whimsical, social commentary, sociology, irony,

Daphne Koller and the Problem with Coursera

Coursera is a for-profit company that has joined with top universities to deliver free online courses. The “free” part sounds great until we realize the real intent of companies like Coursera is to transition into producing monetized, for-credit university courses. To many academics this represents a conflict of interest that compromises the independence and integrity [...]

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Special of the Day: Essays and Exams à la Carte

MOOCs + Cheating = Easy If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I’ve been writing about the drawbacks of accrediting online courses. I’ve also been reading blogs written by pro-accreditation educators, many of whom are quick to assert that “old-guard” teachers are afraid of incoming technologies. Many also feel that online education, like open [...]

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Online Degrees: Your Cheating Heart

Online-ed is being touted as the future of all education. A lot of teachers are saying, “Not so fast.” Here’s why:   These days, education experts of all stripes are getting infected with the technology bug and are making a lot of statements about the future of brick and mortar institutions, statements blithely predicting the [...]

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Globalization, Education and the Case of the Missing Toilets

Promoters of MOOCs want us to believe that educational technology is fair, apolitical and will benefit everyone. I’ll be using Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else to frame my argument. Freeland is a Canadian who hails from Peace River, Alberta. She currently lives in New York and [...]

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A Murder is Announced: the Death of the Classroom

This article is about the impending death of classroom teaching; the psychics are two e-tech enthusiasts from Silicon Valley.  A revolution is coming to U.S. higher education, one that will sweep away an archaic business model, erase the value of many venerable brands, and enhance the brands of new entrants and nimble incumbents. It will [...]

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Transparency on the Internet: Do I really want to know?

I’m using a story from Canadian author Alice Munro as an analogy for open data. I spend the first few paragraphs discussing it — then, on to open data. In Alice Munro’s “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage,” Johanna Perry, a homely housekeeper, lands the delectable but down-and-out Ken Boudreau: He had figured out by now [...]

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Mock Heroism and the Theatre of Cunning

In this article, I take a look at heroism using recent events in Canadian healthcare and the IT world. More specifically, I write about my hospital experience, Aaron Swartz’s suicide and Hamed Al-Khabaz’ expulsion from Dawson College, in Montreal. All thoughts here are my own. In Timothy Findley’s novel The Wars, a young officer, Robert Ross, defies [...]

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