A very engaging yet deeply frustrating book, Andrew Delbanco’s College tries to offer a grand vision of higher education, but falls into the error of mistaking a niche for the whole.
College is, mostly, a pleasure to read. Delbanco is passionate about his subject, and keenly committed to learning. His account of academic history draws nicely from primary sources, yielding humorous quotes and echoes of the present. Delbanco’s prose is thoughtful and elegant.
His overall claim for a specific form of higher education is also appealing. He envisions small classrooms led by engaging professors, spaces where inquiry and discussion range freely. I agree with the excellence of this vision based on my work as a teacher and from my memories of being a student. Delbanco’s additional claim that colleges can boost citizens’ democratic engagement is one I’m sympathetic to.
However, this vision is so partial and limited as to constitute at best a kind of special pleading. At worst the book is a grossly inaccurate depiction of higher education in reality.
People have been using Twitter to tell stories for several years. Steven Soderbergh is the latest creator to tweet a tale, a crime novella called “Glue.”
You can follow “Glue” through Soderbergh’s Twitter feed, or read this Storify of its first chapter.
[View the story "Steven Soderbergh's Twitter Novella" on Storify]
Thank you to EdTech, which just named this site as one of the year’s 50 Must-Read Higher Education Technology Blogs. It’s excellent to be in such fine company, especially since this blog is so young.
Just added: a page on the professional services I provide.
This includes information about speaking, consulting, facilitation, and more.
2020 Media Futures is a fine example of a collaborative futuring project. The topic is specific (Canada’s media landscape), but the practices are quite generally applicable.
2020MF uses a variety of futures methods:
- Environmental scanning, or signals from the media future. These are primarily news stories, arranged under general futures rubrics (Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, Political, Values, or STEEPV) and media-specific topics (books, tv, etc).
- Trend analysis. 2020MF determined a series of likely, powerful forces, again arrayed against STEEPV categories.
- Driver identification, or the forces underpinning the already-selected trends and signals. Read the full page for a good description of how they managed the group work.
- Critical uncertainties, the powerful forces which could still appear in very different forms, unlike trends. Note the way these are very industry-specific:
In 2012 Americans conducted more political activity online than ever before, according to a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. This is significant stuff, especially for educators.
First, the numbers are impressive: “39% of adults do political or civic activities on social networking sites.” While not a majority, that’s a hefty minority, and compares favorably with the proportion of eligible voters who actually vote.
Indeed, a key takeaway from this report is that online political engagement seems to be about at par with offline. For example:
39% of American adults have recently contacted a government official or spoken out in a public forum about an issue that is important to them via offline means… 34% have done so via online methods.
Petitions: “22% of American adults have recently signed a paper petition; 17% have signed a petition online.” Contacting officials: “21% of American adults have recently contacted a government official about an issue that is important to them in person, by phone, or by letter; 18% have done so online, by email, or by text message.”
When it comes to sharing thoughts with fellow citizens, new media is beating old: “7% of American adults have recently called into a live radio or TV show to express an opinion about a political or social issue; 18% have commented on an online news story or blog post about this type of issue. Continue reading
Although 2013 lacks flying cars and space colonies, it does offer some occasional glimpses of what the future was supposed to be. For example, this week the Cassini probe team published their successfully photographing of meteors as they crashed through Saturn’s rings.
What an extraordinary thing, these glimpses of hurtling rocks passing through the solar system’s most glorious planetary rings. Traces of quick violence, captured by an atomic-powered robot probe, then hurled hundreds of millions of miles to an Earth where we share them with pocket computers and networked strangers? Yes, sometimes it feels like we are indeed living in science fiction.