by Stephen Downes
Feb 02, 2016
Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.
There are a few interesting things here. One is the recap of last week's controverse du jour in the Chronicle revolving around an email from Academia.edu asking an academic whether he would be willing to pay "a small fee" to publicize his paper. Much outrage and the obligatory hashtag ensued. But that's hardly the real problem with Academic.edu - it's this: "no other uses can be made of what you’ve put there – it’s up to Academia.edu to decide what you can and can’t do with the information you’ve given them, and they’re not likely to make it easy for alternative methods of access." Academia.edu, in other words, is clamping down on " a more competitive marketplace, one where the data is open for any number of potential services (consortial, member-supported, or even commercial) to do interesting and useful things with." Quite so. But what would work? That's the third bit - a link and reference to VIVO, "an open source, open access, community-based, member-supported profile system for academics... VIVO is developing world standards for big data representation of scholarly work, providing a single shared vocabulary for data regarding scholarship." More on VIVO.
Why Introverted Teachers Are Burning Out
I can easily understand how introverted teachers would be at risk of burning out. Contact hours are stressful and people who are introverted need time to recharge. But here's the thing - wouldn't introverted students also be at risk of burnout? After all, when you're in school, you're on stage all day every day. There's no real personal time. If you're thinking that makes sense, though, wait. 'Introverted' is one of those hated 'learning styles' (in particular, it's part of the Myers-Briggs scale). And the learning-styles-sceptics say that it has no impact on educational outcomes. So it just doesn't matter if some students are stressed. Just throw them into group-learning and social-interaction activities all day. Nor, I guess, would it matter if teachers are stressed either. No - none of this makes sense. It does matter whether you're introverted or not - doesn't it?
Why a bunch of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly interested in universal basic income
The answer is: so it can sell more robots. But also you can encourage individual entrepreneurship, as well as lower the cost of government services: "Shut down government programs as you fund redistribution." I think there's a point to that, and you can in fact count me as a supporter of a minimum income (and I for one welcome our robot butlers). But let's understand, this changes our economy, and changes what we expect from learning (read: the whole concept of education 'to get a job' or 'serve employer needs' is moot). And we need a basic income precisely because of increasing automation - it's unfair to force people to get a job when all the jobs are taken by robots. And that's why the tech industry is behind it.
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