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ASU Is No Longer Using Khan Academy In Developmental Math Program

Michael Feldstein - 4 hours 32 min ago

By Phil HillMore Posts (332)

In these two episodes of e-Literate TV, we shared how Arizona State University (ASU) started using Khan Academy as the software platform for a redesigned developmental math course[1] (MAT 110). The program was designed in Summer 2014 and ran through Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 terms. Recognizing the public information shared through e-Literate TV, ASU officials recently informed us that they had made a programmatic change and will replace their use of Khan Academy software with McGraw-Hill’s LearnSmart software that is used in other sections of developmental math.

To put this news in context, here is the first episode’s mention of Khan Academy usage.

Phil Hill: The Khan Academy program that you’re doing, as I understand, it’s for general education math. Could you give just a quick summary of what the program is?

Adrian Sannier: Absolutely. So, for the last three-and-a-half years, maybe four, we have been using a variety of different computer tutor technologies to change the pedagogy that we use in first-year math. Now, first-year math begins with something we call “Math 110.” Math 110 is like if you don’t place into either college algebra, which has been the traditional first-year math course, or into a course we call “college math,” which is your non-STEM major math—if you don’t place into either of those, then that shows you need some remediation, some bolstering of some skills that you didn’t gain in high school.

So, we have a course for that. Our first-year math program encompasses getting you to either the ability to follow a STEM major or the ability to follow majors that don’t require as intense of a math education. What we’ve done is create an online mechanism to coach students. Each student is assigned a trained undergraduate coach under the direction of our instructor who then helps that student understand how to use the Khan Academy and other tools to work on the skills that they show deficit in and work toward being able to satisfy the very same standards and tests that we’ve always used to ascertain whether a student is prepared for the rest of their college work.

Luckily, the episode on MAT 110 focused mostly on the changing roles of faculty members and TAs when using an adaptive software approach, rather than focusing on Khan Academy itself. After reviewing the episode again, I believe that it stands on its own and is relevant even with the change in software platform. Nevertheless, I appreciate that ASU officials were proactive to let me know about this change, so that we can document the change here and in e-Literate TV transmedia.

The Change

Since the change has not been shared outside of this notification (limiting my ability to do research and analysis), I felt the best approach would be to again interview Adrian Sannier, Chief Academic Technology Officer at ASU Online. Below is the result of an email interview, followed by short commentary [emphasis added].

Phil Hill: Thanks for agreeing to this interview to update plans on the MAT 110 course featured in the recent e-Literate TV episode. Could you describe the learning platforms used by ASU in the new math programs (MAT 110 and MAT 117 in particular) as well as describe any changes that have occurred this year?

Adrian Sannier: Over the past four years, ASU has worked with a variety of different commercially available personalized math tutors from Knewton, Pearson, McGraw Hill and the Khan Academy applied to 3 different courses in Freshman Math at ASU – College Algebra, College Math and Developmental Math. Each of these platforms has strengths and weaknesses in practice, and the ASU team has worked closely with the providers to identify ways to drive continuous improvement in their use at ASU.

This past year ASU used a customized version of Pearson’s MyMathLab as the instructional platform for College Algebra and College Math. In Developmental Math, we taught some sections using the Khan Academy Learning Dashboard and others using McGraw Hill’s LearnSmart environment.

This Fall, ASU will be using the McGraw Hill platform for Developmental Math and Pearson’s MyMathLab for Colege Algebra and College Math. While we also achieved good results with the Khan Academy this past year, we weren’t comfortable with our current ability to integrate the Khan product at the institutional level.

ASU is committed to the personalized adaptive approach to Freshman mathematics instruction, and we are continuously evaluating the product space to identify the tools that we feel will work best for our students.

Phil Hill: I presume this means that ASU’s usage of McGraw Hill’s LearnSmart for Developmental Math will continue and also expand to essentially replace the usage of Khan Academy. Is this correct? If so, what do you see as the impact on faculty and students involved in the course sections that previously used Khan Academy?

Adrian Sannier: That’s right Phil. Based on our experience with the McGraw Hill product we don’t expect any adverse effects.

Phil Hill: Could you further explain the comment “we weren’t comfortable with our current ability to integrate the Khan product at the institutional level”? I believe that Khan Academy’s API approach is more targeted to B2C [business-to-consumer] applications, allowing individual users to access information rather than B2B [business-to-business] enterprise usage, whereas McGraw Hill LearnSmart and others are set up for B2B usage from an API perspective. Is this the general issue you have in mind?

Adrian Sannier: That’s right Phil. We’ve found that the less cognitive load an online environment places on students the better results we see. Clean, tight integrations into the rest of the student experience result in earlier and more significant student engagement, and better student success overall.

Notes

Keep in mind that ASU is quite protective of its relationship with multiple software vendors and that they go out of their way to not publicly complain or put their partners in a bad light, even if a change is required as in MAT 110. Adrian does make it clear, however, that the key issue is the ability to integrate reliably between multiple systems. As noted in the interview, I think a key issue here is a mismatch of business models. ASU wants enterprise software applications where they can deeply integrate with a reliable API to allow a student experience without undue “cognitive load” of navigating between applications. Khan Academy’s core business model relies on people navigating to their portal on their website, and this does not fit the enterprise software model. I have not interviewed Khan Academy, but this is how it looks from the outside.

There is another point to consider here. While I can see Adrian’s argument that “we don’t expect any adverse effects” in the long run, I do think there are switching costs in the short term. As Sue McClure told me via email, as an instructor she spent significantly more time than usual on this course due to course design and ramping up the new model. In addition, ASU added 11 TAs for the course sections using Khan Academy.  These people have likely learned important lessons about supporting students in an adaptive learning setting, but a great deal of their Khan-specific time is now gone. Plus, they will need to spend time learning LearnSmart before getting fully comfortable in that environment.

Unfortunately, with the quick change, we might not see hard data to determine if the changes were working. I believe ASU’s plans were to analyze and publish the results from this new program after the third term which will not happen.

If I find out more information, I’ll share it here.

  1. The terms remedial math and developmental math are interchangeable in this context.

The post ASU Is No Longer Using Khan Academy In Developmental Math Program appeared first on e-Literate.

Basics of Patching in Oracle Apps (adpatch)

Online Apps DBA - Mon, 2015-06-29 15:09

 

Whenever a patch request comes in the first and foremost thing which has to be done by an Oracle apps DBA is to look into existing system, if the patch exists. We can query ad_bugs.login to sqlplus with apps user and fire the below command.

SQL> select bug_number,creation_date from apps.ad_bugs where bug_number in (‘&bug_number’);

 

Enter the patch number and if you see any rows, it means the patch is in the system already and you can go ahead and tell the business that patch already exists. You will see something like this.

But if you see no rows returned, then you have to set the ball rolling. Now you will have to perform the patch analysis of requested patch.

The next step would be to login to Oracle support with your credentials and open the README of the patch, There would be a pre-requisite section which would state that if there is any prerequisite of this patch which has to be applied. Now if you see a prerequisite then you will have to open the REDAME of that patch and check the prerequisite of that patch and this process goes on till there is no prerequisite.

From my personal experience I would suggest to prepare a template like below to do the analysis of the patch.

Now lets understand the example given above, the main patch requested in 123456, this patch has a pre-requisite 67890 and 67890 has a pre-requisite 8585858 and this has a pre-requisite 8686868.

So to apply the main patch we have to

a) First apply 8686868 and
b) Then 8585858 and
c) Then 67890 and then the main patch.

So now you will send this analysis back to your business and you will request for the downtime. Now downtime is calculated on the basis of your experience.

I assume that you have received the confirmation from the business to apply the patch. Download the patch in your patch top directory and unzip the file. After unzipping you will see a driver file like u123456.drv. When you will run adpatch (in 12.1) from this location it will ask you the name of the driver file and you have to give u123456.drv.

Now something about file systems, There are basically two types

1)Shared file systems
2)Distributed file systems

In my environment, I have shared file system and there are multiple web nodes. So in case of shared file system patches have to be applied on one node only since it is shared file system.

So let us assume that we have 3 application nodes and Non RAC DB server and also the patch is available only in American English and there are no other languages installed on the application.

Steps for patching (EBS 12.1) would be

  • Shut down the application on all the 3 nodes by logging into each node separately.
  • From adadmin put the application into maintenance mode
  • Take the count of invalids by logging to sql plus with apps user
  • Use adpatch to apply patches to the application.

 

  • Again check the count of invalid objects in database and compare with pre-patch application invalid count.
  • From adadmin disable the maintenance mode
  • Start the application on all the 3 nodes

Please don’t forget that for any operation to take place in the app, DB has to be up and running.

 

Please note that before doing any kind of patching activity, ask the unix team to perform the backup of the file systems because we can’t roll back the patch applied using adpatch

 

We will discuss more about patching in my next blog. Any comments or queries then post here

Related Posts for R12 Patches
  1. Basics of Patching in Oracle Apps (adpatch)

The post Basics of Patching in Oracle Apps (adpatch) appeared first on Oracle : Design, Implement & Maintain.

Categories: APPS Blogs

Google Classroom Addresses Major Barrier To Deeper Higher Ed Adoption

Michael Feldstein - Mon, 2015-06-29 11:28

By Phil HillMore Posts (332)

A year ago I wrote about Google Classroom, speculating whether it would affect the institutional LMS market in higher education. My initial conclusion:

I am not one to look at Google’s moves as the end of the LMS or a complete shift in the market (at least in the short term), but I do think Classroom is significant and worth watching. I suspect this will have a bigger impact on individual faculty adoption in higher ed or as a secondary LMS than it will on official institutional adoption, at least for the next 2 – 3 years.

And my explanation [emphasis added]:

But these features are targeted at innovators and early adopter instructors who are willing to fill in the gaps themselves.

  1. The course creation, including setting up of rosters, is easy for an instructor to do manually, but it is manual. There has been no discussion that I can find showing that the system can automatically create a course, including roster, and update over the add / drop period.
  2. There is no provision for multiple roles (student in one class, teacher in another) or for multiple teachers per class.
  3. The integration with Google Drive, especially with Google Docs and Sheets, is quite intuitive. But there is no provision for PDF or MS Word docs or even publisher-provided courseware.
  4. There does not appear to be a gradebook – just grading of individual assignments. There is a button to export grades, and I assume that you can combine all the grades into a custom Google Sheets spreadsheet or even pick a GAE gradebook app. But there is no consistent gradebook available for all instructors within an institution to use and for students to see consistently.

Well today Google announced a new Google Classroom API that directly addresses the limitation in bullet #1 above and indirectly addresses #4.

The Classroom API allows admins to provision and manage classes at scale, and lets developers integrate their applications with Classroom. Until the end of July, we’ll be running a developer preview, during which interested admins and developers can sign up for early access. When the preview ends, all Apps for Education domains will be able to use the API, unless the admin has restricted access.

By using the API, admins will be able to provision and populate classes on behalf of their teachers, set up tools to sync their Student Information Systems with Classroom, and get basic visibility into which classes are being taught in their domain. The Classroom API also allows other apps to integrate with Classroom.

Google directly addresses the course roster management in their announcement; in fact, this appears to be the primary use case they had in mind. I suspect this by itself will have a big impact in the K-12 market (would love to hear John Watson’s take on this if he addresses in his blog), making it far more manageable for district-wide and school-wide Google Classroom adoptions.

The potential is also there for a third party to develop and integrate a viable grade book application available to an entire institution. While this could partially be done by the Google Apps for Education (GAE) ecosystem, that is a light integration that doesn’t allow deep connection between learning activities and grades. The new API should allow for deeper integrations, although I am not sure how much of the current Google Classroom data will be exposed.

I still do not see Google Classroom as a current threat to the higher ed institutional LMS market, but it is getting closer. Current ed tech vendors should watch these developments.

The post Google Classroom Addresses Major Barrier To Deeper Higher Ed Adoption appeared first on e-Literate.

Multisection Backup for Image Copies

The Oracle Instructor - Mon, 2015-06-29 10:30

A nice Oracle Database 12c New Feature enhances the multisection backup, introduced in 11g: You can use it now for image copies also!

Multisection Backup for an Image Copy

Multisection Backup for an Image Copy

 

RMAN> report schema;

using target database control file instead of recovery catalog
Report of database schema for database with db_unique_name PRIMA

List of Permanent Datafiles
===========================
File Size(MB) Tablespace           RB segs Datafile Name
---- -------- -------------------- ------- ------------------------
1    347      SYSTEM               YES     /u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/system01.dbf
2    235      SYSAUX               NO      /u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/sysaux01.dbf
3    241      UNDOTBS1             YES     /u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/undotbs01.dbf
4    602      USERS                NO      /u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/users01.dbf

List of Temporary Files
=======================
File Size(MB) Tablespace           Maxsize(MB) Tempfile Name
---- -------- -------------------- ----------- --------------------
1    40       TEMP                 32767       /u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/temp01.dbt

RMAN> configure device type disk parallelism 2;

new RMAN configuration parameters:
CONFIGURE DEVICE TYPE DISK PARALLELISM 2 BACKUP TYPE TO BACKUPSET;
new RMAN configuration parameters are successfully stored

RMAN> backup section size 301m as copy datafile 4;

Starting backup at 29-JUN-15
using channel ORA_DISK_1
using channel ORA_DISK_2
channel ORA_DISK_1: starting datafile copy
input datafile file number=00004 name=/u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/users01.dbf
backing up blocks 1 through 38528
channel ORA_DISK_2: starting datafile copy
input datafile file number=00004 name=/u01/app/oracle/oradata/prima/users01.dbf
backing up blocks 38529 through 77056
output file name=/u02/fra/PRIMA/datafile/o1_mf_users_bs2v934z_.dbf tag=TAG20150629T180658
channel ORA_DISK_1: datafile copy complete, elapsed time: 00:00:15
output file name=/u02/fra/PRIMA/datafile/o1_mf_users_bs2v934z_.dbf tag=TAG20150629T180658
channel ORA_DISK_2: datafile copy complete, elapsed time: 00:00:15
Finished backup at 29-JUN-15

RMAN> host 'ls -rtl /u02/fra/PRIMA/datafile/';

total 616468
-rw-r-----. 1 oracle oinstall 631250944 Jun 29 18:07 o1_mf_users_bs2v934z_.dbf
host command complete

We use that by default now especially also upon the DUPLICATE DATABASE command.


Tagged: 12c New Features, Backup & Recovery, RMAN
Categories: DBA Blogs

How Student and Faculty Interviews Were Chosen For e-Literate TV Series

Michael Feldstein - Mon, 2015-06-29 06:47

By Phil HillMore Posts (332)

As part of our e-Literate TV set of case studies on personalized learning, Michael and I were fully aware that Arizona State University (ASU) was likely to generate the most controversy due to ASU’s aggressive changes to the concept of a modern research university. As we described in this introductory blog post:

Which is one reason why we’re pretty excited about the release of the first two case studies in our new e-Literate TV series on the trend of so-called “personalized learning.” We see the series as primarily an exercise in journalism. We tried not to hold onto any hypothesis too tightly going in, and we committed to reporting on whatever we found, good or bad. We did look for schools that were being thoughtful about what they were trying to do and worked with them cooperatively, so it was not the kind of journalism that was likely to result in an exposé. We went in search of the current state of the art as practiced in real classrooms, whatever that turned out to be and however well it is working.

As part of the back-and-forth discussions with the ASU case study release, John Warner brought up a good point in response to my description that our goal was “Basically to expose, let you form own opinions”.

@PhilOnEdTech Can't form opinion without a more thorough accounting. Ex. How did you choose students and fac. to talk to?

— John Warner (@biblioracle) June 1, 2015

Can’t form opinion without a more thorough accounting. Ex. How did you choose students and fac. to talk to?

Let’s explore this subject for the four case studies already released. Because the majority of interviewees shared positive experiences in our case studies, I’ll highlight some of the skeptical, negative or cautionary views that were captured in these case studies.

Our Approach To Lining Up Interviews


When we contacted schools to line up interviews on campus, it is natural to expect that the staff will tend to find the most positive examples of courses, faculty and students to share. As described above, we admit that we looked for schools with thoughtful approaches (and therefore courses), but we needed to try and expose some contrary or negative views as well. This is not to play gotcha journalism nor to create a false impression of equally good / equally bad perspectives. But it is important to capture that not everyone is pleased with the changes, and these skeptics are a good source of exposing risks and issues to watch. Below is the key section of the email sent to each school we visited.

The Case Study Filming Process
Each case study will include a couple of parts. First, we will interview the college leadership—whoever the school deems appropriate—to provide an overview of the school, it’s mission and history, it’s student body, and how “personalized education” (however that school defines the term) fits into that picture. If there are particular technology-driven initiatives related to personalized learning, then we may talk about those a bit. Second, we will want to talk some teachers and students, probably in a mixed group. We want to get some sample reactions from them about what they think is valuable about the education they get (or provide) at the school, how “personalization” fits into that, and how, when, and why they use or avoid technology in the pursuit of the educational goals. We’re not trying either to show “best/worst” here or to provide an “official” university position, but rather to present a dialog representing some of the diverse views present on the campus.

Campus Input on the Filming
In order for the project to have integrity, MindWires must maintain editorial independence. That said, our goal for the case studies is to show positive examples of campus communities that are authentically engaged in solving difficult educational challenges. We are interested in having the participants talk about both successes and failures, but our purpose in doing so is not to pass judgment on the institution but rather to enable to viewers to learn from the interviewees’ experiences. We are happy to work closely with each institution in selecting the participants and providing a general shape to the conversation. While we maintain editorial control over the final product, if there are portions of the interviews that make the institution uncomfortable then we are open to discussing those issues. As long as the institution is willing to allow an honest reflection of their own challenges and learning experiences as an educational community, then we are more than willing to be sensitive to and respectful of concerns that the end product not portray the institution in a way that might do harm to the very sort of campus community of practice that we are trying to capture and foster with our work.

As an example of what “willing to be sensitive to and respectful of concerns” means in practice, one institution expressed a concern that they did not want their participation in this personalized learning series to be over-interpreted as a full-bore endorsement of pedagogical change by the administration. The school was at the early stages of developing a dialog with faculty on where they want to go with digital education, and the administration did not want to imply that they already knew the direction and answers. We respected this request and took care to not imply any endorsement of direction by the administration.

Below are some notes on how this played out at several campuses.

Middlebury College

As described in our introductory blog post:

Middlebury College, the first school we went to when we started filming, was not taking part in any cross-institutional (or even institutional) effort to pilot personalized learning technologies and not the kind of school that is typically associated the “personalized learning” software craze. Which is exactly why we wanted to start there. When most Americans think of the best example of a personalized college education, they probably think of an elite New England liberal arts college with a student/teacher ratio of under nine to one. We wanted to go to Middlebury because we wanted a baseline for comparison. We were also curious about just what such schools are thinking about and doing with educational technologies.

Middlebury College staff helped identify one faculty member who is experimenting with technology use in his class with some interesting student feedback, which we highlighted in Middlebury Episode 2. They also found two faculty members for a panel discussion along with two students who have previously expressed strong opinions on where technology does and does not fit in their education. The panel discussion was highlighted in Middlebury Episode 3.

As this case study did not have a strong focus on a technology-enabled program, we did not push the issue of finding skeptical faculty or students and instead exposed that technology was not missing from the campus consideration of how to improve education.

The administration did express some cautionary notes on the use of technology to support “personalized learning” as captured in this segment:

Essex County College

By way of contrast, our second case study was at Essex County College, an urban community college in Newark, New Jersey. This school has invested approximately $1.2 million of its own money along with a $100 thousand Gates Foundation grant to implement an adaptive learning remedial math course designed around self-regulated learning. Our case study centered on this program specifically.

Of course, the place where you really expect to see a wide range of incoming skills and quality of previous education is in public colleges and universities, and at community colleges in particular. At Essex County College, 85% of incoming students start in the lowest level developmental math course. But that statistic glosses over a critical factor, which is there is a huge range of skills and abilities within that 85%. Some students enter almost ready for the next level, just needing to brush up on a few skills, while others come in with math skills at the fourth grade level. On top of that, students come in with a wide range of metacognitive skills. Some of them have not yet learned how to learn, at least this subject in this context.

Given the controversial nature of using adaptive learning software in a class, we decided to include a larger number of student voices in this case study. Douglas Walcerz, the faculty and staff member who designed the course, gave us direct access to the entire class. We actively solicited students to participate in interviews, as one class day was turned over to e-Literate TV video production and interviews, with the rest of the class watching their peers describe their experiences.

As we did the interviews, almost all students had a very positive view of the new class design, particularly the self-regulated learning aspect with the resultant empowerment they felt. What was missing was student voices who were not comfortable with the new approach. For the second day we actively solicited students who could provide a negative view. The result was shared in this interview:

As for faculty, it was easier to find some skeptical or cautionary voices, which we highlighted here.

As described above, our intent was not to present a false balance but rather to to include diverse viewpoints to help other schools know the issues to explore.

Arizona State University

At ASU we focused on two courses in particular, Habitable Worlds highlighted in episode 2 and remedial math (MAT 110) using Khan Academy software highlighted in episode 3.

We did have some difficulty getting on-campus student interviews due to both of these being online courses. For MAT 110 we did get find one student who expressed both positive and negative views on the approach, as shown in this episode.

Empire State College

Like ASU, Empire State College presented a challenge for on-campus video production from the nature of all-online courses. We worked with ESC staff to get students lined up for interviews, with the best stories coming from the prior learning affects on students.

It was easier and more relevant to explore the different perspectives on personalized learning from faculty and staff themselves, as evidenced by the following interview. ESC offered him up–proudly–knowing that he would be an independent voice. They understood what we meant in that email and were not afraid to show the tensions they are wrestling with on-camera. Not every administration will be as brave as ESC’s, but we are finding that spirit to be the norm rather than the exception.

Upcoming Episodes

It’s also worth pointing out the role of selecting colleges in the first place, which is not just about diversity. We know that different schools are going to have different perspectives, and we pick them carefully to set up a kind of implicit dialog. We know, for example, that ASU is going to give a full-throated endorsement of personalized learning software used to scale. So we balance them against Empire State College, which has always been about one-on-one mentoring in their design.

Hopefully this description of our process will help people like John Warner who need more information before forming their own opinion. At the least, consider this further documentation of the process. We are planning to release one additional case studies – the University of California at Davis in early July – as well as two analysis episodes. We’ll share more information once new episodes are released.

The post How Student and Faculty Interviews Were Chosen For e-Literate TV Series appeared first on e-Literate.

Indexing for like/similarity operations

Yann Neuhaus - Mon, 2015-06-29 04:05

Indexing queries for like/similarity conditions is not that easy with the usual index types. The only option you have with btree indexes (especially if the wild-card is at the beginning of the filter) is to create a partial index on that columns for a very specific query.

Quiz Time. Why Do Deletes Cause An Index To Grow ? (Solution)

Richard Foote - Mon, 2015-06-29 00:27
OK, time to reveal how a couple of simple deletes can cause an index to double in size. If we go back and look at the tree dump before the delete operation: —– begin tree dump branch: 0x180050b 25167115 (0: nrow: 19, level: 1) leaf: 0x180050c 25167116 (-1: row:540.540 avs:4) leaf: 0x180050d 25167117 (0: row:533.533 […]
Categories: DBA Blogs

Auditing Enhancements (Audit Policies and Unified Audit Trail) in Oracle Database 12c

Tim Hall - Mon, 2015-06-29 00:12

security_image1_smallA little over a year ago I was at the BGOUG Spring Conference and I watched a session by Maja Veselica about auditing in Oracle Database 12c. At the time I noted that I really needed to take a look at this new functionality, as is was quite different to what had come before. Fast forward a year and I’ve finally got around to doing just that. :)

I’ve tried to keep the article quite light and fluffy. The Oracle documentation on this subject is really pretty good, so you should definitely invest some time reading it, but if you need a quick overview to get you started, my article might help. :)

My 12c learning experience continues…

Cheers

Tim…

Auditing Enhancements (Audit Policies and Unified Audit Trail) in Oracle Database 12c was first posted on June 29, 2015 at 7:12 am.
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Prior Learning Assessments Done Right

Michael Feldstein - Sun, 2015-06-28 21:53

By Michael FeldsteinMore Posts (1033)

This post has nothing to do with educational technology but everything to do with the kind of humane and truly personal education that we should be talking about when we throw around phrases like “personalized education.” Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) go hand-in-glove with the trendy Competency-Based Education (CBE). The basic idea is that you test students on what they have learned in their own lives and give them credit toward their degrees based on what they already know. But it is often executed in a fairly mechanical way. Students are tested against the precise curriculum or competencies that a particular school has chosen for a particular class. Not too long ago, I heard somebody say, “We don’t need more college-ready students; we need more student-ready colleges.” In a logical and just world, we would start with what the student knows, rather than the with what one professor or group of professors decided one semester would be “the curriculum,” and we would give the student credit for whatever college-level knowledge she has.

It turns out that’s exactly what Empire State College (ESC) does. When we visited the college for an e-Literate TV case study, we learned quite a bit about this program and, in particular, about their PLA program for women of color.

But before we get into that, it’s worth backing up and looking at the larger context of ESC as an institution. Founded in 1971, the school was focused from the very beginning on “personalized learning”—but personalized in a sense that liberal intellectuals from the 1960s and 1970s would recognize and celebrate. Here’s Alan Mandell, who was one of the pioneering members of the faculty at ESC, on why the school has “mentors” rather than “professors”:

Alan Mandell: Every single person is called a mentor.

It’s valuable because of an assumption that is pretty much a kind of critique of the hierarchical model of teaching and learning that was the norm and remains the norm where there is a very, very clear sense of a professor professing to a student who is kind of taking in what one has to say.

Part of the idea of Empire State, and other institutions, more and more, is that there was something radically wrong with that. A, that students had something to teach us, as faculty, and that faculty had to learn to engage students in a more meaningful way to respond to their personal, academic, professional interests. It was part of the time. It was a notion of a kind of equality.

This was really interesting to me actually because I came here, and I was 25 years old. Every single student was older than I was, so the idea of learning from somebody else was actually not very difficult at all. It was just taken for granted. People would come with long professional lives, doing really interesting things, and I was a graduate student.

I feel, after many years, that this is still very much the case—that this is a more equal situation of faculty serving as guides to students who bring in much to the teaching and learning situation.

Unlike some of the recent adoptions of PLA, which are tied to CBE and the idea of getting students through their degree programs quickly, Empire State College approaches prior learning assessment in very much the spirit that Alan describes above. Here’s Associate Dean Cathy Leaker talking about their approach:

Cathy Leaker What makes Empire State College unique, even in the prior learning assessment field, is that many institutions that do prior learning assessment do what’s called a “course match.” In other words, a student would have to demonstrate—for example, if they wanted to claim credit for Introduction to Psychology, they would look at the learning objectives of the Introduction to Psychology course, and they would match their learning to that. We are much more open-ended, and as an institution, we really believe that learning happens everywhere, all the time. So, we try to look at learning organically, and we don’t assume that we already know exactly what might be required.

One of my colleagues, Elana Michelson, works on prior learning assessment. She started working in South Africa where they were—there it’s called “recognition for prior learning.” And she gives the example of some of the people who were involved in bringing down Apartheid, and how they, sort of as an institution working with the government, thought it might be ridiculous to ask those students to demonstrate problem solving skills, right? How the institution might look at problem-solving skills, and then if there was a strict match, they would say, “Well, wait a second. You don’t have it,” and yet, they’re activists that brought down the government and changed the world.

Those are some examples of why we really think we need to look at learning organically.

Students like Melinda come to us, talk about their learning, and then we try to help them identify it, come up with a name for it, and determine an amount of credit before submitting it for evaluation.

This is not personalized in the sense trying to figure out which institution-defined competencies you can check off on you way to an institution-defined collection of competencies that they call a “degree.” Rather, it’s an effort to have credentialed experts look at what you’ve done and what you know to find existing strengths that deserve to be recognized and credentialed. The Apartheid example is a particularly great one because it shows that traditional academic institutions may be poorly equipped to recognized and certify real-world demonstrations of competencies, particularly among people who come from disadvantaged or “marked” backgrounds. Here’s ESC faculty member Frances Boyce talking about why the school recognized a need to develop a particular PLA program for women of color:

Frances Boyce: Our project, Women of Color and Prior Learning Assessment, is based on a 2010 study done by Rebecca Klein-Collins and Richard Olson, “Fueling the Race to Success.” That found that students who do prior learning assessments are two and a half times more likely to graduate. When you start to unpack that data and you look at the graduation rates for students of color, for African American students the graduation rate increases fourfold. For Latino students it increases eightfold. Then, when you look at it in terms of gender, a woman who gets one to six credits in prior learning assessment will graduate more quickly than her male counterpart given the same amount of credit.

That seemed very important to us, and we decided, “Well, let’s see what we could do to improve the uptake rate for women of color.” So, we designed four workshops to help women of color, not only identify their learning—the value of their learning—but identify what they bring with them to the institution.

What’s going on here? Why is PLA more impactful than average for women and people of color? In addition to the fact that our institutions are not always prepared to recognize real-world knowledge and skills, as in the Apartheid example, people in non-privileged positions in our society are tacitly taught that college is not “for them.” That they don’t have what it takes to succeed there. By recognizing that they have, in fact, already acquired college-level skills and knowledge, PLA helps them get past the insults to their self-image and dignity and helps them to envision themselves as successful college graduates. Listen to ESC student Melinda Wills-Stallings’ story:

Michael Feldstein: I’m wondering if you can tell me, do you remember a particular moment, early on, when the lightbulb went off and you said to yourself, “Oh, that thing that’s part of my life counts”?

Melinda Wills-Stallings: I think when I was talking to my sons about the importance of their college education and how they couldn’t be successful without it and them saying to me, “But, Mom, you are successful. You run a school. You run a business.” To be told on days that I wasn’t there, the business wasn’t running properly or to be told by parents, “Oh, my, God. We’re so glad you’re back because we couldn’t get a bill, we couldn’t get a statement,” or, “No one knew how to get the payroll done.”

That’s when I knew, OK, but being told by an employer who said I wasn’t needed and I wasn’t relied on, I came to realize that it flipped on me. And I realized that’s what I had been told to keep me in my place, to keep me from aspiring to do the things that I knew that I was doing or I could do.

The lightbulb for me was when we were doing the interviews and Women of Color PLA, and Frances said to me, “That’s your navigational capital.” We would do these roundtables where you would interview with one mentor, and then you would go to another table. Then I went to another table, and she said, “Well, what do you hope to do with your college degree?” And I said, “I hope to pay it forward: to go continue doing what I love to do, but to come back to other women with like circumstances and inspire them and encourage them and support them to also getting their college degrees and always to be better today than I was yesterday, so that’s your aspirational capital.” And I went, “Oh, OK.” So, I have aspirational capital also, and then go to the next table and then I was like, I couldn’t wait to get to the next table because every table I went to, I walked away with one or two prior learning assessments.

And then to go home and to be able to put it into four- or five-page papers to submit that essay and to have it recognized as learning.

I was scared an awful lot of times from coming back to school because I felt, after I graduated high school and started college and decided I wanted to get married and have a family, I had missed the window to come back and get my college education. The light bulb was, “It’s never too late,” and that’s what I tell women who ask me, and I talk to them all the time about our school and our program. Like, “It’s never too late. You can always come back and get it done.”

Goals and dreams don’t have caps on them even though where I was, my employer had put a cap on where I could go on my salary and my position. Your goals and dreams don’t have a cap on it, so I think that was the light bulb for me—that it wasn’t too late.

It’s impossible to hear Melinda speak about her journey and not feel inspired. She built up the courage to walk into the doors of the college, despite being told repeatedly by her employer that she was not worthy. The PLA process quickly affirmed for her that she had done the right thing. At the same time, I recognize that traditionalists may feel uncomfortable with all this talk of “navigational capital” and “aspirational capital” and so on. Is there a danger of giving away degrees like candy and thus devaluing them? First, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving a person degree certification if they have become genuine experts in a college-appropriate subject through their life experience. In some ways, we are all the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, or the Cowardly Lion, waiting for some wizard to magically convey upon us a symbol that confers legitimacy upon our hard-won skills and attributes and thus somehow making them more real. But also, a funny thing happens when you treat a formal education as a tool for helping an individual reach her goals rather than a set of boxes that must be checked. Students start thinking about the work that education entails as something that is integral to them achieving those goals rather than a set of obstacles they have to get around in order to get the piece of paper that is the “real” value of college. Listen to ESC student Jessi Colón, a professional dancer who chose not to get all the credits she could have gotten for her dance knowledge because she wanted to focus on what she needed to learn for her next career working in animal welfare:

Jessi Colón: It was little bit tricky especially because I had really come here with the intention of maximizing and capitalizing on all this experience that I had. Part of the prior learning assessment and degree planning process is looking at other schools that may have somewhat relevant programs and trying to match what your learning is to those. As I was looking at other programs outside of New York or at other small, rural schools that do these little animal programs, I found that there were a lot of classes that I really wanted to take.

One of the really amazing things about Empire State is that they can also give you individualized courses, and I did a lot of those. So, once I saw these at other schools, I was like, “Man, I really want to take a class in animal-assisted therapy, and would I like to really, really indulge myself and do that or should I write another essay on jazz dance composition?” I knew that one would be more of a walk in the park than the other, but I was really excited about my degree and having this really personal degree allowed me to get excited about it. So, it made sense, though hard to let go of that prior learning in order to opt for the classes.

I could’ve written 20 different dance essays, but I wanted to really take a lot of classes. So, I filled that with taking more classes relevant to my degree, and then ended up only writing, I think, one or two dance-relevant essays.

It turns out that if you start from the assumption that the education they are coming for—not the certification, but the learning process itself—can and should have intrinsic value to them as tools toward pursuing their own ambitions, then people step up. They aspire to be more. They take on the work. If the education is designed to help them by recognizing how far they have come before they walk in the door and focusing on what they need to learn in order to do whatever it is they aspire to do after they leave, then students often come to see that gaming the system is just cheating themselves.

There are many ways to make schooling more personal but, in my opinion, what we see here is one of the deepest and most profound. This is what a student-ready college looks like. And in order to achieve it, there must be an institutional commitment to it that precedes the adoption of any educational technology. The software is just an enabler. If college community collectively commits to true personalization, then technology can help with that. If the community does not make such a commitment, then “personalized learning” software might help achieve other educational ends, but it will not personalize education in the sense that we see here.

I’m going to write a follow-up post how ESC is using that personalized learning software in their context, but you don’t have to wait to find out; you can just watch the second episode of the case study. While you’re at it, you should go back and watch the full ETV episode from which the above clips were excerpted. In addition to watching more great interview content, you can find a bunch of great related links to content that will let you dig deeper into many of the topics covered in the discussions.

The post Prior Learning Assessments Done Right appeared first on e-Literate.

Video Tutorial: XPLAN_ASH Active Session History - Part 6

Randolf Geist - Sun, 2015-06-28 15:30
The next part of the video tutorial explaining the XPLAN_ASH Active Session History functionality continuing the actual walk-through of the script output.

More parts to follow.

Oracle Log Writer and Write-Ahead-Logging

Yann Neuhaus - Sun, 2015-06-28 11:29

I posted a tweet with a link to a very old document - 20 years old - about 'internals of recovery'. It's a gem. All the complexity of the ACID mecanisms of Oracle are explained in a very simple way. It was written for Oracle 7.2 but it's incredible to see how much the basic things are still relevant today. Of course, there is  a reason for that: the mecanisms of recovery are critical and must be stable. There is one more reason in my opinion: the Oracle RDBMS software was very well designed, then the basic structures designed 20 years ago are still able to cope with new features, and to scale with very large databases, through the versions and the years. 

It's 20 years old but it's still the best written document I've read about how Oracle works http://t.co/4CAI4Q5MIm http://t.co/mmgA50JzMQ

— Franck Pachot (@FranckPachot) June 26, 2015

If you check the conversation that followed, a doubt has been raised about the following sentence:

According to write-ahead log protocol, before DBWR can write out a cache buffer containing a modified datablock, LGWR must write out the redo log buffer containing redo records describing changes to that datablock.

There are 2 ways to clear out that kind of doubt: read and test. And we need both of them because:

  • documentation may have bug
  • software may have bug

so you can be sure about a behaviour only when both documentation and test validates your assumption.

Documentation

The first documentation I find about it is another gem describing how Oracle works: Jonathan Lewis 'Oracle Core (Apress)'. And it's clearly stated that:

One of the most important features of the Oracle code is that the database writer will not write a changed block to disk before the log writer has written the redo that describes how the block was changed. This write-ahead logging strategy is critical to the whole recovery mechanism.

Then there is of course the Oracle Documentation:

Before DBW can write a dirty buffer, the database must write to disk the redo records associated with changes to the buffer (the write-ahead protocol). If DBW discovers that some redo records have not been written, it signals LGWR to write the records to disk, and waits for LGWR to complete before writing the data buffers to disk.

Test case

Ok, that should be enough. But I want to do a simple testcase in order to see if anything has changed in the latest version (12.1.0.2). My idea is to check two things:

  • whether a checkpoint is requesting so work to be done by logwriter
  • whether a change is written to redo log after a checkpoint, without waiting the usual 

I create a table:

19:07:21 SQL> create table DEMO as select '--VAL--1--'||to_char(current_timestamp,'hh24missffff') val from dual;

Table created.

19:07:21 SQL> select * from DEMO;

VAL
----------------------------------
--VAL--1--190721367902367902

 

I start with a new logfile:

19:07:21 SQL> alter system switch logfile;
System altered.

And I retrieve the log writer process id for future use:

19:07:21 SQL> column spid new_value pid
19:07:21 SQL> select spid,pname from v$process where pname='LGWR';

SPID PNAME
------------------------ -----
12402 LGWR

19:07:21 SQL> host ps -fp &pid
UID PID PPID C STIME TTY TIME CMD
oracle 12402 1 0 Jun25 ? 00:00:46 ora_lgwr_DEMO14
update and commit

Here is a scenario where I update and commit:

19:07:21 SQL> update DEMO set val='--VAL--2--'||to_char(current_timestamp,'hh24missffff');

1 row updated.

19:07:21 SQL> select * from DEMO;

VAL
----------------------------------
--VAL--2--190721443102443102

19:07:21 SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

I want to see if a checkpoint has something to wait from the log writer, so I freeze the log writer:

19:07:21 SQL> host kill -sigstop &pid

and I checkpoint:

19:07:21 SQL> alter system checkpoint;

System altered.

No problem. The checkpoint did not require anything from log writer in that case. Note that the dirty buffers related redo has already been written to disk at commit (and log writer was running at that time).

I un-freeze it for the next test:

19:07:21 SQL> host kill -sigcont &pid

update without commit

Now I'm doing the same but without commit. My goal is to see if uncommited dirty blocks need their redo to be written to disk.

19:07:51 SQL> select * from DEMO;

VAL
----------------------------------
--VAL--2--190721443102443102

19:07:51 SQL> host kill -sigstop &pid

19:07:51 SQL> update DEMO set val='--VAL--3--'||to_char(current_timestamp,'hh24missffff');

1 row updated.

19:07:51 SQL> alter system checkpoint;

Here it hangs. Look at the wait events:

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureLGWR.JPG

My checkpoint is waiting on 'rdbms ipc reply' until the log writer is woken up. 


$ kill -sigcont 12402

System altered.

19:09:37 SQL> select * from DEMO;

VAL
----------------------------------
--VAL--3--190751477395477395

The checkpoint is done.

 

Note that if I run the same but wait 3 seconds after the update (because I know that log writer writes redo at least every 3 seconds even not asked to do it):

21:33:35 SQL> update DEMO set val='--VAL--3--'||to_char(current_timestamp,'hh24missffff');

1 row updated.

21:33:35 SQL> host sleep 3

21:33:38 SQL> host kill -sigstop &pid

21:33:38 SQL> alter system checkpoint;

System altered.

21:33:38 SQL>

checkpoint is not waiting because all the redo that covers the dirty buffers are alerady written.

I've also checked that immediately after the checkpoint (without stopping the log writer here) the uncommited change is written to the redo log files:

21:56:38 SQL> select group#,v$log.status,member from v$log join v$logfile using(group#) where v$log.status='CURRENT';

GROUP# STATUS MEMBER
---------- ---------------- ----------------------------------------
2 CURRENT /u01/DEMO/oradata/DEMO14/redo02.log


21:56:38 SQL> update DEMO set val='--VAL--2--'||to_char(current_timestamp,'hh24missffff');

1 row updated.

21:56:38 SQL> select * from DEMO;

VAL
----------------------------------
--VAL--2--215638557183557183

21:56:38 SQL> alter system checkpoint;

System altered.

21:56:38 SQL> host strings &redo | grep "VAL--"
--VAL--1--215638376899376899
--VAL--2--2156385571

A simple grep reveals that redo has been written (I've no other activity in the database - so no concurrent commits here).

Conclusion

Even if some mecanisms have been improved (see Jonathan lewis book for them) for performance, the fundamentals have not changed.

I've said that there are two ways to validated an assumption: documention and test.
But there is a third one: understanding.

When you think about it, if you write uncommited changes to the files, then you must be able to rollback them in case of recovery. Where is the rollback information? In the undo blocks. Are the undo blocks written on disk when the database is written on disk? You don't know. Then where do you find the undo information in case of recovery? The redo genereated by the transaction contains change vectors for data blocks and for undo blocks. Then if you are sure that all redo is written before the block containing uncomitted changes, then you are sure to be able to rollback those uncommited changes.

Note that this occurs only for modifications through buffer cache. Direct-path insert do not need to be covered by redo to be undone. It's the change of high water mark that will be undone and this one is done in buffer cache, protected by redo.

QS15: Measurement with Meaning

Oracle AppsLab - Sun, 2015-06-28 10:02

Walking into something as a newcomer is always an adventure of reality interacting with expectations. Though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the Quantified Self conference, it wasn’t what I expected. But in a good way.

QS15 Twitter robot

Tweet-painting robot at QS15

The conference was structured around three main activities: talks given on the main stage, breakout sessions, which took place at different smaller areas during the talks, and break times, where one might check out the vendors, grab a snack, or chat with fellow attendees.

The talks, about ten minutes each, were mostly about the speaker’s successes in changing some aspect of their life via quantifying and analyzing it. This is partly what I wasn’t expecting—the goal-focused and very positive nature of (most) everyone’s projects.

True, some of the presenters might be tallied on the obsessive side of the spectrum, but by and large, it was all about improving your life, and not recording everything as a method of self-preservation.

On this last point, one presenter even provided this quote from Nabokov, which generated a touch of controversy: “the collecting of daily details … is always a poor method of self-preservation.”

One important theme I saw, however, is the role of measuring itself—that the very act of quantifying your behaviors, whether it’s diet, exercise, TV watching, or your productivity, can change your behavior for the better.

Granted, there can also be profound personal insights from analyzing the data, especially when combining multiple sources, but it’s possible some of these benefits come from simply tracking. Especially when it’s done manually, which takes a great deal of persistence, with many people petering out after a few weeks at the most.

This presents an interesting question about technology’s increasing proficiency at passive tracking, and the aim to provide insights automatically. For instance, the Jawbone UP platform’s Smart Coach is supposed look at your exercise and activity data with your sleep data and give you advice about how to get better sleep.

If someone had tracked this manually, and done the analysis themselves, they may not only be a lot more familiar with the facts about their own sleep and exercise, but any insights derived might be more likely to be absorbed and translate to genuine change.

When insights are automatically provided will they lead to just as much adoption?

Probably not, but they could reach a lot more people who may not be able to keep up with measuring. So it’s probably still a good thing in the end.

The other important theme was something that I’ve also been encountering in other areas of my work—the importance of good questions.

For most of the QS projects, this took the form of achieving a personal goal, but sometimes it was simply a specific inquiry into a realm of one’s life. Just looking at data can be interesting, but without a good question motivating an analysis, it’s often not very useful.

In the worst case, you can find spurious connections and correlations within a large set of data that may get you off in the wrong direction.

And while at the beginning of the conference it was made clear that QS15 was not a tech conference, there was plenty of cool technology in the main hall to check out and discuss.

There are too many to cover in much detail, but here are a few that intrigued me:

  • Spire, a breath tracking device that says it can measure focus by analyzing your breathing pattern. If someone is interested in examining their productivity, this could be a promising device to check out. Also, it can let you know when you need a deep breath, which has various physiological and emotional benefits.
  • Faurecia manufactures seats for automobiles, and they were showing off a prototype that uses piezoelectric bands within the chair itself to measure heart rate and breathing patterns. This is great because it can do this through your clothing, and detect when you’re falling asleep, and possibly institute some countermeasures. The data could also sync up with your phone, say through Apple’s Healthkit, if you want to add it to your logs.
  • Oura
    is an activity and sleep tracker that uses a ring form factor, which for some people may be easier to sleep with than a wrist band. Their focus is on sleep and measuring how restorative your rest is. I look forward to seeing how this one develops.

The conference had a lot to offer—some inspiration, some cool technologies, surprisingly good lunches, and quite a bit to think about.Possibly Related Posts:

Retrogaming on an Arduino/OLED "console"

Paul Gallagher - Sun, 2015-06-28 03:24
(blogarhythm ~ invaders must die - The Prodigy)
Tiny 128x64 monochrome OLED screens are cheap and easy to come by, and quite popular for adding visual display to a microcontroller project.

My first experiments in driving them with raw SPI commands had me feeling distinctly old school, as the last time remember programming a bitmap screen display was probably about 30 years ago!

So while in a retro mood, what better than to attempt an arcade classic? At first I wasn't sure it was going to be possible to make a playable game due to the limited Arduino memory and relative slow screen communication protocol.

But after a few tweaks of the low-level SPI implementation, I was surprised myself at how well it can run. Even had enough clock cycles left to throw in a sound track and effects.

Here's a quick video on YouTube of the latest version. ArdWinVaders! .. in full lo-rez monochrome glory, packed into 14kb and speeding along at 8MHz.



Full source and schematics are in the LittleArduinoProjects collection on Github.

OAM Training (4th July) : EBS & AD Integration : 11gR2 PS3 Launch

Online Apps DBA - Sun, 2015-06-28 01:43

We announced OAM Training on 4th of July (only 3 seats left) and since our announcement lot of you asked what integration we are going to cover.  Looking at kind of queries we received, I though its worth posting here. We are going to cover

  • Oracle E-Business Suite (R12 – 12.1) integration with Oracle Access Manager
  • Microsoft Active Directory (AD)/Windows Native Authentication (WNA) integration with Oracle Access Manager (OAM) for Zero Single Sign-On.

Register here for Oracle Access Manager Training (100 USD off if you register before 1st July, last 3 seats before we close registration)

 

Oracle announced OAM 11gR2 PS3 in May 2013, register here for Technical Update on OAM 11gR2 PS3.

Related Posts for Oracle Access Manager
  1. OAM Training (4th July) : EBS & AD Integration : 11gR2 PS3 Launch

The post OAM Training (4th July) : EBS & AD Integration : 11gR2 PS3 Launch appeared first on Oracle : Design, Implement & Maintain.

Categories: APPS Blogs

Oracle Database Cloud Service - My first trial

Yann Neuhaus - Sat, 2015-06-27 12:31

The cloud has been annouced, I want to try.

From the cloud.oracle.com/database website, there is Trial only for the 'Database Schema Service' so I asked fot it, received an e-mail with connection info and it works:

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud001.JPG

 

Good. The password was temporary, so I have to change it, and set answers to 3 within 4 questions in case I forgot my password.

Java error: my user does not exist:

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud002.JPG

Ok, I was too quick after receiving the e-mail... Let's wait 5 minutes and come back:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud003.JPG

 

What ? Same as old password ? 

let's try another one:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud004.JPG

 

Ok. Now I understand. When my user did not exist, the passward has been changed anway... Good I remember it.

I put the first password I tried as old password:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud005.JPG

Ok. But I know my previous passord, let's keep it.

I come back to the url and connect:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud006.JPG

 

It seems that I don't remember it... let's go through the 'Forgot Passord' screen. I entered my mother's maiden name, may pet name, my city of birth... well all thost top secret information that everybody has on his Facebook first page ;)

And enter a new password:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud007.JPG

Bad luck again...

Going back to the e-mail I see something strange: there is two spaces in front of my username:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud007b.JPG

Ok, I try everything: my username with and without space in front, the 3 passwords I tried to change previously... same error.

Let's start from the begining. Click on the first url in the mail.

Bingo. I don't know how but I'm logged. Here is the first screen of by first database in the cloud:

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud008.JPG

 

Wait a minute... is this new ? An online APEX workspace that is available for years is now 'The' Oracle Cloud Database Schema Service available as a 30-days trial?

Without any exitation, I'll do my first Hello world in a database in the Cloud:

b2ap3_thumbnail_CaptureCloud009.JPG

I hope we will be able to get a trial account for the 'real' Database as a Service in the Cloud. I always loved to be able to download and try Oracle products for free. I don't think we are ready to pay to test it. Prices here.

More About Me at QS15

Oracle AppsLab - Sat, 2015-06-27 10:30

I always thought of myself as a control freak, Type A, self-aware (flaws and all) person but then I attended the Quantified Self Conference last week in San Francisco.

Image from QS15

Image from QS15

There is so much more one can do to learn about one’s self. The possibilities are endless on what I can quantify (measure about myself) and there are so many people capturing many surprising things.

Quantified Self, if you haven’t heard, is “a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self knowledge through self-tracking,” as described by by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly. I’ve also been an admirer of Nicholas Felton, who has beautiful visualizations of his data.

The two-day conference consisted of morning and afternoon plenary sessions, and in between, the day is filled with ten-minute talks on the main stage (where practitioners share their own QS work, tools, and personal data), with breakout sessions for group discussions and office hours for hands-on help happening concurrently. There were plenty of topics for a newbie QS-er like me or a longtime enthusiast.

My conference experience in numbers:

Videos and presentations should be posted in the coming weeks but until then, here is a summary of from Gary Wolf.

Beyond the numbers, I was surprised, inspired and learned a few lessons. It is amazing what quantified self-ers are capturing, the extent and effort they take, and their life changing impacts. There is plenty of fitness, diet, and health tracking happening, but others are tracking things such as:

The list goes on but this sampling gives you a sense of the range of self tracking.

While lots of recording was being done with commonly available sensors, devices, and apps, there was a lot of data being recorded manually through pen-paper journals and spreadsheets.

There are endless measures (and many low and high tech tools) but recording is not the end goal. The measures help inform our goals and the actions to achieve those goals. There were several talks about the importance of self-tracking to understand your numbers, your similarities and your differences to population normals.

In “Beyond Normal: A Conversation,” Dawn Nafus (@dawnnafus) and Anne Wright (@annerwright) discussed the importance of self-tracking to gain awareness on whether the standards, baselines, and conventions apply to you. Population normals are a good starting point but they shouldn’t define your target as you are unique and the normals may not be right for you (#resistemplotment).

Image from QS15

Image from QS15

My takeaway, don’t worry about getting the perfect device or tool. Start with finding a goal or change that is important to you. Record, measure, and analyze – glean insights that move you along to being your best self. It is not about the Q but the S.Possibly Related Posts:

Native Network Encryption and SSL/TLS are not part of the Advanced Security Option

Tim Hall - Sat, 2015-06-27 06:09

security_image1_smallI had a little surprise the other day. I was asked to set up a SSL/TLS connection to a database and I refused, saying it would break our license agreement as we don’t have the Advanced Security Option. I opened the 11gR2 licensing manual to include a link in my email response and found this.

“Network encryption (native network encryption and SSL/TLS) and strong authentication services (Kerberos, PKI, and RADIUS) are no longer part of Oracle Advanced Security and are available in all licensed editions of all supported releases of the Oracle database.”

I checked the 11gR1, and 10gR2 docs also. Sure enough, it was removed from the Advanced Security Option from 10gR2 onward (check out update below). Check out the 10g licensing doc here, specifically the last paragraph in that linked section.

The documentation on this configuration is split among a number of manuals, most of which still say it is part of the Advanced Security Option. That made me a little nervous, so I raised an SR with Oracle to confirm the licensing situation and file bug reports against the docs to correct the inconsistency. Their response was it is definitely free and the docs are being amended to bring them in line with the licensing manual. Happy days! :)

Lessons learned here are:

  • Skim through the licensing manual for every new release to see what bits are now free.
  • Don’t trust the technical docs for licensing information. Always cross check with the licensing manual and assume that’s got the correct information. If in doubt, raise an SR to check.

As far as the configuration is concerned, I had never written about this functionality before, so I thought I should do a backfill article on it.

The documentation for this was rather convoluted, so you could be forgiven for thinking it was rocket science. Actually, it’s pretty simple to set up. It was only after I finished doing it I found a reference to the following MOS note.

It would have saved me a lot of bloody time if the documentation included this. I would never have bothered to write the article in the first place!

cloudFor a lot of people, encrypting database connections is probably not that big a deal. If your databases and application servers are sitting behind a firewall in a “safe” part of your network, then why bother?

If there are direct database connections crossing network zones, that’s a different matter! Did anyone mention “cloud”? If you need to connect to your cloud databases from application servers or client tool sitting on-premise, I guess encrypted database connections are pretty high up your list of requirements, or at least they should be. Good job it is free now. :)

It seems I’m not the only person behind the times on this licensing change. The Amazon AWS RDS for Oracle documentation has made the same mistake. I’ve written to them to ask them to correct this page also. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Simon, Jacco, Franck and Patrick all pointed out this licensing change was due to this security exploit. It was made public during 11.2, but the license change was made retrospectively back to 10.2. I don’t feel so bad about it now. :)

Native Network Encryption and SSL/TLS are not part of the Advanced Security Option was first posted on June 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm.
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