Sooke News Mirror, February 26, 2014

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February 26, 2014 edition of the Sooke News Mirror

Text of Sooke News Mirror, February 26, 2014

  • C O M M U N I T Y N E W S M E D I A

    Black PressWednesday, February 26, 2014Agreement#40110541

    NEWSM I R R O R

    Editorial Page 8

    Entertainment Page 11

    Sports/stats Page 24

    APPETITE FOR ART

    Art and food paired for charity

    Page 11

    SOOKE

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    Classifieds 21 75

    Britt Santowski photo

    Snow Day!Emily (left) and Ella were out first thing on Saturday morning to build a snowman. Snow stuck in the higher elevations and caused havoc in some areas throughout the weekend and into Monday. Normal seasonal temperatures are expected by mid week.

    Boat launch issues back before councilPirjo RaitsSooke News Mirror

    Its back to the draw-ing board as far as oper-ation of the boat launch is concerned.

    At District of Sooke council on February 24, council decided not to act on the recommen-dations put forth by staff to install a multi-use pay station at the public boat launch at the Prestige hotel. Council instead chose to rehash the issue and hold more public meet-ings and revisit Request for Proposals.

    Currently there is a honour system in place at the boat launch and no enforcement. The neighbour collects the $10 fee from the lock box and submits a per-centage to the district.

    Purchasing a machine would cost $9,500, leasing $2,040/year and renting $3,000/year.

    Councillor Kevin Pearson stated that rushing into purchas-ing a machine was the wrong way to go. He also said they could talk for another year and fumble our way through another fishing season.

    Im not in favour of another RFP, said Pear-son.

    Planner Gerard LeB-

    lanc stated council had rejected two proposals at a October 13, 2013 meeting. At the regular council meeting on Oct. 13 council voted not to spend any more money on the boat launch, specifically for items such as concrete stairs, a fish washing station and an ancillary build-ing.

    Councillor Herb Hal-dane questioned where the February 24, 2014 staff recommendations came from and where was it decided to look at a multi-use pay station.

    If it was done, it was done in a lunchroom, said Haldane.

    The biggest issue, apart from who pays for launching and who doesnt, is parking. Hal-dane stated one of the proponents had park-ing across the street while the district did not have a solution.

    Apparently, the prop-erty in question is not zoned for parking.

    Haldane suggested a zoning amendment.

    Fishermen truly believe it is theirs and they think they have some sort of first rights, said Haldane.

    Councillor Maja Tait said it bothered her to have to charge for launching as federal tax dollars were used to build the boat launch.

    Discussion ensued on an annual fee for Sooke residents.

    Terrance Martin came forward at the public portion of the meeting and stated he was the principle behind one of the RFP submissions. He said it was a mystery why the staff recommenda-tion did not address the running of the boat launch.

    One of the RFP sub-missions would have seen the boat launch operated at a cost of $30,000/year. These proposal were looked at in-camera and were not public information at this point.

    Council agreed that parking and boat launch fees were two separate issues and they had no solution for the parking issue.

    Acting Mayor Rick Kasper said it was time to get off the merry-go-round and it was time for a proper business plan for the boat lau-anch.

    It was clearly stated there would be a boat launch fee, said Kasper. I hope we can come to a decision at little or no cost to the taxpayer.

    Public input will be a necessary ingredient to any decision made by council.

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  • 2 www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2014 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR2 www.sookenewsmirror.com Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR

    MOOCs 101Britt SantowskiSooke News Mirror

    Did you hear? You can now take free

    courses from universi-ties like UBC, Toronto, and even Harvard through this crazy new thing called MOOCs (pronounced very much like a cows calls, ending with a hard-c). MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses.

    And, no, theres no take-this-free-intro-course-and-pay-out-of-the-nose-for-the-real-content-afterwards nonsense. Its straight up learning. For those with the drive and the stamina to do it on their own.

    The common thread for these courses is that they are open aka free. As with any-thing online, everything thrown against the wall (or the screen) is exper-imental. Until some-thing sticks.

    Currently, there are for-profit MOOC pro-viders (like Coursera at coursera.org) and private providers (like ALISON at alison.com). The for-profit business model is based on fund-ing revenue through certification. Proctored exams. Which is a fancy name for monitored exams, where the stu-dent pays for the final certification. But ulti-mately, the courses are free.

    Non-profit providers like edX (edx.org) and MIT OpenCourseWare (ocw.mit.edu) offer online university-level courses at no charge.

    The footer at the edX site sums up their offer-ings nicely.

    EdX offers inter-active online classes and MOOCs from the worlds best universi-ties. Online courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universi-ties. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, econom-ics, finance, electron-

    ics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, litera-ture, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statis-tics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initia-tive created by found-ing partners Harvard and MIT.

    The open courseware programs are more self-guided. Depending on the course, online resources can include a syllabus, list of read-ings, assignments, exams and video lec-tures. As quoted on their About page, Pro-fessor Dick K.P. Yue, (MIT School of Engi-neering) writes, The idea is simple: to pub-lish all of our course materials online and make them widely

    available to everyone.Interested in aero-

    nautics and astronau-tics? Unified Engineer-ing anyone? Youll find it online at MIT.

    According to the Wall Street Journal (An Early Report Card on Massive Open Online Courses, Oct 8, 2013), the largest MOOC pro-vider has attracted five million students, and nonprofit provider edX had over 1.3 million stu-dents.

    The biggest chal-lenge seems to be course completion. The same WSJ article says that theres a 90 per cent drop-out rate. A more recent article from Bloomberg puts the drop-out rate at a staggering 95 percent (Harvard, MIT Online

    Courses Dropped by 95% of Registrants, by John Lauerman Jan 21, 2014).

    Bottom line here is that if you consider yourself to be one of the few who stands above (or beside or out-side of) the crowd, and if you are interested in expanding your cur-rent knowledge set, the tools are there for those who want.

    Were in the middle (or perhaps the begin-ning) of a paradigm shift here. There are whisperings of having people meet a mini-mum criteria, like a GPA or pre-requisites. If you want to help shape this year-old phenomenon, maybe its time to jump in, feet first with full gusto while its still free.

    Learning for the sake of knowledge

    Britt Santowski photo

    Good eatsMembers of the Sooke Fall Fair Society fill the need for munchies at Seedy Saturday at the Sooke Community Hall on Saturday.

    Join us March 1st for this community event!

    Festivities include official ribbon cutting,

    food and music.

    Plus, you can take a tour of the new Juan de Fuca

    Local Area Services Building!

    The official opening of the Juan de Fuca Local Area Services Building

    takes place March 1st, 2014 from noon until 2 pm.

    This community event takes place at #3 7450 Butler Road, off Otter Point Road

    in the Sooke Business Park.www.crd.bc.ca/jdf

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