Any colour you like, Australia

To the indomitable Australia, where the dynamics of change and choice cause individualism to be the force for doing, and freedom an urgent state of mind– Art Linkletter, LinkLetter Down Under, 1968 So, there’s been a bit written about the Blackboard acquisition of NetSpot in Australia and Moodlerooms in the US, focused on the philosophical integrity of the open source project.  To a lesser extent it’s got people thinking about whether the LMS as we know it is going away,…

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Punctuate this

Here’s how timezones work.  Australia perpetually wakes up a) ahead of everyone else and b) the last to know what happened overnight.  And so it is with today’s discovery that while we were sleeping, Blackboard executives were tearing off their business suits and putting their underpants on over their tights in order to jump out of the phone box as crusaders for openness in education. Specifically, in the flurry of press releases about the acquisition of MoodleRooms and Australia’s own…

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Stuck in the middle

There’s something bothering me about the interesting project pulled together by Jeff Young at The Chronicle, intended to demonstrate that today’s college students are bored with yesterday’s lecturing tactics.  In January, Jeff asked students to video their thoughts on the traditional lecture experience.  Here’s his compilation of some of their responses: I don’t particularly disagree with anything the students say, and I really like that they took the trouble to video their thoughts and send them in.  Honestly, I think…

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Hope’s temper

Hope must be tempered by the complex reality of the times and viewed as a project and condition for providing a sense of collective agency, opposition, political imagination, and engaged participation. … Hope expands the space of the possible and becomes a way of recognizing and naming the incomplete nature of the present. (Henry Giroux, 2004) The Adjunct Project is one of the most important outcomes of the recent US summit on precarity in higher education. Behind it is an impressively…

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… and the ugly

What to make of this morning’s news that a senior academic in an administrative position breached anti-solicitation guidelines at the University of Sydney? Well, first of all, it’s not as colourful as it sounds. Noirish images come to mind, but the reality is more pedestrian. Faced with the need to boost enrolments, a department with an elite reputation based on a restrictive entry requirement made the decision to fish outside their exclusion zone. More than 100 students who had made…

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The robot and the muse

It’s that time of year. Predictions and lists everywhere, like the snow currently falling over Google, WordPress, bitly … (memo to northern hemisphere: look down very carefully and like Gulliver you will see the tiny little people from the other half of the world running around doing their Christmas shopping in shorts). It happens like this every year, but higher education has a particularly worried tone at the moment, which is no wonder considering the lack of restraint in the…

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Following orders

The police response to the UC Davis protests is rapidly becoming an issue on which it’s only acceptable to take one side. I’ve watched the pepper spray video over and over.  The first time you see it, you do find yourself holding your breath, hand over your mouth.  Many people have talked about watching it in tears, and I was one.  I’ve read the commentary, I’ve followed the outrage on Twitter, I’ve shown the video to my daughters who, for…

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Going underground

It’s Deleuze week here among the deckchairs, a problem I’m keen to sheet home to Michael Feldstein. I’m not normally a Deleuze reader—even in the brief moments of my life when I’m not thinking about what’s wrong with the OpenClass marketing strategy (see below)*—but the coincidences are piling up, including that a colleague has just pointed me to the 1990 conversation between Deleuze and Antonio Negri, on “Control and Becoming“. And in a genuinely rhizomatic sort of way, I’ve been…

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The mosquito and the raindrop

From Lindsay Tanner’s “adapt to eLearning or die” speech to Australian higher education, to Adrian Sannier’s soothing evolutionary metaphors to spin Pearson’s arrival as a predator in the LMS ecosystem, all sorts of people are drawing on the history of everything-until-now to figure out where we might be going with edtech. It’s evolutionary thinking, baby. I’m now trying to figure out how to make sense of the latest move that joins up Pearson and Knewton to deliver content, platform and analytics….

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Trust wipeout

From Cap and Gown yesterday, this question: Can someone in universities please start thinking about cultures of trust and what creates them?? The urgency of the double question mark won’t seem out of place to anyone working in universities at the moment. Across the academic-professional staff divide, or in the ways that academics and students talk about each other, or in the tense and often bitter exchanges between management and unions, there’s a tone that’s ungenerous at best, and openly suspicious…

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