Monday, May 31, 2010
Experienced newspaperman Fuller provides an interesting analysis of the state of journalism, tying the fate of news coverage not to the fate of print and ink publishing but to the condition of our society and the need for honest, reliable reporting. Fuller covers the emergence of journalism as a profession, the development of its principles and methods, the challenges offered by television and then the Internet, and suggestions regarding its future. Fuller does not defend traditional journalism, but he, instead, shows where the field needs to accommodate new readers and technologies. While independence and verification must remain, Fuller suggests that other traditional notions, such as neutrality and disinterestedness, may be far less important or relevant.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
May 17, 2010 from CNN:
"Unlike paper books or e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, which does not emit its own light, the iPad's screen shines light directly into the reader's eyes from a relatively close distance. That makes the iPad and laptops more likely to disrupt sleep patterns than, say, a television sitting across the bedroom or a lamp that illuminates a paper book, both of which shoot far less light straight into the eye, researchers said."
...Although you should read the rest of the story and see the video from CNN, because some people don't agree...go to http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/05/13/sleep.gadgets.ipad/
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
[ http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2010/scout-100507-re.php#5 ]
Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next [pdf]http://pewresearch.org/millennials/
Some might ask: What is a millennial? The short answer is "the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium." The Pew Research Center first started looking at this group in 2006, and this 149-page report released in February 2010 was edited by Paul Taylor and Scott Keeter. The report notes that the millennials are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults, and that they are less religious and on track to become "the most educated generation in American history." On this site, visitors will find the complete nine-chapter report, along with the survey methodology and appendices. Visitors can also read an executive summary of the report here,view video from the Pew Research Center regarding the report, and also take a short quiz on millennials.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Darden is one of a handful of schools that decided to give the larger-screened Kindle DX a trial run in select classes to see how well it fared in the academic environment. And, it's not the first to conclude that the Kindle isn't quite right for its students. Arizona State University recently completed its own pilot program for the Kindle DX and wasn't particularly impressed—the university also settled a lawsuit with the American Council for the Blind, agreeing to use devices that were more accessible to the blind in the future. Princeton was also underwhelmed by its Kindle test; one student described the device as a "poor excuse of an academic tool" in an interview with the Daily Princetonian.I wonder how the outcome of this experiment will bode for those schools who have "leaped forward" with the iPad"?
Monday, May 10, 2010
Nelson clusters much of his concern around the corporate university. For example, he concludes, “Many of the values higher education has traditionally promoted – from free inquiry to a commitment to the public good – cannot remain credible if a university adopts the employment policies of a ruthless corporation” (pp. 58-59). Nelson laments the likely failure or loss of interest of the corporate university in “educating students to be critical participants in a democracy” (p. 73). While some may applaud the end of such an educational agenda, the implications are dire: “The flawed public image of our ethical status undermines academic freedom and diminishes every element of our mission. A university that acts like a corporation cannot expect to be viewed as anything else” (p. 78). In this sense, No University Is Like An Island joins a growing chorus of case studies, memoirs, and research about the implications of the corporate university model.
The difference with Nelson’s book, one that is certainly part memoir of his work with the AAUP, is its focus on faculty (individually and collectively) responsibility for what has happened in the academy. There has been a loss of collective memory amongst the faculty: “The loss of institutional memory among the faculty makes for a wonderful opportunity for higher education’s corporate managers: they can remake higher education without objection from a faculty that does not know the difference” (p. 74). Nelson attributes this to tenured faculty who have become self-absorbed and the growth of and reliance on contingent faculty: “Two generations of tenure-track faculty – obsessed exclusively with their academic disciplines – have been distracted and inattentive as the character of campus decision making has been gradually transformed. This trend has been accelerated by the growing number of contingent faculty lacking the job security that undergirds academic freedom and shared governance” (p. 105). One result of such inattention is the potential loss of tenure altogether, creating grand challenges down the road. First, there is the problem of how academic administration will evolve: “The world without tenure is a world of administrative fiat – first over all elements of shared governance, then over academic freedom as it applies to faculty speech in public and in the classroom” (p. 92). Second, there is the matter of just what a future faculty might look like. Nelson states, “We have seen the future, and the faculty is not there” (p. 194).
Despite a lot of pessimism or cynicism, Nelson constantly reminds the reader that there is always the possibility of taking corrective action. He pounds home this point by charting the changes that have occurred with the AAUP in the past few decades, as it has become a more proactive watchdog about academic affairs. Nelson argues that we need to learn from our mistakes: “Bad decisions indeed tend to haunt us, remaining teachable moments that last for decades” (p. 125).
The sense of academic memory and action is what one takes from the book. Indeed, from my own perspective of serving as a program chair and SIS Council Chair I have become concerned about the rapid growth in self-assessment, planning, and other related activities that engage more and more of our time. My concern is not a need to resist such demands, but more about how we can transform the process into useful individual and collective evaluation that strengthens our work rather than distracting us from our research and teaching. This is something I will be wrestling with over the summer as I prepare for a new academic year. I believe we have a long way to go before we learn how to do such work sensibly and in a fashion that protects our own roles as university faculty.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Among many other functions, a traditional operating system coordinates access by applications to the underlying resources of the machine - things like the CPU, memory, disk storage, keyboard and screen. The operating system kernel schedules processes, allocates memory, manages interrupts from devices, handles exceptions, and generally makes it possible for multiple applications to share the same hardware.
As a result, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that "cloud computing" platforms like Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine, or Microsoft Azure, which provide developers with access to storage and computation, are the heart of the emerging Internet Operating System.
Cloud infrastructure services are indeed important, but to focus on them is to make the same mistake as Lotus did when it bet on DOS remaining the operating system standard rather than the new GUI-based interfaces. After all, Graphical User Interfaces weren't part of the "real" operating system, but just another application-level construct. But even though for years, Windows was just a thin shell over DOS, Microsoft understood that moving developers to higher levels of abstraction was the key to making applications easier to use.
But what are these higher levels of abstraction? Are they just features that hide the details of virtual machines in the cloud, insulating the developer from managing scaling or hiding details of 1990s-era operating system instances in cloud virtual machines?
The underlying services accessed by applications today are not just device components and operating system features, but data subsystems: locations, social networks, indexes of web sites, speech recognition, image recognition, automated translation. It's easy to think that it's the sensors in your device - the touch screen, the microphone, the GPS, the magnetometer, the accelerometer - that are enabling their cool new functionality. But really, these sensors are just inputs to massive data subsystems living in the cloud.