OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

January 4, 2011

How does the University of Phoenix measure up?
Tony Bates, Weblog, January 4, 2011.

The University of Phoenix made $1.04 billion profit in 2009. That's not a typo. From a business perspective, its educational outputs are irrelevant (after all, it made $1.04 billion profit in 2009), but Tony Bates looks at them anyway. From one perspective, there's no question that the University of Phoenix is making an extra effort to serve students denied access to higher education. It also seems to be providing them with an education. In major assessments or evaluations, University of Phoenix fare as well as their more traditional counterparts. But, notes Bates, only 34% graduate within six years, compared with 53% nationally. So he gives the institution a C-. Which is, to me, a bit unfair, when you consider that someone spending even half time would take 8 years to finish a four-year degree. And, moreover, I question the model that seeks to cram all your learning up front in a four-year frenzy, rather than blending formal learning with real life. This is not to give the University of Phoenix a free ride, only to level fair criticism.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Telling Right From Wrong
James Ryerson, New York Times, January 4, 2011.

files/images/foote.jpg, size: 42760 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Sitting here today trying to write a short essay on critical literacies, I am sympathetic with the view that the writing of a book ought to proceed slowly. Thus I am publishing at the same rate as Philippa Foot, who released her first and only at the age of 80. It's hard to say some things just right. What Philippa Foot said was that you can indeed derive an 'ought' from an 'is'. But this is going to depend a lot on which 'ought', which 'is', and even on what you mean by 'derive'. Foot developed a theory of 'natural goodness" to the effect that that vice is a defect in humans in the same way that poor roots are a defect in an oak tree or poor vision a defect in an owl. I would want to be careful with my wording, but it's the same sort of reasoning to say that an improperly constructed network is 'wrong', that it leads to 'poor' (if not knowably false) conclusions. Via Leiter.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

files/images/robotfuture450.jpg, size: 36778 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Explore IFTF's Robot Renaissance: The Future of Human-Machine Interaction Map
Unattributed, IFTF, January 4, 2011.

"In the next decade," according to this article, "we will share our offices, hospitals, schools, battlefields, nursing homes, and homes with a new breed of companion. A robot renaissance is underway. After decades of hype, false starts, and few successes, smart machines are finally ready for prime time. As part of its 2010 research, IFTF's Technology Horizons program has created the Robot Renaissance: the Future of Human-Machine Interaction Map to explore this new robotic future." The seven major advances are:
- robot armies, scientists: the robot workforce
- interface and interactivity; robot as media
- interoperability; robot cars, sensors
- humans teach robots; robots teach humans
- robot mimicry; robot fetishism
- robots as friends, companions, associates
- swarming, peer review, intelligent robots
Click on the diagram for a larger image, or view the original PDF.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

BT Content Connect service faces 'two-tier net' claims
Unattributed, BBC News, January 4, 2011.

There is a certain inescapable logic in our society to the effect that profits win. It does not matter what the people want, the people cannot match the steady stream of money profits provide to support legislation and litigation in support of more profits. We've seen it enough times in the past, and now we're seeing it with net neutrality. Witness the BT (aka British Telecom) "Content Connect" service, which provides premium streaming for a price. Presto: the end of net neutrality, and BT will pay whatever it takes to preserve its advantage here.

This is why Douglas Rushkoff writes "the fledgling Internet of the 21st century is being quashed by a similarly corporatist government that has its hands on the switches through which we mean to transact and communicate." It's why Chris Hedges writes, "There is no hope left for achieving significant reform or restoring our democracy through established mechanisms of power." Or as D'Arcy Norman cites, "rapacious greed fuels the plunge of tens of millions of Americans into abject poverty and misery." It's why we hope the Connective will work, but fear it probably won't.

Still, we carry on. We fight the good fight, even if only for the beauty of resistance.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

A Simple TODO list using HTML5 WebDatabases
Paul Kinlan, HTML5Rocks, January 4, 2011.

Neither example works perfectly in my browsers (Chrome and Firefox 4 on Windows 7) but the technology is nonetheless advancing rapidly. The idea here is that these websites create a little non-SQL database on your computer. The database supports simpole web applications, like (in this case) a to-do list.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.