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February 16, 2012
In economics, we talk about a free market bringing consumers and producers to an allocation that will be in everyone’s best interest, a result that does not require any consideration by the participants of the well being of others in the economy. This idea, sometimes called the “Adam Smith Hypothesis”, relies on several assumptions, some of which make sense and some which might be suspect in our modern economy. One of the assumptions needed for such a powerful result is the assumption of free information, that those in the economy have access to reliable information that they do not need to pay for. This assumption comes to mind when I realize that I am one of the last people in North America who is not yet a member of Facebook.
February 16, 2012
Inspired in part by a recent talk by Stephen Downes on "E-Learning Generations" and by the work I'm doing in thinking about how technologies enhance (or not) the way we learn, I've decided to start chronicling some of my own experiences -- two decades ago now -- getting my Bachelor's Degree by piecing together a series of distance learning, face-to-face, and correspondence courses.
February 16, 2012
I recently commented on the poor attendance at a black history month event on our campus. Last night, however, I had the great honor of introducing one of the original Freedom Riders, Hank Thomas, to a room filled beyond capacity with students, staff/faculty, high school students, and community members.
February 15, 2012
The campus conversation about data must attend to both numbers and nuance.
February 15, 2012
A new correspondent writes: Six months ago, I accepted an assistant deanship at an institution that requires a long daily commute. I've since come to regret my decision, finding that the 60+ hours away from home is damaging my family life, which, in turn, makes me ineffective in both work and family roles.  
February 15, 2012
We are crazy busy. We get to work early. We eat lunch at our desks. If we manage to get home at a reasonable hour then the laptop comes open after dinner. E-mails to read and send. Documents to edit and compose. Presentations to prepare. Spreadsheets to crunch.
February 15, 2012
Beginning on March 1st, Google will eliminate more than 60 separate privacy policies and replace them with a single privacy policy for all of their services. A shiver ran across my back when I watched Google's Privacy Policy Update video and read their rationale for the policy change.
February 15, 2012
"Greenwashing", of course, is the practice of ascribing supposed sustainable qualities to a product or service for purposes of boosting market share. It's increasingly prevalent, and I generally just ignore it.  But today, two examples totally gob-smacked me.
February 15, 2012
Most people in higher education love to hate the rankings.  Not me – I find them highly imperfect but fascinating. 
February 14, 2012
A longtime reader writes:I've been told by one of my employers that I am not allowed to accept friend requests from students on Facebook or any other social media site save Linkedin. In my field (probably in most fields) networking is really important and therefore this is a serious bummer.



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