Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the interim

What's it like being an interim?  My brother died when he was 42.  My brother-in-law died when he was 60.   Surgeries, other health challenges, employment coming and going, teams readjusting, friends and family moving and growing and changing?  It's ALL interim.

Key quote, 'Life is what happens while we're busy making plans. The interim is forever, so perhaps it makes sense to make act in the interim as we expect to act in the long haul.'

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Post-Colonial MOOCs

A call for ideas and discussion:

I just returned from AAA and Maha's post prompted reflection about privilege, elitism and power in the academic world.   I attended two presentations about Massively Open Online Courses, and was struck by both the numbers of students enrolled (in the thousands) as well as the slickness of the courses.  Both benefited from instructional designers, professional-quality videos, but more so, from the market position of the well-established and well-known institutions who attached their brand name, their logos, and their prestige to the courses.  Neither of these two courses, or the people who taught them, really 'got' the notion of openness, sharing, broadly distributing content available to remix, reconfigure and redistribute.

When asked about the motivations to create and teach the courses, among the reasons the presenters cited was the notion that, if their institution didn't do this, someone else will, and it was a necessity to promote a comparative advantage that they had developed, a special expertise in a certain field, or to leverage their brand position, both expected reasons from a strategic business perspective.  But the decision to develop and distribute how they did also serves to reinforce and perpetuate a colonialist and even a paternalistic pattern of elite educators and institutions.     Maha's post is a welcome step in a different direction.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hire good teachers, not subject matter experts

Edward Wilson on the meaning of existence, how we got to here and now, and the shortcomings of specialization....

Lots more here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rheingold on Digital Literacy in the Classroom

Essential literacies for today, per Howard Rheingold:

  • Attention to Information
  • Crap Detection
  • Participation
  • Collaboration
  • Network Know-How

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

More than Shareholder Value

A couple of posts caught my eye the other day.  Mike Caulfield wrote about remixing, repurposing and adapting in digital media as a way to expand collaboration and distribute ideas, notions and observations, using the ‘fluidity of digital media to have the sort of “conversation through editing” that digital media makes possible.’

Mike’s post led me back to David Wiley’s excellent blog,, and his piece, The Remix Hypothesis, riffing on the benefits of faculty adapting OER and that impact on curriculum design, leading them to to ‘rethink their assignments and assessments so that they maximize the learning-related benefits of openness to their students.’

Maha Bali’s post on Unbearable Whiteness discusses the notions and nature of privilege, and the ‘elusive nature of inclusivity.

And, finally, Dave Winer takes a broader perspective, addressing the Purpose of the Internet, which he describes as saving our species from self-destruction.   Maybe, or more to the point, a use of the internet is to facilitate the sharing, remixing and redistribution of ideas, notions, and perspectives, giving voices to many, to all of our collective benefit.   

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The University of Everywhere? Not.

Audrey Watters' review of The End of College.   Suffice to say, she didn't like it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Data mining or spying?

on students' privacy, trust, spyware and cheating. Asks the right questions and nails it.

Why spy on students?  And, why the obsession about 'cheating?'  With the push to use services like Turnitin to play the 'gotcha' game with students learning to write, with the sweeping of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social media services that this old dog will never learn to use, or to use well, what does all this do to students' ability to own their own identities, their conversations, where is their privacy, or is this all just hackable?