by Stephen Downes
Aug 04, 2015
Letter on Open Access
Cable Green writes: "Today, a broad coalition of more than 90 organizations representing the education, library, technology, public interest and legal communities released a letter calling on President Obama to open up educational materials created with federal taxpayer funds." This is that letter on Google Docs. Here's the 11 page PDF. I wish people in Canada would send a similar sort of letter to our elected leaders.
White House: Innovation in Higher Education
I can't resist sharing this post describing George Siemenss'ss invitation and visit to the White House (meanwhile people pay very good money to keep people like me far away from such places!). This seems to be true: "Higher education generally has no clue about what’s brewing in the marketplace as a whole. The change pressures that exist now are not ones that the existing higher education model can ignore. The trends – competency-based learning, unbundling, startups & capital inflow, new pedagogical models, technology, etc – will change higher education dramatically."
Also, this: "I was struck by how antagonistic some for-profits are toward public higher education. I sat in one session where a startup spent much of the time expressing intense dislike for higher education in today’s form 'my tax dollars are going to bad actors', ironically to be followed up with 'I loved my time in university. It shaped me and made me'. It reminds me of Peter Thiel’s drop out of school and start a company. But what does Thiel expect when his money and his life is at stake? He expects, for his hedge fund: 'High GPA from top-tier university; preferably in computer science, mathematics, statistics, econometrics, physics, engineering or other highly quantitative.'"
How will ad-blocking software change the web-content industry?
I think that Apple was looking for ways to improve battery life in its mobile devices and someone was smartly thinking out of the box. "With content blocking turned on, the page loaded in two seconds instead of eleven. Once loaded, network activity ceased, which means less strain on the battery." Quite so. I have used ad blocking for years (I use Firefox), not simply because I hate ads but also because they are distracting, slow to load, space-wasting and a huge drain on resources. Plus, they spy on me. "If you have a 1 GB/month mobile data plan, going to the site three times a day will exhaust your data budget—and place you in the caring hands of 22 flavors of spyware."
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