Tuesday, December 7, 2010

catch of the day: trolling academia in cyberspace

This could become a regular feature... a mixture of annotated links to articles, essays, blog posts. So many to pick from, I'm bound to run out of space (unless I adapt the Omnivore format) or inadvertently miss gems. Feel free to call your attention to gaps, suggest links, etc.

The university wants three year degrees and – of course – oodles of online courses.

Muscle Memory, from the memorable Gin and Tacos

There is an activity I like to do in class from time to time in which I force students to turn off their spacephones and laptops and, as a group, accomplish some basic tasks and answer a few questions without the benefit of mobile electronics. I call it "A Trip Back in Time to 1993" (I'm sure the odd laptop could be spotted on campus back then, albeit without wifi). Since we can't leave the classroom and start running around campus, I ask them to formulate a plan to accomplish these tasks. I present them with some very simple if somewhat random questions. What are the last 5 bills that came up for a floor vote in the House? Which president signed the Posse Comitatus Act? Give me directions from campus to Washington DC. What is the weather in Moscow today? Is the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments today, and if so, what case? Stuff like that. Nothing complicated.

Union Urges College to Utilize Reserves, Oracle, SUNY New Paltz 

Members of the SUNY New Paltz chapter of the United University Professions (UUP) recently called for college administrators to utilize reserve funds in order to save faculty positions and curb cuts that could be introduced as the college copes with a $3.2 million deficit.

Class in the age of austerity, occasional notes & commentary

In a recent interview (which is scheduled to be published in Ceasefire Magazine), I [blogger David Ruccio] was asked about the recently announced austerity cuts in Britain. I explained the cuts were not necessary, and that what we needed to do was ask what the class project was behind them.

Joseph Stiglitz has provided a somewhat similar analysis of the plans to cut the deficit in the United States.

The Economist's New Clothes, also from the excellent occasional notes & commentary

The next time someone wants to argue that "Brad DeLong is not really a mainstream economist," let them ask him the following question: what do Econ 1 students need to remember most from the course? .... commodity markets are only one way among many of organizing the production and distribution of goods and services ... only one way among many of making sense of capitalist commodity markets.

Reading Habits, online that is and how they have changed this year, from the ReadWriteWeb

One of the more subtle trends of 2010 has been the way that our reading habits have changed, due to a convergence of other Web trends: mobile apps, real-time Web (mostly Twitter), and social networking as a way to track news (mostly Facebook). In the previous era of the Web, the so-called Web 2.0, RSS Readers and start pages were all the rage.

Noxious quote of the day for December 6, 2010 (from a content mill blog)

"One of the most difficult concepts for most college teachers working on an adjunct basis to grasp is the idea that post-secondary education is an industry formulated on business principals. The college students are the market, the college classroom is the production area and the college faculty members, especially the adjunct faculty, are the intellectual workers in the production area that serves the market of students seeking to earn a college degree." 

Inevitable but I still can't believe it site of the day, no hints; you'll have to see for yourself

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