Lastest Academic Job Interview News

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic Life

Media Advisory: Presidential debates offer body language tips for job interviews
Considering President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are seeking the nation's top job, watching tonight's Presidential debate could be just the prep needed to ace your next job interview. Sound like a bunch of malarkey? Not so fast.
Read more on Wake Forest University News Center

ISSCC 2013 at 60 will combine the old with the new
They have assembled a panel of industry and academic circuit designers to challenge, and entertain, the audience and each other with questions that often arise during job interviews. The audience will be able to judge which interview questions are fair …
Read more on EE Times


What’s the “Half-Existence of Understanding?”

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic News

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


An interesting question caught my eye recently: what’s the half-life of knowledge, for facts we think we know?  Samuel Arbesman provides an answer in his recent Harvard Business Review article called, “;Be Forewarned: Your Knowledge is Decaying.”

Based on his new book, “;The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything we know has an Expiration Date,” the article first cites knowledge that entire generations accepted as truths that turn out to be false. For example, Pluto is not actually a planet.  He then touches on data that changes slowly over time, requiring us to constantly stay informed.  For example, he shared that, “;A friend of mine, for example, was speaking recently with an older hedge fund manager who began his story with the following: ‘Since we all know that there are 4 billion people on the planet…’” Actually, now there are over 7 billion people on Earth.  There are more examples, from babies to hand-washing practices, in the TEDx video below.

Arbesman also explains that changes to knowledge do have patterns.  He says, “;Overall, there is a shape to how knowledge grows.”   For example, by looking at the changes in data, he describes how the increases in the number of elements in the periodic table “;obeys regularities,” and how, “;even the number of universities over time obeys regularities -; from the medieval period to the modern day.”


Number of Universities Founded in Europe

Picture 3

Source: TEDx video


The Half-Life of Facts: Sam Arbesman at TEDxKC


It seems the only thing we can predict is that knowledge will keep changing. Clearly, using outdated information to support decisions has the potential to create all sorts of problems. Not only does this reminder about ‘knowledge decay’ encourage the personal pursuit of lifelong learning, but there are implications for every industry, including higher education.

Things are shifting relatively slowly in the higher education world, and as Arbesman points out, “;We should be concerned most about facts that change slowly, the facts that change over the course of years or decades or an entire lifetime.”  

How do you keep up with it all?

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


Did MOOCs Just Make Landfall? ten Questions to Take into account

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic News

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


It seems we may have another big, unpredictable storm close to home -; MOOCs.   They have been getting a lot of press this year, and here's another recent article from the New York Times – "The Year of the MOOC."

Last week Inside Higher Ed announced a partnership between Coursera and Antioch University to license Coursera courses for Antioch degree programs. 

In short, here’s the business model:  Universities such as Duke and the University of Pennsylvania work with Coursera to produce massively open online courses (“MOOCs”) that are offered for free (at least until this point) through Coursera.  Some schools, like Antioch, may decide to license these courses and will pay Coursera a fee to do so.  Coursera will share the gross revenue and net profit from these licensed courses with the universities that produced the content.  The faculty that produced the course will also receive some revenue.  Schools like Antioch will offer these licensed MOOCs to their students, thus giving them access to a wider array of courses and instructors, including “;rock star” faculty from well-known universities.  Because the cost of licensing the content through Coursera will likely be smaller than the cost of hiring these well-known faculty to teach at the licensee school, universities like Antioch that work through Coursera can pass the savings on to students, thus lowering the cost of a degree. 

From the Antioch University website: “;Each Coursera course will be facilitated by an AULA faculty member who will also be enrolled in the course, thereby enabling both frequent interaction between students and instructor and augmentation of the course through supplemental exercises and projects focused on expanding the learning experience.”

Like a storm, the higher education landscape is in a swirl and small pivots may produce large, important changes.  We wonder whether this might be an early pivot . . . and potentially change who is in the path of the storm and who is considered safe -; for now, until the next pivot.  We’ve written about the dismantling of higher education,  potential business models for edX and content creators and distributors, how at least one student perceived his experience in the first MITx MOOC, and the multitude of factors impacting the higher education market right now, but this is something big -; the market just pivoted. 

Rather than try to predict the exact path -; and force -; of this new development in higher ed, we have a few questions that we all might consider as this unfolds:

1.     Will licensing of MOOCs created by highly-respected schools “;crowd out” faculty from the licensee schools?

2.     How might licensee schools feel about their new role as “;facilitators”?

3.     Will licensing MOOCs increase access?  Might organizations licensing the content decide to focus on fee-paying schools and create two tiers of content -; paid and free?

4.     If all schools have access to all of the same MOOCs, how will schools differentiate themselves in the marketplace to attract students?

5.     If different universities license the same course materials, but have different grading standards, how will we compare outcomes across universities?

6.     Might the difference between schools come from the quality of facilitation/support offered by licensee school faculty, rather than the MOOC faculty, since that will become widely available, and perhaps commoditized?

7.     If more schools use the license model, could we eventually end up with a handful of “;top” schools producing the content and a small number of large schools offering the degrees? 

8.     Will Coursera-type companies become the publishers in the new higher education market?

9.     Who decides what content/teachers are “;best”?  Will it become true that courses from Coursera partners will be viewed as “;superior” to courses from other schools because they are frequently licensed?

10.   Will license deals like this drive a wedge into the higher education market, essentially enhancing the star power of the best-known universities and leaving the schools with less-developed brands weaker?

So, higher education meteorologists, what does your weather satellite read? 

Dayna Catropa
Margaret Andrews

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


Why I Support an Open Definition of DH

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic News

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U

College Ready Writing

After I posted my last piece on Who Is Doing DH, I got into an interesting conversation with my colleague/co-conspirator/Twitter-buddy/provocateur-extraordinaire Trent M. Kays about the problems with a “;big-tent” view of digital humanities. Below is that exchange.


[View the story “Is Big-Tent DH a Good Thing?” on Storify]


Trent is working on a post right now expanding on his view, but certainly his view that other academics and scholars (particularly, but not exclusively, in Rhetoric and Composition) have long been doing work that is now being considered digital humanities but have long been unrecognized by their colleagues in English departments and the humanities more generally is accurate and problematic. Roger Whitson acknowledges the blind spot in a recent post, after attending the Computers and Writing conference, as well as being schooled himself on Twitter.

But Roger also gets at, I think, is one of the reasons I contend that DH needs to be open and respectfully appropriate what has been done before (and for a long time):

“But most of these moves [within DH] have done little to change an institutional culture that largely sees preservation, criticism — and probably most importantly reading andwriting as their most fundamental practices. I, too, was swayed when Derrideans made claims that there were no real separations between theory and praxis or between constantive and performative utterances. And yet, what did those arguments actually accomplish except to keep us doing exactly the same thing?”

There needs to be a change in how we do things in the humanities. One of the things that attracted me to DH (other than what I’ve already stated here and here and here) was that there was room to do something different, instead of trying to carve out a small piece of the whatever-has-been-done-before-but-slightly-different. And certainly using technology, even mindfully and critically, can just recreate old patterns in bigger and faster ways. The more popular DH becomes, the more we risk research and work that isn’t innovative, just repetitive (although one could argue if one academic successfully uses a tool to do x to a certain text of body of texts, why it is then “;wrong” to use that same tool and process to do x to a different body of text? Less innovative, perhaps, but if the conclusions are equally insightful and revealing, then why knock it?).

This brings up an important issue that seems to be lurking, and that is the idea of “;innovation” that drives so much of the rhetoric in higher education today. Everything has to be NEW NEW NEW and groundbreaking and innovative; it’s one of the reasons the humanities haven’t faired as well as certain STEM fields (and why other STEM fields haven’t done so well, either). It’s also why DH is attractive -; it will CHANGE the humanities. But if we allow the innovation rhetoric to take over, then we will find ourselves in the cut-throat business (literally) of only seeking what’s new over what is interesting, useful, and insightful.

This is why I think the big tent, or as I call it, the DH collective, is so important. We need people who can do all kinds of different things (innovate, built, create, critique, tweak, and disseminate, among other things). I think anyone who is interested in DH should be welcome into the collective and then be permitted to find their space and their community (or form their own) within the collective. Excluding people because they don’t do x or y recreates the pattern of academia as it stand right now. We might never change what it means to be a humanist, but we can change how higher education operates. That, to me, is the biggest promise DH holds. 

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


Friday Fragments

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic News

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U

Confessions of a Community College Dean

The $ 249 chromebook is the best idea I’ve heard all week.  It seems like the chromebook is finally moving from “;proof of concept” to “;something actual people would actually buy.”  Finally, decent size and specs at a community college price.  This could fulfill the promise that netbooks made, but crapped out on, back in 2009.


Minnesota is banning Coursera? Say what you want about MOOCs, but this is catastrophically stupid. 1001 varieties of internet porn?  No problem! But using the web for unauthorized learning?  Scandalous!  

For those who aren’t fans of MOOCs, the way to defeat them is to offer something better.  Relying on state-level protectionism is not going to cut it. Anyone with a VPN can make a mockery of this, and rightly so.  Honestly, when I think about all of the things that people can, and will, do on the internet, following free academic classes is the least of my concerns.


It will surprise nobody that I plan to vote for President Obama, but I have to admit being annoyed at him.  During the second debate, he continued to use “;community colleges” and “;job training centers” interchangeably.  They aren’t.  Community colleges are important job training and workforce development sites, but they’re also — and I use this word deliberately — colleges.   For many students, taking the first two years of a four year degree at a community college is a viable way to get an education while keeping costs down.  Given that student loan burdens are a major issue, it would be nice for someone in public life to connect those dots.


The Girl is starting to decipher genre.  We’ve watched a few episodes of “;Gilligan’s Island” over the last few weeks; it’s a gobsmacking nostalgia trip for me, and she enjoys the candy-colored slapstick.  As with the old “;Star Trek” episodes, I have to do some serious deprogramming of the casual sexism, lest she get too much of it, but with enough parental counterpoint, it still seems worthwhile.

After a recent episode, she turned to me and said “;I get it!  Gilligan is like SpongeBob, and the Skipper is like Squidward!”

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but she was basically right. What made it gratifying, though, was that she was able to recognize genre.  The goofy, carefree underling who flusters the voluble but basically harmless boss — that could be Gilligan, or it could be SpongeBob.  

Pretty good for a third grader, I think.


This story made me smile, albeit wistfully. Some public universities are going to their legislatures with a proposition: restore subsidies, and we’ll hold the line on tuition.  

In a more perfect world, legislatures would jump at the deal.  But I have no illusions that the current crop will.  

The great virtue of this strategy is that it connects cause and effect.  (More cynically, it provides a palatable excuse for a university to do what it was going to do anyway.)  I’m a fan of reality-based decisions, so I like the idea of pointing out explicitly that much of the recent spike in tuition increases is a function of cost-shifting, rather than a lack of discipline.  If you want to flatten the spike, stop cost-shifting.

Unfortunately, I can imagine a fairly smart argument from the other side: in the absence of a squeeze, higher education isn’t known for cost discipline.  So I’ll suggest a different idea:

Ask the legislatures to fund experiments.  Make money available, conditional on trying something different.  And I don’t mean yet another workforce program.  I mean something that addresses the underlying cost disease of higher education, something that gets at the credit hour and the various structural issues that push up costs at every institution, regardless of local quirks.  If you want a system fix, pony up resources for people to try some.  

Otherwise, we’ll be stuck in annual games of budgetary chicken, with diminishing returns.  The for-profits are already suffering; if we don’t change, we’ll be next.  And asking the legislature to keep Coursera out of town is not a serious answer.

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


Debating Pearson’s OpenClass

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic News

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U

Technology and Learning

Did you check out the Pearson's OpenClass booth at EDUCAUSE?   If not, it is worth spending some time on the new OpenClass site www.openclass.com.  

How would you answer the following questions:

1. Where does OpenClass fit into the LMS ecosystem?

2. If you are doing an LMS bake-off, is OpenClass among your main contenders (with Blackboard and Moodle and Canvas and D2L and Sakai)?  Why or why not?

At EDUCAUSE, Adrian Sannier (SVP of Product Pearson Education) gave a terrific presentation as part of a panel called Disruptive Innovation: Current Trends and Future Directions. (You can get the slide deck for the presentations at the EDUCAUSE session site).

It is worth paying attention to what Adrian thinks about the future of the LMS (and higher ed in general) because a) he is a smart guy with a strong iconoclastic streak, and b) Pearson is a big (and becoming bigger) player in the edtech platform, services and content space.

I've been trying to make sense of Pearson's strategy with OpenClass (to answer question #1 above), and listening to what Adrian has to say is one of our best roadmaps to calibrating where Pearson may go. You can check out a short (4 minute) video of Adrian talking about the vision for OpenClass at this link.

A summary of Pearson's OpenClass strategy would go like this:

A. Course development remains predominantly a "craft" exercise – with individual faculty developing their own courses. Most courses, even blended or online courses, are not "born digital" – rather they are translated from a traditional face-to-face classroom setting.

B. In order to achieve both better quality courses and courses that can scale up to more students it is necessary to move to a course development (and teaching and support) method optimized for the digital world. This means team developed courses, with content pulled in from publisher and open source content, and design strategies benefit from pedagogical research (implemented by learning designers) and continuous improvement driven by data.

C. The value proposition of OpenClass is that it lowers the barriers for a school to adopt the platform (as OpenClass is a free cloud based LMS), and moves the conversation towards the value added services for program or course design / re-design that truly impact both quality and coasts. Pearson is developing more capabilities around value-added services (see the EmbanetCompass acquisition), as well as being able to leverage a large services infrastructure and content / simulation library.

OpenClass is an argument that the LMS is the "least important" part of the learning value chain. By making OpenClass free, Pearson is highlighting what attributes really do add value (course design, content, data driven improvements, learner support, etc.) – and is confident that they can deliver value (and revenues) along these dimensions.

Is that about right? How would you improve my analysis of the Pearson OpenClass strategy?

My argument with OpenClass is that I believe that "free" is more powerful than Pearson recognizes. I think a full-service program/course development model (with learning design, content, support etc.) is only one strategy for improving higher education. An important strategy, one that we will see more with a growing number of non-profit / for-profit partnerships.  But only one strategy.  

I think that there is potential in the market for a Gmail / Google Docs version of an LMS. A free, cloud based based learning management system with the potential for robust integration to the campus student information system (SIS).   

What if Pearson had invested in OpenClass in as big a way that Instructure invested in Canvas? What if Pearson had the faith that building a large community of practice, a large number of adopters, could later be effectively monetized around services and content?

Pearson has deep enough pockets necessary to make a long-term investment in a free OpenClass.  

It would, I believe, be necessary to break the OpenClass team off from the main Pearson Education mothership – to give the unit some independence and autonomy. That autonomy would ease the concerns of the higher ed community about adopting a Pearson product.  This could be done without hurting Pearson's long term play of transitioning from a print product to a digital content and services company.   

I think that a more aggressive and independent OpenClass rollout is the right way for Pearson to move forward.

What do you think?

Inside Higher Ed | Blog U


How &#39soccer mum&#39 Paula Broadwell caused CIA chief David Petraeus&#39s resignation

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in General

How 'soccer mum' Paula Broadwell caused CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation
Yet Paula Broadwell, a national security specialist and a PhD student at King's College London, has become embroiled in a sex-and-spying scandal that has wrecked the career of America's most distinguished general. The resignation of General David …
Read more on The Australian

Show Me the 'Get to Zero' Money!
Read Share History; Learn More. Marjorie Hill, Ph.D. CEO, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). GET UPDATES FROM Marjorie Hill, Ph.D. Like. 10. Show Me the 'Get to Zero' Money! Posted: 10/12/2012 4:12 pm. React. Amazing Inspiring Funny Scary Hot Crazy …
Read more on Huffington Post (blog)

Why Politics Are Stuck in the U.S.
Peter T. Coleman, PhD. Professor of Psychology and Education, Columbia University. GET UPDATES FROM Peter T. Coleman, PhD. Like. 13. Why Politics Are Stuck in the U.S.. Posted: 11/05/2012 4:20 pm. React. Important Funny Typical Scary Outrageous …
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Students get true-world experience by means of hands-on lessons

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Career Planning

Students gain real-world experience through hands-on classes
Director of Career Services Patricia Rose said, “The experience can be very valuable for students, particularly for those who may not have much work experience.” “It gives them the opportunity to interact with professionals in another setting,” Rose …
Read more on The Daily Pennsylvanian

The worldwide impact of open access to MIT faculty research
… Open Access Articles Collection in [email protected] reveal that faculty articles have helped a wide range of people — students trying to complete professional and undergraduate degrees; professors at universities with limited access to scholarly …
Read more on MIT News


The Role of Role Models — Huge, Small or Any Dimension

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in General

The Role of Role Models — Large, Small or Any Size
She pleaded with women to stop being their own worst enemies and many — including non-celebrities — supported her efforts to get women to be more supportive of one another. There are others speaking out against … She advises young women, "the first …
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The politics of the middle class
So, if you really need help, the argument goes, you should not get it almost by definition. This election, more than any other in recent memory, is forcing every voter to examine his or her idea of what it means to be free, middle class and American …
Read more on Alaska Dispatch

Parents Tend to Downplay Kids' Worries
By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on October 25, 2012 … Ideally, researchers should get emotion reports of children from multiple sources, including the child, Lagattuta said. Knowledge and awareness of a …
Read more on PsychCentral.com


Ben Affleck&#39s Argo and the Issue With Viewing Iran By way of a Narrow Lens

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in General

Ben Affleck's Argo and the Problem With Viewing Iran Through a Narrow Lens
… imperative that we first recognize the basic humanity of each people and move beyond this oppressively limiting, dangerous relic of the past paradigm of "us versus them." Pouya Alimagham is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan's history …
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Last week in the Lower House Budget debate, Port-of-Spain North/St Ann's West MP Patricia Mc Intosh lamented that Government has stopped their predecessor's scheme to fund PhD study for anyone graduating with a first-class first degree. Karim also …
Read more on Trinidad News

Smoking and Adolescent Brain Development
Smoking and Adolescent Brain Development. By Shefali Sabharanjak, PhD | 2 Comments | Share | Print | Email | Tweet | Like | 1+. Grey smoke over black background. When it comes to substance abuse like smoking or abuse of intoxicating drugs, it is very …
Read more on Brain Blogger (blog)

Dire health outcomes from extended sedentary time
Dr. Stuart Biddle, PhD, of Loughborough University, professor physical activity and health and a co-investigator on the study, said: "There are many ways we can reduce our sitting time, such as breaking up long periods at the computer at work by …
Read more on allvoices