Midsummer whimsy: How to write recommendations for 847 students

Imagine writing a letter of reccommendation for one of the hundreds of students in your money-saving Massive Open Online Course: I’m pleased to recommend the person who identifies herself as Amy Clayton in my MOOC of 11,389 students, Education and Society. I have known Ms. Clayton since she began the course on May 16, 2012 at 4:15 a.m. Her avatar visited the class website regularly, and its eyes were wide-open,…

Remediation Nation: Why College Students Say High School Needs Change

Why don’t states require students to take four years of English and math, and three or four years of science? Why isn’t there a class dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of writing? For that matter, why don’t we require more than two years of history or social studies and foreign language? The students want it—69 percent of respondents say high school graduation requirements are “very” or “pretty” easy, while 37…

When Tragedy Hits, Photojournalists Balance Reporting and Emotion

“I think this is a clear example of the fact that sensitivity matters as a photojournalist,” says Gutierrez. “If you can’t feel and if you can’t approach this like a human being you’re not going to make pictures that mean anything.” That sense of care works its way up the chain of command at newspapers and other news organizations around the country where editors are also faced with tough decisions…

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Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads

On the topic of massively open online courses, an academic says what many of us who teach online are thinking. Do you really WANT TO SAVE SOME MONEY using INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY? Ok, try this one on for size. Why weren’t you blathering on asking why the heck we all bought Blackboard or if you really want to go into the dark ages, WebCT, for years and then kept buying it…

‘Techie Computer Programmer Guy’ And The Website Reddit Deliver The News

Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook have become part of the fabric of news stories — or the story itself — in recent years, notably during the Arab Spring. But in the hours after the Aurora shooting, the abundance of eyewitness journalism and conversation on Reddit turned the news aggregator into a surprising source of information on a national story. Reddit is a notably utilitarian site — it doesn’t…

Bard of Borg
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The Trouble With Online Education

I’ve taught an online “Video Game Culture and Theory” course about four times now. This fall I’m getting ready to teach my first online section of an American literature survey that I’ve taught multiple times before. Because Seton Hill is a very high-tech school, I have few technical worries, but it will be different teaching literature in an online environment. I usually like thinking of technology as a way to…

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Life in Code and Software (Open Humanities Press)

This book explores the relationship between living, code and software. Technologies of code and software increasingly make up an important part of our urban environment. Indeed, their reach stretches to even quite remote areas of the world. Life in Code and Software introduces and explores the way in which code and software are becoming the conditions of possibility for human living, crucially forming a computational ecology, made up of disparate…

Cash-strapped Berlin stalked by 540-year-old debt

A certificate of debt, found in a regional archive, attests that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28 1562, to be repaid with six percent interest per year. According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to 112 million euros ($136.79 million). –Reuters.com. But hold on — 2012 -1562 imeans the debt is 450 years old, not 540.