Category Archives: OpEd

Radical Civil Obedience – Day Minus 1,522 Fiscal Responsibility

judgejudyRadical Civil Obedience – Day Minus 1,518 Practice Cross-examination
Constantly evaluate information sources for accuracy.   Write to the author for their sources if needed. Don’t rely on others to tell you something is true. Research it yourself. Use a jurists mind. Ask yourself:

*Is it Hearsay? (A statement made out of court that is offered in court as evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.)

*Is there Substantial Evidence? Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” (Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389 (1971).)

*Is there a Preponderance of Evidence?(A preponderance of evidence has been described as just enough evidence to make it more likely than not that the fact the claimant seeks to prove is true)

*Is there Reasonable Doubt? Sufficient doubt on the part of jurors for acquittal of a defendant based on a lack of evidence.

*Is there Clear and Convincing Evidence? (Evidence that proves a matter by the “preponderance of evidence” required in civil cases and beyond the “reasonable doubt” needed to convict in a criminal case.)

Sources: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/legal-standards-proof.html
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/

Radical Civil Obedience – Day Minus 1,520 Civil Rights Songs
Listen  and write political protest and civil rights songs. Songs get us out of your heads and into the soul of your hearts. They send a message and give us courage and motivation. Here’s a good place to start “The 10 Best Civil Right Protest songs”  https://spinditty.com/playlists/The-Protest-Movement-10-Best-Civil-Rights-Protest-Songs  There’s one recording from 1938.  Be sure to read the stories that go with them.

Radical Civil Obedience – Day Minus 1,519 Strengthen your local political economy. Dollars spent are votes for what is produced in the world. Be sure you know what you are voting for. Keep your smart phones for at least five years. While you are at it, stop buying plastic products, buy local in brick and mortar stores, and send Christmas goodies to your police and fire departments. Give gifts of services instead of products. Strengthen your local political economy.

Radical Civil Obedience – Day Minus 1,522 Fiscal Responsibility
budgetingRadical Civil Obedience – Day Minus 1,522 days until another President is inaugurated.  Another value  I want to see in my political leaders that I will model myself: Fiscal responsibility. I am aware that the finance industry has extreme power over our political processes, and I will minimize my participation in sustaining their wealth. I will create and follow a sustainable budget.  I will only borrow money when absolutely necessary (e.g. housing, medical, transportation) and pay bills and expenses by cash or check.  If I use credit cards to pay bills, I will pay off all the balances each month.  I will move my funds from national banks to independent banks and credit unions. (Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26373139@N08/5913014568 CC BY-SA)

Countdown to January 20, 2021 – Day minus 1,524 days until a new President takes office. What can I do until then? Answer: Become a better citizen by living the values I want to see in all elected and appointed officials. Following the format of Gene Sharp, Nobel Prize nominee and author of “The Politics of Nonviolent Action” and “From Dictatorship to Democracy” I am compiling a list of things I can do improve my integrity as a citizen, while preserving the integrity of our form of government. I call this form of protest “Radical Civil Obedience.” (Note: This does not exclude civil disobedience when necessary. [did I just get on the FBI’s watch list?]) Here’s the first thing that came to mind: Driving habits: As a form of protest against bullying and intimidation, against rushing to push others out of the way to get my way, and because I agreed to follow traffic laws when I accepted my driver’s license, I will drive the speed limit on all roads, be non-aggressive, and courteous. (I drive that way now, unless I am in a hurry, bored, or impatient.) Imagine if half of all drivers would do that, we would be sending a clear message to the world that we do not want aggressive, bullying. self-seeking political leaders. Behave the way you want them to behave. Tomorrow: Get your news from printed sources.

Radical Civil Obedience Day 1523 – Taxes

Radical Civil Obedience: Countdown to January 20, 2021 — 1,523 days until a new President takes office. To show the values I want in my president, I will cheerfully pay my fair share of taxes on time, if not early. I will not use the IRS or FTB as a zero-interest savings account, adjusting my exemptions so that my tax bill or refund is within a few hundred dollars.

Radical Civil Obedience Day minus 1524 – Driving Habits

Countdown to January 20, 2021 – Day minus 1,524 days until a new President takes office. What can I do until then? Answer: Become a better citizen by living the values I want to see in all elected and appointed officials. Following the format of Gene Sharp, Nobel Prize nominee and author of “The Politics of Nonviolent Action” and “From Dictatorship to Democracy” I am compiling a list of things I can do improve my integrity as a citizen, while preserving the integrity of our form of government. I call this form of protest “Radical Civil Obedience.” (Note: This does not exclude civil disobedience when necessary. [did I just get on the FBI’s watch list?]) Here’s the first thing that came to mind: Driving habits: As a form of protest against bullying and intimidation, against rushing to push others out of the way to get my way, and because I agreed to follow traffic laws when I accepted my driver’s license, I will drive the speed limit on all roads, be non-aggressive, and courteous. (I drive that way now, unless I am in a hurry, bored, or impatient.) Imagine if half of all drivers would do that, we would be sending a clear message to the world that we do not want aggressive, bullying. self-seeking political leaders. Behave the way you want them to behave. Tomorrow: Get your news from printed sources.

Thank You for Not Voting

THANK YOU FOR NOT VOTING? “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time. And that should be sufficient for most purposes.” “What?,” you say, “That’s not what Lincoln said!.” True, he didn’t say that, at least not in his public version. Lincoln is quoted as finishing this adage with “But you cannot fool all the people all the time.” And, fortunately, we do not fool ourselves all the time. We are not political fools – unwitting victims of political processes powered by greedy, earth-destroying corporations and grossly rich people. We, my fellow Americans, are the roots of the political process, providing the nutrients that feed and sustain our elected officials. We even have an instruction manual. Yeah, you know what it’s called.

Our citizenry (the foolish and unfoolish alike) has an awesome responsibility. We are asked to fulfill our civic duties by: 1) registering to vote, 2) then voting for various individuals and initiatives, and 3) then holding those elected to the highest standards while in office. (Most of us forget about #3). We will elect 435 house representatives, 35 senators, 12 governors, one president and vice president, and hundreds of state and local officials, and say aye or nay on hundreds of ballot initiatives which will affect our incomes, taxes, environment, health care, and civil liberties. Yes, an awesome responsibility and not to be undertaken lightly.

There are about 225,778,000 eligible voters in the U.S., but only about 124,177,900 (55%) will actually vote. (Maybe a bit more in this election, but definitely not more than 60%. i ) If you choose not to vote you are giving your vote to a random stranger who does vote, (and we all know not to get in a car with a stranger unless they have the good kind of candy and/or need help finding their lost their puppy.) A 55% turnout means each actual vote is worth 1.82 votes. That is, each voter become more powerful when there are eligible non-voters. What a wonderful system we control – the foolish and unfoolish alike.

And how do we keep our elected officials on the straight and narrow. Become helicopter constituents. Who are they spending time with? Are they keeping good company? Are they getting to their meetings on time? Are they doing their homework and putting in full days? Do they get along well with others? Do they share? Do they call home often and let us know what is going on? Make sure you emphasize that you know they are big enough to do things by themselves , but you just want to follow along and take notes to see if there is possible room for improvements. All for their own good, of course. NEXT Week: Creating a New Political Party Called “The No-Crybaby Party.”

ihttp://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/turnout.php

Why publish an open-access textbook [about educational psychology?]

Excerpted from “Educational Psychology” by Drs. Seifert and Sutton  (p. 8) ( CC BY)

(Red and bold added by Textbook Equity)

Why publish an open-access textbook about educational psychology?

Why publish an open-access textbook about educational psychology? I have taught educational psychology to future teachers for over 35 years, during which I used one or another of the major commercial textbooks written for this subject. In general I found all of the books well-written and thorough. But I also found problems:

(1) Though they differed in details, the major textbooks were surprisingly similar in overall coverage. This fact, coupled with their large overall size, made it hard to tailor any of the books to the particular interests or needs of individuals or groups of students. Too often, buying a textbook was like having to buy a huge Sunday newspaper when all you really want is to read one of its sections. In a similar way, commercial educational psychology textbooks usually told you more than you ever needed or wanted to know about the subject. As a format, the textbook did not allow for individualization.

(2) Educational psychology textbooks were always expensive, and over the years their costs rose faster than inflation, especially in the United States, where most of the books have been produced. Currently every major text about educational psychology sells for more than USD 100. At best this cost is a stress on students’ budgets. At worst it puts educational psychology textbooks beyond the reach of many. The problem of the cost is even more obvious when put in worldwide perspective; in some countries the cost of one textbook is roughly equivalent to the average annual income of its citizens.

(3) In the competition to sell copies of educational psychology textbooks, authors and publishers have gradually added features that raise the cost of books without evidence of adding educational value. Educational psychology publishers in particular have increased the number of illustrations and photographs, switched to full-color editions, increased the complexity and number of study guides and ancillary publications, and created proprietary websites usable fully only by adopters of their particular books. These features have sometimes been attractive. My teaching experience suggests, however, that they also distract students from learning key ideas about educational psychology about as often as they help students to learn.

By publishing this textbook online with the Global Textbook Project, I have taken a step toward resolving these problems. Instructors and students can access as much or as little of the textbook as they really need and find useful. The cost of their doing is minimal. Pedagogical features are available, but are kept to a minimum and rendered in formats that can be accessed freely and easily by anyone connected to the Internet. In the future, revisions to the book will be relatively easy and prompt to make. These, I believe, are desirable outcomes for everyone! – Dr. Kelvin Seifert

Repost:"Giving it away for free: sharing really is caring in the open education movement"

Giving it away for free: sharing really is caring in the open education movement

By Ruth Jelley, La Trobe University and Christopher Scanlon, La Trobe University

The New York Times dubbed 2012 the year of the MOOC. And for many, the seemingly unstoppable rise of Massive Open Online Courses – courses which are offered for free by prestigious universities – is where the discussion about open education begins and ends.

But MOOCs are only the most visible part of a larger movement, one that is slowly but surely transforming the way we do education and think about educational products and services.

Welcome to the world of open educational resources (OER).

OERs include everything from peer-created and edited texts and ebooks to sound recordings and videos that are licensed for open use and re-use. Where publishers normally impose hefty fees (mainly paid for by students) for the use of their products and services, and impose restrictions on how content can be used, the ethos of the open educational resource movement is share and share alike.

OERs are created in open formats rather than those that are owned by large companies and distributed under open licence regimes such as Creative Commons.

Rather than locking users into a particular format or a particular publishing ecosystem, such as iTunesU, the OER movement encourages experimentation and reuse via the open web. More particularly, the OER movement seeks nothing less than a revolution in breaking down the barriers to sharing knowledge, especially those barriers that separate the developed and developing worlds.

It sounds good, but is OER pie-in-the-sky thinking? Why would anyone spend their valuable time developing content only to give it away? Surely only the most utopian optimist high on the fumes of the internet could imagine that OERs will have a life.

There are many reasons why the future is bright for open educational resources. The model of commercial publication of academic research, where publicly funded research is locked up and sold by commercial publishers, is increasingly coming under challenge. And it’s not just a motley collection of annoyed academics, either.

Research bodies in countries including Australia the US and the UK are insisting on open access to research as a condition of their funding. If widely adopted, developing open research resources won’t just be good practice. Increasingly it will be a requirement of funding.

For example, in October last year, the Australian Research Council announced that it was looking at mandating open access for scientific research that it funds.

Similarly, this year US Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren issued a memo to ensure that Federal agencies with more than US$100 million in research and development expenditures to make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication.

The move towards open access isn’t restricted to the education sector. The Australian Attorney-General has endorsed a recommendation that Australian government agencies license their Public Sector Information under a Creative Commons attribution licence.

While the flurry of activity around open access might seem new, OER isn’t new at all. It’s simply a new term for a set of practices and ideas that are as old as Socrates. What we now call “higher education” has for most of human history been based on a gift economy where intellectuals and those with intellectual training essentially gave away the fruits of their labour — or did so without expectation of gain.

That started to change in the latter half of the twentieth century when education and educational services and products came to be regarded as products, much like any other. Ever since, the costs of education have skyrocketed, putting quality education out of reach for all but the most privileged.

The OER movement seeks to use the internet to reverse this trend. It’s about returning us to an intellectual culture that more closely resembles gift exchange.

Australian institutions have jumped on the open education bandwagon but not in a way that embraces these aspirations – we’re still looking at it as an education-as-service model. In doing so, we could be at risk of closing ourselves off from the real purpose of the open education movement.

Ruth Jelley is affiliated with the Open Education Working Group at La Trobe University and is employed by the Faculty of Business Economics and Law to investigate OER implementation.

Christopher Scanlon does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

How MOOCs are derailing Open Education: George Siemens ICDE World Conference keynote

icdelogo“A pioneer of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), George Siemens of Athabasca University, Canada, is one of the impressive list of keynote speakers confirmed for ICDE’s World Conference to be hosted by Tianjin Open University, China, 16-18 October 2013. Siemens contends that the most prominent MOOCs are failing the ideals of the Open Education movement.”

http://www.icde.org/How+MOOCs+are+derailing+Open+Education%3A+George+Siemens+ICDE+World+Conference+keynote.b7C_wJLMZ1.ips

Experiments in Open Education and Active Learning: A Report from the Celebration of Teaching

“I have long regarded scholarship as the noblest aspect of academia– the scholar’s tenacity in identifying, acknowledging, addressing and building on the intellectual contributions of others. I have not experienced the same profound sense of community among my colleagues in the education realm, however – I have largely been a lone wolf. Now there has been a profound shift in my mindset – I use and build on the educational production of others; I do it openly on public sites, of which I am proud rather than embarrassed; I contribute back, and my students see and learn from this practice of scholarly appreciation, and are even encouraged to contribute to it through their own content creation and sharing. This opportunity for “scholarship” in educational practice is what, as an educator and scholar, I find most exciting about this nascent and exploding online education movement. ” – Professor Doug Fisher, Vanderbilt University.

http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2013/05/experiments-in-moocs-and-open-education/

Hurdles to Open Textbooks

runners jumping over hurdlesI am finding that the biggest impedance to open textbooks is not with instructors or supply, but college administrators, government administrators, and those who provide the money, including grant foundations.

Administrators’ primary job is to ensure the health, survival, and reputation of their institution. Their priority is to provide an education infrastructure that is capable of achieving the outcomes expected by formal and informal sources. They compete for funds and will avoid any activities, no matter how innovative, that will seem to risk the institution’s health, survival, and reputation. Those of us in the open textbook movement have so far failed to adequately demonstrate the low risk, the long-term value of open textbooks, and how to sustain them. For example, the loss of potential revenue from their bookstores alone is sufficient to continue with exclusivity agreements with traditional publishers. Besides, anyone providing open textbooks may be a “vaporware” organization. Traditional publishers have a solid longevity and reputation. Administrators are not risk takers.

Grant foundations’ primary job is to carry out their charter while complying with complex tax laws. Though many want innovation in both process and products, most of their money is given to status quo institutions, which makes sense since they must avoid any investments the IRS might consider as a “jeopardy investment.” They also fund projects that require approaches already established in some form. Foundations are not risk takers either.

The primary point is that the education industry and its supporting organizations are not constructed to innovate very quickly (i.e. within a generation.) What many are calling innovations is only innovative to the education industry. For those of us outside education we see the efforts and funding aimed at technological and pedagogical breakthroughs getting lost in organizational and institutional isolation and competitiveness. If they so desired all the heads of all the institutions could pull together their resources to quickly and efficiently provide open textbooks and ancillary resources.

My Solution? Demonstrate the commercial feasibility of open textbooks as a textbook competitor among the giants. Once the perceived risk is mitigated education institutions will adjust accordingly. Textbook prices will fall back into normal ranges. Economically, students and taxpayers will be much better off. And, naturally, the quality of textbooks will increase.

Sustainable Business Models for Open Textbooks

Opensourceway / CC BY-SA
Opensourceway / CC BY-SA

Will open textbooks become a sustainable alternative to traditional textbooks? (Here I use textbooks to mean both print and digital formats.) As founder of Textbook Equity I believe they will. Replacements will be slow at first, but will increase exponentially as instructors gain more confidence in the efficacy of open textbooks and come to trust the freedom that open licenses provide.

Everyone should be aware that all the parts of the supply-side of open textbooks are ready or almost ready.

Today, there are enough usable open textbooks to cover all core requirements, as well as many specialized and advanced classes. There are many organizations building inventories of open textbooks, learning modules, and learning objects. There are substantial grants funding open content creation and associated technologies. And there are many people who actively support the replacement of expensive traditional textbooks with low cost and free ones.

To produce open textbooks we find that quality content is freely available under a variety of open and free-use licenses. Inexpensive or free computer software is available to create sophisticated texts, images, and graphics. Print-on-demand services are inexpensive and easy to use. Thousands of academics are willing and able to adopt open textbooks or create their own, and students and taxpayers will save millions upon millions of dollars, providing a strong motivation to produce open textbooks.

So what business model (i.e. business processes) will make this happen? It’s quite simple, actually. There are many flavors, but one example is a business that offers the textbooks for free or very low cost in digital format while providing printed copies at cost plus a reasonable mark-up. The profits are distributed to the company for providing the service, to the authors for providing and maintaining the content, and possibly to the students for achieving a high grade in the course. These textbooks can be sold, at profit, from $15.00 to $40.00, maybe even less. Anyone can create and publish an open textbook. Anyone can make a “clone” of the top selling textbook using open content without fear of copyright violations or creating ethical issues. Other business models will work, and there will be an industry shakedown in the coming years as traditional publishers begin to feel the impact of price competition. Their current response is focused at using technology products to enter into exclusive, non-competitive agreements with colleges. I’m betting that print versions will not go away any more than did movie theaters, landlines, analog watches, or the combustion engine. Textbooks will physically shrink, and assignments will morph into a hybrid of online and paper. But paper will remain.

The challenge to growth rests on the demand-side. And that potential demand is large.

According to a National Education Statistics report there are about 1.4 million post-secondary faculty in the U.S. (2007). Given the independent nature of college instructors, this means there are 1.4 million separate decision-makers. Throw in the 328,000 graduate assistants and we are close to 2 million decision-makers. In most post-secondary institutions, I am told, the instructors are free to choose the textbook they wish to use for their class. But de facto many are bound to some degree by departmental deans, contractual obligations with bookstores, and other administrative policies.

But if they are free to adopt what they want, instructors are hesitant to adopt open textbooks because open textbooks providers do not offer the convenience of traditional textbooks, and instructors often perceive open textbooks as being less than fully reliable, comprehensive, or authoritative as traditional textbooks. In some cases, this is true. It is difficult to know where to find consistently reliable and current open textbooks. The publishers do much of the upfront screening.

My ad hoc interviews with college professors yielded this consistent criterion in selecting a textbook: Does it have all content I need for my class? Is that content current and authoritative? Does it complement my teaching style? Is it useful?

Open textbook business models, then, need to emulate the same type of authoritativeness, stability, and reliability that traditional publishers offer. This is not hard or expensive to do. I estimate that I can sell a printed open textbook identical in content for about 80% less than traditional publishers. Thus, a $140 math book would sell for $28.00. That $28.00 yields enough profit to pay the production costs, the author, and reinvestment for another textbook, and, still offer digital versions for free.

Here are other issues with open textbooks:
* Ambiguous copyright information
* Ambiguous sources of content
* Ambiguous grade level
* Poor quality writing, graphs, photos, schematics
* Outdated content
* Too granular – broken into too many “modules” or “learning units”
* Undocumented sources or appears non-authoritative
* Don’t know who else is using it
* Few or non-existent questions, problems, solutions

Notice that all of these problems can be overcome, relatively quickly and cheaply. The traditional publisher business models solved many of these problems years ago and provide excellent textbooks (in most cases). They have enjoyed many years of oligopolistic pricing and profits, but, as I attempted to demonstrate above, the proliferation of quality open content plus changes in technology have removed traditional barriers to entry. A more price competitive industry in inevitable. The education dollar can thus go further.