By kdawson from Slashdot's shoulder-to-shoulder deptartment
Hugh Pickens writes "A new study shows that the patterns of collaboration among Wikipedia contributors directly affect the quality of an article. 'These collaboration patterns either help increase quality or are detrimental to data quality,' says Sudha Ram at the University of Arizona. Wikipedia has an internal quality rating system for entries, with featured articles at the top, followed by A, B, and C-level entries. Ram and graduate student Jun Liu randomly collected 400 articles at each quality level. 'We used data mining techniques and identified various patterns of collaboration based on the provenance or, more specifically, who does what to Wikipedia articles,' says Ram. The researchers identified seven specific roles that Wikipedia contributors play (PDF starting on page 175): Casual Contributor, Starter, Cleaner, Copy Editor, Content Justifier, Watchdog, and All-round Editor. Starters, for example, create sentences but seldom engage in other actions. Content justifiers create sentences and justify them with resources and links. The all-round contributors perform many different functions. 'We then clustered the articles based on these roles and examined the collaboration patterns within each cluster to see what kind of quality resulted,' says Ram. 'We found that all-round contributors dominated the best-quality entries. In the entries with the lowest quality, starters and casual contributors dominated.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's best-of-luck-without-raising-pay deptartment
theodp writes "The teaching profession gets schooled in cover stories from the big pubs this weekend, as Newsweek makes the case for Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers, and the NY Times offers the more hopeful Building a Better Teacher. For the past half-century, professional educators believed that if they could only find the right pedagogy, the right method of instruction, all would be well. They tried New Math, open classrooms, Whole Language — but nothing seemed to achieve significant or lasting improvements. But what they ignored was the elephant in the room — if the teacher sucks, the students suck. Or, as the Times more eloquently puts it: 'William Sanders, a statistician studying Tennessee teachers with a colleague, found that a student with a weak teacher for three straight years would score, on average, 50 percentile points behind a similar student with a strong teacher for those years. Teachers working in the same building, teaching the same grade, produced very different outcomes. And the gaps were huge.' But what makes a good teacher? When Bill Gates announced his foundation was investing $335 million in a project to improve teaching quality, he added a rueful caveat. 'Unfortunately, it seems the field doesn't have a clear view of what characterizes good teaching,' Gates said. 'I'm personally very curious.'"Read Replies (0)
Best WAP For Dense Crowds?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-phrased-and-specific deptartment
An anonymous reader writes "A local community organization has asked me to help them set up WiFi access for an upcoming event, with some unusual (to me) requirements. All users (up to 500 people) will occupy a relatively small area and more-or-less have line-of-sight to the WAP, so issues like signal strength and wall penetration don't matter. Security also does not matter, as we plan to open this to anyone wanting to connect. Cost always matters, but we realize a $50 Linksys or three won't cut it here.In the past, I have used Cisco AP1200s for a few dozen users to great satisfaction, but they only handle 50 connections at a time, and practically count as antiques at this point anyway. My research on the matter tells me that 802.11n performs far better in this regard, but I want to support 802.11g as well. I have no objection to using two APs to split those apart (with n limited to 5.8GHz, as per the suggestion of several comments in a recent Ask Slashdot), but physical constraints make it preferable to minimize the total number of APs needed — Ten WRT54s might cost about the same as one Aironet, but I only have three good places to mount these.I welcome any suggestions and real-world experiences with similar situations, including the ever-popular Ask Slashdot refrain of 'What kind of idiot would do it like that, when you can just do this?' Ideally, I would like to know model numbers and how well they held up under real-world loads comparable to my situation."Read Replies (0)