440 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2017
    1. Open Learning Initiative (OLI), created at Carnegie Mellon University, incorporates adaptive and analytics-driven tools to help students progress more rapidly from basic problems to inquiry projects of increasing complexity. OLI and other adaptive learning systems can advance engagement at scale

      How is this social? I'm not sure what "open" means in this context.


      Note redefinition of scale. Key move. Note also that these sidebars tend to break Hypothes.is.

    3. we cannot merely go about doing what we have always done, but at scale and with intelligent automation.

      Precisely so, though this is evidently the goal for many institutions.

    4. deliver

      That terrible word again. Language matters.

    5. simultaneously optimizes the coherence of institutions (as systems) and productively exploits the increasingly porous nature of the boundaries between an institution and various other elements of the external learning ecosystem.

      Very interesting. Coherence within a network, and connections across networks. Like a living organism. How does this vision collide with branding?

      Another thought: this vision is very much like the one driving Open Learning '17.

    6. If the ethos of inquiry is applied to institutional policy and practice, digital systems themselves can offer new ways to examine the evidence of student learning and inform decisions that will shape success for our students and our institutions.

      A statement definitely worth unpacking!

    7. Digital tools must help students see their choices, engage the experiences of others (past and present), reflect on implications and purpose, and make visible connections across multiple boundaries.

      Indeed yes. One more layer: how can we learn from the participatory cultures outside of school that already do these things? How can we "leverage the synergies" students already experience and can teach us about?

    8. if only we could adopt this or that technology, then high-level educational opportunities

      We keep making this mistake because we do not have a robust conversation around what we mean by "high-level educational opportunities," and we don't fully understand the technologies. The latter is the "McLuhan mistake" that Scott McCloud describes in this TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/scott_mccloud_on_comics

    9. he web functions intrinsically by connections,

      Indeed, and by principles of emergence every bit as much as principles of planning.

    10. the core purposes of a “liberal education”: the development of the full self; the relation of self to others and to knowledge; and, ultimately, the capacity to integrate and make connections—across domains, between theory and practice, and over time.

      Beautiful evocation of the core purposes of a liberal education.

    11. the newly porous boundaries that separate the “inside” from the “outside” of the institution

      Alas, this is precisely what many institutions fear.

    12. Reinforcing a counter-productive, separate, and unequal caste system, it could place new, unjustifiable obstacles in the path of those low-income, minority, first-generation college students who most need support, leading ultimately to increasingly dysfunctional economic inequity and tragic social injustice.

      Stirring defense of higher education as a form, and empowering agent, of civic engagement.

    13. take whatever courses they want

      More language slippage, but it's hardly the authors' fault. Students participate in courses of study. We call that "take a course" as a kind of shorthand. And it's one small step from that shorthand to the idea that students take courses the way people take pills. Alas, we've set up most of our registration/enrollment systems in ways that reinforce that idea. I suppose the question then becomes "what are useful points of intervention?" Without changing the "take a course" paradigm, we can't get at real rebundling. But changing the "take a course" paradigm means some fundamental re-engineering and re-imagining of core higher ed practices and processes.

    14. A new and burgeoning body of research argues for the efficacy of the kinds of learning that have characterized place-based institutional learning.9 This is not to say that we should, therefore, reject the opportunities afforded by online and modular learning or that we should dismiss the possibilities of unbundling in terms of time, function, or content. But it does suggest that we need very carefully to examine the assumptions driving such strategies in order to ensure that they do not belie what we know about effective and durable learning.

      Deeply important moment in the argument. I do wish that "online learning" could have a more expansive definition, especially in light of the book's idea of a "digital ecosystem." With all the buzz and all the fuzz around terms like "online and modular learning," it's hard to keep the conceptual frameworks in view. For me, online learning includes richly participatory communities of learning--if these online affordances are used well, and not along paradigms of "content delivery."

    15. when students pay for a degree, they are also buying products and services related to real estate, dining, sports, and research.”2

      So many things to wince at here. First, it is true that colleges have gone too far in the direction of "lifestyle providers." These marketing moves have been driven by many factors, including declining public support, and of course greed and prestige competition. That said, could we please not put "a degree" in the category of things students are buying? Students do not pay for a degree. Again, with more volume: STUDENTS DO NOT PAY FOR A DEGREE.

    16. students would only buy the services they need.

      Which uncovers the fascinating paradox: education is developmental in that it reveals to learners needs that they didn't know they had, goals they didn't know the aspired to, a world that is much bigger than they had imagined. The "a la carte" model assumes a learner already awakened to these things.

    17. content and delivery

      Those pernicious, toxic nouns.

    18. In acknowledging the scope and limits of this essay, we also want to assert that this work itself is meant to be “open and integrative”: integrative, in that it draws together many diverse threads and perspectives, a few decades in development; and open, in that it is meant to initiate and support conversation and action within the higher education community.

      I'm intrigued by this definition of "open," which may be a new "shade of open" to add to Jeffrey Pomerantz's list. In this case, "open" appears to mean "open-ended," that is, not definitive or conclusive, but originary, initiating.

    19. knowledge, skills, and dispositions

      The holy trinity, to be sure, with dispositions (the Spirit?) most often neglected or omitted, to our great detriment. Lately I've been thinking that these are elements that can be distinguished but not divided, and that their networked relationships and interdependencies are the core of what must first be rebundled.

    20. Our interest is neither in championing nor critiquing these approaches but to ask, if we assume the increased unbundling of time, function, and content—both inside and outside legacy institutions—then what will hold the pieces together? By what design principles and with what models do we integrate the best of what is unfolding in the larger ecosystem and the best of what we know about the long-developed value of higher education and liberal education? 

      A shrewd rhetorical move, but it comes close to destroying the argument. You cannot hold the pieces together when the "pieces" are defined in ways that are inherently disintegrative. If you accept the "time, function and content" argument, you're already doomed to attempts to polish that which cannot be polished. Indeed, to "assume the increased unbundling of time, function, and content" is to make efforts at "rebundling" either quixotic or, potentially, toxic.

    21. we are far more interested in ways the emerging digital environment could change the relationship between the whole of an education and its various component parts

      I am also interested in change at the level of education's "various component parts," as the sad truth is often that those parts not only resist rebundling, but thrive in the context of unbundling, even disintegration.

    22. It demands a vision that goes beyond a narrow focus on how digital tools can enhance the ways our institutions currently operate. Instead, we must acknowledge the fundamental changes associated with the digital and connected age; leverage the emerging capacities of networks, data-informed human judgment, and scalable communities; and invent new ways to realize the core learning values at the heart of our institutions.

      Yes, absolutely. And we must also drop dismissive judgments of participatory culture and excuses like "I don't have time." Of all the populations in higher ed, tenured faculty still have the most agency to enact change.

    23. applying digital solutions to educational challenges, without structural changes, will not lead to transformational learning; however, it may well lead to a diminished version of higher education, especially for the vast majority of students who are not in privileged educational environments.


    24. What kinds of graduates should we be producing?

      I worry about the language here. We do not "produce graduates." To use this language is to slip right back into the institution-centered industrialized models of "productivity" that get us into damaging places.

    25. the emerging learning ecosystem

      Why the change from "digital ecosystem" to "learning ecosystem"?

    26. The most influential commercial applications of educational technology have largely been disintegrative—i.e., modular, focusing mainly on efficiency and productivity, and addressing narrow dimensions of learning. Often implemented in institutional contexts that overemphasize technology as the solution to educational needs, technology investments have targeted the dimensions of education most susceptible to commoditization and scaling. We do not reject these disintegrative elements—quite the opposite—but we will argue here that the future of higher learning is best served when they are used in the service of an integrative vision that emphasizes connections and the cohesive design of learning experiences aimed at developing the whole person.

      I'm interested to know why these disintegrative elements are not rejected. These disintegrative elements, and the massive, expensive infrastructure they require, tend to eat up the integrative vision. All too often, they destroy any opportunity for putting resources (including time) into developing integrative, connected learning. This is a difficult tightrope to walk: there's no net, and plenty of hungry disintegrators below, ready for their meal.

    27. critical thinking, problem solving, historical perspective, integrative learning.

      Excellent list, though "critical thinking" is pretty shopworn. To the list I'd add "problem finding" and "a sense of wonder." See https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/just-visiting/education-necessity-mind-blowing-experiences for a non-negotiable part of deeper learning, a factor of fundamental importance for liberal learning in particular.

    28. the habits and dispositions needed for college success.

      Glad to see "dispositions" enter here, as this is a very important word. At the same time, "college success" is a worrisome phrase, as colleges will typically define such success in terms of what they imagine they can manage and "deliver" instead of in terms of what they say their mission is. No one wants to have to rip up all the floorboards. I get that. At the same time, if there's rot in the subfloor, you can caulk all you want up top: the rot will continue.

    29. hat is the role of the digital ecosystem in making a quality liberal education available to all, equitably?

      Yes. What we mean by a "quality liberal education" cannot be defined merely as what happens in current educational models and practices, of course--a caveat that we should always have in mind.

    30. Open and Integrative was written in the context of AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) project, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A project devoted to a transformative redesign of the nation’s largest educational program could hardly ignore the ways in which liberal education needs to be integrated with the emerging digital environment, in ways that best serve student learning.

      This is a Neo-Liberal approach to Liberal education. Good to know. An instrumental redesign to use 'the emerging digital environment' (created by corporations and foundations) to shape 'student learning' outcomes. With the usual suspects shaping the dialog. I describe them as the Audrey Watters Axis of EdTech. ;-)

    31. AAC&U has been arguing for decades

      Without any impact at scale. The institutions that reproduce our class, gender and race hierarchies resist attempts at reform. A new strategy is needed, especially in Trump's America.

    32. It is an environment where data and algorithms control search and retrieval processes. These processes are rewriting the rules for how we seek and receive information, with the outputs of that information increasingly personalized to our interests and profiles, but whose operations are often opaque and out of our control.

      Corporations control 'search and retrieval processes.' The results are 'out of our control' and shaped to corporate interests, just like Learning Management Systems.

    33. renewed commitment to ongoing professional development that can help faculty and staff

      Who will pay for this? In my California Community Colleges there are nearly 90,000 faculty and staff. Two thirds of the faculty are adjunct and most tenured faculty resist everything digital. This does not bode well for the more than two million students.

    34. What might we imagine, if we were newly designing liberal education—for all students, in all majors and all types of institutions—in the context of the digital ecosystem?

      This would have been an excellent question 25 years ago when possibilities were wide open. Now we have college administrators that style themselves as CEOs and CFOs, Common Core Standards and LMSs that shape content and methods to deliver graduates molded to corporate needs.

    35. This is a move for which AAC&U has been arguing for decades, and that is crystallized in our LEAP Challenge to require Signature Work of every student.

      Again, an entirely laudable goal--but every discussion of Signature Work I've been in devolves into a discussion of Signature Assignments. I think the digital ecosystem gives us an unprecedented opportunity to make students partners in creating/designing Signature Assignments. To paraphrase Chris Dede, our students need to become problem-finders, not just problem-solvers. To put it yet another way, why not make the task of addressing unscripted problems partake of less scripting, itself?

    36. The digital learning ecosystem can support this learner-centered focus by encouraging the shift of higher education resources away from routine tasks and simple knowledge transfer, and toward work on complex and unscripted problems, reflection and identity development, mentoring and community at scale, and integrative learning of all kinds.

      Agree completely. Well stated!

    37. To fully exploit the potential of adaptive software, predictive analytics, e-portfolios, and other developments to improve student learning and agency, faculty and staff will need not to have their roles disaggregated, but instead to collaborate more fully.

      Adaptive software. Predictive analytics. E-portfolios. I am disheartened that these are cited as developments to "improve student learning and agency." The only one that might quality is "e-portfolios," and that space is becoming largely co-opted by the assessment machine geared to institutional outcomes.

    38. the guided, community-rich education that is in danger of becoming even more the purview of the privileged.

      Agreed. I am uncertain about how intentional small, elite colleges are about these modes of education, however. Part of this fragmentation has to do with faculty themselves.

    39. constantly networked modern life

      But this network is itself a site of rebundling, with the bundling happening at the point of the student, not the institution.

    40. As the authors note, this reality requires higher education professionals to “separate the core practices of institutions that are most germane to their value propositions from the habitual structures that can be reshaped by opportunities offered by the new learning ecosystem.”

      Or in other words, align practices with the highest aspirations of mission.

    41. Bass and Eynon use the term “digital ecosystem” to refer to the whole constellation of learning technologies—institutional and noninstitutional—that characterizes our contemporary life.

      Alas, this definition is far too limiting. The digital ecosystem includes not just learning technologies but participatory culture (two things that ought to be nearly synonymous, but are not). Again, a limiting factor is the way academic professionals do, or do not, understand or take part in participatory cultures. I have used the term "computer romance" as well as "romantic computing" to try to get at this mode of thoughtful, adventurous, playful participation.

    42. we can only achieve a quality liberal education for all students by thoroughly integrating learner-centered and equity-minded digital technology into what we do. Student learning, student agency, and inclusive excellence must be the primary drivers for how and why digital innovations are integrated into higher education.

      The premise of the book. As we shall see, the devil is in the details (and in underlying assumptions about learning & school). I would also argue that liberal education can be revived by the vision behind early paradigms of computer-mediated communication (not CAI). This is a case I have been trying to make since 2004. It's hard to do, since it involves examining those underlying assumptions & management strategies.

    43. Open and Integrative

      A stirring title, and an interesting potential tension between divergence and convergence.

      (Is this mike on? Testing one two three....)

  2. Mar 2017
    1. So perhaps the problem is more political than technological. And if the political aspect depends on how well we can convey an alternate vision, then perhaps it is even more poetical than political.

      Yes, and this is why I strive to stay at the poetical level. I don't always hit that mark, but I know enough to know that operational decisions or processes are always political decisions, and that political decisions are very seldom limited by technology. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Poetry helps culture shift itself.

    2. Surely I have said enough to make the point that formulating the task as design for education in a technologically rich future leads very quickly into areas of research which are totally neglected, indeed quite unsuspected, by the community of professionals in "education research and innovation."

      Totally neglected then, and what progress have we made with all our talk since then? So many rich ideas mangled and strangled by the relentless crush of the "grammar of school." It is to weep.

    3. the embodiment of mathematics in properly designed computers is the most powerful means we have for giving it poetical, cultural and personal-human dimensions which are a necessary condition for it to be accepted and absorbed in a natural and easy way by billions of children.

      More richly suggestive language than any fifteen ed-tech missives combined. Poetry + Computers FTW.

    4. he aspect I want to emphasize right now is another side of the Poetry Principle. I have just acknowledged that this principle is not sufficient as a basis for educational design. Obviously not. But I have come to realize more and more that it is a necessary part of any design for an education. I am trying to say something like: the total experience of the child in learning must have something which I want to call poetic cohesion. I want to suggest that the total lack of the "poetic" is a major (not the only) reason for the intransigent rejection by so many kids of the painfully prosaic stuff of the math class (new math and old math are scarcely different in this respect!). Now I have slipped over, you might observe, into talking about the Poetry Principle from the child's point of view. I find that it is easier to persuade people that the child needs poetry in his vision of mathematics than that the teacher, the educational psychologist and the curriculum designer all need it. I believe they do. And so does our society at large! And all this is a plea for not being trapped into thinking that being "scientific" means rejecting the Poetry Principle on any of these levels.

      One of Papert's most beautiful ideas--and that's saying something. This Poetry Principle needs study, elaboration, celebration, contemplation. It must be elicited, teased even, from the words in this essay. As is most just!

  3. www.macfound.org www.macfound.org
    1. every child deserves the chance to express him- or herselfthrough words, sounds, and images, even if most will never write, perform, or draw profession-ally. Having these experiences, we believe, changes the way youth think about themselves andalters the way they look at work created by others.

      Self-expression as a pathway to empathy & judgment.

    2. Negotiation

      The Web greatly expands both the sphere and the need for this skill. Very interesting case study regarding Wikipedia and entry on Iran and Israel: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/05/AR2008080502169_pf.html

    3. Transmedia Navigation

      Interesting. What does "follow" mean? How do we conceptualize "the flow"? Consumer (not participatory) platforms want the curated feed to follow us, the better to deliver the ads to our eyes.

    4. Judgment

      A hearty and essential word. My students focus on opinion and subjectivity as if all things are up for grabs, though they do not wish my grading to be that way! The idea of judgment is crucial if we are to make progress on "digital literacy."

    5. Collective Intelligence

      The desired outcome of distributed cognition. Concept leads to outcome, but both are conceptual (we cannot even recognize the outcome of the means without these concepts).

    6. Distributed Cognition

      I heart this word, Heart heart heart it. What is the story of our species, if not the story of inventing tools for thought? Our global lightspeed telecommunications network has vastly expanded the distribution and the potential for tool using and tool making. We will be the victims of our own ingenuity unless we get smarter about distributed cognition. A very Engelbartian moment in Jenkins' paper.

    7. Multitasking

      We need a new word for rapid environmental scan & focus-shifting. "Multitasking" has been too roundly debunked (though I suspect we'll get better at it).

    8. Simulation

      Such dynamic model-making is at the heart of Nelson's "Thinkertoys" as well as the media Kay and Goldberg imagine in "Personal Dynamic Media."

    9. Performance

      Theatre, broadly understood, is radically empowered by the Web, for good and for ill. Indeed, the Web empowers a kind of "cinema of the self," and not just on YouTube, either.

    10. Play

      Illich notes " for some children such games are a special form of liberating education, since they heighten their awareness of the fact that formal systems are built on changeable axioms and that conceptual operations have a gamelike nature," an interesting corollary to the idea of play as experimentation. See http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=435

    11. could be considered media creators.

      The latest Pew focus seems to be on cybersecurity and social media use. I couldn't find any mention of 'creators', or critical thinking either. http://www.pewinternet.org/category/publications/

    12. Ashley Richardson

      Like much online, it's difficult and time consuming to separate fact from fiction. A year after this study was published The Sims Online ($9.99/mo) was rebranded and another year later shut down according to Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sims_Online

      Ashley Richardson is the avatar of Laura McKnight, a middle schooler from Palm Beach, FL. according to Jenkins' article in https://www.technologyreview.com/s/402737/playing-politics-in-alphaville/

      Heather Lawver still has a blog; http://www.heathershow.com

      Blake Ross found out he has no ability to visualize; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/aphantasia-software-engineer-blake-ross-writes-mind-blowing-post-about-being-unable-to-imagine-a7000216.html

      Josh Meeter makes animations for sporting events and short films: https://vimeo.com/99398204

    13. medi-ated experience may squeeze out time for other learning activities; that contemporary childrenoften lack access to real world play spaces, with adverse health consequences, that adults mayinadequately supervise and interact with children about the media they consume (and pro-duce); or concerns about the moral values and commercialization in much contemporaryentertainment.

      The students I meet lead completely mediated lives, are afraid of social spaces as potential places of conflict and uncritically consume vast amounts of commercial media.

    14. We are using participation as a term that cuts across educational practices, creative processes,community life, and democratic citizenship. Our goals should be to encourage youth to devel-op the skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participantsin contemporary culture.

      As a retired worker, adult learner and student representative after returning to a community college, I've been encouraging Administrators and Faculty to model the "skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in contemporary culture." I've had little success and will be leaving schools just as mired in the past as they were when I arrived six years ago. Despite spending nearly $200M a year, my CC District is on the lower end of recent CC statistics. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/03/15/520192774/national-survey-shows-high-rates-of-hungry-and-homeless-community-college-studen

    15. “If it were possible to define generally the mission of education, it could be said that its fundamental pur-pose is to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in pub-lic, community, [Creative] and economic life.”

      Thoughtful definition of education. Recalls Bruner and Dewey in its emphasis on participation in all phases of life. Economic life is necessary, but not sufficient, especially in a democracy.

    16. Networking— the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information

      Crucial skill here, with three elements. The first two are typically all that are envisioned in discusssions of web or digital literacy. I'd argue that the third is just as important, and tragically neglected. The neglect may stem from persistent unacknowledged assumptions about learning--the kind of "banking concept of education" that Freire criticized.

    17. Appropriation

      A new word may be needed here, as "appropriation" now suggests a kind of cultural imperialism, or worse.

    18. Schools as institutionshave been slow to react to the emergence of this new participatory culture

      Still true, and a great loss in every direction. Even worse,higher education seems to have doubled down on the lockstep, limited pathway, drill-oriented approach to "graduating more students" and "producing more degrees." Even the title of @henryjenkins blog, "Confessions of an Aca-Fan," ruefully testifies to a great gap between the joys and challenges of participatory culture and the "critical gatekeeper" ethos of much higher education. Questions about personally meaningful accomplishment, expertise, intrinsic motivation, and the joy of learning are often put to one side.

    19. A participatory culture isa culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong supportfor creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby whatis known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.

      Succinct definition. Interesting to think about how many of these factors obtain in formal educational settings.

  4. www.newmedialiteracies.org www.newmedialiteracies.org
    1. Weareusingparticipationasatermthatcutsacrosseducationalpractices,creativeprocesses,communitylife,anddemocraticcitizenship.Ourgoalsshouldbetoencourageyouthtodevel-optheskills,knowledge,ethicalframeworks,andself-confidenceneededtobefullparticipantsincontemporaryculture.

      As a retired worker, adult learner and student representative after returning to a community college, I've been encouraging Administrators and Faculty to model the "skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in contemporary culture." I've had little success and will be leaving my schools just as mired in the past as they were when I arrived six years ago. Despite spending nearly $200M a year my CC District is on the lower end of recent CC statistics, yet they continue to create new administration positions while the four college libraries close during evening classes and are only open a few hours on Saturdays. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/03/15/520192774/national-survey-shows-high-rates-of-hungry-and-homeless-community-college-studen

    2. couldbeconsideredmediacreators

      The focus of the latest Pew reports seem to be on cybersecurity and social media use. I couldn't find any mention of 'creators', or critical thinking either. http://www.pewinternet.org/category/publications/

    3. medi-atedexperiencemaysqueezeouttimeforotherlearningactivities;thatcontemporarychildrenoftenlackaccesstorealworldplayspaces,withadversehealthconsequences,thatadultsmayinadequatelysuperviseandinteractwithchildrenaboutthemediatheyconsume(andpro-duce);orconcernsaboutthemoralvaluesandcommercializationinmuchcontemporaryentertainment.

      Most of the students I meet lead completely mediated lives, are afraid of social spaces as potential places of conflict and uncritically consume vast amounts of commercial media.

    4. “Ifitwerepossibletodefinegenerallythemissionofeducation,itcouldbesaidthatitsfundamentalpur-poseistoensurethatallstudentsbenefitfromlearninginwaysthatallowthemtoparticipatefullyinpub-lic,community,[Creative]andeconomiclife.”

      Thoughtful definition of education. Recalls Bruner and Dewey in its emphasis on participation in all phases of life. Economic life is necessary, but not sufficient, especially in a democracy.

    5. Networking—theabilitytosearchfor,synthesize,anddisseminateinformation

      Crucial skill here, with three elements. The first two are typically all that are envisioned in discusssions of web or digital literacy. I'd argue that the third is just as important, and tragically neglected. The neglect may stem from persistent unacknowledged assumptions about learning--the kind of "banking concept of education" that Freire criticized.

    6. Appropriation

      A new word may be needed here, as "appropriation" now suggests a kind of cultural imperialism, or worse.

    7. Schoolsasinstitutionshavebeenslowtoreacttotheemergenceofthisnewparticipatoryculture

      Still true, and a great loss in every direction. Even worse,higher education seems to have doubled down on the lockstep, limited pathway, drill-oriented approach to "graduating more students" and "producing more degrees." Even the title of @henryjenkins blog, "Confessions of an Aca-Fan," ruefully testifies to a great gap between the joys and challenges of participatory culture and the "critical gatekeeper" ethos of much higher education. Questions about personally meaningful accomplishment, expertise, intrinsic motivation, and the joy of learning are often put to one side.

    8. Aparticipatorycultureisaculturewithrelativelylowbarrierstoartisticexpressionandcivicengagement,strongsupportforcreatingandsharingone’screations,andsometypeofinformalmentorshipwherebywhatisknownbythemostexperiencedispassedalongtonovices.Aparticipatorycultureisalsooneinwhichmembersbelievetheircontributionsmatter,andfeelsomedegreeofsocialcon-nectionwithoneanother(attheleasttheycarewhatotherpeoplethinkaboutwhattheyhavecreated).

      Succinct definition. Interesting to think about how many of these factors obtain in formal educational settings.

    1. high-impact practices

      I was happy to see the AAC&U add eportfolios as the 11th high-impact practice (HIP). Perhaps that will accelerate students taking responsibility for their work and making it portable across multiple academies and communities. http://www.theijep.com/current.cfm

    2. numbers that do things

      From down here, ivory towers look to be built on layers of reification. (spellcheck suggests deification) There are no such things as numbers. There are no 2s in the world. Numbers are symbols created by mammals. Some mammals have evolved to the point where they can manipulate symbols to do things. Some would say it's just the universe playing with itself. ;-)

    3. utilization of active learning practices is unsystematic, to the detriment of student learning.

      "the ePortfolio experience enhances other high-impact practices (HIPs) by creating unique opportunities for connection and synthesis across courses, semesters, and cocurricular experiences, thus enabling students to reflect on and construct a cohesive signature learning experience." https://www.aacu.org/whats-new/high-impact-eportfolio-practice-catalyst-student-faculty-and-institutional-learning

    4. learning environment as designed by faculty and the learning environment as experienced by students

      Allowing student representatives multiple voting seats on curriculum and technology committees would be progressive. Having students co-create their classes syllabi is revolutionary. @krisshaffer

    1. the culture of school

      A retired worker and returning student at a Community College in Oakland, California, I'm amazed at the culture of my four college District. A hierarchical culture based on race and gender, they are still struggling to digitize basic support operations. I spent three years as a representative in shared governance and we accomplished very little. Meanwhile, the District spends $200M a year as enrollment goes down and the number of administrators goes up. I have seen four Chancellors, a dozen college Presidents and countless VPs and Deans come and go. While one more college recently opened its library on Saturdays, the majority of students are adults that work and they still don't have equal access to basic support services. I have a name for this majority of Community College students - taxpayers. It's no wonder that support for education is decreasing.

    2. We should be asking – always and again and again: just what sort of future is this technological future of education that we are told we must embrace?

      Yes, whether we see that future as necessarily positive, apocalyptic, or somewhere in between, the only way we control the shape of things to come is to ask good questions in the present.

    3. You can delete the data. You can limit its collection. You can restrict who sees it. You can inform students. You can encourage students to resist. Students have always resisted school surveillance.

      The first three of these can be tough for the individual faculty member to accomplish, but informing students and raising awareness around these issues can be done and is essential.

    1. Students went home and read articles by Audrey Watters

      One of the most important things I've learned about the internets is that links always break. Less than two months after posting, the Audrey Watters link is broken. I don't have a solution, but perhaps including the title of the linked article will be enough to help people find it.

    1. individual's interpretation of that policy

      AUP connections to individual / institutional variance in Fair Use / Copyright interpretations relevant here as well.

    1. If OA does even-tually harm toll-access publishers, it will be in the way that personal computers harmed typewriter manufactur-ers. The harm was not the goal, but a side effect of devel-oping something better.

      Very useful analogy.

    2. vigilante OA, infringing OA, piratical OA, or OA without consent.

      These words have a strange ring after the Aaron Swartz tragedy, one in which MIT played a part of course. It would be interesting to watch "The Internet's Own Boy" and discuss OA in that context.

    3. the planets have aligned for scholars

      Yes, but the planets are turning malign for the institutional strategies in which scholars work, especially at large public institutions that are struggling for money.

    4. The Budapest Open Access Initiative said in February 2002: “An old tradition and a new technology have con-verged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment. . . . The new technology is the internet.”9

      A nice formulation.

    5. public and private charities

      Stands in stark contradiction to "higher ed is a business." Bravo.

    6. But why do universities pay salaries and why do funding agencies award grants? They do it to advance research and the range of public interests served by research.

      Again, a limited conclusion. What of teaching? And what of the unstated but enacted distinctions between "research" (almost always meaning STEM work) and "scholarship" (a term more appropriate to much humanities work)?

    7. There’s no sense in which research would be more free, efficient, or effective if academics took a more “business-like” position, behaved more like musicians and movie-makers, abandoned their insulation from the market, and tied their income to the popularity of their ideas.

      A crucial point in a crucial paragraph, especially as the idea that "higher ed is a business" moves to strangle faculty and their work.

    8. Even these authors, however, tend to trans-fer their copyrights to intermediaries—publishers—who want to sell their work.

      Important point. Copyright need not be a barrier, so long as the individual author, with the presumed motivation of sharing, can license uses. Creative Commons is, after all, not copyleft, but reformed copyright.

    9. These lucky authors are scholars, and the works they customarily write and publish without payment are peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals.

      I agree that this is the ideal situation, and I would go further and say we should strive toward this ideal because it is so conspicuously philanthropic and, as such, might remind our governments of the public good to which we seek to contribute. Against that, however, is the reality that scholars do not publish without payment, as their publications count as a kind of currency within their institutions, not only because of intellectual or institutional prestige, though that too, but because of the weight these publications acquire, in our current scholarly ecosystem, with regard to tenure and promotion.

    10. I did not want to hide the fact that I was making use of my previous work, but nei-ther did I want to make any section into a stream of self-quotation and self-citation. I did not want to fail to benefit from my own previous work, but neither did I want to miss opportunities to clarify, update, or improve it.

      An interesting moment, as it points to emerging hybridities in scholarly communication: the article or monograph that is a fixed point in the discourse that can have a unique identifier, can be cited over time reliably, etc., and the blog or wiki, in which it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to identify a single point made at a single time in a way that stands for the "state of thought" represented by a thinker. I am not advocating for one form over or instead of the other, but I am struck by the way in which Suber seems continually alive to the varied questions that can emerge from the occasion of his writing here.

    11. essentially no cost

      I think that this is worthy of unpicking, without denying the amazing opportunities offered by digital access and sharing. The financial cost of digital is much less than print but there are still distribution costs and human costs of curation and communication by author and reader (of which this annotation activity could be seen as a example).

    12. academics have salaries from universities, freeing them to dive deeply into their research topics and publish special-ized articles without market appeal

      And in some cases, they have sabbaticals, allowing them to focus their time on research and writing projects.

    13. If authors like that exist, at least they should take ad-vantage of the access revolution.

      I love how he makes such a simple, logical conclusion from this hypothetical tribe that we know exists in reality.

    14. Not all plagiarists are smart, but the smart ones will not steal from OA sources indexed in every search en-gine. In this sense, OA deters plagiarism.1

      This is a big plus. I've also found that plagiarism declines when students work openly using OA materials. It doesn't take them long to realize that cut and paste will cause problems.

    15. Academic publishers are not monolithic. Some new ones were born OA and some older ones have completely converted to OA. Many provide OA to some of their work but not all of it.

      And keeping track of all of the permutations can be tough.

    16. There are many hypotheses to explain the correlation between OA and increased citations, but it’s likely that ongoing studies will show that much of the correlation is simply due to the larger audience and heightened visibility provided by OA itself.

      This could be the game changer.

    17. n fact, the idea that OA depends on author altruism slows down OA progress by hiding the role of au-thor self-interest.

      Definitely -- again, I think addressing the larger ecosystem of employers and the publishers is also important.

    18. Public and private funding agencies are essentially public and private charities, funding research they regard as useful or beneficial. Universities have a public purpose as well, even when they are private institutions. We sup-port the public institutions with public funds, and we support the private ones with tax exemptions for their property and tax deductions for their donors.

      Yes. So the shift to OA in scholarly publishing is more about making this piece explicit so the public can claim what is rightfully already ours. I would love to think that faculty can do this by themselves, but I don't think it's so.

    19. The academic custom to write research articles for im-pact rather than money

      I'm not sure it's this simple. If your university expects you to write for impact then doing so is a basic component of job security, and therefore not separate from the compensation / money issue.

    20. no legitimate scholarly purpose in suppressing attribution to the texts we use.

      And furthermore, attribution creates a chain of authenticity and evidence - essential foundations for credibility, legitimacy and integrity of the work.

    21. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited

      Of course this would be fabulous. But the obstacles are considerable: theoretical / legal vs. practical control and enforcement (for citation / attribution); and the publishers....what's in it for them?

    22. It’s hard to generalize about OA journals beyond saying that they have all the advantages of being OA and all the disadvantages of being new.3

      This seems obvious to those of us in the Open community but not so much for those who are unfamiliar with it - they make other generalizations that are unfair and unfounded

    23. The OA movement focuses on research articles precisely because they don’t pay royalties

      Yes but so why would I pay for gold OA (APCs) when it's your own copyright to begin with (as author). The argument that publishers gain from the free labor of authors, reviewers and editors is exacerbated by APCs! This way,the journal STILL charges libraries for the closed-access AND it charges the authors/institutions for the OPEN access. Win-win for the institution.

    24. Authors who make their work OA are always serving others but not always acting from altruism.

      That's a good point. So before reading this book, I had thought that OA that doesn't come from altrusim isn't a good thing. Now I feel that OA that's self-interested is more sustainable for more people.

    25. academics have salaries from universities, freeing them to dive deeply into their research topics and publish special-ized articles without market appeal.

      This is contestable, isn't it? Only full-timers have salaries and only tenure-track academics get rewarded for their research (in the US or US-like systems). And again, money for research comes from funders and is therefore value-laden.

    26. At the same time it frees them to microspecialize and defend ideas of immediate interest to just a handful people in the world, which are essential to pushing the frontiers of knowledge

      hmm but the option of "getting paid" for non-peer-reviewed publications, then, means that academics who write for public audiences ARE influenced by those things that free the peer-reviewed. Also, there is an assumption here that peer-reviewed journals are value-neutral, which is not really true; they are interested often in preserving conventional ways of doing research and such. This is not an OA vs non-OA thing, but just a point to make about the "liberty" of the researcher. Also, researchers at institutions are often influenced by funders - they may have to modify their research focus depending on what is more likely to get funding.

    27. focus on what is likely to be true rather than what is likely to sell

      Capitalism, like state socialism and Fascism, seeks to enclose our thinking into a manageable political system. Institutions like religion, the military and education have evolved to this end. Capitalists often impose rents to limit ideas. Liberty is the opposite of this history.

    28. largest cause of misunderstanding is lack of familiarity

      This may well be, but there are numerous structural impediments built into educational institutions, their faculties and relationships with publishers. As Upton Sinclair famously said; "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

    1. But for research articles we’re generally talking about authors from the special tribe who want to share their work as widely as possible. Even these authors, however, tend to transfer their copyrights to intermediaries—publishers—who want to sell their work.

      Yes, although many authors see this transfer as a necessary precondition -- not one they like. Publishers require that you assign the copyright to them as a condition of publishing.

    1. We will be collectively annotating this chapter in Hypothes.is

      Hypothes.is link does not work in Chrome, Firefox or Opera.

    2. What is Open Access?

      "A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber

      (www.lib.umd.edu/binaries/content/assets/public/drum/suber-oa-intro.pdf )

  5. Feb 2017
    1. The best remedy to misunderstanding is a clear state-ment of the basics for busy people.

      I hope this conclusion is true, as the remedy proposed is straightforward and, in the hands of a gifted writer, has a reasonable chance of success. Given the complexity of contemporary higher education in the US, however, particularly with regard to business models that are sometimes at odds with statements of mission, I wonder.

    1. We need to involve them in producing their own curriculum, their own organisational context, their own networks and rules of engagement

      open ed

    2. Media literacy, data literacy, algorithmic awareness: these are not optional extras in a course of study now.

      The web a basic communication platform these days. Understanding how to use it is as important as understanding how to use a word processor, yet it seems to be outside the curriculum in most places.

    3. Legal protections, rights, and democratic responsibilities are provided to citizens of a nation state, not to users of privately-owned digital platforms.

      Which is why we need DoOO, which requires some digital literacy even as it builds it. I wonder what protections and rights are provided to the indie web though.

    1. ‘information literacy’ suffers from a lack of descriptive power. It is too ambitious in scope, too wide-ranging in application and not precise enough in detail to be useful in an actionable way.

      Interesting point - information literacy is "too big to know." One response has been to define it down, others would fracture it into multiple literacies. While it may be necessary to break it down to make it manageable, the larger view is important too.

    1. Dispositions

      interesting that some of the criticisms of infolit re fake news are addressed here - questioning authority & personal biases

    2. acknowledge they are developing their own authoritative voices
    3. using information, data, and scholarship ethically

      Discussions of the ethical dimensions of info lit tend to revolve around intellectual property and plagiarism. They need to go far beyond this, to privacy, truth, freedom, etc.

    4. Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge

      I see this as connecting to both open ed and DoOO.

    5. prescribe what local institutions

      Some of the criticism of the Framework come from people who want prescription. There is an advantage to having the weight of the ACRL backing up instruction librarians. Some want official standards and outcomes, rather than to have to define, write, and sell them on their own.

    1. Kite-shaped Nothing #3, showing principle of rotary reading (right).  The author is still mortified at having misspelled "Weltschmerz" on the cover.
    1. As I see it, a major factor that determined what mathematics wentinto school math was what could be done in the setting of school classrooms with the primitive technology of pencil andpaper.
    1. CAI: General Wrongfulness
    2. Let the student control the sequence, put him in control ofinteresting and clear material, and make him feel good—comfortable, interested, and autonomous. Teach him toorient himself

      an open education approach, similar to what Resnick discussed

    3. why notpermit the student to control the system,

      also echoed by Papert

    4. most of the systems for computer-assisted instruction seemtome to be perpetuating and endorsing much that is wrong

      This makes me think of Papert in *Mindstorms *- Learning is unfortunately limited by the intersections of systems of schooling and technology, and the limitations of each amplify those of the other.

    1. diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers

      I was intrigued by the fairly broad list of professions here (all the more so because my late father was beginning what eventually became a diplomatic career in 1962). I'm thinking of who we might add today: computer programmers, for one, of course. Also, medical professionals, who aren't explicitly listed here, though their work draws on several of the disciplines listed.

    2. his “clerk”

      As with the "girls" in "As We May Think," this terminology starts me thinking about actual clerks, the work they did, how it compares to what is described here, and what happened to them when (and if) systems like this eventually eliminated their jobs.

    3. one specialist couldn’t really apply his experience, intuition, or conceptual feel very well unless the situation could be stated and framed in his accustomed manner, and yet the others couldn’t work with his terminology.

      This is an ongoing challenge, and opportunity, in/for interdisciplinary studies. First step is reminding scholars that they are working within a framework that others don't share; next is finding a way to understand each others' perspectives (I don't think translation back and forth is enough). Understanding how disciplinary frameworks shape understanding is also a goal for students, from intro core courses to the junior-level writing-in-and-about-the-disciplines course I teach to senior capstone courses. Ideally, they become familiar with and comfortable in their own disciplinary frameworks without forgetting that they are frameworks.

    4. Team Cooperation3b9

      I was glad to see this topic come up, since the initial description of the architect/computer-clerk pair didn't seem to represent how most architects work, today, or, I suspect, in 1962 (my grandfather was a working architect when this was written, and he did have a drafting table at home, but that was for personal projects. Most of the time, he worked as part of a large group, including for a time for the WPA, designing hospitals and schools. Today, I'm told by someone on the relevant committee that the architects designing the building that will replace our current office/classroom building have some difficulty understanding English professors' desire for quiet, private places to work and meet with their students, since they're accustomed to working in a very different environment)

    5. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations.

      A few people have been arguing recently that information literacy is something along the lines of a "clever trick," but I think it is very much connected to the larger ideas framed out here. Information comes in many forms and flows through many channels. As we grow in our understandings of those forms and channels, we become better able to use information to deal with life's challenges. We augment our intellect.

    6. After all, we spend great sums for disciplines aimed at understanding and harnessing nuclear power. Why not consider developing a discipline aimed at understanding and harnessing “neural power?” In the long run, the power of the human intellect is really much the more important of the two

      A beautiful closing statement!

    7. work in parallel independence on the joint structure

      Nice phrase...captures the interplay of the individual and the collaborative

    8. they meet at their concept and terminology interface and work out little shifts in meaning and use which each can find digestible in his system, and which permit quite precise definitions in each system of the terms and concepts in the others

      A great description of how we learn and advance by getting an insight into the webs and trails of the brains of others,

    9. If any two want to work simultaneously on the same material, they simply duplicate and each starts reshaping his version–and later it is easy to merge their contributions.

      An early vision of GitHub?

    10. We feel that the effect of these augmentation developments upon group methods and group capability is actually going to be more pronounced than the effect upon individuals methods and capabilities, and we are very eager to increase our research effort in that direction

      And so the real amplification comes about because now a connected group of investigators can collaborate on their materials in a more immediate way ... the materials and processes are visible and shared,

    11. Many of the external composing and manipulating (modifying, rearranging) processes serve such characteristically “human” activities as playing with forms and relationships to ask what develops, cut-and-try multiple-pass development of an idea, or listing items to reflect on and then rearranging and extending them as thoughts develop

      "Playing with forms and relationships to ask what develops..." This is a great description of how emergent learning can take place ... the outcomes are not pre-ordained or predictable, but rather a matter of discovery and insight that comes about through "play."

    12. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human “feel for a situation” usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.

      This description of an "integrated domain," combining distinctively human capabilities such as intuition and a "feel for the situation" with "high-powered electronic aids" calls to mind the description of contemporary chess players as described by Clive Thompson in the chapter "The Rise of the Centaurs" in his book, Smarter Than You Think. How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better. The best players today are those who have augmented their intelligence with the most sophisticated chess engines and analysis tools. Generalizing this idea, Thompson says, "We're all playing advanced chess these days. We just haven't learned to appreciate it."

    13. many other capabilities for manipulating and displaying information

      And here is the clear articulation, revolutionary at the time, that computers could do more than "compute" in the narrow sense, i.e. number crunching. "Symbolized concepts" could be "manipulated and displayed" in "nonmathematical" ways.

    14. repertoire hierarchy

      I'm intrigued by this phrase and wonder what Engelbart is referring to

    15. rearranging

      The term "rearranging" keeps appearing in this essay...reminds me of Gardner's term "combinatorial disposition" .... the propensity to seek a more intelligible synthesis of discrete elements by continually recombining them in new shapes and patterns and forms, as in a bricolage.

    1. like most systems its performance can best be improved by considering the whole as a set of interacting components

      We have invested much in improving technology, but the whole set of interacting components includes people and their ideas as well. This is why we need to value humanities and social sciences - technology with humanity and ethics gives us Skynet.

    2. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations.

      A few people have been arguing recently that information literacy is something along the lines of a "clever trick," but I think it is very much connected to the larger ideas framed out here. Information comes in many forms and flows through many channels. As we grow in our understandings of those forms and channels, we become better able to use information to deal with life's challenges. We augment our intellect.

    1. Building critical literacies around information and digital technologies takes time.
    2. what happens when you get the technology part but you leave out the metacognitive part? Bush does not seem to consider this option but I think this is often the world that we live in today.

      It seems that our conversation about AWMT focused on using annotation to create a deliberate trail through well verified sources. But as you say, we all leave much larger and ambiguous trails through everything we do online. And I have no idea what an outfit like CA would make of my complete online record.

    1. revelatory juxtapositions
    2. the way familiar texts reveal new layers of meaning and implication
    3. the poem of the self that we draft each day, writing ourselves into being yet once more
    4. you start to understand at least a little about how an experimental physicist views the world

      This is an excellent example of the notion that achieving competence and, perhaps, mastery in a domain is a matter of "learning how to think like an x," when x may be a physicist, a mathematician, a historian, a psychologist, etc. Not just a detached grasp of a certain body of "content," but a level of conversational ability within a community of inquiry and practice.

    5. discipleship

      Intrigued by the way that terms with theological resonance to me ("revelatory" juxtaposition, discipleship) subtly working their way into the essay...

    6. affirmation at all

      Wow, this whole paragraph...and it's one sentence!

    7. divergent-convergent meta-education

      I am curious about this phrase!

    8. combinatorial disposition

      I love this phrase, which takes me back to days of teaching combinatorics, as part of a basic intro to probability. And indeed, the occurrence of these "revelatory juxtapositions" is a matter not of strict necessity but of probability, of the providential coincidence of elements both in the learning environment and in the learner, as you point out.

    1. You don’t have to have access to the big stage to make a difference

      There are ways, Maha, in which the networking, connecting and thinking that we do in our classrooms, in our mentoring relationships, in our conversations, in symposia can and do have an impact, a significant one. However, like all learning, the impact of opening minds a little bit at a time or using carefully dosed sessions of critical thinking and exploration to instill resistance to intolerance or to BS à la Harry Frankfurt, is most effective when it is practiced often, when it is engaging, resonant, meaningful, reiterated and connected meaningfully to previous learning. In other words, we who guide and help learners rarely have a spectacular, glorious moment, replayed multiple times in slow motion, to show the genius of our shot or deflection leading to a goal. We make a difference, yes, but slowly, over time, organically. Still, if done with courage, conviction, care and discipline, our work fostering learning can lead to results that are far more consequential for human life as a whole than a single goal in a single match that few will remember clearly a year later. Good teaching and effective learning can be precious, meaningful and beneficial for a lifetime.

      Your analogy with sports, Maha, has brought me more convincingly to this realization.

    1. And that’s the difference between reading “As We May Think” on my own, and working through it in this community, this network of fellow learners

      An open and connected community of learners, making for richer, more resonant learning, in my view. It has certainly enriched my own understanding and appreciation of the text by Vannaver Bush!

    2. A well chosen tag prompts us to think about our own thinking, to reflect upon how it is that one idea is connected to another in our own minds

      Indeed! Thinking about thinking and learning about learning is what Open Learning 17 is about, is it not? To what extent do open web technologies, tagging and collaborative processing of ideas invite us to break open new ways of pursuing and managing learning using tools like Hypothes.is?

    3. So it’s not just the annotation itself, but this “annotation infrastructure,” the way that the associated link and tags can be combined and recombined, that is so powerful.

      Yup. This tagging and annotating infrastructure has the potential to help use make individual associate trails more evident and to weave them into something more like collaborative neural networking or setting up a kind of learning that is greater than the learning of any single person.

    4. My thinking is not primarily a matter of linking texts and documents as such, but of connecting ideas and concepts and discrete pieces of data.

      Agreed. It's a matter of pulling ideas or bits of data together and tagging them as "analogous" or "resonant" or meaningfully connected in some way. In this way, the organic and cognitive connections forged by human brains have a kind of objective trace in the open web "infosphere."

    5. I hadn’t really thought previously about Hypothes.is as an “infrastructure” that goes beyond just creating marginalia on a single digital text
    6. My thinking is not primarily a matter of linking texts and documents as such, but of connecting ideas and concepts and discrete pieces of data.
    7. With annotation, you have a resource that is more granular than the document as a whole, a resource that has its own URL (like a document or an entire webpage). Not only does this nugget have its own URL, but it can be tagged to become part of a larger path or group of related items.
    1. But while the stylus-touch interfaces of modern tablets and the proliferation of online media do fulfill much of Bush’s technological vision, the key underlying epistemic concept put forth by Bush has been largely neglected.

      Or engaged obliquely -- How to map, preserve and make accessible (in a "filter forward" kind of way) the "cognitive scaffolding" of our associative trails? Lots of potential for Hypothes.is here ;-)

    2. History and humanities more generally are dominated by the single-author article and monograph, so a system built to pool research notes may seem counterintuitive.

      Yes! In general these disciplines have long been structured around the perception that scholarship is pursued largely in solitude. It isn't really so, of course, but I love the potential of projects like this one to foreground and support collaboration and networking.

    3. The goal for the project was not to publish a completed set of sites or records, but rather to facilitate active research.

      So much potential here for transforming (overcoming) the distinctions between a repository, a tool, and an ongoing project.

    1. Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems

      I like the multiple meanings one can find in "spirit should be elevated." Not just happier, but better as people.

    2. if the scholar can get at only one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to keep up with the current scene

      Here, directional velocity gives way to processing speed, scholarly productivity and currency (in the dual sense of "nowness" and relevance/pertinency).

    3. A new symbolism, probably positional, must apparently precede the reduction of mathematical transformations to machine processes
      1. Mathematics can be used to describe and calculate quantity/scale, position or probability; it makes sense to map this "new symbolism" onto one of those dimensions.
      2. This reminds one of a passage from Richard Powers The Gold Bug Variations (1991) where he reminds us that a sufficiently precise placement and measurement of a notch on a rod would be able to encode and decode the Encyclopedia Britannica, indeed, the full holdings of the Library of Congress.
      3. Let us remember that the nearly instantaneous calculations of the computers we use today have limits in terms of the numbers of digits that may be processed at any one time; for that reason, the kind of highly compressed mathematical encoding that Powers envisioned is virtually impossible for us in the early 21st century.
    4. The Encyclopoedia Britannica could be reduced to the volume of a matchbox

      ... a matchbox or a USB thumb drive or a flat smart media card or a minuscule microchip or even a non-substantial set of information on a server on the cloud somewhere that can be streamed almost instantly anywhere in the world. In one sense, 21st-century digital "compression" leads not to density, but to dispersion and to widespread, easy access through ubiquitous devices and software tools.

    5. His hands are free, and he is not anchored

      Again: Google Glass?

    6. Books of all sorts, pictures, current periodicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place

      Kindle? IBooks? a connected tablet? These are the desk, the future device in a different guise.

    7. Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process artificially, but he certainly ought to be able to learn from it

      Tagging mechanisms and other such tools bridge the gap between organic neuro-processed association as a kind of index and "mechanical" indexing. Basically, human brains imprint the digital archive with some traces of their own organic associations. Not exactly a reproduction of the organic process, but creating a bridge between the organic "pulling together" of disparate elements and mechanical indexing.

    8. Such machines will have enormous appetites

      Interesting image -- the machine is portrayed as actually desiring/needing data, rather than simply being capable of processing it. This feels somewhat true to the growth of Big Data today: once the system/capabilities are in place, the desire to collect data -- perhaps more data than we can really use, at least responsibly/ethically -- seems to grow.

    9. talk directly to the record?

      In this case, what happens to the "process of digestion and correction" which follows "the first stage"? In some ways, we do now have something like this: many more records of the early stages of thinking (including these annotations), in addition to or instead of records of the later stages, after an author has done more "digesting" of his/her thoughts, and published them in a more orderly way. There's a lot to be said for this sort of "thinking in the open," but it also adds exponentially to the "record," which Bush is already finding overwhelming in size.

    10. But there are signs of a change as new and powerful instrumentalities come into use.

      On first reading, this seemed like a very odd transition, from talking about new ways to navigate the ever-proliferating piles/sea of data, to talking about instruments that seem more likely to add to the piles than to organize it. It takes some time for him to come back to how photography can help solve the problem. If this were a student paper, I'd probably be telling him to move his thesis/solution closer to the beginning, so readers don't lose it in the mass of his own accumulated examples of technological progress.

    11. remember

      The limits of memory are/is a key theme throughout. As I write below, I'm not sure he always distinguishes as well as he might between "memory" as in retrieving information that one remembers exists, but of which one can't remember the details and "memory" as in remembering that the information exists in the first place.

    12. healthily

      This is an interesting choice of words, and echoes, though it does not directly repeat, some of his optimism at the beginning. I found myself thinking about Rachel Carson and others who exposed the results of the "better living through chemistry" (and other forms of science) optimism of the post-WWII era.

    13. with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important

      I found myself checking Bush's age at time of writing when I read this: c. 55. As a fellow middle-aged person, I can sympathize with his desire, but am inclined to point out that the problem is not just finding something that might be useful, but remembering that it exists in the first place (I guess the "trails" might help with that, assuming one remembers one made a trail, or has a way of stumbling across it).

    14. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.

      I've been noticing throughout that his attitude toward the existing "record" is essentially conservative/trusting. There's little suggestion that the role of the present generation of researchers might be to question or even overturn it, and no attention to social/cultural forces that might have shaped what it does and doesn't contain.

    15. sets a reproducer in action, photographs the whole trail out, and passes it to his friend for insertion in his own memex

      One major difference between the memex as envisioned here and most web-based systems is that each individual who has a memex (which presumably isn't everyone; they sound expensive) has his (or her?) own memex. To use the trail metaphor, everyone has his own network of trails on his own island, and while it's possible to reproduce a network of trails from someone else's island on one's own island, the two sets of trails don't really connect (nor does there seem to be a chance for serendipitous connections made by people who don't know each other already).

    16. On deflecting one of these levers to the right he runs through the book before him, each page in turn being projected at a speed which just allows a recognizing glance at each.

      I'm having flashbacks to using microfilm readers (and to the headaches induced by trying to read while scrolling just slowly enough to scan headlines). No question that it was amazing technology in many ways, but the thought of spending most of one's day working in that environment; ugh.

    17. Thus far we seem to be worse off than before—for we can enormously extend the record; yet even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it.

      Back the central question/problem (from which we seem to have strayed for quite some time, mostly as the result of his enthusiasm for all the new ways of gathering/manipulating/processing data he sees on the horizon)

    18. Much needs to occur, however, between the collection of data and observations, the extraction of parallel material from the existing record, and the final insertion of new material into the general body of the common record. For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute. But creative thought

      And here I think he's going to address the importance of selection (and he does, a bit), but instead he's mostly focusing on the process of bringing in yet more "material," this time from "the existing record."

    19. As he ponders over his notes in the evening, he again talks his comments into the record.

      There's a very important element that I think is assumed here, and that requires considerable mental labor (and some practice with using the tools described): selection. If the notes and photographs are to be useful, they can't be a stream-of-consciousness recording of everything encountered, observed, or thought that day. Otherwise, the "pondering" would take as long as the day itself.

      And presumably the process of "talk[ing] comments into the record" involves yet more selection. That's a natural part of the process of research and writing, but one thing I think we've learned as tools of this sort become widely available is that the temptation to record everything is strong (scholars are not immune to the same impulses experienced by students with highlighters), and the result is a postponement of the difficult task of selecting what's important to a later date (or sometimes never).

    20. is retyped

      Another obfuscation-of-labor moment in the passive here? Who does the retyping, and just how much correction, interpretation, etc. is required (cf. what happens when you run OCR: the result is not usually a text clean enough for markup without some fixing by well-educated humans, often located in low(er)-wage countries such as India).

    1. then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

      It was meant to be about humanity and empowering people, rather than technology putting people out of work.

    1. What about bookstores?

      Authors are still authoring and booksellers are still bookselling. The surviving bookstores are better for the competition. Just like the remaining 'record' stores. IMHO

    2. transmedia storytelling

      Here's a recent paper that unravels all the threads of 'transmedia.' Digital storytelling: New opportunities for humanities scholarship and pedagogy John F. Barber | Ray Siemens (Reviewing Editor) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311983.2016.1181037

  6. Jan 2017
    1. wisdom of race experience

      I find it interesting that though Bush opens and closes his article with a comment about race, no one has annotated them. Is the ideology of race just as normal today as it was seventy years ago? I guess UNESCO's Statements on Race have had no lasting effect in the US.

    2. the life of a race rather than that of an individual.

      I find it interesting that though Bush opens and closes his article with a comment about race, no one has annotated them. Is the ideology of race just as normal today as it was seventy years ago? I guess UNESCO's Statements on Race have had no lasting effect in the US.

    3. the application of science to the needs and desires of man

      An interesting follow up is 'The Hut Where the Internet Began." "When Douglas Engelbart read a Vannevar Bush essay on a Philippine island in the aftermath of World War II, he found the conceptual space to imagine what would become our Internet." http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/07/the-hut-where-the-internet-began/277551/

    4. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons.

      Interesting sentiment coming from the founder of Raytheon, one of the largest producers of weapons of mass destruction in the world.

    5. The inheritance from the master


    6. tying two items together is the important thing

      A semantic web?