But online learning is here to stay. Doug Guthrie of GWU says the real gold in them thare hills is big data, doesn’t exactly seem to me like a news flash, since indeed there is even a MOOC on big data in education. (Love the creepy illustration of “baby’s first MOOC”).
From the Forbes Online article:
The cloud drives of yesteryear; they were–um–libraries.
MOOCs are not a transformative innovation that will remake academia. That honor belongs to a more disruptive and far-reaching innovation—Big Data and its application, and the adaptive education that results. The vast numbers of data sets that are collected daily, or Big Data, will likely revolutionize online learning by allowing educators to customize learning to individual students through adaptive learning.
I’m not suggesting that MOOCs will disappear completely. Instead, I think they’ll be forced to rewire their programming to become a more successful online enterprise and morph into an adaptive experience.
I don’t agree…they will morph, no doubt, but I think the scale is part of what is transformational, and what it will transform may well be our idea of what an individual course and a whole curriculum should be.
A little tardy in posting, and lots of interesting news to ponder, including the Bradley Manning verdict. But instead, I’ll just share Bernstein’s “Some Other Time” from On The Town. I saw a charming production of the musical at Boston’s Lyric State a few months back, and was struck by how good the score is, particularly this ensemble number that could pass for Sondheim.
The shore leave for our heroes is over and they are bidding farewell to their girlfriends, with bittersweet backwards glances all around.
Here it is in a solo version by Jane Monheit.
Tad overproduced, yes. But mix a martini and seems just right.
And then this oddly affecting version from a Swedish jazz singer I didn’t know, Monica Zetterlund, accompanied by the great Bill Evans.
From a Swedish doc, subtitled in Swedish (I think) and with old Monica listening to young Monica. Probably a media theory term paper in their somewhere.
Finally, Evans by himself.
Selah. Happy Wednesday.
From a new (to me at least) web journal on academe called Symposium Magazine, Rick Wilson, a former National Science Foundation dissects some of Congress’ ire towards the social sciences.
From the piece:
Auguste Comte, termed by many the father of sociology, and likely an unsuccessful NSF grantee were he alive today.
Many members of Congress still understand the importance of basic research. But more and more are questioning which sciences are legitimate, and the social sciences are a tempting target. It is difficult to predict spinoffs from basic social science research. After all, the social sciences do not produce patents; they seldom produce widgets; and the object of study is not about manipulating the physical world. Instead, social scientists study humans and their interactions. This has prompted lawmakers to question whether the social sciences are even a science. They assume that their experience gives them a “commonsense” understanding of the political world that is far more astute than the analysis of political scientists. In this view, pundits and polls are all it takes to elaborate on what everyone commonly knows.
The hallmark of science, however, is the systematic and rigorous investigation of phenomena. Social scientists observe patterns in the world, formulate theories that explain the underlying mechanisms for those patterns, and then proceed to systematically test those theories. The theories come in all varieties, ranging from detailed descriptions of a social phenomenon to abstract mathematical models that strip away the rich context of the social environment to focus on a specific mechanism. These studies show that many “commonsense” understandings of the social world are, in fact, incorrect. Yet lawmakers still continue to pursue policy solutions based on opinion rather than fact.
I suppose we could elect scientifically literate legislators, but that’s crazy talk. Wilson’s piece is long, but worth reading.
My fave of a good group:
Modeling the head of a beer
“Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”
Also introduced me to a hitherto unknown to me genre of jokes: about TCP/IP.
A TCP packet walks into a bar, and says to the barman: “Hello, I’d like a beer.” The barman replies: “Hello, you’d like a beer?” “Yes,” replies the TCP packet, “I’d like a beer.”
TLS has a review of a new entry in the “middle age journalist writes a book about playing the piano” genre. (Well, there are two, so maybe genre is over stating it).
The lead (whole review behind their paywall, sorry:
The businessman Gilbert Kaplan decided to master the art of conducting for a single piece: he taught himself Mahler’s Second Symphony, and has become a world expert on the work. That was a quixotic undertaking, for if he could conduct one piece, why not another? Alan Rusbridger undertook a similarly limited task: during the few minutes he could find each day while being Editor of the Guardian, he taught himself to play Chopin’s Ballade No 1, Op 23. Unlike Kaplan as a conductor, Rusbridger was already a good amateur pianist, and was not starting from scratch; perhaps he was deliberately conceiving a literary as well as a musical conceit, so that the process of mastery could be turned into an approachable diary. The result is an absorbing and technically detailed book, in which the daily events of a newspaper during a tempestuous year play only a walk-on role. Rusbridger has to bring in Arnold Bennett to vouch for the importance of his leisure-time activity; he is inspired by regular chamber music playing with a group of upmarket intellectuals, and by the words of the critic Irving Wardle, who coins the delightful aphorism: “I am an excellent pianist. The only snag is that I don’t play very well”.
That Wardle bit describes me to a T! I didn’t know about Kaplan, but certainly do know the Ballads, which I am unequal to as a pianist, and will ever be so.
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, mentioned at the end of Nicholas Kenyon’s lively review certain is equal to it and then some.
Finally a gentle, breezy July day in DC (rare commodity after the run of humid, sticky, hoped-for-rain-that-doesn’t come-days).
Emily Dickinson offers a tour of one of her Amherst summers:
PSALM OF THE DAY.
A something in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer’s noon, —
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;
Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.
The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;
Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,
Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;
Or bees, that thought the summer’s name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;
Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint, — some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;
Or wind’s bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before
The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.
To my earlier question, Snowden: Hero or Criminal?, Rebecca says hero, emphatically.
From Tom’s Dispatch:
Someday you may be regarded as a Mandela of sorts for the information age, or perhaps a John Brown, someone who refused to fit in, to bow down, to make a system work that shouldn’t work, that should explode. And perhaps we’re watching it explode.
She goes further than many would, but a viewpoint worth considering. For me it’s the “trust us it’s making you safer, but, of course, we can’t tell you just how,” argument that is so unsettling, and it sort of still gets a pass from parts of the left, right, and center.