Searching for "philosophy"
Do critical thinking skills give graduates the edge?
It has long been claimed that critical thinking ability sets graduates apart. But are universities really preparing students for the modern workplace? David Matthews reports
what value is higher education supposed to add? And how is this different from what school or vocational education offer?
A further question is whether even the academic brand of critical thinking is being particularly well taught at university. According to Bryan Greetham, a philosopher and university researcher who has written several books on how students and professionals can improve their thinking, “We tend to want to do the simple thing – which is to teach students what to think, not how to think.”
This was most famously explored in the 2011 book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. The authors, American sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, found that 45 per cent of US undergraduates failed to significantly improve their critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills during their first two years at university. Other US-based studies have raised similar concerns. One from 2009, “Improving Students’ Evaluation of Informal Arguments”, published in the Journal of Experimental Education, warned that college and high school students have “difficulty evaluating arguments on the basis of their quality”.
But if universities don’t have the resources to offer intensive classes, could they weave the teaching of critical thinking skills into regular teaching? Britt thinks that academics can easily make time for quick “check-ins” during their lectures to ensure that their students understand what they’ve been told.
High school experience, of course, varies enormously by country. In France, studying philosophy – arguably the closest that traditional disciplines get to explicit critical thinking courses – is compulsory. In England, meanwhile, the critical thinking A level has recently been scrapped.
As well as calls for critical thinkers and smart thinkers, there are also frequent demands from politicians for more “entrepreneurial” university graduates – who, instead of joining graduate recruitment programmes at large employers, might start their own businesses.
Fixing the Textbook Model
Indiana University’s Brad Wheeler explains how his institution is ditching the college textbook and replacing it with digital alternatives that are accessible to students from day one.
By Dian Schaffhauser 06/21/17
Brad Wheeler, the vice president for IT and CIO of Indiana University
it’s taken a long time for textbook publishers to own up to the “fundamental flaw” of their industry: “They are obsessed with counting their gross margins on the things they actually do sell.” And, he added, they ignore the enormous amounts they lose through the other 75 percent of the market made up of used and rented books and other kinds of substitutes. Because of those blinders, the publishers have “long pursued a model that has been failing, year over year.”
Starting in the mid-1990s, the price of educational books rose faster than just about any other measure, including healthcare. Something had to give. Wheeler has seen a “constellation of things” forming to bring about change. First, the e-reader software has matured, he said. “It works on your phone, your tablet, your laptop.”
Second, students are “increasingly digital.” They’re “comfortable with interacting with digital information [and] electronically marking it up.” After all, he noted, “some of them went through high school with digital books and materials.”
Third, familiarity is growing among faculty too. “They see e-texts not just as a substitute for paper, but as a teaching and pedagogical tool. They can go in and annotate that paragraph in the textbook and point to classroom materials or go online and correct something,
Fourth, the printed textbook-first philosophy has stopped paying off for publishers.
The three biggies — Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Cengage — weren’t first in line to sign on, even as additional universities piled onto Indiana U’s project. As a result, their reticence to promote textbook alternatives hit their bottom lines. Eventually, Pearson’s shares took a hit, hovering currently around $8; McGraw-Hill’s education division was peeled off and sold to Apollo Global Management in 2013; and just months later Cengage filed for bankruptcy, emerging a year later with $4 billion less debt.
the College Board decreased the undergraduate student budget for books and supplies in its “Trends in College Pricing” report.
Indiana U has seen nothing but growth for its IU eTexts digital initiative:
Unizin. This is the organization created by Indiana U and other large institutional partners to develop services that could replace major paid third-party applications, such as learning management, digital textbook and data warehouse platforms. The goal: to enable higher ed to own its data.
more on open text book in this IMS blog
Caldwell, C. (April, 2017). Sending Jobs Overseas. CRB, 27(2).
Caldwell’s book review of
Baldwin, Richard E. The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016. not at SCSU library, available through ILL (https://mplus.mnpals.net/vufind/Record/008770850/Hold?item_id=MSU50008770850000010&id=008770850&hashKey=cff0a018a46178d4d3208ac449d86c4e#tabnav)
Globalization’s cheerleaders, from Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, made arguments from classical economics: by buying manufactured products from people overseas who made them cheaper than we did, the United States could get rich concentrating on product design, marketing, and other lucrative services. That turned out to be a mostly inaccurate description of how globalism would work in the developed world, as mainstream politicians everywhere are now discovering.
Certain skeptics, including polymath author Edward Luttwak and Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, put forward a better account. In his 1998 book Turbo-Capitalism, Luttwak gave what is still the most succinct and accurate reading of the new system’s economic consequences. “It enriches industrializing poor countries, impoverishes the semi-affluent majority in rich countries, and greatly adds to the incomes of the top 1 percent on both sides who are managing the arbitrage.”
In The Great Convergence, Richard Baldwin, an economist at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, gives us an idea why, over the past generation, globalization’s benefits have been so hard to explain and its damage so hard to diagnose.
We have had “globalization,” in the sense of far-flung trade, for centuries now.
ut around 1990, the cost of sharing information at a distance fell dramatically. Workers on complex projects no longer had to cluster in the same factory, mill town, or even country. Other factors entered in. Tariffs fell. The rise of “Global English” as a common language of business reduced the cost of moving information (albeit at an exorbitant cost in culture). “Containerization” (the use of standard-sized shipping containers across road, rail, and sea transport) made packing and shipping predictable and helped break the world’s powerful longshoremen’s unions. Active “pro-business” political reforms did the rest.
Far-flung “global value chains” replaced assembly lines. Corporations came to do some of the work of governments, because in the free-trade climate imposed by the U.S., they could play governments off against one another. Globalization is not about nations anymore. It is not about products. And the most recent elections showed that it has not been about people for a long time. No, it is about tasks.
his means a windfall for what used to be called the Third World. More than 600 million people have been pulled out of dire poverty. They can get richer by building parts of things.
The competition that globalization has created for manufacturing has driven the value-added in manufacturing down close to what we would think of as zilch. The lucrative work is in the design and the P.R.—the brainy, high-paying stuff that we still get to do.
But only a tiny fraction of people in any society is equipped to do lucrative brainwork. In all Western societies, the new formula for prosperity is inconsistent with the old formula for democracy.
One of these platitudes is that all nations gain from trade. Baldwin singles out Harvard professor and former George W. Bush Administration economic adviser Gregory Mankiw, who urged passage of the Obama Administration mega-trade deals TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the grounds that America should “work in those industries in which we have an advantage compared with other nations, and we should import from abroad those goods that can be produced more cheaply there.”
That was a solid argument 200 years ago, when the British economist David Ricardo developed modern doctrines of trade. In practical terms, it is not always solid today. What has changed is the new mobility of knowledge. But knowledge is a special commodity. It can be reused. Several people can use it at the same time. It causes people to cluster in groups, and tends to grow where those groups have already clustered.
When surgeries involved opening the patient up like a lobster or a peapod, the doctor had to be in physical contact with a patient. New arthroscopic processes require the surgeon to guide cutting and cauterizing tools by computer. That computer did not have to be in the same room. And if it did not, why did it have to be in the same country? In 2001, a doctor in New York performed surgery on a patient in Strasbourg. In a similar way, the foreman on the American factory floor could now coordinate production processes in Mexico. Each step of the production process could now be isolated, and then offshored. This process, Baldwin writes, “broke up Team America by eroding American labor’s quasi-monopoly on using American firms’ know-how.”
To explain why the idea that all nations win from trade isn’t true any longer, Baldwin returns to his teamwork metaphor. In the old Ricardian world that most policymakers still inhabit, the international economy could be thought of as a professional sports league. Trading goods and services resembled trading players from one team to another. Neither team would carry out the deal unless it believed it to be in its own interests. Nowadays, trade is more like an arrangement by which the manager of the better team is allowed to coach the lousier one in his spare time.
Vietnam, which does low-level assembly of wire harnesses for Honda. This does not mean Vietnam has industrialized, but nations like it no longer have to.
In the work of Thomas Friedman and other boosters you find value chains described as kaleidoscopic, complex, operating in a dozen different countries. Those are rare. There is less to “global value chains” than meets the eye. Most of them, Baldwin shows, are actually regional value chains. As noted, they exist on the periphery of the United States, Europe, or Japan. In this, offshoring resembles the elaborate international transactions that Florentine bankers under the Medicis engaged in for the sole purpose of avoiding church strictures on moneylending.
One way of describing outsourcing is as a verdict on the pay structure that had arisen in the West by the 1970s: on trade unions, prevailing-wage laws, defined-benefit pension plans, long vacations, and, more generally, the power workers had accumulated against their bosses.
In 1993, during the first month of his presidency, Bill Clinton outlined some of the promise of a world in which “the average 18-year-old today will change jobs seven times in a lifetime.” How could anyone ever have believed in, tolerated, or even wished for such a thing? A person cannot productively invest the resources of his only life if he’s going to be told every five years that everything he once thought solid has melted into ait.
The more so since globalization undermines democracy, in the ways we have noted. Global value chains are extraordinarily delicate. They are vulnerable to shocks. Terrorists have discovered this. In order to work, free-trade systems must be frictionless and immune to interruption, forever. This means a program of intellectual property protection, zero tariffs, and cross-border traffic in everything, including migrants. This can be assured only in a system that is veto-proof and non-consultative—in short, undemocratic.
Sheltered from democracy, the economy of the free trade system becomes more and more a private space.
Caldwell, C. (2014, November). Twilight of Democracy. CRB, 14(4).
Caldwell’s book review of
Fukuyama, Francis. The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. SCSU Library: https://mplus.mnpals.net/vufind/Record/007359076 Call Number: JC11 .F85 2011
Fukuyama’s first volume opened with China’s mandarin bureaucracy rather than the democracy of ancient Athens, shifting the methods of political science away from specifically Western intellectual genealogies and towards anthropology. Nepotism and favor-swapping are man’s basic political motivations, as Fukuyama sees it. Disciplining those impulses leads to effective government, but “repatrimonialization”—the capture of government by private interests—threatens whenever vigilance is relaxed. Fukuyama’s new volume, which describes political order since the French Revolution, extends his thinking on repatrimonialization, from the undermining of meritocratic bureaucracy in Han China through the sale of offices under France’s Henri IV to the looting of foreign aid in post-colonial Zaire. Fukuyama is convinced that the United States is on a similar path of institutional decay.
Political philosophy asks which government is best for man. Political science asks which government is best for government. Political decline, Fukuyama insists, is not the same thing as civilizational collapse.
Fukuyama is not the first to remark that wars can spur government efficiency—even if front-line soldiers are the last to benefit from it.
Relative to the smooth-running systems of northwestern Europe, American bureaucracy has been a dud, riddled with corruption from the start and resistant to reform. Patronage—favors for individual cronies and supporters—has thrived.
Clientelism is an ambiguous phenomenon: it is bread and circuses, it is race politics, it is doing favors for special classes of people. Clientelism is both more democratic and more systemically corrupting than the occasional nepotistic appointment.
why modern mass liberal democracy has developed on clientelistic lines in the U.S. and meritocratic ones in Europe. In Europe, democracy, when it came, had to adapt itself to longstanding pre-democratic institutions, and to governing elites that insisted on established codes and habits. Where strong states precede democracy (as in Germany), bureaucracies are efficient and uncorrupt. Where democracy precedes strong states (as in the United States but also Greece and Italy), government can be viewed by the public as a piñata.
Fukuyama contrasts the painstaking Japanese development of Taiwan a century ago with the mess that the U.S. Congress, “eager to impose American models of government on a society they only dimly understood,” was then making of the Philippines. It is not surprising that Fukuyama was one of the most eloquent conservative critics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq from the very beginning.
What distinguishes once-colonized Vietnam and China and uncolonized Japan and Korea from these Third World basket cases is that the East Asian lands “all possess competent, high-capacity states,” in contrast to sub-Saharan Africa, which “did not possess strong state-level institutions.”
Fukuyama does not think ethnic homogeneity is a prerequisite for successful politics
the United States “suffers from the problem of political decay in a more acute form than other democratic political systems.” It has kept the peace in a stagnant economy only by dragooning women into the workplace and showering the working and middle classes with credit.
public-sector unions have colluded with the Democratic Party to make government employment more rewarding for those who do it and less responsive to the public at large. In this sense, government is too big. But he also believes that cutting taxes on the rich in hopes of spurring economic growth has been a fool’s errand, and that the beneficiaries of deregulation, financial and otherwise, have grown to the point where they have escaped bureaucratic control altogether. In this sense, government is not big enough.
Washington, as Fukuyama sees it, is a patchwork of impotence and omnipotence—effective where it insists on its prerogatives, ineffective where it has been bought out. The unpredictable results of democratic oversight have led Americans to seek guidance in exactly the wrong place: the courts, which have both exceeded and misinterpreted their constitutional responsibilities. the almost daily insistence of courts that they are liberating people by removing discretion from them gives American society a Soviet cast.
“Effective modern states,” he writes, “are built around technical expertise, competence, and autonomy.”
Williams, J. (2017, May). The Dumb Politics of Elite Condescension. NYT
the sociologists Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb call the “hidden injuries of class.” These are dramatized by a recent employment study, in which the sociologists Lauren A. Rivera and Andras Tilcsik sent 316 law firms résumés with identical and impressive work and academic credentials, but different cues about social class. The study found that men who listed hobbies like sailing and listening to classical music had a callback rate 12 times higher than those of men who signaled working-class origins, by mentioning country music, for example.
Politically, the biggest “hidden injury” is the hollowing out of the middle class in advanced industrialized countries. For two generations after World War II, working-class whites in the United States enjoyed a middle-class standard of living, only to lose it in recent decades.
The college-for-all experiment did not work. Two-thirds of Americans are not college graduates. We need to continue to make college more accessible, but we also need to improve the economic prospects of Americans without college degrees.
the United States has a well-documented dearth of workers qualified for middle-skill jobs that pay $40,000 or more a year and require some postsecondary education but not a college degree. A 2014 report by Accenture, Burning Glass Technologies and Harvard Business School found that a lack of adequate middle-skills talent affects the productivity of “47 percent of manufacturing companies, 35 percent of health care and social assistance companies, and 21 percent of retail companies.”
Skillful, a partnership among the Markle Foundation, LinkedIn and Colorado, is one initiative pointing the way. Skillful helps provide marketable skills for job seekers without college degrees and connects them with employers in need of middle-skilled workers in information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care. For more information, see my other IMS blog entries, such as: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/01/11/credly-badges-on-canvas/
Intelligence: a history
Intelligence has always been used as fig-leaf to justify domination and destruction. No wonder we fear super-smart robots
To say that someone is or is not intelligent has never been merely a comment on their mental faculties. It is always also a judgment on what they are permitted to do. Intelligence, in other words, is political.
The problem has taken an interesting 21st-century twist with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The term ‘intelligence’ itself has never been popular with English-language philosophers. Nor does it have a direct translation into German or ancient Greek, two of the other great languages in the Western philosophical tradition. But that doesn’t mean philosophers weren’t interested in it. Indeed, they were obsessed with it, or more precisely a part of it: reason or rationality. The term ‘intelligence’ managed to eclipse its more old-fashioned relative in popular and political discourse only with the rise of the relatively new-fangled discipline of psychology, which claimed intelligence for itself.
Plato conclude, in The Republic, that the ideal ruler is ‘the philosopher king’, as only a philosopher can work out the proper order of things. This idea was revolutionary at the time. Athens had already experimented with democracy, the rule of the people – but to count as one of those ‘people’ you just had to be a male citizen, not necessarily intelligent. Elsewhere, the governing classes were made up of inherited elites (aristocracy), or by those who believed they had received divine instruction (theocracy), or simply by the strongest (tyranny).
Plato’s novel idea fell on the eager ears of the intellectuals, including those of his pupil Aristotle. Aristotle was always the more practical, taxonomic kind of thinker. He took the notion of the primacy of reason and used it to establish what he believed was a natural social hierarchy.
So at the dawn of Western philosophy, we have intelligence identified with the European, educated, male human. It becomes an argument for his right to dominate women, the lower classes, uncivilised peoples and non-human animals. While Plato argued for the supremacy of reason and placed it within a rather ungainly utopia, only one generation later, Aristotle presents the rule of the thinking man as obvious and natural.
The late Australian philosopher and conservationist Val Plumwood has argued that the giants of Greek philosophy set up a series of linked dualisms that continue to inform our thought. Opposing categories such as intelligent/stupid, rational/emotional and mind/body are linked, implicitly or explicitly, to others such as male/female, civilised/primitive, and human/animal. These dualisms aren’t value-neutral, but fall within a broader dualism, as Aristotle makes clear: that of dominant/subordinate or master/slave. Together, they make relationships of domination, such as patriarchy or slavery, appear to be part of the natural order of things.
Descartes rendered nature literally mindless, and so devoid of intrinsic value – which thereby legitimated the guilt-free oppression of other species.
For Kant, only reasoning creatures had moral standing. Rational beings were to be called ‘persons’ and were ‘ends in themselves’. Beings that were not rational, on the other hand, had ‘only a relative value as means, and are therefore called things’. We could do with them what we liked.
This line of thinking was extended to become a core part of the logic of colonialism. The argument ran like this: non-white peoples were less intelligent; they were therefore unqualified to rule over themselves and their lands. It was therefore perfectly legitimate – even a duty, ‘the white man’s burden’ – to destroy their cultures and take their territory.
The same logic was applied to women, who were considered too flighty and sentimental to enjoy the privileges afforded to the ‘rational man’.
Galton believe that intellectual ability was hereditary and could be enhanced through selective breeding. He decided to find a way to scientifically identify the most able members of society and encourage them to breed – prolifically, and with each other. The less intellectually capable should be discouraged from reproducing, or indeed prevented, for the sake of the species. Thus eugenics and the intelligence test were born together.
From David Hume to Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud through to postmodernism, there are plenty of philosophical traditions that challenge the notion that we’re as intelligent as we’d like to believe, and that intelligence is the highest virtue.
From 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Terminator films, writers have fantasised about machines rising up against us. Now we can see why. If we’re used to believing that the top spots in society should go to the brainiest, then of course we should expect to be made redundant by bigger-brained robots and sent to the bottom of the heap.
Natural stupidity, rather than artificial intelligence, remains the greatest risk.
more on intelligence in this IMS blog
Here are some excerpts regarding Koch brothers’ attempts to influence higher education:
The Charles G. Koch Foundation offered to give the university $1.5 million to hire two assistant professors and fund fellowships and undergraduate curriculum on free-enterprise topics.
“In exchange for his ‘gift,’ the donor got to assign specific readings, select speakers brought to campus and instruct them with regard to the focus of their lectures, shape the curriculum with new courses and specify the number of students in the courses, name the program’s director, and initiate a student club.”
How the Koch Brothers Are Influencing U.S. Colleges
The Kochs educational giving, while rarefied, isn’t the most abundant in the United States. Gordon Moore
, the co-founder of Intel, with his wife Betty, this year pledged $100 million to the California Institute of Technology—and offered to let the school to spend it as it sees fit
At the College of Charleston
in South Carolina, for example, documents show
the foundation wanted more than just academic excellence for its money. It wanted information about students it could potentially use for its own benefit
Among the proposed conditions: Teachings must align with the libertarian economic philosophy of Charles Koch, the Charles Koch Foundation would maintain partial control over faculty hiring and the chairman of the school’s economics department—a prominent economic theorist—must stay in place for another three years despite his plans to step down.
Florida State University ultimately didn’t agree to the initial requests when, in 2008, it reached a funding agreement with the foundation. It’s also tightened and clarified policies that affect private donors’ contributions to the university.
To Charles Koch, Universities Are Propaganda Machines
Universities should ban PowerPoint — It makes students stupid and professors boring
An article in The Conversation recently argued universities should ban PowerPoint because it makes students stupid and professors boring.
Originally for Macintosh, the company that designed it was bought by Microsoft. After its launch the software was increasingly targeted at business professionals, especially consultants and busy salespeople.
As it turns out, PowerPoint has not empowered academia. The basic problem is that a lecturer isn’t intended to be selling bullet point knowledge to students, rather they should be making the students encounter problems. Such a learning process is slow and arduous, and cannot be summed up neatly. PowerPoint produces stupidity, which is why some, such as American statistician Edward Tufte have said it is “evil”.
Of course, new presentation technologies like Prezi, SlideRocket or Impress add a lot of new features and 3D animation, yet I’d argue they only make things worse. A moot point doesn’t become relevant by moving in mysterious ways. The truth is that PowerPoints actually are hard to follow and if you miss one point you are often lost.
While successfully banning Facebook and other use of social media in our masters programme in philosophy and business at Copenhagen Business School, we have also recently banned teachers using PowerPoint. Here we are in sync with the US armed forces, where Brigadier-General Herbert McMaster banned it because it was regarded as a poor tool for decision-making.
Courses designed around slides therefore propagate the myth that students can become skilled and knowledgeable without working through dozens of books, hundreds of articles and thousands of problems.
A review of research on PowerPoint found that while students liked PowerPoint better than overhead transparencies, PowerPoint did not increase learning or grades
Research comparing teaching based on slides against other methods such as problem-based learning – where students develop knowledge and skills by confronting realistic, challenging problems – predominantly supports alternative methods.
PowerPoint slides are toxic to education for three main reasons:
- Slides discourage complex thinking.
- students come to think of a course as a set of slides. Good teachers who present realistic complexity and ambiguity are criticised for being unclear. Teachers who eschew bullet points for graphical slides are criticised for not providing proper notes.
- Slides discourage reasonable expectations
Measuring the wrong things
If slide shows are so bad, why are they so popular?
Exams, term papers and group projects ostensibly measure knowledge or ability. Learning is the change in knowledge and skills and therefore must be measured over time.
When we do attempt to measure learning, the results are not pretty. US researchers found that a third of American undergraduates demonstrated no significant improvement in learning over their four-year degree programs.
They tested students in the beginning, middle and end of their degrees using the Collegiate Learning Assessment, an instrument that tests skills any degree should improve – analytic reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving and writing.
more on [why not to use] PowerPoint in this IMS blog
NMC Releases Horizon Project Strategic Brief on Digital Literacy
Anaheim, California (October 25, 2016) — The New Media Consortium (NMC) has released Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief in conjunction with the 2016 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.
This project was launched because there is a lack of consensus across the field about how to define digital literacy and implement effective programs. A survey was disseminated throughout the NMC community of higher education leaders and practitioners to understand how digital literacy initiatives are impacting their campuses. The NMC’s research examines the current landscape to illuminate multiple models of digital literacy — universal literacy, creative literacy, and literacy across disciplines — around which dedicated programs can proliferate a spectrum of skills and competencies.
p. 8-10 examples across US universities on digital literacy organization
p. 12 Where does support for digital literacy come from your institution? Individual people
p. 13. campus libraries must be deeply embedded in course curriculum. While libraries have always supported academic institutions, librarians can play a more critical role in the development of digital literacy skills. Historically, these types of programs have been implemented in “one-off” segments, which are experienced apart from a student’s normal studies and often delivered in a one-size-fits-all method. However, an increasing number of academic libraries are supporting a more integrated approach that delivers continuous skill development and assessment over time to both students and faculty. This requires deeper involvement with departments and agreeing on common definitions of what capacities should be achieved, and the most effective pedagogical method. Librarians are tasked with broadening their role in the co-design of curriculum and improving their instruction techniques to work alongside faculty toward the common goal of training students to be savvy digital researchers. University of Arizona Libraries, for example, found that a key step in this transition required collaborating on a common instructional philosophy.
more on digital literacy in this IMS blog:
The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed
Polarization as a driver of populism
People who have long entertained right-wing populist ideas, but were never confident enough to voice them openly, are now in a position to connect to like-minded others online and use the internet as a megaphone for their opinions.
The resulting echo chambers tend to amplify and reinforce our existing opinions, which is dysfunctional for a healthy democratic discourse. And while social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter generally have the power to expose us to politically diverse opinions, research suggests that the filter bubbles they sometimes create are, in fact, exacerbated by the platforms’ personalization algorithms, which are based on our social networks and our previously expressed ideas. This means that instead of creating an ideal type of a digitally mediated “public agora”, which would allow citizens to voice their concerns and share their hopes, the internet has actually increased conflict and ideological segregation between opposing views, granting a disproportionate amount of clout to the most extreme opinions.
The disintegration of the general will
In political philosophy, the very idea of democracy is based on the principal of the general will, which was proposed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century. Rousseau envisioned that a society needs to be governed by a democratic body that acts according to the imperative will of the people as a whole.
There can be no doubt that a new form of digitally mediated politics is a crucial component of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: the internet is already used for bottom-up agenda-setting, empowering citizens to speak up in a networked public sphere, and pushing the boundaries of the size, sophistication and scope of collective action. In particular, social media has changed the nature of political campaigning and will continue to play an important role in future elections and political campaigns around the world.
more on the impact of technology on democracy in this IMS blog:
resources on student-centered learning and the use of rubrics, multimedia, social media to personalize and engage learners
what is student-centered learning:
Student-centered learning, also known as learner-centered education, broadly encompasses methods of teaching that shift the focus of instruction from the teacher to the student. In original usage, student-centered learning aims to develop learner autonomy and independence  by putting responsibility for the learning path in the hands of students. Student-centered instruction focuses on skills and practices that enable lifelong learning and independent problem-solving. Student-centered learning theory and practice are based on the constructivist learning theory that emphasizes the learner’s critical role in constructing meaning from new information and prior experience. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student-centred_learning
Student-centered learning moves students from passive receivers of information to active participants in their own discovery process. What students learn, how they learn it and how their learning is assessed are all driven by each individual student’s needs and abilities.
At the system level, this requires implementing curriculum planning practices, pedagogy and assessment methods that support a student-centric approach. In the classroom, teachers craft instruction and apply technology in a way that best serves each student’s learning journey. Technology use is always guided by two primary criteria:
- What’s appropriate for the task at hand?
- How can activities be designed to develop higher-order thinking skills?
Why is it important?
When students take responsibility for their own learning, they become explorers capable of leveraging their curiosity to solve real-world problems. To that end, the ISTE Standards guide teachers toward designing learning experiences that permit student independence and foster lifelong learning.
Technology allows for an unprecedented level of personalized learning, with valuable opportunities to monitor progress and engagement, follow student thinking, and digitally assess competencies. When schools effectively leverage both technology and pedagogy, both students and teachers become empowered to make decisions about their own learning and teaching.
True student-centered learning requires more than just an increase in technology implementation. It represents a shift in the educational culture toward a system that supports technology for standards-based learning and real-world problem solving. As a system transitions to a student-centered approach, educators can more effectively apply technology to improve learning outcomes and help students develop the skills for college and career readiness.
student-centered learning is including different methods, such as:
- active learning.
- cooperative learning.
- inductive teaching and learning.
- minimizing or eliminating student resistance to student-centered teaching methods.
- Links to relevant web sites.
The University of Minnesota Cooperative Learning Center.
- personalized learning
- anytime anywhere learning
student-centered learning through assessment : create the right rubrics
#2 from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/12/24/ctq_powell_strengths.html
Steffens, K. (2014). E-rubrics to facilitate self-regulated learning. Revista De Docencia Universitaria, 12(1), 11-12.
Rejab, M. M., Awang, I. b., Hassan, S. b., & Ahmad, M. b. (2010). Customizable Rubrics Model for Formative Evaluation of Problem-Based Learning Course. Annual International Conference On Infocomm Technologies In Competitive Strategies, 126-131. doi:10.5176/978-981-08-7240-3_I-51
CORLU, M. S. (2013). Insights into STEM Education Praxis: An Assessment Scheme for Course Syllabi.Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 13(4), 2477-2485. doi:10.12738/estp.2013.4.1903
Ma, A. W. (2009). A Longitudinal Study of the Use of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning in Promoting Lifelong Learning Skills. Issues In Informing Science & Information Technology, 665-86.
Klein, G. C., & Carney, J. M. (2014). Comprehensive Approach to the Development of Communication and Critical Thinking: Bookend Courses for Third- and Fourth-Year Chemistry Majors. Journal Of Chemical Education,91(10), 1649-1654. doi:10.1021/ed400595j
Moore, T. J., Guzey, S. S., Roehrig, G. H., Stohlmann, M., Park, M. S., Kim, Y. R., & … Teo, H. J. (2015). Changes in Faculty Members’ Instructional Beliefs while Implementing Model-Eliciting Activities. Journal Of Engineering Education, 104(3), 279-302. doi:10.1002/jee.20081
student-centered learning through engagement and buy-in: engage with multimedia
More on student centered learning in this blog:
student-centered learning through engagement and buy-in: engage with social media
#3 from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/five-characteristics-of-learner-centered-teaching/
Attard, A., Di lorio Emma, Geven, K., & Santa, R. (2010, October). Student-Centred Learning Toolkit for students, staff and higher education institutions. Education International. Retrieved from http://pascl.eu/wp-content/uploads/SCL_toolkit_ESU_EI.pdf
Universal Design for Libraries and Librarians
Instructors: Jessica Olin, Director of the Library, Robert H. Parker Library, Wesley College; and Holly Mabry, Digital Services Librarian, Gardner-Webb University
Offered: April 11 – May 27, 2016
A Moodle based web course with asynchronous weekly content lessons, tutorials, assignments, and groups discussion.
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Universal Design is the idea of designing products, places, and experiences to make them accessible to as broad a spectrum of people as possible, without requiring special modifications or adaptations. This course will present an overview of universal design as a historical movement, as a philosophy, and as an applicable set of tools. Students will learn about the diversity of experiences and capabilities that people have, including disabilities (e.g. physical, learning, cognitive, resulting from age and/or accident), cultural backgrounds, and other abilities. The class will also give students the opportunity to redesign specific products or environments to make them more universally accessible and usable.
By the end of this class, students will be able to…
- Articulate the ethical, philosophical, and practical aspects of Universal Design as a method and movement – both in general and as it relates to their specific work and life circumstances
- Demonstrate the specific pedagogical, ethical, and customer service benefits of using Universal Design principles to develop and recreate library spaces and services in order to make them more broadly accessible
- Integrate the ideals and practicalities of Universal Design into library spaces and services via a continuous critique and evaluation cycle
Here’s the Course Page
Jessica Olin is the Director of the Library, Robert H. Parker Library, Wesley College. Ms. Olin received her MLIS from Simmons College in 2003 and an MAEd, with a concentration in Adult Education, from Touro University International. Her first position in higher education was at Landmark College, a college that is specifically geared to meeting the unique needs of people with learning differences. While at Landmark, Ms. Olin learned about the ethical, theoretical, and practical aspects of universal design. She has since taught an undergraduate course for both the education and the entrepreneurship departments at Hiram College on the subject.
Holly Mabry received her MLIS from UNC-Greensboro in 2009. She is currently the Digital Services Librarian at Gardner-Webb University where she manages the university’s institutional repository, and teaches the library’s for-credit online research skills course. She also works for an international virtual reference service called Chatstaff. Since finishing her MLIS, she has done several presentations at local and national library conferences on implementing universal design in libraries with a focus on accessibility for patrons with disabilities.
February 29 – March 31, 2016
- LITA Member: $135
- ALA Member: $195
- Non-member: $260
Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date. The Moodle-developed course site will include weekly new content lessons and is composed of self-paced modules with facilitated interaction led by the instructor. Students regularly use the forum and chat room functions to facilitate their class participation. The course web site will be open for 1 week prior to the start date for students to have access to Moodle instructions and set their browser correctly. The course site will remain open for 90 days after the end date for students to refer back to course material.
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5