This agreement is mainly about Jisc providing access through a provider - BibliU - to commercially published online learning e-textbooks "on a secure, automated platform." They advertise "Publisher created or OER content, in one place." It's not encouraging that the app receives 1 star (2.8/10) on Google Play. It doesn't help that you can't log into it at all unless you're at a university. I can see the benefits of such an agreement; one of my major issues with commercial publications is that they're a pain to access. My main objection to this announcement here is that it is using the word "sustainable" when it means "commercial". And it's just a big blank wall blocking access to the OER content. This is not an appropriate use of the word "sustainable". That's not what it means. And Jisc is engaging in some sort of green-washing and open-washing by presenting it that way. And there's an undertone here masking the real story, which is that Jisc is moving away from open educational resources, and toward commercial resources.
This agreement represents another small step in the gradual shift from traditional colleges and universities and toward commercial education providers. It's not all bad, so long as it all remains free and open, so there is room to mix and match programs, and room for discussion and criticism of corporate resources. But of course, it won't remain free and open. This particular two-part course in Google search costs more than $US 350. When edX says it is "committed to democratizing education and making it easier to gain key 21st century skills," I just laugh. Here's the same course - with the same instructor - for free from Google. Here's a free advanced search course for developers, also for free. And a few more, listed by Alison.
While my natural inclination is to celebrate Canada's global standing, as always I sound a note of caution that such lists are advocacy tools, in that they define some 'standard' (in this case, of 'internet freedom') in an attempt to sway governments to move in that direction. In this case, the standard in question is being proposed by the US-based Freedom House, a political lobby group. The metrics include "political, social, or religious content blocked" along with new laws or directives "increasing censorship or punishment" or "increasing surveillance or restricting anonymity." It's a pretty manipulative standard - notice that it measures change in these conditions, not absolute values. And it's entirely based on constraint and harm, with no discussion of measures - including those promoting social equity and access to resources, as well as anti-hate and anti-defamation measures - that actually increase freedom online. Yes, Canada is really free, by any measure. But strictly adhering to this definition would, in my opinion, make us less free.
I guess this is a dream scenario for a certain set of people:
I can't imagine how to imagine that American education system could be improved by making it more like the American health care system, but I suppose there is no shortage of people who expect that the current pandemic will make it so, even at a time when we should be drawing exactly the opposite lesson.
Artificial Intelligence and Legal Disruption: A New Model for Analysis
Hin-Yan Liu, Matthijs Maas, John Danaher, Luisa Scarcella, Michaela Lexer, Leonard Van Rompaey, PhilPapers, Philosophical Disquisitions, 2020/10/15
This paper (46 page PDF) is a deep but accessible treatment of the implication of AI on the law, and in particular, how to understand and respond to the changes AI will inevitably bring about. Educators would do well to adopt a similar stance, treating AI neither as an existential threat nor a saviour, but instead, as the carrier of numerous social and institutional changes that will force us to rethink the way we interact with each other. Instead of addressing individual issues whack-a-mole style, and instead of focusing on the most salient features of AI today (which may well change as society changes), it offers a model addressing AI's 'disruptive moments' "capable of fundamentally displacing certain core legal presumptions, subvert legal principles, or systematically distort the functioning of the legal system”. These occur when technologies unlock or create new affordances (for example, the capability of having “superior market intelligence to identify nascent competitive threats and then acquire, copy, or kill these firms”, as mentioned in the recent report from the U.S. Congress (p.14)).
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Copyright 2020 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.