Monday, August 29, 2011

Stanford courses - open to all

When is a course a course? Stanford is offering access to a course on artificial intelligence that has attracted thousands - over 135,000 have signed up as of August 29, 2011. Students will not get grades, but will get a "statement of accomplishment." It's not clear from the web site if Stanford's on-campus students will be meeting face-to-face in addition to the online version open to outsiders. (Additional courses are being offered online and open access as well.) Some question this kind of learning. How does this online experience stack up against actually being on-campus and working with others face-to-face? Is there some thing - something we can't even quite describe - about being on-campus, showing up for a face-to-face class, that just cannot be replicated in an online experience? Yes, probably to some extent working face-to-face with professors and other students (i.e. those interested in learning the same things you want to learn) has some benefits. Even though I'm convinced that learning takes place outside/beyond/without traditional classroom experiences, there are those art degrees I have... I really needed the face-to-face contact with other art students. Paying tuition to avail myself of an organized situation with a concentration of art students and art professors.. I think that was necessary for me. BUT.. really - the only way people learn is sitting across from each other in a classroom? We ought to be passed that discussion. Shouldn't the question be what do faculty need to do to give online students the best possible experience?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Look-alike tablets

James Kendrick posted "Apple injunctions against similar-looking tablets just beginning" (August 10, 2011).  He says, "I am supportive of companies protecting inventions, but this is just ludicrous. You can’t ban products that look something like another, as that just stifles competition."  I think it's complete abuse of the system of patents.  For me this puts Apple firmly in the Evil Empire camp.  How are the Apple fan boys going to explain away this one? (This makes me want to run out an buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab.)    In the meantime Maria Korolov reports "Controversy erupts over SpotON3D's patent claims."  (August3, 2011 on Hypergrid Business).   SpotON3D is filing patents on "virtual world in a browser" tools that are not unlike other implementations.  So... open licensing is not working in this case to protect work already done on similar software?  Apparently from Korolov's report, there is still some question on how SpotON3D's patent might impact work by OpenSim, Kitely, etc.  Overly-broad patents are another problem. TechDirt's Mike Masnick wrote a good piece with a link to a spoton (but not 3D) Dilbert cartoon (August 9, 2011).  It all seems like the worst of capitalism with taking advantage of laws to stifle competition rather than moving forward with new creative ideas for creating new products. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just checking in - and Joe Arroyo

I've got 19 more days before all three courses I'm currently teaching online will completed with grades in and all of that.   I'd vowed not to get overly committed to doing much of anything else until my responsibilities for those students is done. That leaves some uncomfortable down times waiting for students to turn in work. Today I've been able to play with Spotify a bit.  Joe Arroyo died this past week, so I've been playing tracks. Spotify doesn't seem to have tracks for 30 albums, but there's enough to keep me busy.   Footage from his funeral ceremony with thousands of mourners at Of course there's something in it I could post to one of my courses where we've spent the first half of the course discussing copyright, etc.:  "Joe Arroyo's daughters fight for music royalties." (August 3, 2011).  Multiple marriages seem to have created a messy situation.  I don't blame anyone for trying to get a share if they're entitled to it, but wouldn't it be nice to just enjoy performers without considering money, money, money as if that were the main legacy?