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Showing posts from November, 2011

How not to disburse financial aid.

Years Decades ago I worked for a small college with strong, forward looking leadership that firmly believed a significant fraction of our interactions with students should be computerized.  He believed that if we automated background bureaucracy we could better handle the budgets cuts and shift more resources into classrooms. He also believed that if students had a clear, consistent interface into our bureaucracy they’d be better, happier learners.My job was to make that happen. I networked all staff and student computers, computerized all student grading, registration, transcripts, fees; all college accounting, purchasing, invoicing, inventory, room scheduling and whatever else the president though was burrocratic. My toolkit was an ARCnet network, a Novell Netware 2.0a server, a few dozen 80286 computers and a database called Paradox. I turned off the IBM System/36. Their was no WWW. It took a couple years, but we got to the point where a student could walk up to a kiosk (a netboote…