Monday Night Links
* We’re all to blame for MOOCs. (Hey! Speak for yourself. I just got here.) A second chance to do the right thing. Online college course experiment reveals hidden costs.
“I get this call from San Jose State: ‘Uh, we have a problem,’” recalled Mark Ryan, superintendent of the Oakland Military Institute, a public school set up on a military model.
It turned out some of the low-income teens didn’t have computers and high-speed Internet connections at home that the online course required. Many needed personal attention to make it through. The final results aren’t in yet, but the experiment exposed some challenges to the promise of a low-cost online education. And it showed there is still a divide between technology-driven educators and the low-income, first-generation college hopefuls they are trying to reach.
To make it work, the institute had to issue laptops to students, set aside class time for them to focus on the online course, and assign teachers to make sure they stayed on task.
* In disaster after disaster, the fear returns that people — under stress, freed by circumstance from the bonds of authority — will turn on one another. The clear consensus is that this has no basis in reality.
* Where do greenhouse gases come from? Links continue below the graph.
* Facts as ideology: women’s fertility edition.
* …this wealthiest of all wealthy nations has been steadily falling behind many other nations of the world. Consider just a few wake-up-call facts from a long and dreary list: The United States now ranks lowest or close to lowest among advanced “affluent” nations in connection with inequality (21st out of 21), poverty (21st out of 21), life expectancy (21st out of 21), infant mortality (21st out of 21), mental health (18th out of 20), obesity (18th out of 18), public spending on social programs as a percentage of GDP (19th out of 21), maternity leave (21st out of 21), paid annual leave (20th out of 20), the “material well-being of children” (19th out of 21), and overall environmental performance (21st out of 21).
Perhaps the most intriguing news: “Sony said they’re very interested in recording me watching it as a commentary track” for the Season 4 DVD set, he said. His co-host for the evening, Rob Schrab, asked if the DVD commentary could also include a visual in the corner of the screen of Harmon’s facial expressions as he watches the season he was aced out of.
* The Today Show has confirmed that the “disabled guide” Disneyland thing is actually happening.
* And a headline that seems like it must have been generated by a fake headline generator, and yet: Update: Was Pablo Neruda Murdered By a CIA Double Agent Working for Pinochet?