Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sebastian Thrun's pivot

There are a lot of "I told you so's" aimed at Sebastian Thrun for his initial enthusiasm for MOOCs and his recent turn-around. Udacity is now going to target job-specific training. So... ok, we told you so - BUT I'm thinking about how he got to this "fail": He was willing to experiment and go way out on a limb in a very public way. He had the social capital to gather up venture capital and develop a platform in short order. He has brought online education to the attention of many - including ivy league schools. He experimented in a BIG way. We told him so, but he learned it for himself. I'm sure that he will go on to do many more interesting things. Now I'm trying to think about what would be different if the last couple of years of MOOC craziness hadn't happened?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Design 101 - Victor Papanek - In print only

I'm doing Design 1o1 (one-oh-one - not laugh out loud) through One item on the suggested readings - Victor Papanek Design for the Real World - I'm reading the first edition which happened to be available in the academic library I frequent. They haven't thrown it out yet even though it's one of those academic libraries that seems bent on marginalizing the printed book. How frustrating that Papanek is not legally available electronically! (I'm quite sure that the material at is not up there legally.) I would like all of you to read it - and read it in its' entirety. I listened to some of Dave Cormier's discussion for #WWEOpen13. I'm rather confused. He seems to be saying that there's no longer a need for fixed texts. The conversation with the group seemed to fall somewhere between "print is dead" and "I like print." I think that you ought to read Papenek - not as revised or condensed or regurgitated by someone who might shift Papanek's arguments in some way. Write your own work and have your say! Don't mess with Papanek's expression. Also if I were teaching a course in design, I would insist that the students should read Papenek. Apparently this is "teacher as leader = bad." Perhaps if I disguise myself as a fellow student I could enthusiastically endorse the reading of particular texts?

First page of the preface from the 1st edition

Design in the Real World: Ecology and Social Change - 2nd edition (2005).

Design 101: I've only missed doing one assignment so far and will catch up on that one today. I'm not trying to be the best or even good. I'm not agonizing over the assignments. I'm doing that thing where you get an idea, do it, and ship it.