Sunday, October 16, 2011

Open Course, Open Source, Open Publishing

Here are a couple of pieces about Open Courses and Publishing.

First is a piece by Seth Godin, on the Domino Project, about the future of books and publishing.

http://www.thedominoproject.com/2011/10/what-talent-wants.html

Note the part the describes the Domino Project's goals and core beliefs:

http://www.thedominoproject.com/about

Note this in particular:

"Virality first. An idea that requires a direct sale won’t thrive in a world where the most powerful ideas spread from hand to hand. Create content that works best when spread, and then package it so it’s easy to spread."

And, then, there's this:

Tom Caswell posted his NW ELearn Presentation on the Open Course Library on SlideShare:

http://slideshare.net/tom4cam/going-open-lessons-learned-from-the-open-course-library

Something is happening and you don't know what it is, do you Mr. Publisher? Do you, Mr. Faculty?

It's time to get away from publisher-controlled educational content and proprietary and closed learning management systems.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

So, what are you reading, now that you are on the Dark Side?

Every quarter for the past some-odd many years, I’ve asked students to introduce themselves and tell the class what books that they are currently reading, or what they would recommend to a friend.

This fall quarter, for the first time in over 20 years, I don’t have a class to ask, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t talk a bit about what I’m currently reading, and what books I would recommend.

Currently on the nightstand are several books, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years’ of Solitude, which I started while serving jury duty at Seattle Municipal Court at the end of August. I’ll pick that one up again at some point. Also with active bookmarks are The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson’s history of finance, and What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell. Also started are Great Plains, by Ian Frazier, because I couldn’t find his latest, Travels in Siberia, on the most recent bookstore trek. The list, and my progress through it, reads like an incomplete grade and a reader suffering from distraction. While cleaning the basement, I’ve come across Richard Brautigan again, and periodically pick up Trout Fishing in America plus A Confederate General from Big Sur. Both are hilarious and include wonderful descriptions with a zen-like quality that is calming and refreshing, reminding me why I loved those books when I first read them over 40 years ago.

Finally, and another question that has been asked in these introductions in the past is, what are you listening to? Aquarium Drunkard steered me to the Smile Sessions, Brian Wilson’s long delayed and sidetracked response to the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever. I’m finding Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black to be haunting and catchy, and am spending a good deal of time in the car listening to ’71 Dead, in anticipation of the Complete Europe ’72 vault being opened.

Some have mentioned that I’ve gone over to the Dark Side, and in fact, that phrase has come up frequently. Dark Side, implying that the faculty role is one of the positive, good-feeling, health, innocence, the way of the Tao, one of righteousness, virtue and Truth and Justice.

On the other hand, as George Burns said, “Too bad all the people who know how to run this country are busy running taxicabs or cutting hair.” Those who are managing college budgets, processes, reporting requirements, scheduling and providing feedback do not speak with one voice. They work in an environment characterized by ambiguity, compromise, and negotiation while attempting to balance conflicting goals and interests. Their dedication to the core mission of the organization, serving students well and helping them achieve their goals and opening the doors of opportunity, trying to do things right while trying to do the right thing, in the face of some severe constraints is admirable. They are decidedly human. Dark side? I don’t think so.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

So, what are you reading, Summer 2011?

So, what books are you currently reading? A couple of recent reads include Where Good Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson, and Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz. Johnson describes how innovation is nurtured by creative environments and cultures, while Schulz explores how misconceptions are perpetuated and how errors contribute to new ideas. Both books make a case for the benefits of ambiguity, tolerance and the imperfections of humans.

Also on the bedstand with bookmarks are Keith Richards' Life, the autobiography of the Rolling Stones' guitarist, Doug Glanville's The Game From Where I Stand, about his life in the Major Leagues, and Dave Eggers’ collection of The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2010, short stories, essays, and other pieces, including work by Sherman Alexie, Kurt Vonnegut, and Stephan Colbert.

What about you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Moving Beyond Teachers and Bosses

Seth Godin describes the need to avoid doing the minimum of what you think is expected.

Key phrase, 'If your boss is seen as a librarian, she becomes a resource, not a limit.'

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So, what are you reading, Spring 2011

So, what books are you currently reading? Over the break, I read E.B. White's, This is New York, his wonderful essay about life in the big city in the 1940's. I continue to read, Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz, about human error, learning and our beliefs. This one is great, with insights for what I do as a teacher.

Also on the bedstand with bookmarks are Keith Richards' Life, the autobiography of the Rolling Stones' guitarist, and Dave Eggers’ collection of The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2010, short stories, essays, and other pieces, including work by Sherman Alexie, Kurt Vonnegut, and Stephan Colbert.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maybe We're Doing It Wrong

Here are a couple of semi-related posts on the limitations of what education can do:

Michele Martin writes about How School Screws Things Up, about the mismatch of expectations between an education environment and what the real world demands.

The second is an article from the Seattle Times summarizing a study critical of higher education's lack of success in instilling 'higher level' thinking skills among students.

Your mileage may vary, but focusing on grades and doing well on tests can get in the way of learning how to navigate a complex world.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

So, what are you reading?

So, what books are you currently reading?  Over the break, I read a couple of books, including William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, and Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the Jazz Age Classic and archetypical American nove.


Also on the bedstand with bookmarks are Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz, helpful in understanding why Brownie and Audrey do what they do, Joyride, Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet, by Mia Birk, and Keith Richards' Life, the autobiography of the Rolling Stones' guitarist.   I'm also about a third of the way through Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz, about human error, learning and our beliefs. This last one is great, with insights for what I do as a teacher.


So, what are you reading?