Author Archives: morgan

Reading: Academic Freedom and the LMS

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Timid university administrators bow to bullying system admins, aggressive accreditation institutions, and a political use of FERPA by local IT admins to keep the adjuncts in their assigned place and their LMS contracts sacrosanct.

The problem: mandatory use of a system-sanctioned LMS.

The solution: regaining the discussion, invoking standards of teaching.

The most important standard I would bring to any discussion about what technology should be employed on campus and the faculty role in how it should be employed is that faculty deserve the same prerogatives when they use an online tool as they do when they are teaching in an entirely conventional face-to-face classroom. To suggest anything else defeats the purpose of moving any part of a class online in the first place.

The second standard I would bring to any discussion of how technology like the LMS should be employed on campus is that faculty should be offered as many technological choices as possible and that they should be the ones who make the final decision about which ones they use.

The final standard I would bring to a discussion of the LMS is that the result should be as close to the open Internet as humanly possible. That means faculty have to be able to employ tools that exist entirely outside their LMS if they so choose, like Slack or Hypothes.is, the open source web annotation program.

Because

college campuses are the kinds of places that are supposed to be on the cutting edge of technology since they have so many smart people on them. Treat those smart people like the average corporate peon when it comes to how they teach – the action at the center of their job descriptions – and you are going to have a lot of very unhappy smart people on your hands.

Reading: Trump: the only ‘real Americans’ are white | The Guardian

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Commercialization of the civil religion, rituals, and symbols started years ago. Trump’s appropriation of them is possible only because they have become commodities.

Trump has hijacked the American civil religion, a concept that should serve as a basis for unity for citizens and used it in an attempt to further divide us along lines of race, party and religion in the name of political expediency.

Reading: Language Log » They triumphs?

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Because language is always political. Pronouns reawaken. Remember tis/ter/tem? A statement from Manjoo, a commentary from Language Log, and an index to earlier columns.

Manjoo is apparently suggesting that everyone should choose the opt-out option, at least with respect to pronoun choices, so that they replaces he and she just as you replaced thou. This will certainly get pushback from traditionalists like Mary Norris. Will there also be objections from people on the other side, who want to see explicit non-gendered pronoun choice retained as an expression of personal identity?

Reading: Language Log » Corpora and the Second Amendment: “bear arms” (part 3)

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From part 1

My focus in this post will be on the Supreme Court’s conclusion that at the time the Second Amendment was proposed and ratified, bear arms unambiguously meant ‘carry weapons, for purposes of being prepared for a confrontation,’ without regard to whether the carrying was in connection with military service. What I conclude is that even without taking account of how bear arms was actually used, the court’s arguments don’t hold up. Assuming for the sake of argument that bear arms could reasonably have been understood to mean what the court said it meant, the court didn’t show that it unambiguously meant that.

If you doubt the conclusions, you can run your own analysis on the data he provides.

the pool of data that is inconsistent with Heller (not including lines that are ambiguous) is increased by about two-thirds, from 505 to 847.

Reading: It’s Time to Move Away from the Digital Classroom in Our Smartphone-Altered Universe

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Smartphones and pervasiveness could help us undo the knots education admin created for online learning.

Education administrators who have bought into the various digital-platform models, on the other hand, have long seen their avenues of digital instruction as a way to reduce reliance on teachers by regularizing curricula through digital replication and turning the teachers into overseers, people there simply to solve problems as students take more and more control of their education. The digital, these people dreamed, could make most teachers redundant.

Though student control of their own education is a laudable goal, that’s not the only goal of those pushing online education. Cost-cutting and streamlining are even more important ends. Producing a workforce augmentation implemented seamlessly also is.

The growth of the student as a person and a citizen is not. Education, as we have defined it in the United States (until recently), is not.

Thing is, the digital landscape our students inhabit has changed dramatically since the old assumptions about digital utility in education were formulated. The smartphone has become student interface with much of the world, including families and, yes, classrooms. Anyone simply looking around today can see that the smartphone should be changing all of assumptions about utility of digital tools–but it hasn’t.

Reading: An Ode to ‘Desperate Don’

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It’s not an ode. More of a note towards grappling with reality. Would have been more effective as an ode, but trump doesn’t deserve one.

it is when Trump lies out of desperation, out of the fear of being found out, blamed, reprimanded, possibly even abandoned, that most people can relish it. It is in those moments that Trump is most human and our ire toward this liar is most vindicated and validated.