Sunday, April 27, 2014

Connections: Readings this Week

Putting together the articles and news that caught my eye this week:

Educational news had a couple of interesting stories.

Harvey Mudd College links MOOC development to the university mission. Great perspective for what we should be doing with new delivery modalities:  The Evolving MOOC (EDUCAUSE Review) |

And on the down side, an innovative look at student data collection found too many challenges to continue, despite funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:  A Student-Data Collector Drops Out (New York Times)

The full economic impact of student debt should be getting more national attention.  A fix is needed, both for the affected individuals and the economy in general:   Paying Off Student Loans Puts a Dent In Wallets, and the Economy (NPR).

In the category of openness:
Companies Back Initiative to Support OpenSSL and Other Open-Source Projects (Bits, New York Times). 
Demonstrating strong leadership, the Linux Foundation has organized the Core Infrastructure Initiative to support open-source projects, and gathered financial support ($100,000 a year each) from Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm and VMWare.  The support of quality, secure open-source technology is fundamental to much of our technology delivery.

We have to balance the positive and the negative.  The news about FCC directions against Net Neutrality is very distressing; I'm trying to imagine the impact on delivery of open educational resources.  The open comment period is exploding, as described in the lobbying article in the New York Times:   Lobbying Efforts Intensify After F.C.C. Tries 3rd Time on Net Neutrality

Still thinking about work space. 
Let's add to the books-to-read list.  I noted the mention of Frederick Taylor, the efficiency expert, and I wondered how that leads to cubed office spaces:  The Office Space We Love to Hate (Cubed  A Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval, Doubleday, reviewed in the New York Times).

Frederick Taylor pops up again in this interesting read about the corporate buzzwords that describe our work.  Taylor evidently brought a vocabulary to descriptions used:
"talk about workers in books and boardrooms were accordingly mechanistic, emphasizing accuracy, precision, incentives, and maximized production."  The short slide-quiz a few paragraphs into the article is fun.   The Origins of Office-Speak  (The Atlantic)

How about furniture as a cultural revolution?  This article demonstrates how Herman Miller furniture evoked a time and place in the TV show Mad Men:  The Secret Weapon of Mad Men? Herman Miller.

In the category of "Look at this fun tech stuff," we have fresh stories.
With Farm Robotics, the Cows Decide When It's Milking Time (New York Times).
I love how the cows decided that they wanted to be milked more often than the tradition of twice a day.

How about a an app that comes with an attachment that lets you turn your iPhone into an otoscope?  Health Care Apps Offer Patients an Active Role (New York Times)

So much to read and think about, so little time!

As usual, I like to walk away and let my thoughts develop.  After hiking for a couple hours, I've pulled together a picture.  What I see here are how we create environments that lead to creative endeavors.  The endeavors lead to innovative projects.  Projects that flow with nature succeed.  Other projects hit obstacles related to privacy and security.  But in the end, we want to share, and we want our sharing to be free and open.