Reading: Education in the Corporate Oz | ACADEME BLOG

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Online Ed is a swindle. MnSCU endorses it. Corporate culture endorses it. Some faculty endorse it. Even students endorse it when it serves them to side-step a requirement. Part of the swindle has public ed selling off public resources to corporate interests under the guise of filling a gap. But the gap is between solid face to face education and lower quality DE. It can’t be filled, but there is money to be made in selling filler.

This swindle lies behind Carey’s essay. To save money, many universities are moving more heavily than ever before into online education, charging as much, sometimes, for their new courses as they do for their more costly (to the institutions) on-campus courses. Even public institutions are involved: They charge the same for online and hybrid (partly online and partly classroom) courses as they do for classroom-based ones, though it costs much less for the institutions to offer such courses. This saves so much money that the colleges and universities are loathe to signal that they are providing a lower-standard product through their online and hybrid catalogs. So, they maintain the fiction by charging the same for both. They want to keep that money coming in; they don’t feel they can afford to admit, through a separate pricing structure, that the online and hybrid courses are not on the same level of instruction as what goes on when the focus of education is at least three hours a week of personal “interface.”

Reading: Academic Freedom in a Triangle of Threats | ACADEME BLOG

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We’re looking at you, d2l. Learning environments threaten and constrained academic free speech.

EdTech aimed at producing a personalized experience for students undercuts the values of core curricula and education as a collective experience.

Correspondingly, education is reduced to content and professors to content deliverers, and students have less opportunity to stretch beyond their own perspectives and acquire awareness of others’ differences. Student data is mined for profit by private industry and various incentives and constraints put pressure on educators to adopt EdTech for the purpose of generating this profit. The schools themselves don’t profit, but the false economy of whiz-bang automated efficiency makes EdTech difficult for most schools to resist.

More on the point,

Dr. Hearn predicts that postsecondary educators will “increasingly be asked to prefigure course content in advance to make it more amenable to datafication and coding.” She concludes by warning that “the current free speech debates provide a familiar distraction from what is, in fact, an unprecedented assault on university autonomy by educational technologies and their proprietary, black-boxed forms of data extraction.”

This has been happening for years, with standardized templates for course descriptions and learning objectives that assist admins and data kids.

Resist.

Reading: Trump’s Attack on Campus Free Speech

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How to manipulate free speech guarantees.

The Trump Administration needed to deal with the problem that the colleges with the worst speech codes are conservative religious colleges. The solution was to include a hypocritical rule in the Executive Order that says private colleges will be judged only by “compliance with stated institutional policies.” Since conservative colleges openly state that they suppress free speech, they will be immune from any action (not that any Trump official would ever dare to punish a conservative college).

By contrast, if a more liberal private college aspires to protect free speech, they can have their federal funds taken away based on a Republican bureaucrat’s regulatory interpretation of the campus’ values. This Executive Order will tend to reduce free speech at private colleges, because colleges will have an incentive to remove any promises to protect free speech in order to avoid being vulnerable to federal funding cutbacks. And if private colleges have policies that provide stronger protections for free speech than the First Amendment (as many do), they can lose federal funding even if they meet First Amendment standards.

Reading: Nunes sues Twitter for all the rude stuff tweeted about him • The Register

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All these secret societies – all these adolescent politicos. https://ift.tt/2Jw6bMu

The lawsuit even goes so far as to suggest that the accounts weren’t just the work of people intent on making fun of him, but rather were part of a conspiracy, perhaps backed by his political opponents, and claims that Twitter was negligent in allowing the cruel jibes to continue.

“The Twitter attacks on Nunes were pre-planned, calculated, orchestrated and undertaken by multiple individuals acting in concert, over a continuous period of time exceeding a year,” the complaint, made public ahead of being filed, stated.

Reading: The real reason Trump is pushing a free speech order on college campuses (opinion) – CNN

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Rhetoric at center.

I understand that those on the far right — people like climate-change deniers, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — are frustrated that universities are not always inviting places for their ideas. But if they want their ideas to be taken seriously, then they must make more persuasive and factually-based arguments for the validity of those ideas. People who stand on a university platform or whose work appears in the pages of well-respected journals have earned — not demanded — their right to be there.

Reading: The Making of the Fox News White House | The New Yorker

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Start planning the dissertations in communications and the role of the capitalist press.

Gertz, of Media Matters, argues, “The President’s world view is being specifically shaped by what he sees on Fox News, but Fox’s goals are ratings and money, which they get by maximizing rage. It’s not a message that is going to serve the rest of the country.”

Jerry Taylor, the co-founder of the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington for moderates, says, “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.”