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academic freedom

What is academic freedom?

there is too little understanding of what academic freedom means. It is not absolute and it is not the simple equivalent of “freedom of speech.” All citizens have, or should have, the latter, but only individuals who have specified educational and professional qualifications are entitled to academic freedom within universities. In the words of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), they are granted the “freedom to teach and discuss; freedom to carry out research and disseminate and publish the results thereof; freedom to produce and perform creative works; freedom to engage in service to the institution and the community; freedom to express one’s opinion about the institution, its administration, and the system in which one works.”

Internet freedom

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social media and freedom of speech

the use of social media, personal versus institutional, or personal in the context of an institutional repercussions, is a complex and thorny issue. How much can one criticize the institution in their personal social media? And if the institution responds, when does it become silencing the social media as expression of free speech?

Is the article below touching only a specific [political] issue, or academia, as an institution, goes beyond this issue in imposing on freedom of speech?

Why I Was Fired

http://chronicle.com/article/Why-I-Was-Fired/233640

My tweets might appear uncivil, but such a judgment can’t be made in an ideological or rhetorical vacuum. Insofar as “civil” is profoundly racialized and has a long history of demanding conformity, I frequently choose incivility as a form of communication. This choice is both moral and rhetorical.

Academics are usually eager to contest censorship and deconstruct vague charges of vulgarity. When it comes to defending Israel, though, anything goes.

Students are capable of serious discussion, of formulating responses, of thinking through discomfort. They like my teaching because I refuse to infantilize them; I treat them as thinking adults. My philosophy is simple: Teach them the modes and practices of critical thought and let them figure out things on their own.

Professors are often punished for disrupting convention in informal ways, however. My case is interesting because administrators ignored the de facto standards that regulate our behavior and exercised their power directly. This should be worrisome to any scholar who isn’t a sycophant.

The coming of “academic capitalism” has been anticipated and praised for years; today it is here.
Benjamin Ginsberg points out that in the past 30 years, the administrator-to-student ratio has increased while the instructor-to-student ratio has stagnated. The rise of untenured, or non-tenure-track, faculty exacerbates the problem; a significant demographic in academe lacks job security or the working conditions that allow them to maximize their pedagogical talent. Over a recent 10-year period, spending on administration outpaced spending on instruction. At American universities, there are now more administrators and their staffers than full-time faculty. In the past 10 years, administrative salaries have steadily risen while custodians and groundskeepers suffer the inevitable budget cuts — as do the students whose tuition and fees supplement this largess.

When so much money is at stake, those who raid the budget have a deep interest in maintaining the reputation of the institution. Their privilege and the condition of the brand are causally related. The brand thus predominates. Its predominance often arrives at the expense of student well-being.

critical thinking is a terribly undesirable quality in the corporate world, much more damning than selfishness or sycophancy. Let us then be honest about critical thinking: On the tongues of cunning bureaucrats, it is little more than an additive to brand equity, the vainglorious pomp of smug, uptight automatons who like to use buzzwords in their PowerPoint presentations.

Critical thinking by faculty is even more undesirable. In research institutions, we are paid to generate prestige and to amass grant money; in teaching-centered colleges, we enjoy excess enrollments according to fine-tuned equations that maximize the student-teacher ratio. (In elite liberal-arts colleges, we pamper the kids with simulations of parental affection.) Critical thinking is especially harmful to adjuncts, reliant as they are for income on the munificence of well-paid bosses who cultivate a distended assemblage of expendable employees.

more on social media in this IMS blog:

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=social+media&submit=Search

fake news disinformation propaganda

the secret of freedom

the secret of freedom

if we are in a post-truth moment then we need to understand the tools we have at hand to deal with falsehoods.

Tom Dickinson describes four different types of distributed ‘fake news’.

‘Fake news’ is lazy language. Be specific. Do you mean:
A) Propaganda
B) Disinformation
C) Conspiracy theory
D) Clickbait

The RAND Corporation, a US think-tank with strong ties to the military industrial complex, recently looked at the influence of the Russian Propaganda Model and how best to deal with it.

Three factors have been shown to increase the (limited) effectiveness of retractions and refutations: (1) warnings at the time of initial exposure to misinformation, (2) repetition of the retraction or refutation, and (3) corrections that provide an alternative story to help fill the resulting gap in understanding when false ‘facts’ are removed.

Critical thinking requires us to constantly question assumptions, especially our own. To develop these skills, questioning must be encouraged. This runs counter to most schooling and training practices. When do students or employees get to question underlying assumptions of their institutions? If they cannot do this, how can we expect them to challenge various and pervasive types of ‘fake news’?

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more on fake news in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=fake+news

social media election fake news

Election Strife, Protest And Noise: In 2017, Russia Cranked Up The Volume

The Russian Facebook scandal damages liberals as much as the right

The Republicans might have been tarnished by the St Petersburg troll factory, but Democratic fantasies about social media were rubbished in the process
The ads in question were memes, manufactured and posted to a number of bluntly named, pseudo-American Facebook accounts in 2016 by workers at a troll farm in St Petersburg, Russia. There were thousands of these ads, it seems, plus parallel efforts on Instagram and Twitter. Between them, they reached over 100 million people.
The memes were big news for a while because they showed what Russian interference in the 2016 election actually looked like, in vivid color. Eventually the story faded, though, in part because it was superseded by other stories, but also, I think, because the Russian ad story was deeply distasteful to both sides of our atrophied political debate.
The ads were clumsily written. They were rife with spelling errors and poor grammar. Their grasp of American history was awful. And over them all hovered a paranoid fear that the powerful were scheming to flip the world upside-down in the most outlandish ways: to turn our country over to the undocumented … to punish the hardworking … to crack down on patriots and Christians … to enact Sharia law right here at home.
The social media platforms aren’t neutral arbiters, selflessly serving the needs of society. As is all too obvious now, they are monopolies that manipulate us in a hundred different ways, selecting our news, steering us towards what we need to buy. The corporate entities behind them wield enormous power in Washington, too, filling Democratic campaign coffers and keeping the revolving door turning for trusted servants. Those who don’t comply get disciplined.
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Russia calls for answers after Chechen leader’s Instagram is blocked

Internet watchdog demands explanation after Ramzan Kadyrov claimed Facebook also suspended him without explanation

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/26/chechnya-ramzan-kadyrov-social-media-russia-instagram-facebook

Kadyrov has accused the US government of pressuring the social networks to disable his accounts, which he said were blocked on Saturday without explanation. The US imposed travel and financial sanctions on Kadyrov last week over numerous allegations of human rights abuses.

The former rebel fighter, who is now loyal to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is a fan of social media, particularly Instagram, which he has used in recent years to make barely veiled death threats against Kremlin critics.

Leonid Levin, the head of the Russian parliament’s information technologies and communications committee, suggested the move by Facebook and Instagram was an attack on freedom of speech.

Dzhambulat Umarov, the Chechen press and information minister, described the blocking of Kadyrov’s accounts as a “vile” cyber-attack by the US.

Neither Instagram nor Facebook had commented at the time of publication.

In 2015, Kadyrov urged Chechen men not to let their wives use the WhatsApp messaging service after an online outcry over the forced marriage of a 17-year-old Chechen to a 47-year-old police chief. “Do not write such things. Men, take your women out of WhatsApp,” he said.

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more on fake news in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=fake+news

corporate monopoly or public control net neutrality

Net Neutrality is just the beginning

Interview with Victor Pickard

Victor Pickard, associate professor of communication at the University Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School, whose research focuses on internet policy and the political economy of media.

https://www.academia.edu/35305972/Net_Neutrality_Is_Just_the_Beginning

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/11/net-neutrality-fcc-ajit-pai-monopoly

with each new victory for the American telecommunications oligopoly, that digital optimism fades further from view.

Definition:

Net neutrality protections are essentially safeguards that prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from interfering with the internet. Net neutrality gives the FCC the regulatory authority to prevent ISPs like Comcast and Verizon from slowing down or blocking certain types of content. It also prevents them from offering what’s known as paid prioritization, where an ISP could let particular websites or content creators pay more for faster streaming and download times. With paid prioritization an ISP could shake down a company like Netflix or an individual website owner, coercing them to pay more in order to be in the fast lane.

Net neutrality often gets treated as a sort of technocratic squabble over ownership and control of internet pipes. But in fact it speaks to a core social contract between government, corporations, and the public. What it really comes down to is, how can members of the public obtain information and services, and express ourselves creatively and politically, without interference from massive corporations?

Should we think of the internet as a good, a service, an infrastructure, or something else?

It’s all of the above.

The internet has been radically privatized. It wasn’t inevitable, but through policy decisions over the years, the internet has become increasingly commodified. Meanwhile it’s really difficult to imagine living in modern society without fast internet services — it’s no longer a luxury but a necessity for everything ranging from education to health to livelihood. The “digital divide” is a phrase that sounds like it’s from the 1990s, but it’s still very relevant. Somewhere around one fifth of American households don’t have access to wireline broadband services. It’s a social problem. We should be thinking about the internet as a public service and subsidizing it to make sure that everyone has access.

In your recent book on media democracy, you discuss the rise of what you call “corporate libertarianism.” What is corporate libertarianism and how does it relate to net neutrality?

Corporate libertarianism is an ideological project that has origins at a core moment in the 1940s. It sees corporations as having individual freedoms, like those in the First Amendment, which they can use to shield themselves from public interest oversight and regulation. It’s also often connected to this assumption that the government should never intervene in markets, and media markets in particular. (My note: Milton Friedman)

Of course, this is a libertarian mythology — the government is always involved. The question ought to be how it should be involved. Under corporate libertarianism it’s assumed that the government should only be involved in ways that enhance profit maximization for communication oligopolies.

There are clear dangers associated with vertical integration, where the company that owns the pipes is able to control the dissemination of information, and able to set the terms by which we access that information.
There have been cases like this already. In 2005, the company Telus, which is the second largest telecommunications company in Canada, began blocking access to a server that hosted a website that supported a labor strike against Telus.

Net neutrality is just one part of the story. What other regulations, policies and interventions could resist corporate control of the internet?

Roughly half of Americans live in communities that have access to only one ISP.  My note: Ha Ha Ha, “pick me, pick me,” as Dori from “Finding Nemo” will say… Charter, whatever they will rename themselves again, is the crass example in Central MN.

Strategies to contain and confront monopolies:

  • break them up, and to prevent monopolies and oligopolies from happening in the first place by blocking mergers and acquisitions.
  • if we’re not going to outright nationalize them then we want to heavily regulate them, and enforce some kind of social contract where they’re compelled to provide a public service in exchange for the right to operate.
  • create public alternatives, like municipal wireless networks that can circumvent and compete with corporate monopolies. There’s a growing number of these publicly owned and governed internet infrastructures, and building more is crucial.

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more on #netNeutrality in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=netneutrality

FCC and netneutrality

https://hackernoon.com/more-than-a-million-pro-repeal-net-neutrality-comments-were-likely-faked-e9f0e3ed36a6

Jeff Kao Data Scientist, Software Engineer, Language Nerd, Biglaw Refugee. jeffykao.com

More than a Million Pro-Repeal Net Neutrality Comments were Likely Faked

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The Federal Communications Commission released a plan on Tuesday to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the internet, clearing the way for internet service companies to charge users more to see certain content and to curb access to some websites.

The proposal, made by the F.C.C. chairman, Ajit Pai, is a sweeping repeal of rules put in place by the Obama administration. The rules prohibit high-speed internet service providers, or I.S.P.s, from stopping or slowing down the delivery of websites. They also prevent the companies from charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming and other services.

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FCC chairman defends net neutrality repeal plan

“All we are simply doing is putting engineers and entrepreneurs, instead of bureaucrats and lawyers, back in charge of the internet,” Pai said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,”

Pai on Tuesday confirmed his plan to fully dismantle the Obama-era net neutrality rules, which were approved by the FCC’s previous Democratic majority in 2015. His order would remove bans on blocking and throttling web traffic and allow internet service providers to charge for internet “fast lanes” to consumers. The move sparked a barrage of criticism from Democrats and public interest groups who call it a giveaway to big telecom companies.

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What Everyone Gets Wrong in the Debate Over Net Neutrality

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06.23.14TIME OF PUBLICATION: 6:30 AM.

The only trouble is that, here in the year 2014, complaints about a fast-lane don’t make much sense. Today, privileged companies—including Google, Facebook, and Netflix—already benefit from what are essentially internet fast lanes, and this has been the case for years. Such web giants—and others—now have direct connections to big ISPs like Comcast and Verizon, and they run dedicated computer servers deep inside these ISPs. In technical lingo, these are known as “peering connections” and “content delivery servers,” and they’re a vital part of the way the internet works.

in today’s world, they don’t address the real issue with the country’s ISPs, and if we spend too much time worried about fast lanes, we could hurt the net’s progress rather than help it.

The real issue is that the Comcasts and Verizons are becoming too big and too powerful. Because every web company has no choice but to go through these ISPs, the Comcasts and the Verizons may eventually have too much freedom to decide how much companies must pay for fast speeds.

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FAKE AMERICANS ARE INFLUENCING THE DEBATE OVER NET NEUTRALITY, SAYS NEW YORK’S ATTORNEY GENERAL

http://www.newsweek.com/bots-influencing-debate-over-net-neutrality-says-new-york-attorney-general-719454
An analysis of the millions of comments conducted by the data company Gravwell in October found that just 17.4 percent of the comments to the FCC on the net neutrality rules came from real people.
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Finley, K. (2017, November 22). Here’s How the End of Net Neutrality Will Change the Internet. WIRED. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/story/heres-how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-will-change-the-internet/
Because many internet services for mobile devices include limits on data use, the changes will be visible there first. In one dramatic scenario, internet services would begin to resemble cable-TV packages, where subscriptions could be limited to a few dozen sites and services. Or, for big spenders, a few hundred. Fortunately, that’s not a likely scenario. Instead, expect a gradual shift towards subscriptions that provide unlimited access to certain preferred providers while charging extra for everything else.
Even Verizon’s “unlimited” plans impose limits. The company’s cheapest unlimited mobile plan limits video streaming quality to 480p resolution, which is DVD quality, on phones and 720p resolution, the lower tier of HD quality, on tablets. Customers can upgrade to a more expensive plan that enables 720p resolution on phones and 1080p on tablets, but the higher quality 4K video standard is effectively forbidden.
Meanwhile, Comcast customers in 28 states face 1 terabyte data caps. Going over that limit costs subscribers as much as an additional $50 a month. As 4K televisions become more common, more households may hit the limit. That could prompt some to stick with a traditional pay-TV package from Comcast.
Republican FCC Chair Ajit Pai argues that Federal Trade Commission will be able to protect consumers and small business from abuses by internet providers once the agency’s current rules are off the books. But that’s not clear.
The good news is the internet won’t change overnight, if it all. Blake Reid, a clinical professor at Colorado Law, says the big broadband providers will wait to see how the inevitable legal challenges to the new FCC order shakeout. They’ll probably keep an eye on 2018 and even 2020 elections as well.

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more on netneutrality in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=netneutrality

Slavenka Drakulic and Yugoslavia

DRAKULIĆ, S. (2017, October 19). Tackling the virus of nationalism. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from http://www.eurozine.com/tackling-the-virus-of-nationalism/
Drakulić, S. (2017, October 10). La gran cronista de los Balcanes: El virus del nacionalismo ha despertado en España. Noticias de Mundo. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.elconfidencial.com/mundo/2017-10-08/independencia-catalana-nacionalismo-balcanes-espana_1457330/

More from Drakulic:

DRAKULIC, S. (2009). The Generation That Failed. Nation289(16), 16-17.

http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3daph%26AN%3d44864523%26site%3dehost-live%26scope%3dsite

Slavenka describec what the East Germans called Die Quall der Wahl

When communism fell, Poland had Solidarity and Lech Walesa, Czechoslovakia had Václav Havel, Hungary had Fidesz, Bulgaria had Zhelyu Zhelev—and Yugoslavia had no democratic opposition at all. My note: Little she knew about the Bulgarian Opposition

A few years before the breakup of Yugoslavia, the political landscape was already filled with communists-turnednationalists (like Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman). Nationalism became the only political “alter native” in Yugoslavia, leading us directly to wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Yes, my generation lived too well, and obviously we mistook freedom and democracy for the freedom of shopping in the West. And as in a medieval morality play, we had to pay for that in the three wars to follow: our children fought those wars; they were killed, and their limbs were severed.

Drakulic, S. (2011). Serbia’s War Criminal. Nation292(25), 8. http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3daph%26AN%3d61138708%26site%3dehost-live%26scope%3dsite

Slavenka, D. (2008). Seduced by power and vanity. Toronto Star (Canada).

http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3drps%26AN%3d6FP2091659851%26site%3dehost-live%26scope%3dsite

 

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more on history in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=history

flipped classroom without technology

The Technology-Free Approach to Flipping the Classroom

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | 1:00 PM Central | 60 Minutes

https://www.magnapubs.com/online-seminars/the-technology-free-approach-to-flipping-the-classroom-14539-1.html

Active learning techniques have been shown to improve the classroom experience, leading to higher student success rates and greater student engagement.

As an increasing number of higher education faculty apply the flipped classroom model to their courses, they’re discovering that although the idea of a flip is straightforward, the model is easy to get wrong.

BENEFITS

The flipped model puts greater responsibility for learning on the students while providing them with more room to experiment in the classroom. This leads to a shift in priorities, allowing classroom time to move from merely covering material to working toward mastery of it.

As a result of this presentation, you gain a new perspective on what it means to flip the classroom, leading to revitalized teaching. This seminar not only explores concrete strategies for engaging students in the flipped classroom, but it also delves into why technology-free approaches are important. You will better understand how to do the following:

  • Organize student-led activities to encourage greater communication in the classroom
  • Create a dynamic session devoted to learning through hands-on work
  • Integrate unplugged methods of student engagement into flipped and active classroom learning environments
  • Lean on tools such as sticky notes, flip charts, whiteboards, and dice to inspire new ways of thinking

LEARNING GOALS

The flipped classroom model challenges instructors to create learning experiences in which students have the freedom to apply, analyze, and evaluate course content during class time.

The question is: How do you continue finding innovative teaching strategies and tools to engage students in this way?

Although some creativity is required to plan a flip, the process doesn’t have to be intimidating. This seminar demonstrates a number of simple strategies that motivate students to interact with the material and engage with one another. You will learn the following:

  • Discover a range of “unplugged” teaching strategies used to engage students
  • Learn to identify opportunities for unplugging devices and creating a tech-free learning experience in the classroom
  • Master simple ways to integrate unplugged flipped methods into your course
  • Understand the benefits to including unplugged teaching and learning strategies in flipped course design

TOPICS COVERED

  • Developing new strategies and ideas for the flipped classroom
  • Increasing student engagement with unplugged methods
  • Integrating unplugged methods into flipped and active learning classrooms
  • Using everyday tools to inspire higher-level thinking
  • Expanding the definition of the flipped classroom

AUDIENCE

This seminar is intended for faculty and instructors interested in a role change in the classroom. The flipped learning environment requires teachers to give up their front-of-class position in favor of a more collaborative and cooperative contribution to the teaching process. Are you ready to make a change?

Presenter: https://www.magnapubs.com/bios/barbi-honeycutt-850.html

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more on flipped classroom in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=flipped

VR and ER tech developments

A New World: VR and AR Tech Developments

Authors: by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva Monday, July 17, 2017

http://er.educause.edu/blogs/2017/7/a-new-world-vr-and-ar-tech-developments

device available on campus

We’re now seeing a move toward mid-range, standalone VR headsets with everything built into the device. Some include their own processors, while others, like the forthcoming Microsoft headset, will work with current desktops. Microsoft’s device claims to do both VR and a modified version of mixed reality

The low end of the VR spectrum has been dominated by Google Cardboard, with over 10 million distributed

headsets

Augmented Reality

AR burst into the public’s consciousness with the Pokemon Go craze in 2016. And Snap (formerly Snapchat) expanded the range of their social media platform with the release of Spectacles, their wearable glasses and World Lens filters that add digital objects to your environment. A second version of Spectacles may include far more extensive AR capabilities.

At Facebook’s spring F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg made the case that our mobile cameras will be the first popular AR platform. Apple just announced ARKit for iOS at their June WWDC developers conference.

Mixed Reality

Meta Glasses has been developing its own mixed reality unit that offers a wider field of view than the 40° of HoloLens. And Intel’s Project Alloy promises a “Merged Reality” headset prototype combining both VR and AR by the end of this year.

Kickstarter Projects

Aryzon which is creating a Google Cardboard-like device for simple AR experiences. Another is the NOLO Project, which offers an HTC Vive-like experience with full freedom of movement using only a plastic headset and your phone.

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Google Glass 2.0
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/07/19/google-brings-back-much-maligned-google-glass-headset/

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/nevkgb/google-glass-adopters-on-glass-enterprise

https://www.wired.com/story/google-glass-2-is-here/

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Top 5 Vendors in Global AR Education Market

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/07/14/report-top-5-vendors-in-global-ar-education-market.aspx

Market research firm Technavio has identified the top five vendors in the global augmented reality (AR) in education market. The companies are EON Reality, DAQRI, GAMOOZ, Magic Leap and QuiverVision, according to a newly published report.

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more on VR in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=virtual+reality

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