by Stephen Downes
Jan 11, 2017
These points apply not only to organizational culture, but to culture in general. "Culture isn’t just about unity; it’s also about division. Rather than a deterministic 'thing' that shapes behavior and unifies people, culture is something people use, often strategically, to achieve goals." This is really important. It's not about unity at all, in my view. It's an artifact, like a road system, or a shopping mall, or a corporate logo, or a language. It is normatively neutral. And when someone is saying we should all be unified under one of these or another, they are using culture in an effort to meet their own goals by having you set your own goals aside. As John Traphgen says, "The attempt to unify an organization by creating a 'culture' is ultimately an exercise of power."
This is a "searchable directory of over 2,500 vendors of online learning products and services worldwide... They are part of a the fast growing ed-tech (educational technology) industry with over 8 billion dollars in annual sales of hardware and software with no sign of a slowdown." You can browse the directory online, filter it by 21 categories, or sort it by country. There's also a csv file download, but I haven't yet been able to make it work. Or you can download the PDF list with commentary. Meanwhile, from Jane Hart, is the list of the top 200 tools in e-learning.
Proposed legislation from the European Commission "would require companies to get the consent of users before accessing their digital information." In particular, the law would require web browsers, on installation, to ask users whether they want to allow websites to place cookies on their browser." This seems pretty minor, but the article predicts dire consequences. "If passed, the legislation might lead companies to display pop-ups asking users to switch their settings to allow cookies before they can access services." This, however, is the state of affairs today. Also worth noting: Europe "adopted sweeping reforms last spring, and ruled against Britain’s so-called “Snooper’s Charter” that requires telecommunication companies to keep records of people's web activity for one year and grants government officials access to that data."
Interesting paper that looks at network analyses of things (including brains) and asks about their explanatory power. A quick case in point (my own example): if we say a person knows P because she has network configuration C, does C explain why she knows P? Or does P explain why she has configuration C? This may seem trivial, but if we want to produce P in a person, the explanation is important, as it (maybe) tells us what causes what. The author's thesis (stated in the abstract and then in the third paragraph) is really awkwardly stated. But the conclusion is pretty clear: network analyses do not redefine the norms of explanation, and they suffer from the same methodological puzzles. Worth reading for the lucid discussion of graph theory as it relates to neural networks. Preprinted in Carl F. Craver's website, found via Philosophical Progress. Image: Wikipedia.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? 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. Click here to subscribe.