Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Coursera

Thursday Links!

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* Here Are the 55 Schools Currently Under Federal Investigation for Sexual Assault. Behind Focus on College Assaults, a Steady Drumbeat by Students.

* There have been violent threats, angry screeds, Twitter flame campaigns and an entire website predicated on the putative hideousness of Dan Kane’s existence. Someone sent Kane an email wishing him a lingering death by bone cancer. Someone else tweeted him a photograph of a noose. Emotions can run amok when you take on something as sacrosanct as the athletic program at the University of North Carolina, as Kane, 53, has found in the last few years…

* All The Times Science Fiction Became Science Fact In One Chart.

* On valuing the Humanities at MIT.

* So if you’re a college president overseeing a portfolio of lucrative, heavily marketed, largely unaccountable terminal master’s-degree programs that offer little or no financial aid and charge market prices financed by debt, congratulations: You, too, own a for-profit college!

On the other hand, Coursera’s “Global Translator Community” offers a new model for corporations looking to expand their exploitation of uncompensated skilled labor, and perhaps ultimately replace nearly all paid labor with unpaid “volunteering”: 1) The mission of the company, regardless of its for-profit status, is defined in exclusively philanthropic terms; 2) A gigantic blitz of media hype provided by sympathetic journalists and columnists leads the public to associate the company exclusively with its world-saving charitable priorities; 3) Workers are persuaded to contribute their labor to the company through an appeal to their desire to “change the world” and “become part of a global community” of similarly idealistic souls.

* Automated-grading skeptic uses Babel to expose nonsense essay.

* What if Everyone in the World Became a Vegetarian? Yes, fear not, Slate makes sure this is a Slate pitch.

If the world actually did collectively go vegetarian or vegan over the course of a decade or two, it’s reasonable to think the economy would tank.

* “Smaller classes in the early years can lift a child’s academic performance right through to Year 12 and even into tertiary study and employment,” Dr Zyngier said.

* You can prove anything with facts: States That Raised Their #MinimumWage in 2014 Had Stronger Job Growth Than Those That Didn’t.

* A not-so-brief history of LEGO’s wonderful “Space” line of products.

* You may be done with the past, but… Waddington’s pulls child’s blood-stained tunic from auction gallery.

* Amazing what a little organized labor can accomplish.

* What we talk about when we talk about trigger warnings.

* Thomas Piketty and his Critics.

* Striking Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law, Judge Finds ‘No Rational Person Could Be Worried’ About Voter Fraud.

* L.A’.s Most Arrested Person Is a Homeless Grandmother. Execution nightmare in Oklahoma. Louisiana About To Make It Illegal For Homeless People To Beg For Money. Woman Loses Her Home For Owing $6.

Lawsuit: Penn denied prof tenure for taking child-care leave.

* Area man changes opinion on Obamacare after it literally saves his life.

* MFA vs POC.

* This is a sad day for the Gerry community.

Marquette recognized as green college by Princeton Review.

* They say he’s a lame duck, but Obama is still out there, pounding the pavement, looking for things he could still make just a bit worse than they are now.

* The coming antibiotic resistant hellscape.

* The coming SyFy TV hellscape.

* Congratulations, Zoey!

* Babies cry at night to prevent siblings, scientist suggests.

* Your close reading of the Star Wars Episode 7 cast photo.

* America is Hungry, Let’s Eat.

* Springsteen’s “Born to Run” First Draft to Be Displayed in Perkins Library.

* Even mice are terrified of men.

* And rest in peace, Bob Hoskins.

Friday! Friday! Hooray!

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https://twitter.com/adamkotsko/status/396245623856300032

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China Miéville: Marxism and Halloween.

The Halloween candy to avoid if you don’t want orangutans to die. This is why consumerist approaches to struggle will never work. Horrors lurk everywhere.

Anti-Humanism and the Humanities in the Era of Capitalist Realism. A reminder.

That table reveals that in 1970-1971, 17.1% of students who received BAs in the United States majored in a humanities discipline. Three decades later, in the midst of the crisis in the humanities we hear so much about, that number had plummeted to 17%.

There is little talk in this view of higher education about the history and value of shared governance between faculty and administrators, nor of educating students as critical citizens rather than potential employees of Walmart.  There are few attempts to affirm faculty as scholars and public intellectuals who have both a measure of autonomy and power. Instead, faculty members are increasingly defined less as intellectuals than as technicians and grant writers. Students fare no better in this debased form of education and are treated as either clients or as restless children in need of high-energy entertainment – as was made clear in the 2012 Penn State scandal. Such modes of education do not foster a sense of organized responsibility fundamental to a democracy. Instead, they encourage what might be called a sense of organized irresponsibility – a practice that underlies the economic Darwinism and civic corruption at the heart of a debased politics.

The academic career path has been thoroughly destabilised by the precarious practices of the neoliberal university.

* A new study suggests interdisciplinary PhDs earn less than their colleagues.

* How to be a tenured ally.

* Scenes from the academics’ strike in the UK. Another report from the trenches.

Most Colleges Still Haven’t Implemented The Right Policies To Prevent Rape.

* A Marxist consideration of white privilege.

The women in magazines don’t look like the women in magazines.

Man buys $27 of bitcoin, forgets about them, finds they’re now worth $886k. Exactly how currencies are supposed to work!

Jane Austen: The Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game.

* America as Walter White.

The tragedy of Michelle Kosilek. A better treatment of the issue than the headline’s framing would suggest.

“Being condemned to death is unlike any other experience imaginable.”

Macy’s security has arrest quota, ‘race code system’ for nonwhite shoppers. An exemplary case, I think, of the phenomenon Adam Kotsko describes in “What if Zimmerman had been a cop?”

* And speaking of which: George Zimmerman’s Hometown Bans Guns For Neighborhood Watches.

Boy Who Shot Neo-Nazi Dad Sentenced to 10 Years in Juvenile Detention.

Appeals Court Gives NYPD Go Ahead to Restart Stop-and-Frisk.

* There’s something really revealing about how the Daily Show can’t process this story about an unaccountable shadow government running the national security apparatus, and so just punts to a random n-word joke instead. Liberalism, I think, characteristically flinches whenever the conclusion that the system is fundamentally broken is inescapable.

* Honorary vertebrates?

U.S. Teams Up With Operator of Online Courses to Plan a Global Network. MOOCtastic!

* And in honor of the last pop culture lunch of the semester, my favorite zombie short: “Cargo.”

Even More Wednesday Links!

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* Humanities instrumentalism we can believe in: Why do we need the liberal arts? Because it gives us sci-fi.

If the criterion for funding areas of study must be that they add to American wealth and competitiveness, then I’d like to offer my own only half-unserious case for the liberal arts. I propose that they should survive, and thrive, because they give us science fiction, and science fiction creates jobs and makes us rich.

The summit, billed as “Organizing Resistance Against Teach for America and its Role in Privatization,” is being organized by a committee of scholars, parents, activists, and current corps members. Its mission is to challenge the organization’s centrality in the corporate-backed, market-driven, testing-oriented movement in urban education. 

* The Decline of North Carolina.

* The New Yorker profiles Desert Bus, deliberately the worst video game ever made, and the charity that has sprung up around it, Desert Bus for Hope.

* Tenure-track professors on food stamps at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

* Gasp! For-profit education investing in Coursera.

Tourism’s real roots do not lie in pilgrimage (or even in «fair» trade), but in war. Rape and pillage were the original forms of tourism, or rather, the first tourists followed directly in the wake of war, like human vultures picking over battlefield carnage for imaginary booty—for images.

Tourism arose as a symptom of an Imperial­ism that was total—economic, political, and spiritual.

Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. The lone exception is black voters, with 43 percent calling him a traitor and 42 percent calling him a whistle-blower. 

Obama’s ‘Insider Threat Program’: A Parody of Liberal Faith in Bureaucrats. If only this program had some historical parallel we could point to to illustrate its potential dangers!

In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

* After the death of the desktop, the death of the laptop? I am quite fond of my iPad, but I can’t imagine relying on it alone…

‘Nothing Is Clearer in the Contract Terms Than the Profit Requirements of This Enterprise’

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It is refreshing to see the clarity of purpose and profit outlined in the Coursera contract with the University of Kentucky System that highlights, among other things, the charmingly disingenuous belief of early adopters that this was a prestige enterprise to educate the masses with academic superstars for free.

At Inside Higher Ed: Coursera and the NCAA.

The Coursera contract, developed in a much more business-like fashion than the original, endlessly collaborative town meeting style of the NCAA, creates a similar franchising system, although it does not pretend to be a not-for-profit enterprise but asserts its role as a revenue generating organization. The Coursera contract careful delineates the obligations of the university to provide university generated courses to the Coursera platform that meet Coursera standards for presentation, operation, and pedagogy. As the university cedes its authority over course form and structure, it is allowed to keep its control over the specific content, although within strict guidelines that ensure certain standardized pedagogical mechanisms related to grading, feedback, and student interaction. Coursera will remove university courses that do not meet the platform’s requirements, and if there is a dispute, a council of academics will adjudicate a final resolution. The contract specifies a variety of mechanisms for sharing revenue and costs, but the primary financial risk of launching a course falls on the university. If the course is very successful, then Coursera generated revenue will be shared with the institution and institutionally generated revenue from Coursera products sold to university enrolled student will be shared with the company.

The key components of both the NCAA and Coursera franchises lie in the requirement that the university give up control over the presentation and delivery of its content. In sports, the university produces the games, recruits the athletes, hires the coaches, manages the enterprise, and delivers the product in the specified standardized format, reserving for itself the opportunity to brand the product, but always within franchise dictated standards in delivering the product to external audiences. The university controls some aspects of the success of the games. It can invest as much as it wants in producing high quality successful events, within the constraints of the rules. But it does not control the rules or the requirements for the operation of the university’s branded athletic program, and it assumes all risk of failure.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm

LTEMOOCs

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To partner with so many institutions, however, Coursera will sidestep a contractual obligation to primarily offer courses from members of the Association of American Universities or “top five” universities in countries outside of North America. It will do so by creating a new section of its website to house material from the less-than-elite state universities. This different section will offer MOOCs but will be branded in a different way.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 30, 2013 at 7:26 am

Lots of Monday Links But In My Defense They Are All Fascinating

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* Margaret Thatcher dies. Glenn Greenwald on speaking ill of the dead. We’re still living in Thatcher’s world. We Are All Thatcherites Now. “If I reported to you what Mrs. Thatcher really thought about President Reagan, it would damage Anglo-American relations.” Thatcher on the climate. Obama on Thatcher.

Will Democrats destroy the planet? And pretty gleefully, too, it looks like.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that not a single one of our major institutions, within government or without, is capable of confronting this problem. And if we can’t, that’s rather the ballgame, isn’t it?

The Methane Beneath Our Feet.

ExxonMobil, FAA, Arkansas cops establish flight restriction zone, threaten reporters who try to document Mayflower, AR spill.

* It’s Art Pope’s nightmare, North Carolinians just live in it.

Imagine for a moment if a loved one found themselves in legal jeopardy in some foreign country that had a 99% conviction rate.  You might ask what kind of illegitimate system are they up against.  You would likely conclude that any system where conviction is nearly-assured is stacked against the accused.  Yet this is exactly what the situation is in federal courts in the United States, the alleged bastion of liberty that does not hesitate to hold itself out as a beacon of freedom and poses as the benchmark of fairness that other nations are encouraged to follow.

* Pornokitsch considers one of my childhood favorites, Dragonlance Chronicles.

Searching for Bill Watterson.

How to make $1,000,000 at Rutgers. Rutgers Practices Were Not a Hostile Work Environment.

Average Faculty Salaries, 2012–13. The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-13. Colleges Begin to Reward Professors for Doing Work That Actually Matters to Them.

And with stretched budgets and public pressure to keep costs down, many colleges and universities are cutting back on tenure and tenure-track jobs. According to the report, such positions now make up only 24 percent of the academic work force, with the bulk of the teaching load shifted to adjuncts, part-timers, graduate students and full-time professors not on the tenure track.

* The dark side of open access.

Is Stanford still a university? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than a dozen students—both undergraduate and graduate—have left school to work on a new technology start-up called Clinkle. Faculty members have invested, the former dean of Stanford’s business school is on the board, and one computer-science professor who taught several of the employees now owns shares. The founder of Clinkle was an undergraduate advisee of the president of the university, John Hennessey, who has also been advising the company. Clinkle deals with mobile payments, and, if all goes well, there will be many payments to many people on campus. Maybe, as it did with Google, Stanford will get stock grants. There are conflicts of interest here; and questions of power dynamics. The leadership of a university has encouraged an endeavor in which students drop out in order to do something that will enrich the faculty.

‘Social Entrepreneurs’ Bring New Ideas, New Conflicts to Colleges.

Coursera Takes a Nuanced View of MOOC Dropout Rates.

Steinberg’s bill will undermine public education by entrenching private capital; Block’s overestimates the educational effectiveness of online for its target population and therefore helps foreclose more imaginative uses of the digital and the allocation of necessary resources to the CCC and the CSU.

How the Location of Colleges Hurts the Economy.

So imagine my surprise — and envy — upon learning that these networkers moonlight in a profitable little business using Shakespeare to teach leadership, strategy and management to businesses and organizations. For $28,000 a day!

The relentless drive for efficiency at U.S. companies has created a new harshness in the workplace. In their zeal to make sure that not a minute of time is wasted, companies are imposing rigorous performance quotas, forcing many people to put in extra hours, paid or not. Video cameras and software keep tabs on worker performance, tracking their computer keystrokes and the time spent on each customer service call.

The Problem with Nonprofits.

* A brief history of public goods.

New York Is Shelving Prison Law Libraries.

* An editor rejects The Left Hand of Darkness.

* Game of Thrones as subway map.

* Dear Television premieres at TNR with a review of the Mad Men premiere.

* Bill Cosby will speak at the 2013 Marquette commencement.

* And your single-serving-site of the day: How far away is Mars?

Friday Morning

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tumblr_mk25lxdV3w1rqkjy0o7_r1_400* In case you missed it: North Carolina lawmkers are threatening to shut down one or two UNC campuses. Save Our State event next week at Duke.

The Silicon Valley-based company said to be revolutionizing higher education says in a contract obtained by Inside Higher Ed that it will “only” offer classes from elite institutions – the members of the Association of American Universities or “top five” universities in countries outside of North America – unless Coursera’s advisory board agrees to waive the requirement.

* Financialize everything: “The principle behind it, which is unique and could be far-reaching in the state and the country, is to say to private industry ‘you can do better financially by investing in high schools than you do investing in Wall Street,'” Steinberg said.

* I’ve always said the same thing about The Tonight Show. If this works out for New York it could really put them on the map.

Iraq + 100 is — or will be — a collection of 10 short stories set in different cities around Iraq, written by 10 different Iraqi authors, all with this particular twist: They must be set 100 years after the 2003 invasion.

Chinua Achebe has died. Chinua Achebe and the Invention of African Culture.

* And the headline reads, “Don’t fear babies made with genes from three parents.”