by Stephen Downes
Apr 15, 2016
Saylor writes and endorses the recent Creative Commons post on OER as a participatory activity. But it adds, "Saylor Academy would absolutely benefit from infrastructure that would encourage us, our students, our partners, and members of the wider open community to really create the open content we need from the open content that we have." Of course, I've spent my entire career working toward this. It's not without its difficulties and obstacles - trust me, I know. It's hard to find funding and support for such a project. You're working against entrenched interests in the content and publishing industries. I'll raise this as a topic here in D.C. with the Discovery Education network and again when I meet with George Siemens in a few days in Arlington. People could have this if they were willing to put up some backing for it.
Students from an online Master's degree course are suing because "the program doesn’t live up to its promise of being designed for an online setting and not a physical classroom." It's a textbook case of how not to deliver online instruction: "the 'content' mostly consisted of scanned-in PDFs of textbooks (with blurry pages and sentences cut off) and PowerPoint slides taken from the in-class courses, without any narration or explication." And to rub salt in the wound, "At an estimated $33,300, the online program is about $4,000 more expensive than the face-to-face program." Cash grab.
I have it in mind to one day update my logical fallacies site and to incorporate into an online course. Meanwhile, there's this: "Your Logical Fallacy Is is a website that provides short explanations and examples of twenty-four common logical fallacies. Visitors to the site can click through the gallery to read the examples. Your Logical Fallacy Is also provides free PDF poster files that you can download and print." Also, Wireless Philosophy offers a playlist of twelve videos on logical fallacies.
I realize that you don't care about my life (at least, not nearly as much as I care about it). That's OK, I can deal with that. But when I was taking religious studies courses in the 1980s I first encountered the 'confessional' course, where we were studying religion not only as a phenomenon but also as an expression of personal faith. Not having faith, I fared poorly, and it was my only 'C' in a string of As. But why is this relevant? Because it sheds some light on what's actually happening in this article when the author writes, "the confessional voice is dangerously attractive; as Virginia Woolf put it, 'under the decent veil of print one can indulge one’s egoism to the full.'"
Is the author simply using the term 'confessional' incorrectly? Or, as is more likely, is he confusing the objective voice with the context-free voice? A mixture of both ('confessional' as reflecting "our declining belief in a tradition or canon (whose dead white masterworks once ensured that critics shared a set of reference points outside the self)"). But my background knowledge is what tells me that the author is opposing the idea of criticism as belief or point of view. If he simply stated his point so plainly, the grounds for objection would be clear. But the argument needs to be extracted from its shell, and you, the reader, have the right to be informed about the mechanism I used to do that, which in this case was my personal experience of confessional courses in the 1980s.
Thank goodness. Now if we could only get Apple to 'abandon' Safari on Windows (and everywhere else). Then all those annoying update messages for products I never use would stop. Oh, and I haven't had QuickTime installed for years - it hasn't stopped the slew of update popups. Earth to Apple: the world does not need software optimized for the Apple experience.
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