scope of this web post to examine this issue except to note that while grades are rising for all schools, the average GPA of a school has been strongly dependent on its selectivity since the 1980s. Highly selective schools had an average GPA of 3.43 if they were private and 3.22 if they were public as of 2006. Schools with average selectivity had a GPA of 3.11 if they were private and 2.98 if they were public
Stuart Rojstaczer, GradeInflation.com --- www.Gradeinflation.com 


Professors read student comments on RateMyProfessors.com and now it's their turn to strike back on video

Watch their rebuttals on video --- http://video.ratemyprofessors.com/
Note that some of these videos are chopped up into segments, so don't assume the video is over until it's over.
It appears to me that the instructors who are willing to post video rebuttals are probably more self assured and probably receive higher ratings by students than many of the lower-rated professors who do not strike back. Keep in mind that both student evaluations and instructor rebuttals at this site are self-selecting and often the students who supply evaluations in a given course are only a small proportion of the students in the course. Outliers well above and below the mean of satisfaction tend to be the respondents for a give professor.

Some of the links below may now be broken.

Note how some professors give two sets of grades --- inflated grades for the transcripts and lower grades transmitted as private information to the students (primarily to deflate unearned student egos).

Students get two grades from Harvey Mansfield at Harvard University
"The Truth About Harvard," by Ross Douthat, The Atlantic, March 2005 --- http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200503/douthat 
Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation 

He paused, flashed his grin, and went on. "Nevertheless, I have recently decided that hewing to the older standard is fruitless when no one else does, because all I succeed in doing is punishing students for taking classes with me. Therefore I have decided that this semester I will issue two grades to each of you. The first will be the grade that you actually deserve —a C for mediocre work, a B for good work, and an A for excellence. This one will be issued to you alone, for every paper and exam that you complete. The second grade, computed only at semester's end, will be your, ah, ironic grade — 'ironic' in this case being a word used to mean lying —and it will be computed on a scale that takes as its mean the average Harvard grade, the B-plus. This higher grade will be sent to the registrar's office, and will appear on your transcript. It will be your public grade, you might say, and it will ensure, as I have said, that you will not be penalized for taking a class with me." Another shark's grin. "And of course, only you will know whether you actually deserve it." 

Mansfield had been fighting this battle for years, long enough to have earned the sobriquet "C-minus" from his students, and long enough that his frequent complaints about waning academic standards were routinely dismissed by Harvard's higher-ups as the out-of-touch crankiness of a conservative fogey. But the ironic-grade announcement changed all that. Soon afterward his photo appeared on the front page of The Boston Globe, alongside a story about the decline of academic standards. Suddenly Harvard found itself mocked as the academic equivalent of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.

It doesn't help that Harvard students are creatively lazy, gifted at working smarter rather than harder. Most of my classmates were studious primarily in our avoidance of academic work, and brilliant largely in our maneuverings to achieve a maximal GPA in return for minimal effort.
The Truth About Harvard," by Ross Douthat, The Atlantic, March 2005 --- http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200503/douthat 

This may be partly true, but I think that the roots of grade inflation —and, by extension, the overall ease and lack of seriousness in Harvard's undergraduate academic culture —run deeper. Understanding grade inflation requires understanding the nature of modern Harvard and of elite education in general —particularly the ambitions of its students and professors. 

The students' ambitions are those of a well-trained meritocratic elite. In the semi-aristocracy that Harvard once was, students could accept Cs, because they knew their prospects in life had more to do with family fortunes and connections than with GPAs. In today's meritocracy this situation no longer obtains. Even if you could live off your parents' wealth, the ethos of the meritocracy holds that you shouldn't, because your worth as a person is determined not by clan or class but by what you do and whether you succeed at it. What you do, in turn, hinges in no small part on what is on your résumé, including your GPA. 

Thus the professor is not just a disinterested pedagogue. As a dispenser of grades he is a gatekeeper to worldly success. And in that capacity professors face upward pressure from students ("I can't afford a B if I want to get into law school"); horizontal pressure from their colleagues, to which even Mansfield gave way; downward pressure from the administration ("If you want to fail someone, you have to be prepared for a very long, painful battle with the higher echelons," one professor told the Crimson); and perhaps pressure from within, from the part of them that sympathizes with students' careerism. (Academics, after all, have ambitions of their own, and are well aware of the vicissitudes of the marketplace.) 

It doesn't help that Harvard students are creatively lazy, gifted at working smarter rather than harder. Most of my classmates were studious primarily in our avoidance of academic work, and brilliant largely in our maneuverings to achieve a maximal GPA in return for minimal effort. It was easy to see the classroom as just another résumé-padding opportunity, a place to collect the grade (and recommendation) necessary to get to the next station in life. If that grade could be obtained while reading a tenth of the books on the syllabus, so much the better.

Princeton University takes a (modest) stand on grade inflation

"Deflating the easy 'A'," by Teresa Méndez, Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 2004 --- http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0504/p12s02-legn.html  

Princeton achieves marked progress in curbing grade inflation
--- Click Here  http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S25/35/65G93/index.xml?section=topstories
September 21, 2009 (link forwarded by David Albrecht)

Five years after its inception, Princeton's new grading policy has shown significant progress in bringing grades in undergraduate courses under better control.

In 2008-09, A grades (A+, A, A-) accounted for 39.7 percent of grades in undergraduate courses across the University -- the first time that A grades have fallen below 40 percent since the policy was approved. The results were a marked improvement from 2002-03, when A's accounted for a high of 47.9 percent of all grades.

Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel reported the results at the Sept. 21 faculty meeting. statement issued at the meeting, members of the Faculty Committee on Grading called the 2008-09 results "a major milestone in the implementation of the University's new grading policy."

The policy, adopted by the faculty in April 2004 to curb grade inflation across the University, sets an institution-wide expectation for the percentage of grades in the A range and provides clear guidelines on the meaning of letter grades. Grades have been coming down steadily since the policy was established.

"These results confirm once again that with clear intent and concerted effort, a university faculty can bring down the inflated grades that -- left uncontrolled -- devalue the educational achievements of American college students," the committee's statement said. "The Princeton faculty continues to make successful progress in its determined effort to restore educational content and meaning to the letter grades earned by the highest-achieving students in the United States."

The policy sets a common grading standard for every academic department and program, in which A's are to account for less than 35 percent of the grades for undergraduate courses and less than 55 percent of grades for junior and senior independent work. The standard by which the grading record of each department or program is evaluated is the percentage of A's given over the previous three years.

Progress has varied by division, with the social sciences and natural sciences largely holding steady for the last four years. During that period, A grades have ranged from 37.1 to 37.9 percent in the social sciences and from 35.1 to 35.9 percent in the natural sciences.

In the humanities and engineering, where progress has been slower, 2008-09 brought significant gains. A's accounted for 42.5 percent of grades in the humanities last year and 40.6 percent of grades in engineering -- both down two percentage points compared to 2007-08.

In the period from fall 2006 through spring 2009, the most recent three-year period under the new grading policy, A's accounted for 40.1 percent of grades in undergraduate courses, down from 47.0 percent in 2001-04, the three years before the faculty adopted the policy. The 2006-09 results also mark continued progress from those reported a year ago, when A's accounted for 40.4 percent of undergraduate grades in the 2005-08 period.

In humanities departments, A's accounted for 44.1 percent of the grades in undergraduate courses in 2006-09, down from 55.6 percent in 2001-04. In the social sciences, there were 37.7 percent A grades in 2006-09, down from 43.3 percent in 2001-04. In the natural sciences, there were 35.6 percent A grades in 2006-09, compared to 37.2 percent in 2001-04. In engineering, the figures were 41.7 percent A's in 2006-09, down from 50.2 percent in 2001-04.

In its statement, the committee "noted the remarkable success of many departments both in bringing their grades down and in maintaining their gains. But it observed also that there continues to be more variation among departments than the policy anticipates. The committee will be working closely with departments that are still having some difficulty in controlling their grades to devise specific strategies for turning these situations around."

Overall, the committee reiterated its "confidence in the educational benefits of the faculty's successful effort to bring grades under better control." The committee also noted that efforts to bring grades under control have not hindered Princeton students in terms of finding jobs or getting into graduate and professional schools. Detailed data about employment and postgraduate admissions will be distributed to all faculty, undergraduates and undergraduate parents later this month in a pamphlet titled "Grading at Princeton: Frequently Asked Questions."

September 23, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]


My Alma Mater where I have a taught an adjunct course or two over the years.

NYU's Stern School's Undergraduate College also has similar guidelines for grades and the on-line grading system gives you a warning if you go over the recommended percentage.. A faculty member can override it, but if you did it consistently or were over by a lot, someone will come and talk to you about it.

I don't remember off hand what the percentage cutoffs are. Initially, I didn't like it, but really appreciated these requirements as time went on.


September 23, 2009 reply from Patricia Walters [patricia@DISCLOSUREANALYTICS.COM]


At the grad school, there is another complication: reimbursement for tuition. When employers won't reimburse for less than a B in the course, the pressure not to give even a B- is intense. I've had students threaten me if they received anything less than a B.


Grade Inflation http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation 

Answers as of 1996
The answers as of 1996 lie buried in the online article at http://www.princeton.edu/~paw/archive_old/PAW95-96/11_9596/0306note.html#story4 

Are Students Getting Smarter?

Or are professors just pressured to give out more A's?

Students are getting smarter-or so it seems by the increasingly higher grades they're receiving. Last year, undergraduates earned 8 percent more A's than they did just seven years ago and more than twice as many as they did in 1969-70. In 1994-95, 41 percent of all grades awarded were A's and 42 percent were B's, according to the Office of the Registrar.

Princeton didn't invent grade inflation. According to Registrar C. Anthony Broh, it's a phenomena of private highly selective institutions. Yet at the same time as grades are creeping up at Princeton, undergraduate grades nationwide have been going down, according to a federal study released last October. The drop, said Clifford Adelman, a senior research analyst for the Department of Education, is due to a 37 percent increase in the number of people attending college.

Public colleges aren't experiencing grade inflation-a continual increase in the average grade, explained Broh-at the same rate as highly selective institutions, because their curricula are structured differently. Ohio State's curriculum, for example, is designed to weed out students, said Broh.
Princeton saw grades inflate in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The percentage of all grades that were A's jumped from 17 percent in 1969-70 to 30 percent in 1974-75. Students earned higher grades at Princeton and other institutions, in part, because of the Vietnam War. Students whose grade-point averages dropped too low were drafted, said Broh, "so faculty generally felt pressure" to give high marks.

The percentages among grades remain-ed fairly constant from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. In 1987-88, 33 percent of grades were A's. Since then, grades have risen at about the same rate as they did during the early 1970s. The primary reason for the jump, said Broh, is that professors feel some pressure from students to give higher grades so they can better compete for admission to graduate and professional schools.
Princeton's grade distribution is comparable to that of its peer institutions. At Dartmouth the percentage of all grades that are A's rose from 33 percent in 1977-78 to 43 percent in 1993-94, according to Associate Registrar Nancy Broadhead. At Harvard, the hybrid grade A/A- represented 22 percent of all grades in 1966-67 and 43 percent in 1991-92, said spokeswoman Susan Green. C's have virtually disappeared from Harvard transcripts, reported Harvard Magazine in 1993.
Students aren't the only ones who apply subtle pressure to professors. Several years ago, an instructor of linear algebra gave a third of the class C's, and there was "a big uproar," said Joseph J. Kohn *56, the chairman of the mathematics department. He received a "long letter" from a dean who suggested that that kind of grading would discourage the students.

Ten years ago, a third of a class earning C's was normal, said Kohn. Professors feel they're supposed to grade "efforts," not the product, he added.

Another reason for grade inflation, said Broh, is that students are taking fewer courses Pass/D/Fail, which since 1990-91 have been limited to one per term for each student. Therefore, students are earning more A's and B's and fewer P's.

Some observers believe that students are just smarter than they were 25 years ago, and they're working harder. The SAT scores continue to rise, noted Broh.

Even if a professor wanted to "deflate" grades, one person can't expect to "unilaterally try to reinvent grading," said Lee C. Mitchell, the chairman of the English department. One professor alone would be "demonized," if he or she tried to grade "accurately," said Clarence F. Brown, Jr., a professor of comparative literature. "The language of grading is utterly debased," he added, noting that real grading is relegated to letters of recommendation, a kind of "secret grading."
Not every professor and student on campus has succumbed to grade inflation, however. In the mind of Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science James Wei, a C is still average. Professors in the engineering school still regularly give grades below B's, though "students are indignant," he said.
According to Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel, the university periodically reviews grade distribution. The administration encourages faculty members to think carefully about grading patterns, but "we don't tell [them] what grades to give," said Malkiel.

Harvard isn't planning on doing anything about the shift in grades, said Green. Dartmouth, however, last year changed its grading policy. In an effort to assess student performance more effectively, report cards and transcripts now include not only grades, but also the median grade earned by the class and the size of the class. The change may also affect grade inflation, but it's too soon to tell if it has, said Broadhead.
In the end, perhaps grade inflation is inconsequential. As Kohn said, "The important thing is what students learn, not what [grades] they get." And as Dean of the Faculty Amy Gutmann told The Daily Princetonian, "There is no problem [with grade inflation] as long as grades reflect the quality of work done."

Chart:  The graphic is not available online
Infografic by Jeff Dionise; Source: Office of the Registrar

This chart, provided by the Office of the Registrar, shows the percentage of grades awarded over the last 25 years. The percentage of A's and B's increased markedly in the late 1960s and early 1970s and again since the late 1980s. The percentage of P's (pass) dropped dramatically in the early 1970s, in part because the Pass/D/Fail option lost favor among students for fear that those evaluating their academic careers would think they took lighter loads, said Registrar C. Anthony Broh. Also, the university now allows fewer courses to be taken Pass/D/Fail. The percentage of P's peaked in 1969-70, when students went on strike during the Vietnam War and sympathetic faculty gave them the option of receiving either a P or a normal grade. Many students opted for P's, said Broh.

Are Students Getting Smarter?
Or are professors just pressured to give out more A's?
The real issue isn't grade inflation, said Registrar C. Anthony Broh, it's grade "compression." Because most grades awarded are A's and B's, it's hard to differentiate between students at the top of a course.

February 20, 2005 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU

If you are worried about grade inflations, think about this: a dean of a well-known research university (sorry, I can’t say who) sent a memo to his faculty suggesting that they RAISE the average GPA because grade inflation at other institutions are putting his students at a competitive disadvantage. So, now we may have a race to who has the highest average GPA.

February 20, 2005 reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@CARIBOO.BC.CA

I think the following is unlikely to fly in the continuous assessment environment, but for seven years in the 70's/80s I taught at a UK institution where all major exams (these accounted for around 80% of course marks and held once per year) were double marked - once by the instructor directly responsible for the class and once by an associate from the same department. Exam results were also reviewed by a committee responsible for the degree, and samples sent off to an external examiner (one of our externals was a certain David Tweedie).

This method is VERY effective at combating student pressure on instructors, but fairly time-consuming; unless Faculty accept it (we did) as part of normal work-load it may also become expensive....



Roger Collins 
Associate Professor UCC (soon to be TRU) School of Business

No wonder kids take the easy way out:  The era of work and sacrifice is long gone
The pressure for U.S. high schools to toughen up is growing. But when schools respond with stiffened requirements, as many have done by instituting senior projects, they often find that students and parents aren't afraid to fight back.
Robert Tomsho, "When High Schools Try Getting Tough, Parents Fight Back," The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2005, Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110782391032448413,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one 
In Duvall, Wash., Projects Required Months of Work -- Then Parental Protests Kicked In 

Fearing your student evaluations, how much time and trouble should you devote to email questions from your students?
For junior faculty members, the barrage of e-mail has brought new tension into their work lives, some say, as they struggle with how to respond. Their tenure prospects, they realize, may rest in part on student evaluations of their accessibility. The stakes are different for professors today than they were even a decade ago, said Patricia Ewick, chairwoman of the sociology department at Clark University in Massachusetts, explaining that "students are constantly asked to fill out evaluations of individual faculty." Students also frequently post their own evaluations on Web sites like www.ratemyprofessors.com  and describe their impressions of their professors on blogs.
Jonathan D. Glater, "To: Professor@University.edu Subject: Why It's All About Me," The New York Times, February 21, 2006 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/21/education/21professors.html

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm

Reed College, a selective liberal arts college in Oregon, where the average grade-point average has remained a sobering 2.9 (on a 4.0 scale) for 19 years.
See below

Valen E. Johnson, a biostatistics professor at the University of Michigan and author of "Grade Inflation: A Crisis in College Education" (Springer Verlag), said the use of student ratings to evaluate teachers also inflates grades: "As long as our evaluations depend on their opinion of us, their grades are going to be high."
See below

Administrators and some faculty at some of the country's top universities have proposed correcting for so-called grade inflation by limiting A's.  It's relatively easy to get an A at Princeton, but it's easier at Harvard.

"Is It Grade Inflation, or Are Students Just Smarter?" by Karen W. Arenson, The New York Times, April 18, 2004 ---  http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/18/weekinreview/18aren.html 

MILLION dollars isn't what it used to be, and neither is an A in college.

A's - including A-pluses and A-minuses - make up about half the grades at many elite schools, according to a recent survey by Princeton of the Ivy League and several other leading universities.

At Princeton, where A's accounted for 47 percent of grades last year, up from 31 percent in the 1970's, administrators and some faculty have proposed correcting for so-called grade inflation by limiting A's to 35 percent of course grades.

Not everyone is convinced there is a problem. A recent study by Clifford Adelman of the United States Department of Education concluded that there were only minor changes in grade distributions between the 1970's and the 1990's, even at highly selective institutions. (A bigger change, he said, was the rise in the number of students withdrawing from courses and repeating courses for higher grades.)

Alfie Kohn, author of the coming book "More Essays on Standards, Grading and Other Follies" (Beacon Press), says rising grades "don't in itself prove that grade inflation exists.''

"It's necessary to show - and, to the best of my knowledge, it has never been shown - that those higher grades are undeserved,'' he said.

Is it possible that the A students deserve their A's?

Getting into colleges like Princeton is far more difficult than it used to be. And increasing numbers of students are being bred like racehorses to breeze through standardized tests and to write essays combining Albert Einstein's brilliance with Mother Teresa's compassion.

Partly to impress admissions officers, students are loading up on Advanced Placement courses. The College Board said the number taking 10 or more such courses in high school is more than 10 times what it was a decade ago. And classes aimed at helping them do better on the SAT exams are booming.

"Back in 1977, when I graduated from high school, it had to be less than 25,000 students nationally who spent more than $100 on preparing for the SAT," said John Katzman, founder and chief executive of The Princeton Review, which tutors about 60,000 students a year for the SAT's. "It was the C students who prepped, not the A students," he added. "Now it's got to be circa 200,000 or 250,000 students who are going to spend more than $400 to prepare for the SAT."

But Wayne Camara, vice president of research at the College Board, said that while students are increasingly well prepared, "that in no way accounts for the shift in grades we are seeing.''

"Grades are not like temperatures or weights,'' he said. "What constitutes an A or a B has changed, both in high school and in college."

He said teachers are aware of how competitive the academic world has become and try to help students by giving better grades. "If you graduated from college in the 1950's and you wanted to go to law school or a graduate program, you could," Dr. Camara said. "Today it is very difficult. You are not going to be able to graduate from Harvard or Princeton with a 2.8 grade point average and get into Georgetown Law."

In addition, one recent Princeton graduate who works in investment banking and has participated in recruiting meetings cautioned in a letter to The Daily Princetonian that hiring practices can be superficial, and that grade-point averages are one of the first items scrutinized on a résumé.

Stuart Rojstaczer, a geology professor at Duke who runs the Web site www.Gradeinflation.com, says that higher grades are the result of a culture where the student-consumer is king. "We don't want to offend students or parents," he said. "They are customers and the customer is always right."

Valen E. Johnson, a biostatistics professor at the University of Michigan and author of "Grade Inflation: A Crisis in College Education" (Springer Verlag), said the use of student ratings to evaluate teachers also inflates grades: "As long as our evaluations depend on their opinion of us, their grades are going to be high."

Even if the Princeton plan is approved, Professor Johnson, who unsuccessfully tried to lower grades at Duke University a few years ago, cautioned that reform is difficult. "It is not in the interest of the majority to reform the system," he said. "Assigning grades, particularly low grades, is tough, and it requires more work, since low grades have to be backed up with evidence of poor performance."

But Princeton and others may take some comfort from Reed College, a selective liberal arts college in Oregon, where the average grade-point average has remained a sobering 2.9 (on a 4.0 scale) for 19 years.

The college says it ranks third among all colleges and universities in the proportion of students who go on for Ph.D.s, and has produced more than 50 Fulbright Scholars and 31 Rhodes scholars.

Still, Colin S. Diver, Reed's president, says graduate schools worried about their rankings are becoming less willing to take students with lower grades because they make the graduate schools appear less selective.

"If they admit someone with a 3.0 from Reed who is in the upper half of the class, that counts against them, even if it is a terrific student," Mr. Diver said. "I keep saying to my colleagues here that we can hold ourselves out of the market for only so long."

September 18, 2009 reply from Richard Pettway <richard.pettway@cba.ufl.edu>

Hi Bob,
A comment about GPA inflation. Clearly, the facts are the facts. However, I am interested in whether there has been a corresponding increase in GMAT grades in enter MBA programs. The question is do higher GPA scores result in higher GMAT scores? Clearly, there is great pressure on instructors to raise GPAs, but I did not think that there was any effective pressure to raise GMAT scores. Thus, if GMAT scores also increased during the same time period, perhaps the students have been better, justifying the increased GPA scores. In those conditions, there would not be any grade inflation. Thus, I think it is an empirical issue. What are the facts of the trend in GMAT scores?


September 18, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Dick,

You raise a good question, although if anything the SAT and ACT scores have declined in periods of highest grade inflation. Keep in mind that the SAT scoring changed in 2001 when a writing component was added --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HigherEdControversies.htm#GradeInflation 

Since quality of K-12 schools gone downhill, I don't think better preparation for college accounts for the grade inflation. I'm more inclined to blame grade inflation on other things, especially when teaching evaluations began to directly impact job performance evaluations, promotion, and tenure decisions.

Bob Jensen

September 18, 2009 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]


Interesting and provocative post.

I've heard you say, for years, that student evaluations of teaching are the primary factor in collegiate grade inflation.

I've had a pretty human reaction to your statement. I claim that SET's have had no impact on my grade assignments, but undoubtedly have impacted the grade assignments of all my colleagues. Of course, on those rare sober moments I'll admit to myself that your point applies even to me. I assign higher grades in part because of SET. Without AECM I would never have reached this point of self-realization.

These days, there is a trend to publish the results of these SET. I think it will have an explosive impact on an instructor's course GPA. I fear being at an institution where one summary number for a professor's teaching is published. And I have a history of receiving fairly high SET scores, averaging 90-95% of maximum.

I'm pretty sure I do my best job possible in helping my students learn. I've adopted the learner-centered approach in improve student learning efficacy of accounting content. I'm convinced that the learner-centered approach is a better approach (than teacher-centered) for a content-dominated course. I also use Dee Fink's taxonomy as a guide for my efforts in holistic education. So, I think I put in a solid, conscientious effort that is effective in helping students learn. Students have verified this in the teaching awards they send my way.

I think, though, the trend for publishing SET results for each professor will end up with another race to the bottom, a death spiral if you will. It is one thing for my SET results to be transmitted to the P&T committee, and the merit committee. Not everyone will see it and immediately be able to make a comparison of my score with those of my colleagues. However, if everyone's score is published and anyone can make that comparison, then I'll start competing to make sure that I have the highest SET results. And I know how to compete. I'll do everything possible to influence student responses on the SEC, even to the detriment of the other proven things I do that result in increased student learning. Because a high teacher rating from an SET does not necessarily equate to high student learning. [Hint: taking cookies to the class period where SETs are filled out has a great, great impact on the SET]

You also pose the question of "are students getting smarter?" This is interesting, because many faculty think that students are actually getting dumber. Certainly it is perceived by faculty that students are less well prepared for business courses in college. If smart/dumb characteristics are related to native intellectual ability, then I just don't see how the human being is evolving into a more stupid creature. Besides, it takes several generations to gauge the evolutionary impact on a specie's gene pool. 25 years is not enough to prove "de-evolution" of humans.

David Albrecht
Concordia College
Moorhead MN


Why teaching evaluations are, in my viewpoint, the number one cause of grade inflation ---

Grade Inflation Versus Teaching Evaluations ---

The Ketz Solution to Grade Inflation

"Sue the University!" by: J. Edward Ketz, SmartPros, September 2009 ---

She graduated from the college last April with a bachelor of business administration degree, majoring in information technology. Trina finished with a “solid” attendance record and a grade point average of 2.7. She applied to every potential job placement available through the college’s placement services, but to no avail. Because she cannot get a job, she is suing the college for tuition costs ($70,000) plus compensation for the stress due to her inability to land a job ($2,000).

News agencies that have reported on this event uniformly point out that the case is meritless because colleges do not promise a job to their students. Instead, they promise an education. These reporters and pundits, however, miss the significance of the lawsuit. When universities offer an education to their students, what are they really offering and what do they deliver? And how can you tell whether the university has actually provided an education to the student?

We used to say institutions of higher learning supplied higher levels of knowledge; but with the knowledge explosion in the last 100 years or so, nobody today comprehends much of the total human knowledge that we collectively have. Besides, anybody can log on to the web and presumably find knowledge. Whether the individual knows what to do with it is another matter.

And Bill Gates is one example that it is possible to gain knowledge without a college degree. Of course, one might quickly add that for every success story such as Gates’, there are hundreds of uneducated people who are unemployed or working for minimum wages.

For some time universities have been asserting that an education is a process by which the university teaches students to think. Academia teaches “critical thinking”, communication skills, global awareness, and diversity training. Bypassing any thoughts about whether this is what higher learning should be about, I want to focus on assessment. When a student graduates, how does he or she (or parents) grasp whether the mission has been accomplished? Did they receive value commensurate with the costs?

Our society is quite utilitarian, and that philosophy began to pervade universities when Congress democratized college education after World War II with the GI bill. Education at universities was once for the elite, but now it exists for the masses. By necessity, universities have had to water down the content of courses because the average person, by definition, is unable to accomplish what the elite can do.

The irony, as many have stated, is grade inflation for the masses, especially when contrasted with grades that existed a century ago. The interesting point is that universities do not have the will to change this aspect of the system. They prefer to have satisfied “customers” and parents and governments—and the tuition dollars.

One simple scheme to improve the grading system is to require faculty to rank order the students and resolve ties with the median of the tied scores. Any faculty member who assigns all A’s ranks all of the students in the 50th percentile. A faculty member who gives 60% A’s and 40% B’s assigns the first group to the 70th percentile and members of the latter group to the 20th percentile. But, this improvement will never be implemented because universities don’t really want to fix this problem.

The utilitarian worldview raises its head at various points, and one concerns the value of education. While many analysts dismiss Thompson’s lawsuit because her college did not promise her a job, it would prove interesting to take a poll of students and parents across the land. My hunch is that enough people would side with Trina to make university administrators uncomfortable.

After all, how can you tell whether somebody has achieved a sufficiently proficient level of critical thinking? How can you assess one’s ability to communicate or his or her ability to grasp global issues or be sensitive to diversity? Of course, we professors claim to have the professional judgment to answer these questions, but what we do is a black box to outsiders, if not to ourselves.

In a lot of ways trying to answer these questions isn’t much different from debating the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead. I hypothesize that most Americans would escape the subjectivity of these issues by saying the acid test for these concerns is the ability to get a job. Perhaps not immediately, as a liberal arts education is often deemed a useful foundation for a professional education, such as law, but eventually one needs some sort of employment to say that the education has succeeded.

Accounting education is no different. On the one hand, we would like graduates to demonstrate critical thinking, ethical decision making, and be aware of international business issues. On the other hand, graduates need skills for the marketplace. And not just skills to obtain a job, but skills and attitudes and a work ethic to advance and contribute to the firm and to society.

As I reflect on Trina Thompson’s lawsuit, I wonder how many more students will sue their alma maters. And, if a judge allows the suit to proceed, I wonder whether jury members will sympathize with the colleges or with the unemployed graduates. There is more at stake here than merely the discontent of one unemployed former student.

Jensen Comment
Below is my August 17, 2009 on the Trina Thompson lawsuit. ABC News asserted that Monroe College in overzealous recruiting practices made "promises" beyond what is normal more traditional colleges and universities. If she wins this lawsuit it need not make most other learning institutions worry.

A New York City woman who says she can't find a job is suing the college where she earned a bachelor's degree. Trina Thompson filed a lawsuit last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court. The 27-year-old is seeking the $70,000 she spent on tuition. Thompson says she's been unable to find gainful employment since she received her information technology degree in April.
"Jobless NYC woman sues college for $70K in tuition," Yahoo News, August 2, 2009 ---
Jensen Comment
ABC News added some added some revelations about deceptive promises being made to student prospects and tuition rip offs. There may be circumstances that make this lawsuit different from most situations for college graduates in general.


The Importance of Paying Attention for Longer Periods of Time

Once Mischel began analyzing the results, he noticed that low delayers, the children who rang the bell quickly, seemed more likely to have behavioral problems, both in school and at home. They got lower S.A.T. scores. They struggled in stressful situations, often had trouble paying attention, and found it difficult to maintain friendships. The child who could wait fifteen minutes had an S.A.T. score that was, on average, two hundred and ten points higher than that of the kid who could wait only thirty seconds.
"Don’t! The secret of self-control," by Jonah Lehrer, The New Yorker, May 18, 2009 ---
Jim Mahar clued me into this link.

In the late nineteen-sixties, Carolyn Weisz, a four-year-old with long brown hair, was invited into a “game room” at the Bing Nursery School, on the campus of Stanford University. The room was little more than a large closet, containing a desk and a chair. Carolyn was asked to sit down in the chair and pick a treat from a tray of marshmallows, cookies, and pretzel sticks. Carolyn chose the marshmallow. Although she’s now forty-four, Carolyn still has a weakness for those air-puffed balls of corn syrup and gelatine. “I know I shouldn’t like them,” she says. “But they’re just so delicious!” A researcher then made Carolyn an offer: she could either eat one marshmallow right away or, if she was willing to wait while he stepped out for a few minutes, she could have two marshmallows when he returned. He said that if she rang a bell on the desk while he was away he would come running back, and she could eat one marshmallow but would forfeit the second. Then he left the room.

Although Carolyn has no direct memory of the experiment, and the scientists would not release any information about the subjects, she strongly suspects that she was able to delay gratification. “I’ve always been really good at waiting,” Carolyn told me. “If you give me a challenge or a task, then I’m going to find a way to do it, even if it means not eating my favorite food.” Her mother, Karen Sortino, is still more certain: “Even as a young kid, Carolyn was very patient. I’m sure she would have waited.” But her brother Craig, who also took part in the experiment, displayed less fortitude. Craig, a year older than Carolyn, still remembers the torment of trying to wait. “At a certain point, it must have occurred to me that I was all by myself,” he recalls. “And so I just started taking all the candy.” According to Craig, he was also tested with little plastic toys—he could have a second one if he held out—and he broke into the desk, where he figured there would be additional toys. “I took everything I could,” he says. “I cleaned them out. After that, I noticed the teachers encouraged me to not go into the experiment room anymore.”

Footage of these experiments, which were conducted over several years, is poignant, as the kids struggle to delay gratification for just a little bit longer. Some cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they can’t see the tray. Others start kicking the desk, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal. One child, a boy with neatly parted hair, looks carefully around the room to make sure that nobody can see him. Then he picks up an Oreo, delicately twists it apart, and licks off the white cream filling before returning the cookie to the tray, a satisfied look on his face.

Most of the children were like Craig. They struggled to resist the treat and held out for an average of less than three minutes. “A few kids ate the marshmallow right away,” Walter Mischel, the Stanford professor of psychology in charge of the experiment, remembers. “They didn’t even bother ringing the bell. Other kids would stare directly at the marshmallow and then ring the bell thirty seconds later.” About thirty per cent of the children, however, were like Carolyn. They successfully delayed gratification until the researcher returned, some fifteen minutes later. These kids wrestled with temptation but found a way to resist.

The initial goal of the experiment was to identify the mental processes that allowed some people to delay gratification while others simply surrendered. After publishing a few papers on the Bing studies in the early seventies, Mischel moved on to other areas of personality research. “There are only so many things you can do with kids trying not to eat marshmallows.”

But occasionally Mischel would ask his three daughters, all of whom attended the Bing, about their friends from nursery school. “It was really just idle dinnertime conversation,” he says. “I’d ask them, ‘How’s Jane? How’s Eric? How are they doing in school?’ ” Mischel began to notice a link between the children’s academic performance as teen-agers and their ability to wait for the second marshmallow. He asked his daughters to assess their friends academically on a scale of zero to five. Comparing these ratings with the original data set, he saw a correlation. “That’s when I realized I had to do this seriously,” he says. Starting in 1981, Mischel sent out a questionnaire to all the reachable parents, teachers, and academic advisers of the six hundred and fifty-three subjects who had participated in the marshmallow task, who were by then in high school. He asked about every trait he could think of, from their capacity to plan and think ahead to their ability to “cope well with problems” and get along with their peers. He also requested their S.A.T. scores.

Once Mischel began analyzing the results, he noticed that low delayers, the children who rang the bell quickly, seemed more likely to have behavioral problems, both in school and at home. They got lower S.A.T. scores. They struggled in stressful situations, often had trouble paying attention, and found it difficult to maintain friendships. The child who could wait fifteen minutes had an S.A.T. score that was, on average, two hundred and ten points higher than that of the kid who could wait only thirty seconds.

Carolyn Weisz is a textbook example of a high delayer. She attended Stanford as an undergraduate, and got her Ph.D. in social psychology at Princeton. She’s now an associate psychology professor at the University of Puget Sound. Craig, meanwhile, moved to Los Angeles and has spent his career doing “all kinds of things” in the entertainment industry, mostly in production. He’s currently helping to write and produce a film. “Sure, I wish I had been a more patient person,” Craig says. “Looking back, there are definitely moments when it would have helped me make better career choices and stuff.”

Mischel and his colleagues continued to track the subjects into their late thirties—Ozlem Ayduk, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, found that low-delaying adults have a significantly higher body-mass index and are more likely to have had problems with drugs—but it was frustrating to have to rely on self-reports. “There’s often a gap between what people are willing to tell you and how they behave in the real world,” he explains. And so, last year, Mischel, who is now a professor at Columbia, and a team of collaborators began asking the original Bing subjects to travel to Stanford for a few days of experiments in an fMRI machine. Carolyn says she will be participating in the scanning experiments later this summer; Craig completed a survey several years ago, but has yet to be invited to Palo Alto. The scientists are hoping to identify the particular brain regions that allow some people to delay gratification and control their temper. They’re also conducting a variety of genetic tests, as they search for the hereditary characteristics that influence the ability to wait for a second marshmallow.

If Mischel and his team succeed, they will have outlined the neural circuitry of self-control. For decades, psychologists have focussed on raw intelligence as the most important variable when it comes to predicting success in life. Mischel argues that intelligence is largely at the mercy of self-control: even the smartest kids still need to do their homework. “What we’re really measuring with the marshmallows isn’t will power or self-control,” Mischel says. “It’s much more important than that. This task forces kids to find a way to make the situation work for them. They want the second marshmallow, but how can they get it? We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.”

Walter Mischel is a slight, elegant man with a shaved head and a face of deep creases. He talks with a Brooklyn bluster and he tends to act out his sentences, so that when he describes the marshmallow task he takes on the body language of an impatient four-year-old. “If you want to know why some kids can wait and others can’t, then you’ve got to think like they think,” Mischel says.

Mischel was born in Vienna, in 1930. His father was a modestly successful businessman with a fondness for café society and Esperanto, while his mother spent many of her days lying on the couch with an ice pack on her forehead, trying to soothe her frail nerves. The family considered itself fully assimilated, but after the Nazi annexation of Austria, in 1938, Mischel remembers being taunted in school by the Hitler Youth and watching as his father, hobbled by childhood polio, was forced to limp through the streets in his pajamas. A few weeks after the takeover, while the family was burning evidence of their Jewish ancestry in the fireplace, Walter found a long-forgotten certificate of U.S. citizenship issued to his maternal grandfather decades earlier, thus saving his family.

The family settled in Brooklyn, where Mischel’s parents opened up a five-and-dime. Mischel attended New York University, studying poetry under Delmore Schwartz and Allen Tate, and taking studio-art classes with Philip Guston. He also became fascinated by psychoanalysis and new measures of personality, such as the Rorschach test. “At the time, it seemed like a mental X-ray machine,” he says. “You could solve a person by showing them a picture.” Although he was pressured to join his uncle’s umbrella business, he ended up pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Ohio State.

But Mischel noticed that academic theories had limited application, and he was struck by the futility of most personality science. He still flinches at the naïveté of graduate students who based their diagnoses on a battery of meaningless tests. In 1955, Mischel was offered an opportunity to study the “spirit possession” ceremonies of the Orisha faith in Trinidad, and he leapt at the chance. Although his research was supposed to involve the use of Rorschach tests to explore the connections between the unconscious and the behavior of people when possessed, Mischel soon grew interested in a different project. He lived in a part of the island that was evenly split between people of East Indian and of African descent; he noticed that each group defined the other in broad stereotypes. “The East Indians would describe the Africans as impulsive hedonists, who were always living for the moment and never thought about the future,” he says. “The Africans, meanwhile, would say that the East Indians didn’t know how to live and would stuff money in their mattress and never enjoy themselves.”

Mischel took young children from both ethnic groups and offered them a simple choice: they could have a miniature chocolate bar right away or, if they waited a few days, they could get a much bigger chocolate bar. Mischel’s results failed to justify the stereotypes—other variables, such as whether or not the children lived with their father, turned out to be much more important—but they did get him interested in the question of delayed gratification. Why did some children wait and not others? What made waiting possible? Unlike the broad traits supposedly assessed by personality tests, self-control struck Mischel as potentially measurable.

Continued in article

Jensen Comment
I think this entire article has a lot to do with metacognition and the importance of self-learning because it is often easier to pay attention when learning on your own.
Bob Jensen's threads on learning memory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm

"Attention Must Be Paid," by Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, November 26, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/11/26/mclemee 

Actually looking at the e-mail would no doubt have informed me that it was a matter of paying a modest fee to some enterprising soul, probably in the Cayman Islands. Instead, I deleted this message on the basis of the subject line alone, along with a dozen other such communications. Meanwhile, my eyeballs were unwittingly drawn to a video loop of a woman screaming in terror – horrified at high credit card interest rates, which she could reduce via a company that advertises with my e-mail provider.

Then my cell phone emitted a short burst of music, announcing that someone had just left a text message.

All par for the course, of course. (At least I wasn’t driving.) The demands on our attention have now become a matter for professional expertise: An organization for specialists, the Information Overload Research Group, was formally incorporated as a nonprofit this summer and held its first conference in August. A substantial technical literature on interruption now exists. And one recent consideration of the world economic crisis suggests it has been exacerbated by all the data now sloshing around the globe: “We have far too much information today and that impedes our decision-making abilities and throttles our ability to resolve crises.”

The weak link in the information age seems to be our human hard-wiring. So one gathers from The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory (Oxford University Press) by Torkel Klingberg, who is a professor of developmental cognitive neuroscience at the Stockholm Brain Institute. A review of recent research on how attention and memory actually function within our gray matter, it is a work of scientific popularization rather than a handbook on how to minimize the cognitive drain of distraction.

But there may be some advantage to knowing how the systems in our heads actually operate – and it is Klingberg’s contention that, in spite of everything, those systems may actually benefit from the sometimes excessive demands our environments now place on our capacity to process the data flux. The human brain itself has not changed much in either anatomy or volume over the past 40,000 years. So at one level it seems natural that we should experience a cognitive bottleneck in handling the masses of information being hurled at us daily.

To simplify Klingberg’s already pared-down analysis, we can distinguish between two kinds of attention. One is controlled attention: the directed effort to apply one’s concentration to a particular task. The other is stimulus-driven attention, which is an involuntary response to something happening in the environment. (You can tune out the conversations going on around you in a restaurant. But if a waiter drops a tray full of dishes, it is going to impose itself on your awareness.)

But it’s not as if these forms of attention are – as it may seem – different manifestations of the same state of consciousness: researchers have found from tests that the controlled and stimulus-driven attention “seem fairly independent of one another,” says Klingberg, which may mean “that there are different parts of the brain, or different brain processes” involved in them.

Likewise, there is a distinction between the kind of memory that allows you to recall an event from five years ago and a set of information connected with a problem you are trying to solve. Your recollections of yesteryear are part of long-term memory, which can be mysteriously capacious. By contrast, there are definite limitations on how much task-oriented data can be held in your “working memory.” (Evidently there are grounds for debate among researchers over whether or not this is the same as “short-term memory,” but we’ll just stick to Klingberg’s preferred usage.)

As with the forms of attention, the distinction between long-term and working memory corresponds to different processes within the brain, occurring within different parts of its geography. But there is evidence that (as you might expect) working memory and controlled attention are closely related. People who score lower on tests for the ability to retain information in their working memory tend to have more difficulty in focusing attention on a complex task. “It might not come as too much of a surprise,” says Klingberg, “to find that working memory capacity correlates highly with reading comprehension.”

Klingberg reports that a two-year study in his lab showed that it was possible to increase working-memory capacity: “children who had done a certain type of computerized memory task, such as remembering positions in a four-by-four grid and clicking a mouse button, improved at other, noncomputerized types of working memory too.... We had shown that the systems are not static and that the limits of working memory capacity can be stretched.”

Further study suggested that this improvement also corresponded to increased problem-solving skills. Our brains may still have many of the same fundamental limitations as the Cro-Magnon model, but there is also some degree of plasticity in how we can use and develop it.

Which brings us to Klingberg’s most surprising and even counterintuitive suggestion. Multitasking often threatens to overload the working memory. But at the same time, it’s clear that we can actually manage it, at least to some degree – reading a newspaper while walking on a treadmill, for example, and occasionally glancing up at the TV screen to see what’s breaking on CNN.

“There is, fortunately, no research suggesting that exposure to mentally more demanding or challenging situations impairs our powers of concentration,” writes Klingberg. “Indeed, there is much that points to the contrary: it is in situations that push the boundaries of our abilities that we train our brains the most.”

But even if our basic ability to process information is increasing, a growing “discrepancy between demand and capacity” may account for the common sense of losing focus.

“You are very possibly 10 percent better at talking on the phone while erasing spam today than you were three years ago. On the other hand, the number of e-mails you receive per day has probably shot up about 200 percent. There is, therefore, no contradiction between the feeling that your abilities are inadequate and the improvement of those abilities.”

Well, that is some comfort – if not much. It’s been said that the scarcest resource in an information society is not information but attention. Klingberg’s book, interesting as it is, does not leave the reader with any way around that. In any case, a great deal of the “information” (such as my Ph.D. offer this morning) turns out to be noise, rather than anything meaningful. It’s necessary to pay just enough attention to decide not to pay any more attention – a kind of catch-22.

Which is why it sometimes feels like one’s brain is being nibbled by carnivorous gnats. It would be good if Dr. Klingberg and his colleagues would apply themselves to finding a salve. Or better yet, a repellent.

Jensen Comment
I think this entire article has a lot to do with metacognition and the importance of self-learning because it is often easier to pay attention when learning on your own.
Bob Jensen's threads on learning memory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/265wp.htm

What is hyperbolic discounting?

"Psychology of poverty and temptation," by Chris Blattman, September 2009 ---

Some people are impulsive and impatient; they prefer a dollar or a donut today far more than a dollar or a donut tomorrow, so much so that they’re willing to give up shocking amounts of dollars and donuts tomorrow for just one today. This is one reason, some say, that we see such high interest rates for short-term borrowing, from New York to Calcutta.

Some people are not only impulsive and impatient, but inconsistently so. they care a lot about a dollar today versus tomorrow, but could care less between getting a dollar either 10 or 11 days from now. Economists call this ‘hyperbolic discounting’.

Both behaviors–impatience and time inconsistency–could be a source of persistent poverty.

Or not. Abhijit Banerjee presented a new paper here yesterday, written with MIT colleague Sendhil Mullainathan. They look at a number of seemingly unusual behaviors by the very poor–from exorbitant rates of short-term borrowing to the low take-up of small, high-return investments. Impatience cannot explain the patterns, they say. The impatience approach also requires the poor think differently than the rest of the population.

Another view: we’re all impulsive and impatient in the same way, but over a narrow range of goods that are quickly and cheaply satisfied. If you’re poor, these temptations are a big fraction of your income. If you’re even somewhat wealthy, they are not. Temptations are declining in income.

The paper runs through half a dozen perplexing patterns of behavior, and shows that these simple assumptions can explain a great deal.

This approach has a great deal in common with hyperbolic discounting, but is empirically distinct (and has very different policy implications). Parsing out and testing these subtleties strikes me as one of the most important frontiers in the study of poverty. Declining temptation, if true, could explain all sorts of odd behaviors. With more than a few Uganda and Liberia surveys on the horizon, I’m now scheming ways to test whether it’s true.

It’s a difficult paper, especially for those uninitiated in micro-economic theory. Even if that sounds like you: the subtle points are worth the slog.

For an intro to the subfield, see Senthil’s essay, Development economics through the lens of psychology. Another great resource is Stefano Dellavigna’s recent JEL article on evidence from the field. Both are ungated.

Great Comedy Video About What to Say to Bill Collectors
It just gets better and better as it rolls along
Clean Comedy from Tim Clue (Debt) --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5bbvMR8Ee4
The above link was forwarded by
Paul Bjorklund
Alternate link when opening for George Bush Sr. ---

Bob Jensen's helpers in personal finance ---

How to avoid losing your money to fraud ---

Behavioral and Cultural Economics and Finance --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#Behavioral

78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce.
Championship Rings in pawn shops, IRS vaults, Ponzi schemer stashes offshore, or in the clutches of ex-wives

What on earth did athletes learn in college?

Pros seem especially susceptible to Ponzi schemes. Some recent examples --- Click Here

10 Ways Sports Stars (multi-millionaires) Go From Riches To Rags," by Lawrence Delevingne, Business Insider, September 18, 2009 --- http://www.businessinsider.com/10-ways-sports-stars-destroy-their-finances-2009-9

 Sports Illustrated article this year showed how shockingly common financial ruin is:

If that's not bad enough, the recession has made things even worse. Too much money in real estate; investments in Ponzi schemes; and poor financial advising have been exposed with the down economy.

A sign of the times? More former stars are selling their championship rings for money than ever. "It's amazing that I heard the recession was over," says Timothy Robins, owner of Championshiprings.net, who buys bling from current and former pros and has seen a 36% increase in sales during the past year. "I'm getting more calls from players than ever. They're having a really hard time."

While just about everyone has lost money over the past year, athletes tend to make particularly bad financial decisions, and it's not just reckless spending.

How they lose their wealth --- Click Here

The 10 ways sports pros blow their cash >>

Jensen Comment
The same goes for many, many movie stars like Debbie Reynolds who, very late in their lives, are "willing to work for food."

The boots in Hollywood's Boot Hill are not stuffed with savings.

Bob Jensen's helpers in personal finance ---

How to avoid losing your money to fraud ---

Behavioral and Cultural Economics and Finance --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#Behavioral

"Video: The New Geography of Innovation," Simoleon Sense, September 18, 2009 ---

What does it take for innovation to occur? Master “nudger” and business professor talks  about the process of innovation.

Introduction (Via Fora.Tv)

Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and “a serial innovator” by The Economist, Dr. John Kao describes his job as “instigator of new things.” This talk is part of the Momentum 2009 Leadership Conference hosted by Tides.

Speaker Background (Via Fora.Tv)

John Kao - Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and “a serial innovator” by The Economist, Dr. John Kao describes his job as “instigator of new things.” He is considered a leading authority on the subjects of innovation, organizational transformation, and digital media. He is author of Innovation Nation, and Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, a BusinessWeek best-seller that has been published in a dozen languages. In addition, he is the founder of Kao & Company, which advises top tier Fortune 500 business leaders as well as government leaders around the world. He has specialized in instructing organizations in the methods for making innovation happen.

As a professor, he taught a popular course on innovation at the Harvard Business School, and held faculty appointments at the MIT Media Lab, Yale College, and the US Naval Postgraduate School. He has started several companies, in areas as diverse as biotech and innovation management. He is also a Tony-nominated executive producer of theater and film, including sex, lies and videotape, and he is an accomplished jazz musician.

Bob Jensen's threads on tricks and tools of the trade are at

Bob Jensen's threads on the sad state of accountancy doctoral programs are at

Test Drive Running a University
Virtual Learning Games/Simulations for Understanding the Complexities of Managing a University
This is a very serious virtual learning project funded, in large measure, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

"Virtual University (a free download) --- http://www.virtual-u.org/

With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on April 15-16 the Education Arcade, The Comparative Media Studies Program at M.I.T., The Virtual U Project, and The Serious Games Initiative will host a two-day workshop at M.I.T titled “Game Simulations for Educational Leadership & Visualization: Virtual U and Beyond”. This event is designed to look at the past, present, and future of games about education and educational life.

Virtual U is designed to foster better understanding of management practices in American colleges and universities.

It provides students, teachers, and parents the unique opportunity to step into the decision-making shoes of a university president. Players are responsible for establishing and monitoring all the major components of an institution, including everything from faculty salaries to campus parking.

As players move around the Virtual U campus, they gather information needed to make decisions such as decreasing faculty teaching time or increasing athletic scholarships. However, as in a real college or university, the complexity and potential effects of each decision must be carefully considered. And the Virtual U Board of Trustees is monitoring every move.

Virtual U models the attitudes and behaviors of the academic community in five major areas of higher education management:
  • Spending and income decisions such as operating budget, new hires, incoming donations, and management of the endowment;
  • Faculty, course, and student scheduling issues;
  • Admissions standards, university prestige, and student enrollment;
  • Student housing, classrooms, and all other facilities; and
  • Performance indicators.
Virtual U players select an institution type and strive for continuous improvement by setting, monitoring, and modifying a variety of institutional parameters and policies. Players are challenged to manage and improve their institution of higher education through techniques such as resource allocation, minority enrollment policies, and policies for promoting faculty, among others. Players watch the results of their decisions unfold in real- time. A letter of review from Virtual U's board is sent every "year," informing players of their progress.

Jensen Comment
Click on "Team" to be impressed with credentials of the development team, including William F. Massey, the long-time President of Stanford University.

Virtual University may be downloaded free and/or ordered in a box set of disks.

One potential application is in not-for-profit accountancy classes where students can learn how to prepare and analyze financial reports for decision making.

There are all sorts of applications for advanced managerial accountancy classes as well.

Bob Jensen's threads on virtual learning and simulations ---

Higher Education Controversies ---

Forwarded by Paula
24 THINGS ABOUT TO BECOME EXTINCT IN AMERICA  (this list is dated 2007)

24. Yellow Pages This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodle Factors like an acceleration of the print 'fade rate' and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.

23. Classified Ads The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like Craigslist.org and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.

22. Movie Rental Stores While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City . Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost already.

21. Dial-up Internet Access Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

20. Phone Landlines According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had landlines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs Maryland 's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay . Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame.

18. VCRs For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be found. They served us so well.

17. Ash Trees In the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia . In less than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the Midwest, and continue to spread. They've killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana . More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk.

16. Ham Radio Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.

15. The Swimming Hole Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High Falls, N.Y., are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly what happened in Seattle . The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park . As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to post 'Keep out!' signs.

14. Answering Machines The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York ; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.

13. Cameras That Use Film It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the film camera in America . Just look to companies like Nikon, the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.

12. Incandescent Bulbs Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys BowlingBalls.US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.

10. The Milkman According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S. , they are certainly a dying breed.

9 Hand-Written Letters In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world's population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?

8. Wild Horses It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States . In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada . The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.

7. Personal Checks According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers' recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

6. Drive-in Theaters During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones.

5 Mumps & Measles Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually, truly are disappearing from the United States . In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.

4. Honey Bees Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse Disorder,' or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many beekeepers -- and along with it, their livelihood.

3. News Magazines and TV News While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.

2. Analog TV According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million individuals -- who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital.

1. The Family Farm Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S.farms are small family farms.

To this we might add both Newspaper Companies and Journalism (J-Schools) Schools

These days the important factors when students are choosing majors and careers are --- jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Business schools still provide relatively good opportunities for jobs, especially the largest accounting firms that have, gratefully, provided many, many job opportunities and training to entry-level graduates. The market is bleak at the moment for finance and MBA graduates, but not nearly as bleak as the job market for journalism (J-School) graduates.

The most obvious comparison is that the large international CPA firms are thriving/hiring when compared to the world’s great newspapers. Aside from The Wall Street Journal, what major newspaper is not in dire financial trouble? The Boston Globe is now on the chopping block and its owner, the New York Times, had to sell its Manhattan building to keep paying its bills.

The Internet has not been kind to journalists. The public has come to expect news and news commentaries on the cheap --- read that free. This does not bode well for J-School majors, and probably nobody knows it better than college students since they’re intensive users of the Internet, Blogs, and Social Networks.

Newspapers also have an extremely expensive business model with huge networks of reporters and correspondents around the world. It will be a huge loss when this business model fails, because television stations, bloggers, and social networks rely heavily on the news dredged up by newspaper reporters. When the newspapers shut down the global network of reporters or commence to pay reporters a pittance, who will dredge up the news? Certainly not bloggers like me sitting on their butts in the mountains.

Newspapers have extremely expensive distribution costs in large part because the product is relatively heavy and is mostly trashed by readers in less than a day.

Newspapers are facing a seriously declining share of advertising revenues due in large part to competition from sites like Google and Yahoo, to say nothing about the online magazines that download Associated Press reports and share the news with the world for free --- http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn

So who wants to major in journalism?  Practically nobody!
Journalism school majors are now competing with philosophy graduates for burger-flipping careers.
Am I happy about this? Absolutely and irrevocably --- NO!

Reviving Journalism Schools
For as long as doomsayers have predicted the decline of civic-minded reportage as we know it, reformers have sought to draft a rewrite of the institutions that train many undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in journalism. Criticisms of journalism schools have ranged from questioning whether the institutions are necessary in the first place (since many journalists, and most senior ones, don’t have journalism degrees) to debating the merits of teaching practical skills versus theory and whether curriculums should emphasize broad knowledge or specialization in individual fields . . . The sessions were part of an effort to evaluate the function of journalism schools in an age of new media and the public’s declining faith in the fourth estate: the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, which in 2005 enlisted top institutions in the country to bolster their curriculums with interdisciplinary studies and expose students to different areas of knowledge, including politics, economics, philosophy and the sciences. The initiative, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, also works with journalism schools to incubate selected students working on national reporting projects.
Andy Guess, "Reviving the J-School," Inside Higher Ed, January 10, 2008 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/10/jschools

There are an increasing number of scholarly videos on this topic at
BigThink:  YouTube for Scholars (where intellectuals may post their lectures on societal issues) --- http://www.bigthink.com/

I have a section comparing J-Schools to B-Schools at

Singularity University --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singularity_University

Why the huge student demand for the expensive Singularity University?
"What Traditional Academics Can Learn From a Futurist's University," by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 14, 2009 --- Click Here

"We're going to be unapologetically interdisciplinary," said Neil Jacobstein, chairman of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, during one of the first lectures at Singularity University. "That's not because it's fashionable, or because the faculty took a vote, but because nature has no departments."

The students burst into applause.

That dig against traditional institutions was par for the course at the unusual new high-tech university, which wrapped up its first nine-week session at NASA's Ames Research Center here last month. Students were asked to come up with technological projects that would help at least a billion people around the world, reflecting the techno-utopian vision of the institution's founders.

Those founders had a bigger stamp on the curriculum than would any traditional university president or chancellor. They are Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and futurist who believes artificial intelligence soon will exceed human thinking, and Peter H. Diamandis, a successful entrepreneur devoted to helping humans colonize other planets.

Mr. Kurzweil helped popularize the term "singularity," used to describe the moment when thinking machines transcend their creators.

Mr. Diamandis co-founded a company that was the first to take a tourist to the international space station and is best known for creating the X Prize, which offers multimillion-dollar prizes to motivate people to solve grand challenges, like making commercial spaceships.

Absorbing Genius Both men are known for thinking big about the future and for starting companies that capitalize on their predictions. And both are, well, out there in their views of how radically different things will be in just a few years. Mr. Kurzweil, for instance, just co-wrote Transcend, a book in which he argues that technology will soon allow us to replace our DNA with tiny computers that we can reprogram to help fight off diseases.

Many of the 40 students who made up the inaugural class said they agreed with some (though not all) of the founders' beliefs, but they appeared far more interested in learning what makes them tick as entrepreneurs. Spending quality time with Mr. Kurzweil and Mr. Diamandis—and with the famous professors on the summer program's roster—was a key reason several students cited for shelling out the $25,000 for tuition.

As one participant put it: "This is what we're actually aiming for—to absorb as much of the genius as we can."

Demand for the program was stratospheric, with more than 1,200 students applying to fill 40 slots, according to the institution's leaders. That makes the program more selective than Harvard University. And Singularity University isn't even accredited.

It's all evidence that the university has touched a cultural nerve, playing on hopes and anxieties about how technology is changing society—and tapping into an urge to more actively shape that future.

Those same forces are leading professors at traditional universities to explore similar questions. A high-profile meeting of computer-science professors this year, for instance, explored the potential long-term dangers of computer technologies, with an eye toward shaping policies to avoid the worst-case scenarios popular in Hollywood movies like The Terminator.

Singularity University is itself an innovative approach to education, bearing more in common with a fast-paced start-up company than an ivory-tower university. Some of the professors here—many of whom teach at traditional colleges during the year—said traditional higher education can learn from the entrepreneurial venture.

A Different Culture During Singularity University's orientation in June, a cellphone taped under one of the students' chairs suddenly started ringing. Students gradually realized that each of their chairs concealed a new G1 smartphone—a gift from Google, which makes the software that runs on the phones, and which is a corporate sponsor of the university.

It was the first of many corporate-sponsored surprises that made the university's proceedings feel, at times, like a reality-TV show packed with product placements. (Many sessions were in fact, filmed, and leaders say some of the lectures will soon be made available free on the university's Web site.)

Among them:

* When one homework assignment was due, the first student to turn it in got an unusual perk—a ride in an electric sports car made by Tesla Motors. All the students received a "lecture" about the car by a company spokesman, as part of a session on emerging trends in energy technology.

* During the first week of classes, the university held a "spit party," where students submitted saliva samples to have their DNA sequenced by a company called 23andMe. The students were later given their results as part of a discussion about trends in genetic research.

* And several students participated in an optional field trip into zero gravity (for an extra fee), in an airplane that made violent maneuvers to create short periods of weightlessness for its passengers. The trip was operated by Zero Gravity Corporation, which was co-founded by—you guessed it—Mr. Diamandis. The students dressed up in evening attire (with women wearing shorts underneath) and called it the first-ever cocktail party in weightlessness.

The summer session was divided into three parts: In the first three weeks, students sat through marathon lecture sessions by experts from business and academe. During the next three weeks, each student chose one of four areas of focus for more in-depth study. And during the final three weeks, students broke into groups to work on those world-changing student projects.

At times the proceedings had a chaotic feel, with leaders adding new speakers at the last minute and making other changes in the schedule, according to some instructors. But students say they were given an unusual amount of influence in how things progressed. Halfway through the first full day of lectures, for instance, students were asked to rate the quality of the presentations with a show of hands. Most students gave them a six or seven out of 10 and said they wanted more time for questions—a request that leaders pushed future speakers to meet. At many traditional universities, student evaluations occur only after a course is over. Singularity students, many of them entrepreneurs themselves, were also not shy about trying to change the agenda.

"Students would just say I would really like to see this, so I'm just going to do it," says Neil Thompson, a student who at one point organized a lunch meeting between a few students and an expert the group wanted to meet.

The bulk of the sessions dealt with the good that technology could do for the world—and many students described themselves as firm optimists.

But in one two-night session, the students listed the 10 most difficult challenges posed by the coming "singularity."

But even that ended on an upbeat note, according to Marianne Ryan, a student at the university who is now headed back to a doctoral program at the University of Michigan's School of Information. "On the second night," she said, "we brainstormed solutions to them."

Other Studies of the FutureOther Meetings Just a few months before Singularity University opened, another big meeting of the minds convened to talk about the future of technology. Eighteen top computer scientists from college and business laboratories attended the invitation-only event, sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

This one was held at a conference center at Asilomar State Beach, in California, the location of a famous gathering in 1975 of scientists to discuss social and policy implications of genetics research.

Participants in the meeting, which lasted two days, discussed three major topics: concern about the pace of technological change, shorter-term technological challenges, and ethical and legal issues. Most disagreed with Ray Kurzweil's scenario of the future, though his worke clearly shaped the discussion.

"There was overall skepticism about the prospect of an intelligence explosion as well as of a 'coming singularity,' and also about the large-scale loss of control of intelligent systems," said a draft report from the meeting, released last month. "Nevertheless," the report said more research should be done to "minimize unexpected outcomes."

A few universities have departments or centers devoted to "futures studies," to tackle just such concerns and to make forecasts about what's to come. Such centers flourished in the 1970s, in the wake of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock. "They were like mushrooms after the rain," says James A. Dator, director of the Hawai'i Research Center for Futures Studies, at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. "But very few of them remain."

Mr. Dator says there is a rise in interest these days, though, and he sees Singularity University as an example of that. He points to courses in futures studies that have started at Anne Arundel Community College, the University of Notre Dame, San Diego City College, and other institutions in the past few years.

The benefit of futures studies, he says, is to question the assumptions of universities themselves, which he sees as offering a "pro-growth perspective" rather than recognizing that our uses of fossil fuels may not be sustainable, or other scenarios.

Peter C. Bishop, an associate professor of human development and computer science at the University of Houston, agrees that interest in futurism is on the rise. He is a founding board member of the Association of Professional Futurists.

He says that though Mr. Kurzweil is the most popular futurist of the moment, he is unusual in his certainty about how things will pan out. Most futurists try to imagine many possible outcomes, Mr. Bishop says, rather than describe a single vision. "Being certain about what's going to occur gets you lots of attention, but we don't think that's the right way to approach the future," he added.

Mr. Bishop was an early adviser to Singularity University, but says he did not have time to participate further.

Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster who is a consulting professor at Stanford University, chaired the futures-studies track of Singularity University. He says technology has become "an elemental force that, more than any other single factor, is changing our lives," and so should be considered by students in all disciplines. He praises Mr. Kurzweil's books for giving context to the new university, and for helping people understand just how fast change may come as technology improves at an exponential rate.

He says one thing he has been surprised at is how little higher education has changed as a result of technology. "Compared to most other markets, higher education in particular really hasn't felt the earthquake," Mr. Saffo says. "It hasn't had the, 'Oh my god, the world is different from now on.' Higher education is still pretty much the way it was in the 1950s."

The Singularity University model offers "some interesting lessons for academics," Mr. Saffo says.

Connecting DisciplinesOrigins Mr. Diamandis says he dreamed up the idea for Singularity University while trekking in Chile during a vacation. He had brought along Mr. Kurzweil's hefty book, The Singularity Is Near, which boldly pronounces a timeline for drastic technological change over the next few years. Mr. Diamandis says that he felt it suggested a need to study the many technological areas identified as exhibiting exponential change, and that his first thought was to start a university to do just that.

Mr. Diamandis has created an academic institution before. In 1987 he cofounded the International Space University, which has become a leading training ground for officials in space programs around the world. The university has a campus in France, where it teaches a master's-level program, and holds a summer session here at NASA Ames.

Just a few months after thinking of the idea, Mr. Diamandis rounded up some heavy hitters from business and academe for a planning meeting last summer.

Mr. Saffo, the Stanford University futurist, remembers the gathering. "We all said, 'What year are you thinking of starting?' And they said 2009, which was just a few months away," he says. "We said, 'You've got to be kidding!' I mean, I start planning my course for 20 students at Stanford a year in advance."

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on our "compassless colleges" ---

"The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age," by  Jane Park, Creative Commons, June 26th, 2009 --- http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/15522

Bob Jensen's threads on controversies in higher education ---

Bob Jensen's threads on available online training and education programs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Crossborder.htm

Also see http://www.convergemag.com/workforce/47240132.html

Breaking the Bank Frontline Video
In Breaking the Bank, FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk (Inside the Meltdown, Bush’s War) draws on a rare combination of high-profile interviews with key players Ken Lewis and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain to reveal the story of two banks at the heart of the financial crisis, the rocky merger, and the government’s new role in taking over — some call it “nationalizing” — the American banking system.
Simoleon Sense, September 18, 2009 --- http://www.simoleonsense.com/video-frontline-breaking-the-bank/
Bob Jensen's threads on the banking bailout --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

The more I read in the book Dear Mr. Buffet by Janet Tavakoli, the more I see a parallel between investment bankers and accountics researchers.

After almost 20 years working for Wall Street firms in New York and London, I made my living running a Chicago-based consulting business. My clients consider my expertise in product they consume. I had written books on credit derivatives and complex structured finance products, and financial institutions, hedge funds, and sophisticated investors came to identify and solve potential problems.
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 5)
Jensen Comment
Before she wrote Dear Mr. Buffett, her technical book on Structural Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (Wiley) sat on my desk for constant reference. Janet also runs her own highly successful hedge fund. She won't disclose how big it is, but certain clues make me think it is over $100 million with very wealthy clients. Her professional life changed when she commenced to correspond with what was the richest man in the world in 2008  (before he gave much of his wealth to the Gates Charitable Foundation). He's also one of the nicest and most transparent and most humble men in the world.
Warren Buffett --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett

Warren Buffett disproved the theory of efficient markets that states that prices reflect all known information. His shareholder letters, readily available (free) through Berkshire Hathaway's Web site, told investors everything they needed to know about mortgage loan fraud, mospriced credit derivatives, and overpriced securitizations, yet this information hid in plain "site."
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 7)
Jensen Comment
Berkshire Hathaway --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Hathaway
Jensen Comment
This of course does not mean that on occasion Warren is not fallible. Sometimes he does not heed his own advice, and rare occasions he loses billions. But a billion or two to Warren Buffett is pocket change.

I finally grasped what Warren was saying. Warren has such a wide body of knowledge that he does not need to rely on “systems.” . . . Warren’s vast knowledge of corporations and their finances helps him identify derivatives opportunities, too. He only participates in derivatives markets when Wall Street gets it wrong and prices derivatives (with mathematical models) incorrectly. Warren tells everyone that he only does certain derivatives transactions when they are mispriced.
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 19)

Why investment bankers are like many accoutics professors
Wall Street derivatives traders construct trading models with no clear idea of what they are doing. I know investment bank modelers
with advanced math and science degrees who have never read the financial statements of the corporate credits they model. This is true of some credit derivatives traders, too.
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 19)
Jensen Comment
Especially note the above quotation when I refer to Reviewer A below.

Warren is aided by the fact that most investment banks use sophisticated Monte Carlo models that misprice the transactions. Some of the models rely on (credit) rating agency inputs, and the rating agencies do a poor job of rating junk debt.
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 21)

Investment banks could put on the same trades if they did fundamental analysis of the underlying companies, but they are too busy playing with correlation models.
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 24)

Warren has another advantage:  Wall Street underestimates him. I mentioned that Warren Buffett and I have similar views on credit derivatives . . . My former colleague, a Wall Street structured products "correlation" trader, wrinkled his nose and sniffed:  "That old guy? He hates derivatives."
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 24)

Warren Buffett writes billions of dollars worth of put options
When Warren sells a put buyer the right to make him pay a specific price agreed today for the stock index (no matter what the value 20 years from now), Warren receives a premium. Berkshire Hathaway gets to invest that money for 20 years. Warren thinks the buyer, the investment bank, is paying him too much . . . Furthermore, Berkshire Hataway invests the premiums that will in all likelihood cover anything he might need to pay out anything at all, since the stock index is likely to be higher than today's value.
Janet Tavokoli, Dear Mr. Buffett (Wiley, 2009, Page 24)

"Janet Tavakoli Says “Revoke Rating Agencies’ NRSRO Designation for Structured Products,” Simoleon Sense, September 17, 2009 --- Click Here

Our friend Janet Tavakoli has been kind enough to send us her thoughts on the Rating Agencies.  As always, she’s sharp as a tack, read this.

Author Background (Via Tavakoli Structured Finance)
Janet Tavakoli is the president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a Chicago-based firm that provides consulting to financial institutions and institutional investors. Ms. Tavakoli has more than 20 years of experience in senior investment banking positions, trading, structuring and marketing structured financial products. She is a former adjunct associate professor of derivatives at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. Author of: Credit Derivatives & Synthetic Structures (1998, 2001), Collateralized Debt Obligations & Structured Finance (2003), Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (John Wiley & Sons, September 2008), and
Dear Mr. Buffett: What An Investor Learns 1,269 Miles From Wall Street (Wiley, 2009).

Entire Article (Via Tavakoli Structured Finance)

Click Here To Download Article As PDF

The IMF invited me to present my views on the global financial crisis as detailed in my book, Dear Mr. Buffett: What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street on Monday, September 21. Among other recommendations, I will suggest Congress approve more funding for investigations that should lead to felony indictments of financial professionals involved in the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of the capital markets. Predatory securitizations of fraudulent loans, the credit derivatives that referenced them, and fraudulent accounting enabled former investment banks and some legacy banks to raise money from new investors to pay back old investors (themselves and mortgage lenders) in what was known to be an unsustainable and fraud riddled business model.

The rating agencies have been in the news as they fend off lawsuits for their ratings of ABS CDOs (collateralized debt obligations backed by asset backed securities). The rating agencies claim their ratings are protected by free speech, and they may or may not be successful in defending themselves in court. In my book, Structured Finance , I explain the rating agencies’ history of failure (in my opinion) to competently rate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of these and other structured products. The relevant rating agencies involved in these ratings are the top three: Moody’s Corporation; Standard & Poor’s (S&P), part of McGraw-Hill Cos., inc.; and Fitch, owned by France-based Fimalac SA.

The rating agencies are quick to point out that they do not perform due diligence on the data they use and take no responsibility for unearthing fraud; they merely issue “opinions.” But rating agencies can demand to see evidence of appropriate due diligence from the underwriters, who are obliged to perform it. Instead, rating agencies failed to adhere to basic statistical principles.

Meanwhile, the SEC seeks comments about the steps it should take to regulate the rating agencies. In my letter to the SEC dated February 13, 2007, I called for the SEC to revoke the rating agencies’ registration as Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSRO) for structured products. The SEC failed to act in 2007, but it can correct that error and do it now.

In addition to criticizing rating agencies for their ratings of CDOs, I mentioned another class of structured products, CPDOs that were rated “AAA” at the time I wrote the letter. I asserted CPDOs had substantial principal risk. That meant these “AAA” rated products deserved a junk rating. By January 2008, within a year of my warning, Moody’s noted that two of the originally AAA-rated CPDO’s would unwind causing substantial principal loss to investors. In fact Moody’s, the rating agency that bases its “AAA” rating on expected loss, belatedly projected investors would have a 90 percent loss. Although I had flagged the looming danger to investors’ principal, the SEC did nothing.

NRSRO Grades, Not Mere Opinions

The problem with rating agencies’ assertion that they issue mere opinions is that the NRSRO designation gives ratings the appearance of being issued from a position of authority. Regulators rely on this pseudo-authority so much that they have enacted capital rules for banks based on ratings. Many investment funds and investors have charters requiring them to only buy products that have been rated by one or more of the top three rating agencies. Ratings are relied upon as if they are based on reliable and reproducible methods, but they are not when it comes to structured products.

If the FDA repeatedly approved tainted meat that sickened people, we would demand a top to bottom overhaul of the organization and its methods. Since the rating agencies issued ratings that contributed to massive damage to our economy, we should strip them of their NRSRO designation and demand a complete overhaul of their flawed procedures and methodologies.

Bob Jensen's threads on the credit rater scandals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Sleaze

  • CPA auditors will undoubtedly be drawn into the Calpers lawsuit because of the way auditors went along with absurd underestimations of bad debt and loan loss reserves. For claims that auditors knew these reserves were badly underestimated see the citations at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#AuditFirms

    "Calpers Sues Over Ratings of Securities," by Leslie Wayne, The New York Times, July 14, 2009 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/business/15calpers.html

    The nation’s largest public pension fund has filed suit in California state court in connection with $1 billion in losses that it says were caused by “wildly inaccurate” credit ratings from the three leading ratings agencies.

    The suit from the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, a public fund known for its shareholder activism, is the latest sign of renewed scrutiny over the role that credit ratings agencies played in providing positive reports about risky securities issued during the subprime boom that have lost nearly all of their value.

    The lawsuit, filed late last week in California Superior Court in San Francisco, is focused on a form of debt called structured investment vehicles, highly complex packages of securities made up of a variety of assets, including subprime mortgages. Calpers bought $1.3 billion of them in 2006; they collapsed in 2007 and 2008.

    Calpers maintains that in giving these packages of securities the agencies’ highest credit rating, the three top ratings agencies — Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch — “made negligent misrepresentation” to the pension fund, which provides retirement benefits to 1.6 million public employees in California.

    The AAA ratings given by the agencies “proved to be wildly inaccurate and unreasonably high,” according to the suit, which also said that the methods used by the rating agencies to assess these packages of securities “were seriously flawed in conception and incompetently applied.”

    Calpers is seeking damages, but did not specify an amount. Steven Weiss, a spokesman for McGraw Hill, the parent company of Standard and Poor’s, said the company could not comment until it had been served and seen the complaint. Moody’s and Fitch did not respond to a request for comment.

    As the Obama administration considers an overhaul of the financial regulatory system, credit rating agencies have come in for their share of the blame in the recent market collapse. Critics contend that, rather than being watchdogs, the agencies stamped high ratings on many securities linked to subprime mortgages and other forms of risky debt.

    Their approval helped fuel a boom on Wall Street, which issued billions of dollars in these securities to investors who were unaware of their inherent risk. Lawmakers have conducted hearings and debated whether to impose stricter regulations on the agencies.

    While the lawsuit is not the first against the credit rating agencies, some of which face litigation not only from investors in the securities they rated but from their own shareholders, too, it does lay out how an investor as sophisticated as Calpers, which has $173 billion in assets, could be led astray.

    The security packages were so opaque that only the hedge funds that put them together — Sigma S.I.V. and Cheyne Capital Management in London, and Stanfield Capital Partners in New York — and the ratings agencies knew what the packages contained. Information about the securities in these packages was considered proprietary and not provided to the investors who bought them.

    Calpers also criticized what contends are conflicts of interest by the rating agencies, which are paid by the companies issuing the securities — an arrangement that has come under fire as a disincentive for the agencies to be vigilant on behalf of investors.

    In the case of these structured investment vehicles, the agencies went one step further: All three received lucrative fees for helping to structure the deals and then issued ratings on the deals they helped create.

    Calpers said that the three agencies were “actively involved” in the creation of the Cheyne, Stanfield and Sigma securitized packages that they then gave their top credit ratings. Fees received by the ratings agencies for helping to construct these packages would typically range from $300,000 to $500,000 and up to $1 million for each deal.

    These fees were on top of the revenue generated by the agencies for their more traditional work of issuing credit ratings, which in the case of complex securities like structured investment vehicles generated higher fees than for rating simpler securities.

    “The ratings agencies no longer played a passive role but would help the arrangers structure their deals so that they could rate them as highly as possible,” according to the Calpers suit.

    The suit also contends that the ratings agencies continued to publicly promote structured investment vehicles even while beginning to downgrade them. Ten days after Moody’s had downgraded some securitized packages in 2007, it issued a report titled “Structured Investment Vehicles: An Oasis of Calm in the Subprime Maelstrom.”

    Bob Jensen's threads on the bad behavior of credit ratings agencies see


    This study is consistent with remarks made earlier by Linda Kidwell regarding student cheating.

    "Do Students Cheat More in Online Classes? Maybe not," by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 16, 2009 --- http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Do-Students-Cheat-More-in/8073/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

    A new study contradicts the perception that cheating is more widespread in online classes, finding that students in virtual courses were less likely to cheat than their face-to-face peers.

    You can’t make any sweeping generalizations based on the results, since the study only looked at 225 students at Friends University, a private, mid-sized, Christian-based institution in Wichita, Kansas.

    But the study,
    Point, Click, and Cheat: Frequency and Type of Academic Dishonesty in the Virtual Classroom,” adds fresh data to the ongoing debate about academic integrity online. The issue is on the minds of many in the distance education world because the recently reauthorized Higher Education Opportunity Act requires accreditors to monitor steps that colleges take to verify that an enrolled student is the same person who does the course work.

    For the new study, researchers surveyed undergraduate students about seven types of academic misconduct. These included cheating on tests, plagiarism, and aiding and abetting (letting a classmate copy a paper, for example). In both traditional and online classes, aiding and abetting was found to be the cheating method of choice. 

    Asked about the results, Donna Stuber-McEwen, an author of the study, suggested that age may be one factor.

    “Research has show that older students tend to cheat less frequently than younger students,” said Stuber-McEwen, a psychology professor, told The Chronicle. “And our sample tended to have a greater percentage of nontraditional students in the online classes.”

    September 16, 2009 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]

    I play duplicate bridge, a card game. In duplicate bridge, a dealt hand will be played until all pairs have played it.

    At club games, cheating is minimal. You are sitting within inches of a competitor, and will not be likely to permit their cheating against it will work toyour disadvantage.

    Online duplicate bridge, however, is reputedly rife with cheating, as one need only call up partner via cell phone to see what partner has and to plot a strategy. It is playing double dummy.

    Online duplicate bridge has a huge potential audience, but is not big because the cheating problem cannot be solved.

    Online bridge players are surveyed, and one of the site touts the survey statistics in promotions, saying that since no one surveyed admitted cheating, their online bridge service does not have the cheating problem that the other sites have.

    The incidence of online cheating saddens me, as I've moved to North Dakota, where there are not many bridge players attending local club games. Online bridge is not an attractive alternative for me because of the cheating.

    David Albrecht

    September 17, 2009 reply from Linda A Kidwell, University of Wyoming [lkidwell@UWYO.EDU]

    Since my article on this topic is not available in an on-line format, I thought I'd copy in the conclusions for those interested in this topic.

    As to method, I also used self-reports based on the seminal work of Donald McCabe, and I had 459 usable responses from distance and campus-based students across three campuses of the same university.  A very slight majority of responses came from distance students.  Here's the citation if you'd like to look up the article:

    L. A. Kidwell & J.E. Kent.  2009.  “Integrity at a distance:  A study of academic misconduct among university students on and off campus.” Accounting Education:  An International Journal, Vol. 17, no. S1:  S3 – S16.

     Here's the excerpt:

    The distance students reported considerably less cheating than did traditional students in every behaviour category.  They also had harsher views of various cheating behaviours and were more likely to claim they would turn in known offenders.  These findings have many potential explanations.  First, prior research (e.g., Diekhoff et al., 1996) has shown that more mature students (older, paying their own way, married,

    etc.) cheat less.  Although the internal students placed more importance on workload and family pressures as excuses for cheating than did distance students, it is likely that distance students face more of these pressures in actuality.  Therefore it may be true that distance students, because they are older and more mature, are swayed less by external factors than by their own moral codes.

     Internal students are also more susceptible to the temporary social groups of universities, where culture control may result in students’ rejection of general society’s norms in favour of the norms of subcultures, such as student organizations and sports clubs (Eve & Bromley, 1981).  Since distance students have very little, if any, interaction with other students, longer-term general socialization may prevail, leading to lower cheating rates.

     Whatever the root causes of the differences between internal and distance students, be they maturity, lack of campus socialization, or lack of opportunity, the distance students in this survey were far less engaged in academic dishonesty.  This finding should put educators at ease as they contemplate moving into distance education delivery.  Of course this research only surveyed students at one university in Australia, thus it may not be generalizable to a broader set of universities.  However, the similarity between the results for internal students and the findings of past research, as well as the cultural similarities between Australia and the USA, lead us to believe these results can guide academics in both countries.  It is less clear whether these findings can be generalized to countries that are less similar culturally, as cheating norms in countries including Croatia, Russia, Israel, Turkey, and the Netherlands have demonstrated different attitudes toward cheating (e.g., Hrabek et al., 2004; Magnus et al., 2002; Arzova & Kidwell, 2004).  Therefore instructors in Australia or the USA involved in distance education should inform themselves as to cultural norms elsewhere, so that adequate safeguards can be utilized.

    Linda Kidwell

    September 17, 2009 reply from Bob Jensen

    Hi David,

    Das too bad dat Lars and Sven don’t play dat bridge game in Moorehead, Minnesoda or nearby in Nord Dakota --- http://olieandlenajokes.blogspot.com/

    In Swea City, Iowa da Swedes play dhe duplicate bridge, but dey cheat like crazy. When Ole scratch his head (top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left) den Lena know where Ole is void (besides betwixt da ears) and touching his noze, right eye, or left eye signals whedder his long suit is topped by an ace, king, or queen. Ole scratches a lot of udder places just to confuse opponents wid nonsense.

    Ole and Lena are da best bidders in da local Swea City bridge games. But Ole makes deeze games more fair wid inept playing of vot vould udderwize be da winning contracts.

    Lena dinks Ole is like a game of bridge
    You need a Heart to love him
    A Diamond to marry him
    A Club to beat him
    And a Spade to bury him

    Author unknown

    And when Obamacare passes, Lena says Ole vill be da first vone in Swea City dat’s shovlin’ ready

    One time at Trinity University, in Spring Semester 2001, an instructor was curious why a young man would appear to need a
    FloMax prescription judging from the number of times the student went to the bathroom during a final examination. Out of curiosity the instructor checked out the men’s room and found that the student had already discarded the course textbook at the bottom of the bin of used paper towels. The student’s name was on the inside cover.

    You might guess that, between the covers, the book looked virtually unused. The instructor inserted a note inside the book and replaced it at the bottom of the bin. The note disclosed that the course would not be offered again until Spring Semester 2002 and that the student probably should cancel plans to have his family visit for Spring 2001 commencement.

    Without punishing the student for suspected cheating, the instructor assigned all grades on the basis of accumulated points for the semester. You might say that the FloMax student really earned his F grade! Others might conclude that he pissed the course, his graduation, and his life away. I suspect that in Spring 2001 he started celebrating his graduation heavily before its time.

    In recent years, a Trinity University  instructor cannot simply assign a F grade for cheating. Instead the cheating incident has to be reported to an Honor Court run by students. The instructor’s role is to be a witness in the Court proceedings. Cheaters also have their “day” in court. The Honor Court doles out the punishments.

    I’m told that cheaters would rather return to the old system at Trinity University --- absent the dreaded Honor Court.

    When professors let students cheat ---

     Bob Jensen

    Bob Jensen's threads on cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm

    Volunteer work might get you government funding to pay off your student loan indebtedness, but it's tricky.
    "Kiss Those Student Loans Goodbye:  There are lots of programs that help grads repay their student loans. A few will even wipe the slate clean. But qualifying isn't easy," by Alison Damast, Business Week, September 10, 2009 ---

    Shawn Agyeman was down on his luck last fall, having just lost his job as a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, his alma mater. With looming monthly student loan payments of around $200 a month hanging over his head, the recent college graduate was starting to worry about how he'd meet his debt obligations, fearful that creditors would harass his parents—who co-signed his loans—if he couldn't come up with the money. Then he got a phone call from the director of a new grass-roots nonprofit that he says changed his life. Raymar Hampshire, co-founder of a volunteer group called SponsorChange.Org, presented Agyeman with a tempting offer: volunteer in the local Pittsburgh community several hours a week and receive a stipend that would help to cover his looming student loan payments.

    "When I heard about it, I said: 'I'd almost be a fool not to do this,'" says Agyeman, 25, who signed up for the pilot program in the spring of 2009 and will be doing it again this fall, with plans to earn $1,000 for his efforts. "I jumped all over it."

    Agyeman is one of thousands of people saddled with student loan debt looking for innovative ways to meet their monthly payments. Their plight has become even more severe as unemployed recent college graduates lose their jobs or continue to have trouble landing one, running the risk of not being able to pay back their student loans or, in the worst-case scenario, defaulting. Fortunately, there is a raft of programs that have emerged in the past year or two that can either help students and recent graduates make their student loan debt more manageable or, in some cases, get the loans either partially or completely forgiven. Some of these programs are oriented towards specific careers—such as teaching or nursing—while others are open to recent graduates who meet certain income and eligibility requirements. Still others are open to just about anyone. Some programs, such as SponsorChange, help graduates repay a portion of their student debt. Other programs help students, graduate or undergraduate, avoid student loan debt entirely,

    Raising Awareness Learning about these options and mapping out a plan to take advantage of them is not always as easy as one might think. Many students simply aren't even aware that some of these programs exist, and, as a result, may take out hefty private loans that they could have avoided with a little strategic planning, says Edie Irons, a spokeswoman for the Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit that raises awareness about financial aid. She recommends that students mapping out their education paths learn as much as they can about the different type of loan forgiveness programs available to students before taking out any new loans or additional ones. One point to keep in mind: Most of these loan programs apply only to federal student loans, with very few private loans qualifying.

    "People should definitely plan ahead and learn about the loan-forgiveness programs that are out there," she says. "Be sure that you are in a position yourself to qualify for them and then, if you can make it work, go for it."

    Here's a roundup of debt-reduction strategies for recent graduates, current students, or those thinking about going back to school:

    VOLUNTEER: There are a number of volunteer programs that help people pay off their student loans, though most require a long-term commitment. Such programs could be a good short-term option for college graduates who have been unable to find a job, says Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert who runs FinAid, an online provider of student aid information. "If you're unemployed right now, you might as well volunteer and get a little bit of money to pay back your students loans," he says.

    One of the best-known volunteer options is AmeriCorps, a national network of service programs, which requires students to volunteer for a year full-time. In exchange, they get a small living stipend and, when the year is up, an education award of $4,725 that can be applied to student loan debt or future education programs. The AmeriCorps program has seen a surge in popularity this year, receiving 177,099 online applications between November 2008 and July 2009, a 203% increase over the same period a year ago, says Siobhan Dugan, a spokeswoman for AmeriCorps. "We have seen the interest increase phenomenally," Dugan says, who says the spike is likely due to a combination of factors, including the economy and President Obama's call-to-service campaign.

    Another popular program is the Peace Corps, which requires volunteers to make a two-year commitment to serve in a foreign country. Unlike AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps does not provide a student loan payment award. However, it does allow participants under several federal loan programs to defer their loan payments during their service. Those with federal Perkins loans are eligible for a partial cancellation benefit of 15% for one year of service up to 70% for four years. Another perk? The program provides participants with a $6,000 readjustment allowance after the two-year term of service is completed, a portion of which can be used to repay student loan debt, according to the Peace Corps Web site.

    If you don't have the time or resources to devote to a year or two of full-time volunteer work, look for programs locally that can help you pay off your student loan programs while volunteering. For example, the SponsorChange.Org program in Pittsburgh allows working young professionals to volunteer during their free time, in exchange for student loan stipends paid for by donors. To be eligible, students have to have a bachelor's degree and proof of student loan debt (participants have, on average, $20,000 of debt), and they must fill out an online profile. The program puts the program's "volunteer fellows" in touch with local nonprofits—who pay a fee for the service—pairing them up with one that meets their interests and providing them with leadership training. This fall, 10 fellows will volunteer for 50 hours over a four-month period, earning $1,000 each. "It's sort of a win-win situation for both the nonprofit and the young professional," says Hampshire, the program's CEO and founder.

    Andrea Proie, 26, who works as a hydrogeologist in Pittsburgh, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 with about $40,000 in student loan debt, She did the SponsorChange.Org pilot program in April, serving as a volunteer manager at a local day camp, wellness center and senior citizen home, earning about $400. As a fellow in the program this fall, she expects to take in an additional $1,000, which she will put directly to her loan payments. "I like the feeling of helping people, so being able to go out and volunteer and get the added benefit of having your student loans paid back is just awesome," she says. Hampshire says his program, which is currently available only in Pittsburgh, is one that can eventually be replicated in major metropolitan areas across the country. "The student loan stipend is a big motivator," says Hampshire.

    BECOME A TEACHER: Teaching has traditionally been one of the professions that offer students the most generous loan-forgiveness program. That has held true recently, with the introduction of several new federal loan programs aimed at easing loan burdens for those in the teaching profession.

    One of the newer offerings is the Teach Grant, a program established by the College Cost Reduction & Access Act of 2007. It's geared towards teachers who commit to teaching in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families, enabling participants to earn up to $4,000 a year in grants that can be applied to student loan debt. The only catch? It requires a four-year commitment and if participants don't complete the program, the grants get converted into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan—increasing the participant's total debt load instead of decreasing it. Some who've signed up are not aware of the consequences of withdrawing from the program, says FinAid's Kantrowitz, who recommends those interested should investigate the terms of the program thoroughly before committing. "The concern of a lot of financial aid administrators have is that students don't really know what they're getting into. They see the grant and don't hear about the loan until later," says FinAid's Kantrowitz.

    For those wary of signing up for a program with such stringent conditions, there are other teaching programs that require a shorter time commitment in return for some student loan awards. Perhaps the most famous one is Teach For America, which this year selected 4,100 recent college graduates for training to serve as teachers in urban and rural schools for a two-year period. Those chosen receive a salary and benefits, plus an education award of $4,725 for each year of service, which can be applied to student loans or future education.

    Even if you decide not to apply for the Teach Grant or Teach For America, you may still be eligible for loan forgiveness. The Federal Perkins Loan Program has a provision that allows certain teachers to be eligible for loan cancellation of up to 100% if they teach at a low-income school or in certain high-need subject areas. Likewise, teachers with Stafford loans who teach full-time for five consecutive years at a low-income school may also be eligible to have up to $17,500 in loans cancelled.

    SWITCH CAREERS: Whether you're starting a new undergraduate program, or returning to get a graduate degree, one thing that should factor into your post-grad career plans is the availability of loan forgiveness. "I think the creativity needs to come before the fact, not after the fact," says Kevin Walker, CEO of Simpletuition.com, a student lending Web site. "People need to think more about that, so maybe they can then go into an area where this forgiveness is available to them."

    Fortunately, with the recent passage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, also a creation of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, people from a wide variety of careers can get their debt excused after 10 years of payments. People eligible for the program include teachers, government workers, social workers, law enforcement officers, nonprofit workers and those who hold jobs at public universities and public hospitals. The good news for people eligible for this program? If they work full-time in their respective field for 10 years, their student loan debt will be forgiven at that time period. The program is expected to be popular, but it's still too soon to tell how many people are taking advantage, says Irons, of the Project for Student Debt. "There are lot of people positioning themselves to take advantage of it, but it is still too early yet to know how many people will sign up," says Irons.

    Continued in article

    Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies are at

    Wall Street’s Math Wizards Forgot a Few Variables
    What wasn’t recognized was the importance of a different species of risk — liquidity risk,” Stephen Figlewski, a professor of finance at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, told The Times. “When trust in counterparties is lost, and markets freeze up so there are no prices,” he said, it “really showed how different the real world was from our models.
    DealBook, The New York Times, September 14, 2009 ---

    Can the 2008 investment banking failure be traced to a math error?
    Recipe for Disaster:  The Formula That Killed Wall Street --- http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant?currentPage=all
    Link forwarded by Jim Mahar ---

    Some highlights:

    "For five years, Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.

    His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.

    Then the model fell apart." The article goes on to show that correlations are at the heart of the problem.

    "The reason that ratings agencies and investors felt so safe with the triple-A tranches was that they believed there was no way hundreds of homeowners would all default on their loans at the same time. One person might lose his job, another might fall ill. But those are individual calamities that don't affect the mortgage pool much as a whole: Everybody else is still making their payments on time.

    But not all calamities are individual, and tranching still hadn't solved all the problems of mortgage-pool risk. Some things, like falling house prices, affect a large number of people at once. If home values in your neighborhood decline and you lose some of your equity, there's a good chance your neighbors will lose theirs as well. If, as a result, you default on your mortgage, there's a higher probability they will default, too. That's called correlation—the degree to which one variable moves in line with another—and measuring it is an important part of determining how risky mortgage bonds are."

    I would highly recommend reading the entire thing that gets much more involved with the actual formula etc.

    The “math error” might truly be have been an error or it might have simply been a gamble with what was perceived as miniscule odds of total market failure. Something similar happened in the case of the trillion-dollar disastrous 1993 collapse of Long Term Capital Management formed by Nobel Prize winning economists and their doctoral students who took similar gambles that ignored the “miniscule odds” of world market collapse -- -

    The rhetorical question is whether the failure is ignorance in model building or risk taking using the model?

    Also see
    "In Plato's Cave:  Mathematical models are a powerful way of predicting financial markets. But they are fallible" The Economist, January 24, 2009, pp. 10-14 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#Bailout

    Bob Jensen's threads on the current economic crisis ---

    "Creating the 21st-Century Classroom," Converge Magazine, July 15, 2009 ---

    A 21st-century classroom is a global classroom — in this classroom, students use various forms of technology to connect to information, each other, and other classrooms and students throughout the world.

    By applying for and receiving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants and funding monies, schools can create 21st-century classrooms by adding to their existing technologies. Or they can refresh the technology they currently have to be more energy and cost efficient — it’s just a matter of knowing which grants to apply for and how to apply for them.

    This paper from Samsung details what it takes to be a 21st-century classroom, and points to various ARRA funding buckets schools can use to obtain the necessary technologies.

    You can download the paper from the above link.

    June 1, 2006 message form Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]


    "In discussions about the future of the university, little has been said about how these changes will affect its spatial layout, even though a university's physical characteristics must complement and strengthen its mission." In "Designing the University of the Future" (PLANNING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, vol. 34, no. 2, 2005-2006, pp. 5-19) Rifca Hashimshony and Jacov Haina discuss several factors, including teaching and learning technology, that may define what the physical facilities of the university of the future will look like.
    The paper is online ---
    Click Here 

    Planning for Higher Education is published by the Society for College and University Planning, 339 E. Liberty, Suite 300, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA; tell: 734-998-7832; fax: 734-998-6532;
    email: info@scup.org 
    Web: http://www.scup.org/ 

    See also:

    "The Impact of Facilities on Recruitment and Retention of Students" by David Cain and Gary L. Reynolds FACILITIES MANAGER, vol. 22, no. 2, March/April 2006 http://www.appa.org/FacilitiesManager/article.cfm?ItemNumber=2567&parentid=2542  or http://www.appa.org/files/FMArticles/fm030406_f7_impact.pdf 

    According to a survey conducted by the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers: "Nearly three out of 10 students spurned a college because it lacked a facility they thought was important."

    "Facilities Can Play Key Role in Students' Enrollment Decisions, Study Finds" by Audrey Williams June THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, May 30, 2006 http://chronicle.com/daily/2006/05/2006053002n.htm
    (Online access requires a subscription to the Chronicle.)

    Jensen Comment
    One thing I've argued for years that there is no Swiss knife classroom that optimally serves all instructors. Some instructors prefer a lecture hall with all the technology toys (DVD projectors, projectors for computer files and hard copy, etc.) on stage; others prefer a computer station or laptop Internet collection for each student; and others prefer learning pods where student team "pods" surround a central  meeting room with instructor hardware for monitoring each of the team pods, etc.

    One of the more impressive buildings that I've ever seen is the College of Business Building at the University of Texas at San Antonio, although it, like me, has seen a few years pass by.

    My sadly neglected document on module on classroom design is at

    Why can't professional schools of business and political science consider new innovative types of doctoral programs rather than the non-creative (quantitative social science) doctoral programs that dominate the landscape?

    Why can't students who aspire to become leaders of schools of business and political science find more relevancy in their doctoral studies and research?

    "Harvard Offers New Doctorate for School Leaders Who Aim to Shake Up Status Quo," by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 15, 2009 --- Click Here

    Harvard University today announced a new doctoral program in educational leadership that, in partnership with prominent organizations pushing for change in elementary and secondary schools, will seek to train people capable of bringing about major school reform.

    Harvard's new Doctor of Education Leadership Program will be based at its Graduate School of Education and will involve faculty members of that school as well as Harvard's business school and John F. Kennedy School of Government. In their third and final year in the program, students will enter a yearlong residency with a partner organization such as Teach for America, the National Center on Education and the Economy, or one of the nation's largest urban school districts.

    The program's mission will be to train top officials of school districts, government agencies, nonprofit groups, and private organizations who will be equipped to shake up the status quo in elementary and secondary education.

    "Our goal is not to develop leaders for the system as it currently exists; rather, we aim to develop people who will lead system transformation," Kathleen McCartney, dean of the Graduate School of Education, said in written statement.

    The Wallace Foundation has provided Harvard a $10-million grant for the program, enabling the university to operate it tuition-free and to offer its students a cost-of-living stipend. An initial cohort of 25 students is expected to enroll in the program in the fall of 2010.

    Some Doctoral Programs in Need of Big Change ---

    Bob Jensen's threads on the sorry state of accounting doctoral programs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory01.htm#DoctoralPrograms

    Pictures Versus Words

    "Bending the Curve," by William Saphire, The New York Times, September 11, 2009 ---

    Taking on the issue of the cost of health care, a Washington Post editorialist intoned recently that “knowing more about which treatments are effective is essential” — knowing about when to use a plural verb is tough, too — “but, without a mechanism to put that knowledge into action, it won’t be enough to bend the cost curve.”

    That curvature continued in The Chicago Tribune, which put the fast-blooming metaphor in a headline: ‘‘Bending the Curve on Health Spending.” It leaps boundaries beyond costs and subjects: a book has been titled “Bending the Curve: Your Guide to Tackling Climate Change in South Africa.”

    Why has curve-bending become such a popular sport? Because the language is in the grip of graphs. The graphic arts are on the march as “showing” tramples on “explaining,” and now we are afflicted with the symbols of symbols. As an old Chinese philosopher never said, “Words about graphs are worth a thousand pictures.”

    The first straight-line challenge to the muscular line-benders I could find was in the 1960s, when the power curve was first explained to me by a pilot. “Being behind or ‘on the backside of the power curve’ is an aviation expression,” rooted in World War I, he maintained. “It’s a condition when flying slow takes more energy than going fast, and you produce a result opposite to what you intended.” On the graph of the power that a plane needs to overcome wind resistance, most “drag” increases as a plane slows; that’s why you hear a fresh surge of power when a jet is landing. Pilots know that being “behind the power curve” is to be on the way to a crash. That image was snapped up in political lingo, when “to be behind that power curve” quickly came to mean “to be out of the loop, trailing the with-it crowd, doomed to be left behind the barn door when the goodies were being handed out.”

    Now we have President Obama, no slouch at seizing on popular figures of speech, warning Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post that “it’s important for us to bend the cost curve, separate and apart from coverage issues, just because the system we have right now is unsustainable and hugely inefficient and uncompetitive.” In other words, as the bygone aviators knew — bend it or crash. That led to the Nation’s headline “Bend It Like Obama,” a play on the movie title “Bend It Like Beckham.”

    Came the current recession, the graphic-metaphor crowd stopped worrying about a cost line bending inexorably upward and directed its attention to the need to get the upward-bending unemployment figures bending down. Thus, the meaning of the phrase bending the curve is switching from “bend that awful, upward-curving line down before we can’t afford an aspirin” to “bend that line up down quick, before we all head for the bread line!” This leads to metaphoric confusion. It’s what happens when you fall in love with full-color graphs to explain to the screen-entranced set what’s happening and scorn plain words.

    I am not the only one who observes this in medium-high dudgeon. “Optics” is hot, rivaling content. “It seems that politicians are now working to ensure that their policy positions are stated in a way that’s ‘optically acceptable’ to their constituents,” writes Tom Short of San Rafael, Calif. “Not good. Anytime I hear this word used in any context outside of graphic arts, my eye doctor’s office or the field of astronomy, my B.S. detector goes into high alert.”

    Symbols are fine; we live by words, figures, pictures. But as Alfred Korzybski postulated seven decades ago, the symbol is not the thing itself: you cannot milk the word “cow,” and as he put it, “a map is not the territory.” Arthur Laffer’s famous curve drawn on a cocktail napkin offers some economists a nice shorthand guide to his supply-side idea, but it is not the theory itself. Today’s mind-bending surge toward the use of words about graphs and poll trends — even when presented in color on elaborate Power­Point presentations — takes us steps away from reality. There must be a curve to illustrate that, and I say bend it way back.


    To a recent exploration of the origin of real estate’s location, location, location, there have been these useful additions from readers: David K. Barnhart of the lexicographical family writes: “It reminds me of the book collector’s eccentric way of insisting that bindings must be in not less than pristine shape. Our adage is condition, condition, condition.”

    Joe Asher of Seattle adds the three things that matter in public speaking: “locution, locution, locution.”

    And a fishhook on this page daring to suggest that Abe Lincoln deliberately adopted the “mistakes were made” passive voice to avoid taking personal responsibility drew this amplification from Frank Myers, distinguished professor at Stony Brook University in New York: “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address contains (by my count) six uses of the passive voice in his first seven sentences, tending to obscure the subject — especially himself as speaker and actor. No doubt this is part of the artistry of the speech.” Nobody’s perfect.

    Finally, word from the geezersphere, pioneering Comic Strip Division: “Your citation of Nov shmoz ka pop revitalized nostalgic memories,” writes Albert Varon of Chicago earnestly if redundantly. “My recollection is that the comic strip was called ‘The Squirrel Cage’ and that the ride-thumbing little guy was half-buried in snow next to a barber pole and was dressed in a full tunic or robe and some kind of turban.” He adds proudly — and usefully to later generations — “For many years, I have announced ‘Nov shmoz ka pop!’ assertively and dismissively to put off phone solicitors and aggressive panhandlers. Thank you for refreshing those halcyon days of my youth.”

    Ed Scribner suggested that AECMers commence to catalog problems where professors and students in the accounting academy can one day make creative contributions (inventions?) that will aid practitioners as well as researchers.

    I’ve long thought that some of the many ways we might be of help is in creating/inventing ways of visualizing multivariate data beyond our traditional two dimensional spreadsheet graphs.  I once published some research with Chernoff faces, Glyph Plotts, etc. along this lines which using social accounting data for power companies --- Volume 14 monograph entitled Phantasmagoric Accounting in the American Accounting Association Studies in Accounting Research Series ---


    Shane Moriarity later picked up on this idea and analyzed some financial statements using Chernoff Faces.
    “Communicating Financial Information Through Multidimensional Graphics”
    Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring 1979 ---

    I don’t think any accounting researchers picked up on the Jensen and Moriarity ideas, although I may have missed some unpublished working papers.

    I summarize some applications of multivariate visualizations in other disciplines at

    Frank Sinatra's Tribute to MySpace --- http://americancomedynetwork.com/animation.html?bit_id=25239

    "The Future of Social Networking," Business Week, July 2, 2009 ---

    Extra Credit for Abstaining From Facebook
    Robert Doade, an associate professor of philosophy at Trinity Western University, in British Columbia, is among those academics who believe Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media may be distracting students and causing them anxiety. So Doade challenges students by offering them a 5 percent extra credit bonus if they will abstain from all social and traditional media for the three month semester of his philosophy course, and keep a journal about the experience. Out of a class of around 35 students, only about 12 will try for the extra credit and by the end of the semester only between 4 and 6 are still "media abstinent."
    Inside Higher Ed, July 24, 2009 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/07/24/qt#204245

    Are student usages of FaceBook correlated with lower grades?
    Answer:  YES!
    Concerns About Social Networking, Blogging, and Twittering in Education ---

    Jensen Comment
    But analysts may be in statistical quicksand by trying to extrapolate correlation to causality on this one. The students who get lower grades are not necessarily going to raise their grades by abstaining from Facebook or even computer vices in general. They are more likely to be "time wasters" who will find most any excuse not to study. If you take their computers away they will spend hours arm wrestling, playing Frisbee, playing cards, necking, etc. In some instances computers and video games are birth control devices.

    Bob Jensen's threads on assessment --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm

    Bob Jensen's threads in social networks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ListservRoles.htm

    Cyber criminals targeting small businesses
    Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses that don't have the resources to keep updating their computer security, according to federal authorities.
    Many of the attacks are being waged by organized cyber groups that are based abroad, and they are able to steal not only credit card numbers, but personal information -- including Social Security numbers -- of the card holders, said Michael Merritt, assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service's office of investigations. Merritt, in testimony prepared for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that as larger companies have taken on more sophisticated computer network protections, cyber criminals have adapted and gone after the smaller businesses who do not have such high-level security.

    MIT's Technology Review, September 14, 2009 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/wire/23470/?nlid=2348&a=f

    Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at

    Enron Update

    September 15, 2009 message from Thompson, Shari [shari.thompson@pvpl.com]

    Hi there Bob, Just thought I'd forward you this latest development about Enron, in case you want it for your Enron timeline. If I'm interpreting it correctly (attached), it's a notification that all remaining Enron lawsuits are dismissed. I received it in U.S. mail this past weekend.

    I searched the web, but found only a couple mentions of these dismissals. Strangely, they were both written March 2009. I can't imagine why it took so long to notify us shareholders.

    BTW, I just noticed your sort of business through the ages post on your website. I enjoyed the definitions of feudalism... enronism. That's hilarious, and so true...LOL!

    Shari Thompson CIA | Internal Auditing Manager

    Professional Veterinary Products Direct 402.829.5248 Fax 402.829.5322

    Jensen Comment
    To read the notice go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron2009Notice.pdf 

    "Let's (Credit) Grade Wall Street Like Colleges:  The more rating agencies the better," The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2009 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203917304574413072842297920.html#mod=djemEditorialPage

    Is Harvard really the best?

    It turns out that depends on who you ask—and what you ask. As students across America return to campus for the new school year, new editions of three prominent college guides variously rank Harvard at No. 1, No. 5, and No. 11. Therein lies a timely lesson for our system of credit ratings.

    Some students know from their earliest days they want to go to Harvard, while others may want to follow mom or dad to East Carolina or Purdue. Many more rely on the annual college guides to help them make one of the most important financial decisions in their lives—in much the same way an investor might look to Moody's to tell them about the reliability of a corporate bond. The question with both is just how reliable those ratings are.

    When the housing bubble popped, our financial institutions learned—the hard way—that the mortgage-backed securities on their balance sheets did not merit the AAA-grades the credit ratings agencies had assigned them. Similar complaints have long been advanced about the trustworthiness of college guides. As the dominant player, U.S. News & World Report's annual America's Best Colleges guide has borne the brunt of this criticism.

    In public, college presidents, deans, and spokesmen pooh-pooh the U.S. News rankings. In private, however, many do what they can to boost their schools up the rankings ladder. One area open to manipulation has to do with the "peer assessment" category that accounts for a quarter of the U.S. News ranking.

    Earlier this year, Inside Higher Ed reported on a charmingly frank presentation by a Clemson University official who admitted her school's officials use the peer assessment to rate "all programs other than Clemson below average." The university denied the charge. But further reporting revealed that Clemson President James Barker had given his only "strong" rating to his own school, while giving lower grades to every other college in the land.

    The revelations have been an embarrassment for Clemson. Still, the woman who set off the firestorm was surely right when she said, "I'm confident my president is not the only one who does that." Other schools, after all, have found themselves in the news for manipulating the way they report to U.S. News everything from their average SAT scores and alumni giving to per pupil spending and class profiles.

    So if the U.S. News report is so flawed, where's the lesson for Wall Street? The answer lies in the new competition the U.S. News guide has spawned. In the last few years, the Washington Monthly and Forbes have each offered guides of their own. They are joined by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which measures colleges by whether they require seven core subjects the authors deem essential for a solid liberal arts education. There's even the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute's "Choosing the Right College," which offers advice about the best professors and courses to seek out on campuses.

    Different measures, of course, lead to different results. The latest U.S. News guide has Harvard and Princeton tied for No. 1, followed by Yale. Over at the Washington Monthly, by contrast—where editors measure colleges by how well they do at promoting social mobility, national service and research—Harvard falls to No. 11. And the top three slots are taken by public universities in the University of California system: UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UCLA.

    Then there's Forbes, which just ranked West Point as "America's Best College." The Forbes ratings include student satisfaction with courses, post-graduate employment success (including salary data and entries in Who's Who), the likelihood of graduation within four years, and the average level of debt graduates are stuck with.

    Which guide is best at picking the best? The answer is that no single measurement or guide can tell everyone everything. The more measures students and parents have, the fuller the picture before them, and the better equipped they are to make a smart decision. Because the federal government is not in the business of certifying particular college guides, moreover, they compete by persuading students and parents to buy them on the quality and relevance of their findings.

    At a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for ways to improve the flawed credit ratings that contributed so much to our financial crisis, it might do well to stop anointing particular credit rating agencies. Forcing these firms to compete for customers the way the college guides do would give us better ratings—and fewer investors lulled into the complacency that comes from thinking Uncle Sam has done the due diligence. At least when it comes to ratings, the Groves of Academe have a thing or two to teach our captains of finance about competition.

    Bob Jensen's threads on systemic problems of accountancy (including the aggregation ratings of nutrients in vegetables) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#BadNews

    • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Are Arbitrary
    • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Combine Different Measurements With Varying Accuracies
    • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Leave Out Important Components
    • Systemic Problem:  All Aggregations Ignore Complex & Synergistic Interactions of Value and Risk
    • Systemic Problem:  Disaggregating of Value or Cost is Generally Arbitrary
    • Systemic Problem:  Systems Are Too Fragile
    • Systemic Problem:  More Rules Do Not Necessarily Make Accounting for Performance More Transparent
    • Systemic Problem:  Economies of Scale vs. Consulting Red Herrings in Auditing
    • Systemic Problem:  Intangibles Are Intractable

    Bob Jensen's threads on credit rating agencies ---

    "Book: AICPA Guide Helps Businesses Investigate Fraud," SmartPros, September 9, 2009 ---

    The mechanics of a fraud investigation and associated ramifications for business professionals are the theme of The Guide to Investigating Business Fraud, the latest book publication from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Specialized Publications Group.

    Authored by a team of seasoned professionals from Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS) Practice, the guide delivers practical, actionable guidance on fraud investigations from the discovery phase through resolution and remediation.

    “The decade’s high-profile scandals, with the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme being the most recent, underscore exactly how critical it is for CPAs and the business owners, controllers and managers they advise to understand what to do when fraud hits, how a fraud investigation works, and how to avoid problems during the investigation,” said Arleen Thomas, AICPA senior vice president – member competency and development. “This book provides a very clear framework.”

    Thomas added that a June report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in which the FBI disclosed that it had opened more than 100 new cases involving corrupt business practices in the previous 18 months, emphasizes the need for the new guidance.

    Ernst & Young Principal Ruby Sharma, the main editor and a contributing author, notes the book, which collects the knowledge of 18 firm contributors, took over two years to develop.

    “This book is the result of many professionals’ hard work and draws upon their extensive experience,” she said. “This book is for forensic accountants, litigation attorneys, corporate boards and management, audit committees, students of accounting and anybody interested in understanding the risk of fraud and its multiple implications."

    In 14 chapters arranged to track the time sequence of an investigation and all anchored to a central case study, The Guide to Investigating Business Fraud answers four basic questions:

    How do fraud experts examine and work a fraud case? How do you reason and make decisions at critical times during the investigation? How do you evaluate a case and interact with colleagues? How do you handle preventive anti-fraud programs?

    In addition to Sharma, the editors are Michael H. Sherrod, senior manager, Richard Corgel, executive director; and Steven J. Kuzma, Americas Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services chief operating officer.

    The Guide to Investigating Business Fraud is available from CPA2Biz ( www.cpa2biz.com ). The cost is $79 for AICPA members and $98.75 for non-members.

    "A Model Curriculum for Education in Fraud and Forensic Accounting," by Mary-Jo Kranacher, Bonnie W. Morris, Timothy A. Pearson, and Richard A. Riley, Jr., Issues in Accounting Education, November 2008. pp. 505-518  (Not Free) --- Click Here

    There are other articles on fraud and forensic accounting in this November edition of IAE:

    Incorporating Forensic Accounting and Litigation Advisory Services Into the Classroom Lester E. Heitger and Dan L. Heitger, Issues in Accounting Education 23(4), 561 (2008) (12 pages)]

    West Virginia University: Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation (FAFI) A. Scott Fleming, Timothy A. Pearson, and Richard A. Riley, Jr., Issues in Accounting Education 23(4), 573 (2008) (8 pages)

    The Model Curriculum in Fraud and Forensic Accounting and Economic Crime Programs at Utica College George E. Curtis, Issues in Accounting Education 23(4), 581 (2008) (12 pages)

    Forensic Accounting and FAU: An Executive Graduate Program George R. Young, Issues in Accounting Education 23(4), 593 (2008) (7 pages)

    The Saint Xavier University Graduate Program in Financial Fraud Examination and Management William J. Kresse, Issues in Accounting Education 23(4), 601 (2008) (8 pages)

    Also see
    "Strain, Differential Association, and Coercion: Insights from the Criminology Literature on Causes of Accountant's Misconduct," by James J. Donegan and Michele W. Ganon, Accounting and the Public Interest 8(1), 1 (2008) (20 pages)

    September 17, 2009 reply from Zabihollah Rezaee (zrezaee) [zrezaee@MEMPHIS.EDU]

    Dear Bob,

    The second edition of my book on “FINANCIAL STATEMENT FRAUD: PREVENTION AND DETECTION” coauthored with Richard A. Riley is now available from Wiley (please see the attached flyer).

    Best regards,


    Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
    Bob Jensen's threads on fraud --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Fraud.htm

    FBI Corporate Fraud Chart in August 2008 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/aug2008/ataglance.htm#Chart1.htm

    A great blog on securities and accounting fraud --- http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/securities/

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

    From the Scout Report on September 11, 2009

    Voca 4.2 --- http://www.oriente.nl/voca/

    If you're looking to brush up on a bit of Turkish before a visit to Istanbul, you may want to give Voca 4.2 the once over. Visitors can use the "Help" file to learn about how the program works, and they should also note that they will need to download a vocabulary list before getting started.

    After doing so, users can see words in their native language, the foreign language, or a mix of both. Visitors can test their knowledge this way, and they may also want to use Voca to take a practice exam. Finally, visitors can also use the program to learn grammatical inflections and pronunciations. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer and computers running Linux.

    FStream 1.4.3 --- http://www.sourcemac.com/?page=fstream

    Perhaps you're listening to a Romanian news broadcast online and you'd like to save it for future reference? Well, you're in luck if you happen to have FStream installed on your Mac. This small application allows users to listen and record Internet radio stations, and its size is definitely one of its strongest selling points. Visitors will note that FStream comes preloaded with a number of iTunes and Shoutcast stations, and even a selection of stations from Europe. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.5 and newer.


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

    Education Tutorials

    British Columbia's History of Education Web site http://www.mala.bc.ca/homeroom/ 


    Academic careers --- http://www.academiccareers.com/


    Science Careers --- http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/


    Linguistics Hoax:  Pullum-Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, 1991 ---
    Forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly

    Great video on Complexity Theory:  Simplicity (stars) versus Complexity (guppies) ---
    Complexity Theory --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory
    Jeffrey Kluger --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Kluger
    September 17, 2009 reply from Helmi Hammami [helmi.hammami@GMAIL.COM]

    Robert, The video is great ! Also a look at the work of the French Philosopher Edgar Morin would be of great addition to those interested in complexity theory:


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

    Engineering, Science, and Medicine Tutorials

    Human Physiology Animations Homepage at Connecticut College ---

    University of California, San Francisco: Drug Industry Document Archive --- http://dida.library.ucsf.edu/

    Rare and Beautiful Books in Biology and Medicine
    Turning the Pages Online --- http://archive.nlm.nih.gov/proj/ttp/intro.htm

    Evolution of Life --- http://www.evolution-of-life.com/en/home.html

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

    Darwin 200 --- http://www.darwin200.org/ 

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

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

    Beaked Whale Identification Guide --- http://vertebrates.si.edu/mammals/beaked_whales/pages/main_menu.htm

    Architectural Drawings of Willis and Lillian Leenhouts http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/digilib/leenh/index.html

    The Architecture of Jefferson County --- http://lib.virginia.edu/digital/collections/image/jefferson_country.html

    British Columbia's History of Education Web site http://www.mala.bc.ca/homeroom/ 


    Academic careers --- http://www.academiccareers.com/


    Science Careers --- http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/

    Breaking the Bank Frontline Video
    In Breaking the Bank, FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk (Inside the Meltdown, Bush’s War) draws on a rare combination of high-profile interviews with key players Ken Lewis and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain to reveal the story of two banks at the heart of the financial crisis, the rocky merger, and the government’s new role in taking over — some call it “nationalizing” — the American banking system.
    Simoleon Sense, September 18, 2009 --- http://www.simoleonsense.com/video-frontline-breaking-the-bank/
    Bob Jensen's threads on the banking bailout --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm

    Great video on Complexity Theory:  Simplicity (stars) versus Complexity (guppies) ---
    Complexity Theory --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory
    Jeffrey Kluger --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Kluger


    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

    U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian --- http://history.state.gov/

    British Columbia's History of Education Web site http://www.mala.bc.ca/homeroom/ 

    Denied Dignity: Systematic Discrimination and Hostility toward Saudi Shia Citizens ---  http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/09/03/denied-dignity-0

    U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian --- http://history.state.gov/

    Great video on Complexity Theory:  Simplicity (stars) versus Complexity (guppies) ---
    Complexity Theory --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory
    Jeffrey Kluger --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Kluger

    Linguistics Hoax:  Pullum-Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, 1991 ---
    Forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly

    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

    Provenance in the World War II Era, 1933-1945 --- http://provenance.si.edu/jsp/index.aspx

    Studies in the History of Ethics --- http://open-site.org/Society/Philosophy/Ethics/History 

    International Criminal Court --- http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Home 

    Denied Dignity: Systematic Discrimination and Hostility toward Saudi Shia Citizens ---  http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/09/03/denied-dignity-0


    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

    Jacques Burkhardt and the Thayer Collection Expedition to Brazil --- http://library.mcz.harvard.edu/wp/?page_id=63

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson --- http://www.mcachicago.org/eliasson/

    University of Miami Libraries: Lydia Cabrera Papers --- http://merrick.library.miami.edu/cubanHeritage/chc0339/

    Darwin 200 --- http://www.darwin200.org/ 

    The Architecture of Jefferson County --- http://lib.virginia.edu/digital/collections/image/jefferson_country.html

    Architectural Drawings of Willis and Lillian Leenhouts http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/digilib/leenh/index.html

    Thomas Jefferson's Library [video] http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/jeffersonslibrary/Pages/default.aspx

    Telegraph: World War II Articles  --- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/world-war-2/

    University of California, San Francisco: Drug Industry Document Archive --- http://dida.library.ucsf.edu/

    British Columbia's History of Education Web site http://www.mala.bc.ca/homeroom/ 


    U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian --- http://history.state.gov/

    Linguistics Hoax:  Pullum-Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, 1991 ---
    Forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly

    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/

    Color-Blind Monkeys Get Full Color Vision
    Dalton, a squirrel monkey who used to be red-green colorblind, can now see those colors, thanks to a novel gene therapy treatment. Scientists test his color vision by showing him a circle of red dots within a grey-green background. When Dalton touches the correct location of the red spot, he is rewarded with a drop of juice.
    Emily Singer, MIT's Technology Review, September 16, 2009 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=438

    "Beer for brain injury? Maybe," Reuters, September 22, 2009 ---

  • People who suffer a traumatic brain injury from a car crash or other mishap are more apt to survive if they had been drinking at the time of the injury, according to a study published Monday.

    The finding "raises the intriguing possibility" that giving alcohol to brain injured patients may improve outcome, the study team suggests in the Archives of Surgery.

    Alcohol and driving "is and will always continue to be bad -- it contributes to over 40 percent of traffic-related fatalities," first author Dr. Ali Salim of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles emphasized in an email to Reuters Health.

    "However, of those patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury who survive their initial insult, those with alcohol in their system seem to have a slight survival advantage compared to those without alcohol in their system," Salim noted.

    Among a little more than 38,000 people who suffered moderate to severe brain trauma between 2000 and 2005, 38 percent had alcohol in their system when they arrived at the hospital.

    Compared to people who hadn't been drinking before the accident, those who had been drinking were younger (average age 37 years vs. 44 years) and they had less severe injuries. The traumatic brain injured drinkers also spent less time on a ventilator and less time in the intensive care unit.

    And, according to Salim and his colleagues, fewer of the drinkers than the non-drinkers died in the hospital (7.7 percent compared with 9.7 percent).

    However, the lower death rate among the drinkers was "tempered" by an apparent increase in complications for patients who had been drinking before the accident, the investigators note.

    Exactly how alcohol may protect the brain after trauma is unknown. One thought is that alcohol may lessen the body's inflammatory response to the injury.

    "There still needs to be further investigation as to the mechanisms of this association we found before we can consider this as a treatment option," Salim emphasized.

    Jensen Comment
    This still doesn't explain why the drunk driver who kills five people commonly walks away with, at most, minor injuries.

    Scott's a little late this year, but he produced a really great Father's Day video ---

    Forwarded by Paula

    What is the difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu?

    For bird flu you need tweetment and for swine flu you need oinkment.

    Forwarded by Blan McBride



    Grandpa: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

    Karl Marx: It was an historical inevitability.

    Captain James T. Kirk: To boldly go where no chicken had gone before!

    Mr. Spock: It seemed like the logical thing for the chicken to do at the time.

    Bill Gates: We have just released e-Chicken 5.0 which will not only cross roads but also lay eggs, file your important documents and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is now an inextricable part of e-Chicken.

    Albert Einstein: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

    Moses: And God said unto the chicken, "Thou shalt cross the road!" And the chicken crossed the road, and there was much rejoicing.

    Colonel Sanders: I missed one?

    Sir Isaac Newton: A chicken at rest will stay at rest, and chickens in motion will cross the road.

    Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

    Werner Heisenberg: We can never be certain the chicken actually crossed the road.

    Charles Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

    Mark Twain: The news of the chicken's crossing the road has been greatly exaggerated.

    Aristotle: It is the nature of chickens to cross roads.

    Douglas Adams: To find out why there is a road here.

    Voltaire: I may not agree with the chicken’s crossing of the road, but I will defend to the death its right to do so.

    Caesar: To come, to see, to conquer.

    The Sphinx: You tell me.

    The Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

    Erwin Schrodinger: The chicken was simultaneously on both sides of the road until it was observed and its wave function collapsed.

    Hemingway: To die, in the rain.

    And so shall we all. THUS ENDETH THE LESSON

    A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, "Want to hear an accountant joke?"

    The guy next to him replies, "Well, before you tell that joke, you should know that I'm 6 feet tall, 200 pounds, and I'm an accountant. And the guy sitting next to me is 6'2" tall, 225 pounds, and he's an accountant. Now, do you still want to tell that joke?"

    The first guy says, "No, I don't want to have to explain it two times."


    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


    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/
    Management and Accounting Blog
    --- http://maaw.info/

    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



    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