Friday, November 20, 2015

University of the People

There was a recent TED talk about students desire to receive higher education. President Shai Reshef tells stories of a few individuals across the globe who have graduated high school, are qualified for higher education, and require higher education to move forward in society. However, there are different reasons why these students cannot pursue a higher education and the biggest reason  is due to financial issues. Many people nowadays need to be able to hold a job while going to school so they can pay for their higher education. Education has turned from a right to a privilege for the ones who are able to afford it.

The speaker, President Shai Reshef's, talks about how he has created an accredited, tuition free, non-profit, degree-granting school to provide an alternative to those who have no other. It is called University of the people. It will hopefully break the norms of other schools because they are making school affordable and open to all students who qualify. There will be a seat for everyone who would like to pursue a higher education. The University is open to anyone throughout the world. The use of the  internet to cut down the cost and be worldwide is a major advantage to this type of education. Professors volunteer their time and post their work to  help teach the courses. No textbooks are needed because the professors post the information for the  students.  Discussion boards are used for students  to interact in a classroom like setting over the internet, and since it is an online program, the class sizes are larger than a physical classroom. This opens up many different outside the box ideas and has a broader flow of knowledge through courses.

As long as students have a high school degree, an  internet connection, and decent english skills, they qualify for University of the People. The only cost to the student is  $100 per exam. This cost to the student  comes out to be around $1,000 per year, or $4,000 for 4 years degree. If the cost is still too high, many scholarships are available. The goal is to be able to educate as many students as possible.

This model of a university's goal is  to expand  across the world. The program hopes to disrupt the current higher education system in hopes that it's  more affordable type of education will be a right to all who would like to  obtain a higher education.

The Google dictionary definition is that a TED Talk is a video created from a presentation at the main TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference or such, and is normally limited to a maximum length of 18 minutes.

The link to the whole TED talk can be found here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Technology in the Lab

As science and technology progress, not only is technology being used for research in the forms of computers and Ipads, but machines are being used to help perform tests in a scientific lab. Being a biology major I use a variety of fancy machines to run tests in the lab. Having the technology to run these tests help us learn processes that scientists use in the real world and understand  certain concepts.

We recently were given a mystery bacteria microbial and had to run special tests on it to determine the identity of the  bacteria microbe. We would isolate the DNA and run various gel electrophoresis tests on the DNA. Gel electrophoresis is a machine that is able to show us the bands and base pair amounts in DNA. DNA is very small and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Being able to run it down a gel and amplify the amount of DNA can teach us a lot about DNA and its makeup in humans and other organisms. After amplifying the amount of DNA we can also run it through a sequencer and figure out the genome of the DNA.  The sequencer uses markers on the DNA to figure out which nucleotides come where in the sequence of DNA. We can take the sequence and run it through an online database to see what organisms our sequence would best fit. This teaches us what organism we are dealing with and in our case, which bacterial microbe we were dealing with. 

Another lab we conducted dealt with running protein gels to identify traits that our proteins portray. In gels we use ethidium bromide which can be put into another machine that  uses UV light technology to show us different traits about our DNA and proteins.  

The use of  these machines  teaches us about the greater details of how organisms are composed. This information can be used in many different fields of study  to help learn about organisms. In our lab, we are learning the  basics of  science, but this information can be used in much more detail and to learn much more in the scientific world. Science is always growing. Special machines are used to promote learning in  the field and all the information we learn from science can be used to promote future technology and education about the world we live in.