Archive for February 22nd, 2012
Overall, I think it’s very clear that people will have more opportunity to access education, but much less clear how that education will translate into opportunity, particularly for those who weren’t born to successful, educated parents. And except for a few superstars, I think the shift would be unequivocally bad for tenured professors. The corollary, however, is that it would be unequivocally good for the legions who are lured into grad school by the chimera of a tenured professorship.
Would it be good for society as a whole? I tend to think that it almost always is when things get cheaper. But we will have to rethink how we fund important research, and quite possibly, about what the engines of mobility will be for strivers who start out in the bottom quintiles.
In this interview, Shareable publisher Neal Gorenflo, John Robb of Global Guerrillas, and P2P foundation’s Michel Bauwens talk to David de Ugarte, one of the originators of the Spanish cyberpunk scene about his more recent work developing a multinational worker cooperative, Las Indias, that is a culmination of his community’s thinking and work for the last decade. Las Indias is the manifestation of a unique socio-economic philosophy that synthesizes many strains of thinking and culture including cyberpunk, anarchism, and cooperatives – all with a Spanish twist. It’s important because it points to a possible future for those who think outside of national boundaries and desire or need to take control of their own economic destiny. It’s a possible future that takes the centuries old logic of cooperatives and remixes it for the urban-centered, global network society we live in today.
Wikis are a great tool for student projects. Teachers often think of them when they want students to do something collaborative, but, wikis are also a great tool for individual work; particularly for research papers.
Working in a wiki makes it easy for students gather background research. The commenting features are a great way for peers and teachers to provide constructive feedback and suggest additional resources in real-time, as the paper is evolving, instead of waiting until the end of an assignment to offer feedback. Most wikis have automatic revisioning features, too, which save before and after versions each time a change is made to the wiki.
Long the most fragmented nation on earth, China is being brought together like never before by a new connectivity. Its Internet community is expanding at hyper speed, with profound implications for the Chinese economy, to say nothing of the country’s social norms and political system. This genie cannot be stuffed back in the bottle. Once connected, there is no turning back.
Governments and corporations have more control over the Internet than ever. Now digital activists want to build an alternative network that can never be blocked, filtered or shut down.
The Internet was designed to be a decentralized system: every node should connect to many others. This design helped to make the system resistant to censorship or outside attack. Yet in practice, most individual users exist at the edges of the network, connected to others only through their Internet service provider (ISP). Block this link, and Internet access disappears. An alternative option is beginning to emerge in the form of wireless mesh networks, simple systems that connect end users to one another and automatically route around blocks and censors. Yet any mesh network needs to hit a critical mass of users before it functions well; developers must convince potential users to trade off ease of use for added freedom and privacy.
People interested in Massive Open Online Courses will probably be aware of the research by Helene Fournier and me on Personal Learning Environments and MOOCs. We carried out research in the MOOC PLENK2010 (The MOOC Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge that was held in the fall of 2010). The data collected on this distributed course with 1641 participants has been massive as well. Its analysis has kept us and some fellow researchers busy over the past year. The research has resulted in a number of publications and I thought it might be useful to post links to all of our journal articles, conference papers and presentations that were published in relation to PLEs and MOOCs in one space. Each publication looks at the data from a different perspective, eg, requirements in a PLE, self-directed learning, learner support, creativity.