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Internet Freedom Wanes As Governments Target Messaging, Social Apps
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
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:
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:
C) Conspiracy theory
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’?
more on fake news in this IMS blog
Election Strife, Protest And Noise: In 2017, Russia Cranked Up The Volume
The Russian Facebook scandal damages liberals as much as the right
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
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.
more on fake news in this IMS blog
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.
with each new victory for the American telecommunications oligopoly, that digital optimism fades further from view.
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.
more on #netNeutrality in this IMS blog
Jeff Kao Data Scientist, Software Engineer, Language Nerd, Biglaw Refugee. jeffykao.com
More than a Million Pro-Repeal Net Neutrality Comments were Likely Faked
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.
more on netneutrality in this IMS blog
More from Drakulic:
DRAKULIC, S. (2009). The Generation That Failed. Nation, 289(16), 16-17.
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. Nation, 292(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).
more on history in this IMS blog
The Technology-Free Approach to Flipping the Classroom
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | 1:00 PM Central | 60 Minutes
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.
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
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
- 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
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?
more on flipped classroom in this IMS blog
A New World: VR and AR Tech Developments
Authors: by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva Monday, July 17, 2017
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
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.
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.
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.
Google Glass 2.0
Top 5 Vendors in Global AR Education Market
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.
more on VR in this IMS blog
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