According to Inside Higher Ed, this report (19 page PDF) from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) says, "when developed nations dedicate more public resources to postsecondary education, they tend to produce fewer graduates." In fact it says nothing of the sort, and even says "the analysis in this report cannot establish a causal relationship between these different qualities of higher education systems." The AEI report itself contains numerous flaws, not the least of which is the authors' creative interpretation of OECD data, for example, defining 'quality' (aka 'resources') as "each country’s total expenditure on higher education, divided by the number of full-time equivalent students, measured as a share of the country’s GDP per capita," which makes Slovakia the provider of the second-highest quality system in the OECD. I have nothing against Slovakia, but, really? What the AEI is doing is depicting education spending as a zero-sum game in which there are always trade-offs between access and quality. It's not, of course. The U.S. slathers rich kids with swimming pools and movie stars. But that doesn't make it better.
As I commented during a podcast interview today, what happens in media happens in education a decade or so later. And what's been happening in media over the last decade has been, as this article says, brutal. Magazines, both online and off, are folding. Newspaper chains are merging (but with no real hope of saving the store). In newspapers, they call the final edition a -30- edition. In the case of universities it's called a teach out. Get used to that phrase. We'll be seeing it a lot more.
This 80 second video has been making the rounds. It presents the user numbers for popular social networking sites as a moving bar chart that changes through the years. Best viewed without sound. It also ends abruptly (causing you to view it again, probably).
Catching up a bit from July reading. This is a quick overview of a familiar topic: digital badges. "Further development in this area will hinge on two factors: the ability of institutions to align educational programming with business needs, and further development of standards for the use of badges... . Work continues on an interoperable standards-based ecosystem of learner-centered digital credentials that includes badges and comprehensive learner records."
There's quite a lot of technical talk about why users find it difficult to use decentralized applications, but that's the point. The Gas Station Network (GSN) is intended to address this complexity. It shields users from the requirement to create and pay for digital wallets. The application pays the cost of the transaction, and (if the owners desires) can charge users subscriptions through more common means, such as credit card payments. It's a pretty good idea and points, I think, to the longer-term role of blockchain, as a service layer hidden (mostly) from user interactions. It's created by the MetaCartel. Here's a sample distributed app (dapp).
ZeroNet bills itself as offering "open, free and uncensorable websites, using Bitcoin cryptography and BitTorrent network." There are no central servers; rather, users of the network host parts of the network themselves That sounds great, but the darker side of this model is emerging as 8chan, "a website filled with the worst garbage one can find on the internet," is using ZeroNet to host its site, according to this Engadget report. The problem for users is, if they access 8chan over ZeroNet, they may find themselves hosting child pornography or worse on their own computers. Users can avoid the risk if they don't view offensive material in the first place. But that's not how 8chan users roll.
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Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.