Site Map

January 22, 2002

Ask a Philosopher I don't know - reading through the wonderful and varied questions (this month's first question: "Is there a philosophical justification for nudism?") just seems more civilized than sitting in rows and learning "European Philosophy from Descartes to Kant." Anyhow, this site makes my list of cool sites. Plan to spend a little time - if you're anything like me, you will get hooked not only on the questions but also on the answers. This free service is offered courtesy of Pathways to Philosophy, the distance learning project based at Sheffield University, run in association with the Philosophical Society of England. By Geoffrey Klempner, The Philosophical Society of England, 1999 .[Refer]

Academy Awards of Education Is it time education had its own version of the Oscars? John Hibbs thinks so and has launched an initiative called "The Academiy Awards of Education" to support this idea. "It is a tragedy," he writes, "that education does not have a pinnacle award which is as globally recognized as the Nobel or the Pulitzer or an Oscar; and that until we provide such recognition for outstanding achievement we will not correct our chief failure to skillfully promote ourselves and our work." By John Hibbs, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Global Education, January 22, 2002.[Refer]

Designer of Free Course-Management Software Asks, What Makes a Good Web Site? I don't want to be such a critic, but really - if MIT and Stanford are supposed to be so leading edge, shouldn't they be further ahead than this? "Step 1 is to have a basic system that covers things like posting documents, making announcements, giving quizzes, having a home page. That's a star we can almost reach. We're getting close." Sheesh, guys, take an afternoon, download some simple tools, buy a copy of Hot Potatos. That gets you to Step 1 by Friday. Better yet, do a half hour web search for open source learning management system before inventing a new one. But look - when from last week I see an item about OKI releasing common service layer APIs I know that the situation is nothing like what is depicted in the article... so what gives? By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2002.[Refer]

The Erosion of Democracy: From Critique to Possibilities I have long felt that there is a connection between education and democracy and it may be because I am the product of an educational system that viewed the process of democratic involvement as one of its central objects. Now there is a book by a group of Canadian authors who argue that the connection between education and democracy is under threat from reforms in advanced learning. This article, a review of that book, elucidates the idea that democracy - and education is becoming "'classical, participatory, public, and critical' instead of the 'contemporary, representative, privatized, and managed'." See, this is where I think critics like David Noble resonate... by privatizing education you separate education from the values that underlie education, a strong and participatory democracy being one of the most fundamental of these values. You'll need to register to read this article. By Diana Hess and Anand Mari, TCRecord, January, 2002.[Refer]

Making Good Citizens: Education and Civil Society While people like David Noble rail about the commodification of education at the university level (see yesterday's OLDaily) there is a parallel movement working toward the privatization of the public (K-12) system under the rubric of "school choice." It is interesting that the argument against the public system at the lower levels takes on such a different tone: "[Choice]... puts vouchers and charter schools, which liberals and multiculturalists tend to oppose, in bed with pluralism, which they tend to embrace." One wonders how Noble would respond to an argument for a commercialized university system based on choice: it certainly seems to me a parallel argument could be drawn. But all of this is off topic. This article, a review of a book by Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti, is a balanced and credible discussion not only of the volume at hand but also of some of the arguments and issues surrounding the question of "school choice" (or, as others would put it (perhaps more accurately), "privatization"). You'll need to register on the site to read this article, but it's free (I have a policy of not linking to online resources you have to pay for). By Walter Parker, TCRecord, January, 2002.[Refer]


Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]