Monthly Archives: December 2013

MOOCs as Neocolonialism: Who controls knowledge?

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are the latest effort to harness information technology for higher education. While they are still in a nascent stage of development, many in academe are enthusiastic about their potential to be an inexpensive way of delivering an education to vast audiences. Yet one aspect of the MOOC movement has […] … learn more→

The PhD pinata (or, groping for research questions)

I raise my arms and swing them, blindly, above my head. The full force of my swing lands on…nothing. My hands, still gripping their bludgeon, fall impotently by my ankles. I raise them and swing again. And again. And again. My misses fall awkwardly. I should be embarrassed. Before the blindfold was wrapped around my […] … learn more→

What would James Murray think

Apart from Far Right efforts to legislate against the use of Spanish in American public life, it is not often that a linguistic topic becomes one of the top headlines of the day. But this month, one of the headlines read: “’Selfie’ Tops ‘Twerk’ as Oxford’s Word of the Year.” The folks at Oxford collect […] … learn more→

‘No Hangeo’

I’ve come across the expression on street corners, near pizzerias, outside grocery stores, always as a prohibition. The location is invariably in Latino neighborhoods. Needless to say, the expression isn’t registered in either the OED or in the DLE (Diccionario de la Lengua Española de la Real Academia), which doesn’t surprise me. Lexicons have been […] … learn more→

The great stratification

Imagine a diorama in an American Museum of Occupations showing the evolution of the professor. The exhibit starts in the early 1800s with an austere, black-suited man in a minister\’s collar, perhaps looking over the shoulder of a student at a rustic desk, with a Greek text open in front of him. In the next […] … learn more→

Don’t shoot the messenger 

Moody’s Investors Service released its outlook for higher education in 2014. Looking at Moody’s interpretation of a survey of net tuition revenues, Scott Carlson called the report “grim” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Moody’s suggested that weak economy will impact families capacity to pay. They noted that federal budgetary concerns, including a potential sequestration […] … learn more→

Corporatization and administrative bloat: “Gilded goodbyes”

In previous posts, I have detailed Gordon Gee’s extraordinary compensation as President Emeritus of Ohio State, as well as the fact that the only two public university administrators whose compensation exceeded his in 2012 were Graham B. Spanier of Penn State and Jay Gogue of Auburn, both of whom have also retired—Spanier under considerably more […] … learn more→

Selfish gene solves DNA replication puzzle

You were formed from a single cell. To build you, and then keep you alive, the DNA in your cells needs to undergo replication every day to duplicate your chromosomes before cell division. Decades of research have determined that DNA replication begins at specific locations on the chromosome. These sites are called replication origins. Bacteria […] … learn more→