Medieval Universities Costs

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The post will talk about some of the characteristics and costs of university studies during the Medieval time period. Naturally, there are a lot of similarities to modern times. However, many aspects of university life took time to grow and develop as we will see.


Universities during the Middle Ages were distinct from what we see today. There were essentially no buildings that made up the university. This means that initially in many situations in Europe there ewer no libraries, no laboratories, no halls, no endowments or money, and even no sports. Today, we often think of universities in terms of there physical presence. In the past, universities were thought of in terms of the students and teachers who learned and taught regardless of the physical location.

A university was defined as the totality of students and teachers in a particular location. Both the teachers and the students organized themselves into groups for bargaining power. The university of students would work together to control rent, book price, and tuition. If local businesses tried to abuse them the students would threaten  to leave. The students also placed expectations on the teachers such as no absences without permission, no leaving the city without leaving a deposit (this prevented crooks from taking tuition and running), maintain a regular schedule.


Professors formed their own guild called the college and set expectations for people who wanted to become professors. In addition to colleges, teachers would form themselves into faculty, which is several teaches from the same discipline. Faculties were allowed to confer degrees and promote students to the academic rank of masters. In addition, it was common for teachers to be celibate

The term “college” was also used to refer to the hospice or residence hall where students live. This is similar to the modern-day dormitories. Originally, colleges were for religious students and not for secular. To this day, institutions of higher learning are referred to as colleges and or universities. The success of universities put the cathedral, monastic and provincial schools a=out of business.


Textbooks were hard to find during the Middle Ages. This was before the printing press which means that books were copied by hand. this was highly time-consuming and kept the price of books high. To get around this, it was common for students to rent books rather than purchase them. This is a strategy that is stilled being used today, especially with ebooks.

Books were so valuable that they were not even supposed to leave the city. In  addition, professors were expected to turn over their lecture notes occasionally so that they could be converted into books. Famous textbooks from this time include Peter Lombard’s “Sentences” a theological book and the jurist Gratian’s text “Decretum.” With the rental system, it actually postponed the need for libraries


Completing the degrees involved 3-4 for the BA which included completing an examination before 4 teachers. Since nobody owned books, memorizing was heavy. For many students, the BA was the end of their academic career but for those who wanted to continued they were often expected to teach for two years before taking the masters.

The masters was often focused on obtaining the license to teach. This process involved attending lectures until a student believed he was ready for the examinations. This varied by disciplined but after the BA a student could take 2-4 years after completing the BA for a total of 5-8 years


University life was different yet somewhat similar to the modern era. The features of the modern university crept in gradually as the schools adjusted to the demands of modern life. As such, we can be sure that higher education will continue to change as it continues to adapt to the needs of the students

Source: Medieval Universities Costs

Making Desktops on the way to Dynabooks: Happy 80th Birthday to Alan Kay!

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Yesterday was Alan Kay’s 80th birthday.

As Ben du Boulay and I wrote in our history of computing education research (see here), Alan and the Learning Research Group group at Xerox PARC asked a question in the 1970’s that has changed how all of us interact with computers, “How would we change computing to make it about learning?” Their efforts to build the Dynabook gave us the desktop user interface that we have today. It’s the greatest public impact of research in computing and learning.

Alan has been a mentor to me for years, and he still influences me, such as in the comments he contributes in this blog . I’m grateful for those opportunities to learn from and be inspired by him. I spoke in my SIGCSE 2019 Keynote (see the clip here) about how finding “Personal Dynamic Media” by Adele Goldberg and Alan (see link here) set the direction of my career. I first met Alan when he came to a workshop I helped organized in 1995. Here’s a picture that Ben Shneiderman took and shared with me:

That’s Alan on the right, and that’s me in the middle. The guy on the left is Wally Feurzeig, the guy who implemented the first Logo (with Danny Bobrow).

Wishing Alan happy days and many more years!

AI Against Teachers

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One of the more disturbing narratives in Kai-fu Lee’s book is the discussion of teaching.

“Students will get taught through on-screen lectures!” Kai-fu Lee gushes. “And while they learn, they will be spied on by machines that will analyze their gestures and facial expressions to see who’s paying attention and who isn’t!”

Of course, we already have these analyzing machines. They are called human teachers. But the whole point is to fire the human teachers and save on labor costs. Machines don’t need a paid maternity leave or a vacation! Plus, they are really objective, unlike those defective humans who have emotions, moods, and illnesses.

Kai-fu Lee is honest, so I don’t blame him. I blame the complacent fools who don’t see this as a problem. Kai-fu Lee’s children or grandchildren will get normal human teachers. It’s us, dumb natives, who will be robbed.

Conquerors Are Coming

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In Chapter 5, Kai-fu Lee explains what kind of future he and his fellow conquistadors of our right to be human are preparing for us. Obviously, he’s one of the people who are hoping to enrich themselves exploiting our simple-mindedness, so he’s only mentioning what he considers to be the nice sides of the AI colonization he and his buddies are planning. Even then, the picture he paints is so terrifying that I think we need to make fighting this our number one priority.

We are not China yet! We are not some beaten down pawns of a totalitarian regime. We have democratic institutions, and we need to use them to defend ourselves against this horror. We need to forget all of the inane and irrelevant spats about non-issues like abortion, SAT tests, racismsexism, UBI, guns, and all the rest of that crap. This is Christopher Columbus disembarking on our shores and waving red caps and pieces of broken mirror at us to entrap us.

Will we stand around, gawping stupidly while we get dispossessed or will we do something about it?


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Friends, did you read Stacey Abrams’s profile in WashPo?

I hate how “Karen” is used as a slur but let me make a single exception and say that both she and the author of the article are such perfect, typical, exceptional Karens that they should be put in the dictionary to illustrate the concept.

Farewell To The Best Boy Ever

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2 weeks ago Sunday, just after I’d hit the ‘publish’ button on that week’s post, Ken yelled to me from our family room that Titus had collapsed. We’d called the vet the previous week because he’d started having some weakness in his back legs, which we assumed was a touch of arthritis. The vet prescribed some anti-inflammatories and he seemed to perk up, and for the next few days, he’d seemed fine–just a slightly senior dog with a touch of the rheumatism. Then…Sunday happened. We rushed him to the emergency vet, who diagnosed him with a very large inoperable abdominal tumour that had just ruptured. She pumped him full of IV fluids and let us take him home, knowing that his time with us would be short. We wanted Kate to be able to see Titus one last time, and we were fully expecting that the vet would come to the house later that day, or Monday at the latest to help him pass. But he rallied, and for another week and a half, he seemed almost back to his regular self. Then, this past Wednesday morning, he stopped eating and couldn’t get up again, so we did what no one ever wants to do. We called the vet (a lovely young woman named Dr. Alison), and she came out to the house late Wednesday afternoon. It all happened outside on the front porch with everyone wearing masks, but at least we were able to go through it at home, with Titus on a cozy blanket in the sunshine. While she got everything ready, Titus nibbled on his favourite pepperoni, and was told he was a very good boy, the very best boy in fact, by all of us more times than I can count. He passed quickly and peacefully in the arms of the people who loved him best. You all know him from this blog—in fact, if you search ‘Titus’, he comes up in 99 posts—and you know how much he meant to us. He was a dog to whom every day was the best day ever, who loved everyone, loved to eat, loved his toys, and was the best canine conversationalist I’ve ever met. In honour of the best boy ever, here are a few of my favourite Titus moments.

Titus and the Magic Box

Titus: Oh my God! You’re making cookies, aren’t you?!
Me: Sigh. Yes. Like I do EVERY Sunday.
Titus: This is the best day ever! I’m just going to lie here, OK?
Me: So long as you don’t drool on my feet like last time.
Titus: I’m not promising anything.

Half an hour later:

Me: What are you doing?
Titus: Waiting for the cookies to come out of the magic box.

Me: You mean the oven?
Titus: Call it what you want. Technically, it’s the “medium-sized” magic box. The “large magic box” is where you keep all the delicious luncheon meats and cheeses.
Me: None of this is actually magic. It’s all based on science.
Titus: Well, how does “the oven” work then?
Me: Well…you push this button, and it gets hot. Then you put uncooked food in it, and it cooks the food for you…
Titus (whispers): Magic.

Titus and I Talk About The Movies

Me: So hey, my blogger friend Often Off Topic is doing a Dog Blogathon in a couple of weeks so for the challenge, I’m supposed to write about dogs and movies.
Titus: Cool, cool. I’m a huge movie buff. I’m still pissed off at you for not taking me to TIFF.
Me: Right, like I was going to take a chance on you trying to high-five Sam Rockwell and slapping him in the face?
Titus: Fair enough. But I do love “the moving pictures”.
Me: Really? What’s your favourite movie?
Titus: Citizen Kane. Good old Rosebud.
Me: I know, right? That shot of the sled at the end gets me every time.
Titus: What sled?
Me: The sled. Rosebud.
Titus: Rosebud wasn’t a sled. Rosebud was the guy.
Me: What guy?!
Titus: The main dude with the big castle.
Me: THAT was Citizen Kane.
Titus: I thought Rosebud was his nickname or something.
Me (rolls eyes): What else do you like? How about Star Wars?
Titus: Meh. That giant cat was really annoying.
Me: You mean Chewbacca? He was a Wookie.
Titus: Chewy cookie? Yes, please.
Me: No, Wookie. So you didn’t like it?
Titus: It was confusing. I could never tell who the bad guys were. Luke and Leia made a cute couple though.
Me: They were brother and sister.
Titus: WHAT?
Me: And Darth Vader was their father.
Titus: You’re sh*tting me! Thanks for the spoiler!
Me: You don’t pay very close attention to what you’re watching, do you?
Titus: I like to multi-task.
Me: If by multi-task, you mean ‘beg for popcorn’, then no wonder you miss so much. So what are some dog movies you’d like to see?
Titus: Um…Slumdog Millionaire. That sounds GREAT.
Me: It’s not about dogs.
Titus: Huh?! OK, what about Reservoir Dogs?
Me: Again, not about dogs.
Titus: I thought it was some kind of nature documentary. Dog Day Afternoon?
Me: Nope.
Titus: The Dogs of War? Wag The Dog?
Me: Do you know any movies that are actually about dogs?
Titus: Apparently not. By the way, Soylent Green is people.
Me: I already knew that, but nice try, Mr. Spoiler. Here, it says on this website that Old Yeller is the number one dog movie of all time.
Titus: Sweet. We could watch that. What’s it about?
Me: It’s about a dog that gets…then the boy…uh…Reservoir Dogs it is!
Titus: Awesome–I love a good documentary.
Me: Do you want popcorn?
Titus: Is Jaws a shark?

A dog of discerning taste.

The Titus Challenge

Titus: I hear you’ve stopped eating pork. You realize that means bacon too, right?
Me: Sigh. I know. It’s breaking my heart, but I saw a video recently of a pig solving a puzzle. Pigs are smarter than dogs, you know. I wouldn’t eat a dog, so how can I eat a pig?
Titus: Pigs are NOT smarter than dogs. For example, when was the last time you saw a pig who responded to commands based on Harry Potter spells?
Me: I’m sure there are pigs out there who could do that. Besides, you have a pretty sloppy Leviosa, so let’s not get carried away.
Titus: It’s Levi-OH-sa, not Levio-SA.
Me: Look at this video. She’s trained that pig to do 17 different tricks.
Titus: Damn. He gives a great high-five.
Me: I know, right?
Titus: But does the Avada Kedavera spell render him seemingly dead?
Me: Dead? Like for a fraction of a second before you jump back up and try to snatch the Corn Pop out of my hand?
Titus: Dead, jumping in the air, whatever. No bacon? Now that’s harsh. OK, find me a pig that can do Leviosa better than me, and I might consider it.
Me: Challenge accepted. Accio the wine bottle, will you?
Titus: Is it 5 o’clock somewhere ALREADY?!
Me: I dunno—I’m not wearing a watch.

Black and White Challenge Week 2

Titus Gets Punchy

Alarm goes off.

Me (*stretching*): ERGH. Time to get up.
Titus: NO.
Me: Oh my god, you just punched me in the eye!!
Titus: It was an accident–I was trying to high-five you. Where are you going? Stay in bed.
Me: No! I have to see if my eye is OK!
Titus: You’re fine. Stop being a baby. Besides, eye patches are all the rage this season.
Me: I don’t want an eyepatch! OWW. If you scratched my cornea with your slappy paw…
Titus (whispers): I just wanted you to stay home with me. I’m sorry.
Me: Sigh. I love you, buddy.
Titus: You’ll look awesome with an eyepatch. Like an angry pirate.
Titus: I love you too.

Source: Farewell To The Best Boy Ever

Happy Birthday, R!

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Happy birthday, dear R!

You are my best friend ever and I love you!!!

P.S. Do look up Lady Mary in Downton Abbey because she looks identical to you.

A view to kill!

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Pristine waters,

A paradise for poets and authors.

Lofty mountains,

Surrounded by mist and small fountains.

Pink and blue skies,

A visual treat to the eyes.

Universe offers to us in abundance,

But man neglects its importance.

Being amidst nature,

Is nothing short of an adventure!

Pic courtesy : Facebook.

Computer Update

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Fortunately, we fixed the computer. Or, rather, N fixed it while I stayed on the sofa, looking inspiringly helpless.

He’s not a hardware person at all; he’s a mathematician but that’s what it means to have a powerful intellect. He took that thing apart completely and then put it back together.

I have the best husband.

Computer Help Needed

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Is it a mistake to charge small devices through the USB ports on my desktop? I think I somehow fried the desktop by charging my reading lamp through the USB. Now when the desktop starts to boot up, it tells me that I’m using the wrong USB port and shuts down. Obviously, I’ve taken everything out of the USB ports.

The Sounds of the Landscape

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We often think of the only what we can see as a part of the landscape, but often forget that the cultural landscape can be a full sensory experience.  The architecture of the Hagia Sophia is recognized as a iconic landmark, but the acoustics of the building are a major part of the creating the experience of being in that place.  Once a cathedral, then a mosque, and now a museum, this building is one of the classic examples of sequent occupance. This NPR podcast shows how some have recreated the soundscapes of the Hagia Sophia, back when is was the preeminent medieval Christian place of worship.  This YouTube playlist has the Capella Romana’s album, The Lost Voices of the Hagia Sophia.

Tags: landscape, music, Christianity, architecture, Middle East, Turkey.


Source: The Sounds of the Landscape

Weaknesses in Kai-fu Lee’s Argument

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One thing that I want to mention about Kai-fu Lee’s AI Superpowers is that the examples he gives of the supposedly amazing AI breakthroughs in China are surprisingly few and unimpressive. He keeps repeating the same three things because that’s all there is.

This isn’t a criticism of China. For now, at least, AI brings no discernible benefit or “convenience,” as the evangelists call it, to the users. All it does is facilitate spying on them. Kai-fu Lees of this world benefit from it but the users don’t. “Smart homes” aren’t more convenient, recommendation algorithms aren’t more precise, and the destruction of computers in favor of apps is a huge inconvenience.

Here are the 3 “big AI achievements” of China that Kai-fu Lee keeps listing:

1. The use of QR codes to pay for everything. He gives an example of paying street vendors with your phone. There aren’t crowds of street vendors in the West, so who cares. But the idea of using micropayments to show appreciation for favorite online authors is great. I’d definitely pay 10-15 cents for online articles I like if it’s done on a voluntary basis.

2. Another favorite example of Lee’s is the enormous number of bicycles available for rent through your phone all over Beijing. Again, this is something that exists in the West but isn’t massively used not because the West doesn’t have the technology – it’s really not that sophisticated of a thing – but because everybody drives, and nobody is fit enough to do a lot of biking around big cities. How people manage to bike through Beijing, with its horrid air and unbearable stench, is a whole other discussion.

3. And then there’s the issue of mega apps that let you “do everything without ever leaving the app.” I already wrote about this, so I won’t repeat myself. Really not that impressive.

The huge and impressive things that AI does can’t be revealed to consumers because consumers won’t like them. And the whole narrative of “yes, you get spied on but look at the benefits!” falls flat because there are no benefits.

But even if we take Kai-fu Lee’s argument completely uncritically, it still doesn’t work. He says that China’s great advantage is that it has a larger population than the US and that population uses data-gathering apps a lot more. So more information is gathered. But it’s information on Chinese users. Which, as Kai-fu Lee explained at length, cannot be extrapolated onto anybody else because of cultural differences. And unlike the US, China hasn’t made its culture globally attractive. If anything, it’s done the opposite.

My poem in Visual Verse

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I am very happy to share that Bojana’s insistence and my reluctant persistence paid off and my poem has been accepted by Visual Verse.

You can read it here.

Thanks Bo. ❤

Little Hairdresser

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Klara gave herself a haircut while her father and I were sleeping in after all that nighttime reading.

I only found out because I found the tresses she’d cut off behind an armchair. She gave herself perfectly layered bangs that look completely natural.

Another State Discovers Overcounting

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Colorado has also discovered that if you count people who died of COVID – as opposed to following the CDC mandates and counting the people who died of something else while being COVID-positive – the death tolls fall off a cliff.

These are all states with Dem governors who obviously find it very unpleasant to admit that the death counts are lower.

One of the reasons for why the Dem states seem, overall, so much more affected is not only that they have greater population density (which they do and it’s an important factor) but also because they follow the CDC directive to count gunshot victims and alcoholics more eagerly for political purposes.

Dysfunction of Others

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One way to reconcile oneself to the idiocy of uselessness of state officials in the US is to Google the photo of the health minister of Belgium.

Against the background of other people’s dysfunction, whatever we have looks a lot more attractive.

Beneath the waters …

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Bottled up and drowned,

I watch you with a frown.

Should i lift you upwards?

Or leave you and swim further down?

You’re blessed with many colors,

You’re one of nature’s wonder,

You’re a stunner,

While i stay a swimmer.

I look at you with envy,

And kind of like you immensely!

Pic courtesy : Facebook.


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If you embark on an uncharted path, infinite secrets will appear at the end. Always have an attitude towards life to strive to be better and allow the nature of spirituality as a path to achieve greatness. The true meaning of the samurai is one who serves and adheres to the power of love and peace. Most importantly, always has to rise and move on, because new challenges will come along the way. One must remain calm at all times, once the will is resolved, one’s spirit is strengthened. The way of the samurai is found in life and death, one will always die, it’s living that takes real courage.

Instagram ID – sinhmarpriya

Arrogance V/s Confidence

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Arrogance is thinking you are better than everyone else. The only person who thinks they know better about everyone they talk about…unfortunately they are proving how shallow they really are.

Confidence is knowing you are better than everyone else, but smart and diplomatic enough to act modest and humble. Confidence isn’t about other people, it’s about being happy with yourself. ❤ Confidence is the feeling that confronts fear , doubt & anxiety with higher intelligence & intuitive knowing .

Not everything is a competition. It’s only to compete with oneself to be a better version of self!

Instagram ID – sinhmarpriya

Outer world…

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Aliens watching us,

Not for creating a ruckus,

But pitying our status.

No more visits,

Cause y’all know your limits,

The fear of catching the virus,

Could put y’all in a crisis!

Missing your occasional trips?

But you know we earthians are in a fix,

Till then, send us some pics!

Pic courtesy :Facebook.

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