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Sunday Night Linkage


Or, if you prefer, Monday morning…


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  • Jeffrey Beaumont

    MOOCs post was really great. I’m surprised no one else here posted it earlier.

    • Pigmund

      I definitely agree. Just finished reading the post, which explored in great depth some really worry things about the future of education, specifically in California, which is why I find it more even more alarming as a native of California.

    • Linnaeus

      Aaron Bady has been pretty good on the MOOC issue for a while now.

    • Manta

      Fully agree.
      Also the comments are good.

  • Popeye

    The conversation about MOOCs is not that different from the conversation about “Big Data” (although there are fewer people in the line of Big Data’s fire). Silicon Valley is pretty great at making up stories about radical change and will always come up with a sales pitch where they can “disrupt” a market that offers services that are somehow both incredibly valuable and remarkably easy to commoditize.

    The real worry in the education sphere is politics, technology is just a smokescreen. No one’s going to replace a Harvard education with some MOOCs, but there’s a lot of other damage that’s easier to achieve.

    • Jeffrey Beaumont

      Right, MOOCs are just the latest crap, and the Republicans and Neoliberals have had the long knives out for the university for a while now. But I like a good article that really describes the battle field on which we are fighting.

      • FMguru

        I’ve long figured that we’re headed for a two-tier educational system – the children of the rich get Ivy(-esque) diplomas and access to the networks they need to get ahead in life, everyone else makes do with online classes, i.e youtube lectures, multiple-choice quizes in flash, and essays that are graded by computer (or, if someone’s feeling fancy, graduate assistants earning $9.50 an hour with a quota of 30 exams graded/hour).

        O brave new world, yadda yadda.

  • Anonymous

    Linking to articles behind paywalls is sad panda. At least note which are walled?

    • stickler

      I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not going to click on a link to some paywalled article and it would be nice to know beforehand.

  • bspencer

    Oh geez, I’m sorry you didn’t like “Into Darkness.” I had high hopes. I really really enjoyed the first ST, and I’m not even a Trekkie.

    • Daragh McDowell

      We’re gonna have to put a big ol’ SPOILERS tag up top if we want to discuss Dr Farley’s unacceptable cultural errors taste in films…

      • bspencer

        Oh, so maybe I should give it a try anyway? Well, I don’t think I could talk hubby out of it anyway. Or me for that matter. I just loved the first one.

        • Daragh McDowell

          I definitely would. I think the complaints regarding fan service distracting from the plot are valid. I’d also be very interesting in seeing how much plans for the marketing campaign influenced the story and vice versa. But it’s good fun.

    • Watusie

      Words cannot describe how much I hated Abrams’ Star Trek reboot. The Kirk character was completely repulsive.

      • daveNYC

        The reboot was on shaky ground already, but it totally lost me when Kirk pushed Spock over the edge by yelling that Spock never loved his mother (who had died in front of Spock an hour or so previously)… At which point Spock, instead of punching Kirk’s head off, removes himself from command, gives said command to Kirk, and the entire damn bridge crew is like ‘great, Kirk is in command, lets kick ass’, as opposed to the much more likely, ‘dude, you’re a total dick’. And the icing on the cake is that Spock is OK with the idea that the two of them are supposed to end up being best buds. Harumph harumph.

        • Another Anonymous

          the entire damn bridge crew is like ‘great, Kirk is in command, lets kick ass’

          They were like no such thing.

          MCCOY: Well, congratulations, Jim. Now we’ve got no Captain and no goddamn first officer to replace him.
          KIRK: Yeah we do.
          (Kirk takes the Captain’s chair)
          MCCOY: What?
          SULU: Pike made him first officer.
          MCCOY: You’ve got to be kidding me.
          KIRK: Thanks for the support.
          UHURA: I sure hope you know what you’re doing, Captain.
          KIRK: So do I.

    • Halloween Jack

      I wouldn’t call STID “just awful”, although the plot twist at the end was telegraphed so blatantly (talk about “Chekov’s gun”) that I kept waiting for one of the characters to lampshade it [TVTropes]. Charlie Jane Anders’ work on io9 has always run hot and cold for me, and she isn’t making her case very well when she compares it unfavorably to Iron Man 3, which was much more of a mess.

  • Ruby

    I really tried, and maybe it was just the lack of anything substantial due to the No Spoilers, but I couldn’t even finish reading that review.

    Though it occurs to me that it may be harder to grasp some of the core themes of this movie if you’re not familiar with TNG and especially DS9.

    • Paulk

      That was one of the most inept reviews I’ve read about this film. I don’t think it’s in any way above criticism, but most of the complaints have been vastly more vacuous than the film. Aesthetically, people will like what they like. It’s just when people try to turn their aesthetic preferences into objective criticisms that they tend to fall apart.

  • Aaron B.

    Not entirely sure why the MOOCs post is “great” when it fails to understand or engage at all with the arguments in favor of MOOCs, and instead just wanders around the edges critiquing David Brooks columns for being insubstantive.

    • Aaron B.

      To put it slightly differently, pumping up the value of MOOCs in this way—declaring, by legislative fiat, that MOOCs are now convertible with “real courses”—actually does have an important cost. If the platonic ideal of the classroom experience is the gold standard, then declaring that a bunch of other unrelated metals are also gold will lower its value, especially if those metals are freely available, in infinite supplies. Why would someone pay a teacher to give one-on-one attention to students when those students could get the same formal credential from an online course? You can point out that there is an actual and effective difference between a student to professor of 17 to 1 (in the gold standard class) and a ratio of 10,000 to 1, where a student will effectively never have a personalized interaction with the professor. But once market equivalency has entered the equation, once the market recognizes an equivalence between a MOOC and an in-person class, pointing out the difference that is experienced by the student will be trumped by the equivalence of market logic, which will dictate paying the cheaper of the two. An in-person education will become a unnecessary luxury: like gold itself, it will no longer be the “gold standard,” the basis of educational value, but rather, simply, an ornamental marker of elite status.

      Describing the concept of “disruptive innovation,” wholly in awe of his own ability to deduce it from first principles, wholly ignorant of the fact that yes, this is precisely the point.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Describing the concept of “disruptive innovation,” wholly in awe of his own ability to deduce it from first principles, wholly ignorant of the fact that yes, this is precisely the point.

        Except, of course, that as Bady points out at length this “disruption” is accomplished by pretending that a grossly inferior facsimile of university education is the same as the real thing.

        • Aaron

          No, that’s it exactly. It’s not supposed to be a cheaper version of the same thing; that’s just standard innovation. Disruptive innovation is worse, but so much cheaper that it makes up the difference by being able to serve new market segments. It’s the difference between IBM making mainframe computers and Apple making PCs. Sure, a mainframe may be “better” – faster, more functional, better capable of doing the kinds of things people traditionally thought of as the province of computers. But the PC was so much cheaper and more flexible that it was able to take over the market despite its “inferiority.”

          What you’re not getting is that for so many students (like me) the expense and the rigamarole of the four-year college model are hugely burdensome. I have to work full-time just to take two classes a term at the local community college. Something dramatically cheaper and easier to use would be a huge boon to me. I’m not going to get a Harvard degree, so why does every school’s business model need to revolve around trying (and failing) Harvard’s pedagogy?

          • Aaron B.

            *failing to emulate Harvard’s pedagogy

  • Ha Nguyen

    I just saw STID and, may I say, Charlie Anders is talking through her hat. I loved STID and was bored with Iron Man 3. Bah. These younguns who don’t get Star Trek . . . . Of course, Kirk is going to pull through! He’s always been lucky, the man with the plan.

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