From the Philosophy of the Open to the Ideology of the User-Friendly

Apple’s marketing strategy in the 1980s presented its products as democratic and liberating, but the freedoms the Apple users enjoy include the inability to customize or otherwise access the working interior. Apple users trade freedom for security. In short, expansion slots made standardization impossible (partly because software writers needed consistent underlying hardware to produce widely functioning products) whereas what Raskin and Jobs both sought was a system which was an…

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Kindle App Vs. iBooks. (Spoiler: They’re Virtually Identical Now!)

I noticed with interest that Kindle now lets you highlight text in different colors. It’s also very easy now to tweet a brief quote. Is it time to revise the blog-based pedagogy I’ve developed over the past 10 or so years, and ask students to tweet a few passages while they read them for the first time, then use their blogs to follow up on their initial responses? Something to…

The MOOC Honeymoon is Over: Three Takeaways from the Coursera Calamity

The honeymoon with MOOCs is over. The reality check has finally arrived which was inevitable. MOOCs will not solve all the woes of higher education. It is unfortunate it had to be a class on how to design an online course; it was the Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application [FOE] offered through Coursera that brought things to a screeching halt. But this experience can provide an opportunity for…

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Essay on the flaws of distance education

The web also creates the illusion that all information is available and accessible to anyone at any time. This common view represses the real disparities of access in our world and also undermines the need for educational experts. After all, if you can get all knowledge from Wikipedia or a Google search, why do you need teachers or even  colleges? In response to this attitude, we should recenter higher education…

What the New York Times’s ‘Snow Fall’ Means to Online Journalism’s Future

The New York Times debuted a new multimedia feature Thursday so beautiful it has a lot of people wondering — especially those inside the New York Times — if the mainstream media is about to forgo words and pictures for a whole lot more. Unlike a standard words-on-page article that doesn’t diverge too much from print in the design department, “Snow Fall,” a multi-“chapter” series by features reporter John Branch, integrates video, photos, and graphics…

The end of history and the last website

Something else has changed, too, beyond the proliferation of screens. Today, I don’t think—and I’m almost afraid to write this, because it’s like the tolling of some great bell—today I don’t think the amateur’s best effort is good enough. We as internet users have less patience and less charity for janky, half-broken experiences. (Which is quite an evolution, because the whole internet used to be a janky, half-broken experience.) That’s…