389 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Access Compromise

      No less true today

    2. can the community call anyone’s behavior “openwashing” if it conforms with the international standard-setting instrument’s definition of OER?

      Maybe this is an argument for celebrating the progress made in the UNESCO Recommendation but NOT acknowledging it as the final word on OER.

    3. free and perpetual, which were clearly articulated in the public draft, have been inexplicably removed in the final version

      Opening the door for public funds to be used to create OER that could later be shifted to a less open or non-open format.

    4. I added retain as the 5th R after coming to understand that retain is actually the fundamental permission that must be granted with regard to an open educational resource.

      Yes, it helps to read these declarations adversarially, to imagine what someone looking to abuse they system might do.

  2. Nov 2019
    1. three-quarters of college students who attend public institutions

      Can we see some data that compares their outcomes to those of the other 25% who go to private? I think that would clarify the situation tremendously.

    2. Why not both

      This is a good point. Would you rather be a certified HVAC person or one who in addition had taken some business courses and could more effectively work for themselves?

    3. College graduates account for a third of American entrepreneurs

      This will work better if a startup's business plan doesn't end with expected purchase by Google, Facebook, or Amazon.

    4. college earnings premium is at an all-time high

      Because unions have lost so much power.

    5. they make the places they live and work more productive

      This is important. It needs to be a positive sum game, or it's pointless.

    6. retooling their skills

      The assumption is that if more folks gain credentials they firms will hire them automatically? What about wage gap between US and other regions at similar education levels?

    7. college diploma or an advanced degree is a key to economic success

      But she failed to say, success for whom? For the individual who'll get a higher-paying job? For the corporations that will get the benefit of their skills? Or for society?

    8. will require cultivating their skills

      Or is it more an issue of unlocking their critical faculties and teaching them to question the inevitability of the dominant narrative? Training more engineers doesn't seem like it would guarantee more equitable income and opportunity distributions.

    9. transformed American higher education from a province of the privileged into a shared commitment to our future

      It would be interesting to trace the transition from the original agricultural and technical focus to R1.

    10. educated citizenry emerged and a skilled workforce

      High schools also taught the children of immigrants to be Americans.

    1. we cannot wall ourselves off in exclusive silos that separate the types of education and the different job markets

      Do we need to rethink the fairly explicit anti-vocational approach we've often taken to liberal arts?

    2. higher education with increasing entrepreneurship and higher productivity,

      I think this may be a more compelling angle than higher wages, which were to a great extent a function of labor unions.

    1. My own university estimates that first-year students can expect to pay between $2,290 and $4,100 for books and supplies.

      University of Waterloo (Canada)

    1. the overwhelming majority of faculty have no formal training whatsoever in teaching and learning.

      So the argument is that faculty are stupid, or are such narrow specialists, or are so time-constrained that this is best left to professionals?

    2. open textbook publishers may have actually been reinforcing publishers’ messages

      The idea may have been to equal the commercial texts before surpassing them, but I agree it's clearly time for phase two, where we use the advantages of the new platforms to take our texts somewhere else.

    3. leveraged faculty’s widespread lack of understanding of instructional design to redefine “quality.”

      Instructional design becomes one of those moats.

    4. effective instructional design

      Effective instructional design, like accessibility, is great until it is used to prevent instructor-created content from overtaking expensive commercial texts. If subject-matter experts continue to believe they are not qualified to produce content, publishers continue to win as they have been all along. This argument was once made in "quality" terms; now the argument is shifting to pedagogy and access.

    5. Me: If I cross out these lines about the publisher’s copyright and write “Licensed CC BY” above it, have I made this book more effective at supporting student learning? Student: (ponders briefly) I guess not?

      Yeah, you did, because the price dropped when you did that. Or doesn't reducing cost support student learning anymore?

    6. each become more focused on executing the strategies aligned with our specific goal

      This idea that you can't do everything and it's time to choose suggests not only that the goals aren't the same, but that they're so different as to be mutually exclusive. Is this perspective a result of having chosen one (student success) that it turns out you think might be better met in the commercial space than in open?

    7. critically examine all of our assumptions about conferences

      Personally, I'm feeling kind of bad about in-person meetings from a carbon-footprint perspective. I wonder if it's possible yet to do a virtual conference?

    8. as currently constituted, the conference does not leverage all the energy, enthusiasm, passion, and leadership ability in our increasingly large and increasingly diverse community

      Fair statement. But why rather than trying to harness that energy are you calling it quits. Or are you saying that energy = commercial publishers you were promoting?

  3. Oct 2019
    1. potentially acquire new students, programs, geographic reaches

      So it's not primarily about economies of scale in physical plant operation.

    2. systems of higher education

      Does being part of a system mitigate the need to merge to some extent?

    3. When colleges wait too long, their financial, political and enrollment value declines to the point that they may be unable to find a willing partner.

      I suppose it matters a lot whether you're seeking to acquire, be acquired, or to merge as equals with a similarly-sized peer.

    4. mergers are a well-tested approach to rapidly securing growth, stability and value

      In general, or in higher ed?

    5. merger as a proactive option

      It would be interesting to consider the book even if an institution wasn't facing merger or consolidation, but I wonder if fear of "putting ideas in people's heads" will prevent that?

    1. Administrators at all but the most selective institutions believe their institutions are threatened by scaling flagship national universities that are making substantial investments in their online programs,
    1. identifying politicised collective actions that are already underway

      The point is, all three of these things are already happening and all three will continue into the future. There's no "choose one" future ahead.

    2. this led students to reflect

      Just using Linux led to that?

    3. widespread recognition that ‘agency’ is collective, spanning human and more-than-human entities, and transcending individualism

      Is this really the key?

    4. OER also opened the doors to radically multiple perspectives on history, science and society

      Again, cool, and I think this is what I'm doing. But how does it address/prevent the previous two scenarios?

    5. Privacy by design become standard

      This is all well and good, but how does it address the choices made by the nomads in scenario 2? Doesn't seem connected at all.

    6. realign ‘competences’ as a collective, embedded, embodied and political, rather than individual, practice

      But still taught to individuals.

    7. solopreneurs were dependent on their work becoming visible and ‘on top’ in algorithmically-sorted listings and feeds

      SEO

    8. Mindvalley University
    9. nomad parents have tended to argue that they can provide a better education than school classrooms by assembling their own teaching material as well as by using online educational videos, MOOCs and DOCCS à la carte

      This is happening now, of course.

    10. self-chosen status of being state-free, avoiding regulations and bookkeeping for one’s own online business

      Siren song

    11. Formal education was assumed to be superfluous

      The only people who really believe this are folks that have been formally educated, but don't appreciate it.

    12. World travelling families

      How many of these could there be?

    13. profit from geoarbitrage

      Is this central to the eduction story?

    14. centralising tendencies of platform capitalism

      In the absence of OER...

    15. fundamental relations of ‘rentier’-‘tenant’

      Picketty

    16. help students to optimise themselves.

      Statement supposes we know what to optimize for.

    17. Students were to ‘respond to’ the ‘challenges’ of the digital world,

      Germany is far from the Silicon Valley, but we can imagine this happening in the flyover US too.

    18. rebranded existing companies (which were no longer called ‘textbook publishers’, but instead ‘global learning platforms’

      ...but they basically remained what they had been.

    19. structural transformations necessary to overcome entrenched socio-economic inequalities

      Does focus on equity necessarily line up with this interest in avoiding "dataveillance"? I'm not sure, but I think the question is worth asking.

    20. tool for the constant surveillance/dataveillance

      Creating a "siren server" of learning data that mirrors Amazon's stack of consumer data.

    21. potential for learning analytics, artificial intelligence, adaptive learning, maker-centred learning and other interactive or data-driven technologies to increase equality of opportunity by fostering independent, flexible, reflective, team-working individuals who have developed grit, tenacity and a sense of self-empowerment

      Would this be the outcome of these tools?

    1. If not adequately maintained, it is easy for an OER repository to become cluttered with many broken links and out-of-date resources. Librarians who work with OER are already well aware of the challenges of such repositories.

      Opendora

    2. faculty report that this is a particularly time-consuming task

      But no more time-consuming than choosing a textbook.

    3. best practices for accessibility and open access

      But we should remember that this is an iterative process, and avoid rejecting efforts that make resources more open but fail to completely address ALL the accessibility issues on day one. I'm talking to you, Rebus.

    4. CARE framework

      Getting a lot of attention in the CC community right now.

    5. In light of format plurality, “every OER its reader” suggests that OER should be agnostic to format, medium, or platform and made available in a multitude of modalities

      Combine with the 5 Rs and we've got something.

    6. f academic libraries still see “every reader their book” as a relevant guiding principle, libraries are compelled to view course materials as another aspect of library collections. If academic library communities need these resources, OER offer a clear way to challenge cost and access restrictions

      So this is a two-pronged responsibility, to get the textbooks students need AND to help faculty learn about OER to reduce the expense of doing so,

    7. College Board (2018) estimated that books and supplies cost students between $1240.00 and $1440.00.

      Another good data point

    8. access to required and recommended course materials

      Although buying every required textbook would probably break the bank at most libraries, I wonder whether faculty could help by requiring the publisher to provide a desk copy and then donating it to the library?

    9. market built on socioeconomic inequity,

      Some markets only work because of this inequity. These are not necessarily markets we should encourage, even if they claim to be "free".

    10. access to information is a basic human right.

      But we treat it as a commodity.

    11. Ranganathan
    1. company-wide conversation about framing” still sounds like a critical step to continue openwashing.

      Yep

    2. one of the for-profits to take to the OpenEd stage visited my campus (again, around me) and led a presentation that directly resulted in upper admin questioning the need for an Open Education Librarian (me!) were they to sign a contract with Lumen.

      Yeah, the idea that suggesting firing a librarian would enhance student success happens within a "civil" discourse is problematic.

    3. a conversation it needs to be. Not a PR exercise with pre-screened questions, plastic smiles, and marketing drivel. Not a reputation cleanse. And certainly not on a platform that frames for-profit players as the future of learning materials.

      Yeah, this seems to be the issue. Talk about in my OEG thing.

    4. Cengage’s own research forecast that the use of OER as primary courseware was poised to triple within five years.

      Useful info, which I'm not above using.

    1. integrating OER into a growing number of digital learning solutions, including our MindTap and Learning Objects platforms,” said Cheryl Costantini, VP of Content Strategy, Cengage Learning

      ...which platforms we're going to make available for free! Just kidding, no we're not.

    1. find out in advance which professors or sections use Open Educational Resources. Any time you have the option of picking the OER section, take it. Not only will you save money, but you’re more likely to get the benefit of a professor who went the extra mile to help students. It’s not a perfect barometer, but it’s a better-than-random indicator that this professor is particularly engaged in the course. When professors have helped curate, assemble, or even create the material themselves, they’re invested in it.  In my observation, faculty passion for a subject is contagious. Give me a passionate professor with pretty-good OER over a dutiful one with a solid commercial book any day of the week

      That's a nice endorsement of our work adopting and producing OER. Thanks!

    2. most college bookstores under-order as a matter of policy.

      I wonder if our "first year experience" classes teach this fact to new, first-generation college students?

    1. an online homework system.

      The other shoe drops. I use a fairly antiquated LMS, and I can do this without buying a homework system. This is the sneaky profit-center that would enhance student success, but at a cost that the "fanatics" should accept?

    2. there’s a lot of OER goodness that can be wrapped around

      Agreed.

    3. Our primary priority should neither be minimizing cost nor maximizing pedagogical flexibility. Our primary priority should be increasing student learning, and our efforts to reduce costs and increase pedagogical flexibility must always be subservient to that end. When we fail to put student learning first, we can become zealots who confuse the means with the ends.

      This is tortured. The only difference I can see between priority 1 and preferred priority 2 seems to be an opportunity to sneak something in that adds cost (profit) under the claim that it's better for student learning. As if the top priority of OER or ZTC "fanatic" educators isn't student success.

      I think it's easier to find common ground than the author suggests. And I suspect much of the ZTC and OER fanaticism may be coming from outside the ranks of educators, via political focus that ignores nuance.

    4. None of that is possible with free but traditionally copyrighted content.

      I disagree again. Fair use in LMSs afford lots of pedagogical innovation, such as Hypothesis discussion of pdfs housed inside the shell and offered under fair use. I think the author is holding to tightly to his own 5-R formula, which is powerful but not omnipotent.

    5. little focus on asking students to engage in the kind of repeated practice that can be computer generated and computer graded

      Not so. Tools like Hypothesis help streamline discussions of texts in both in-person and online courses, in my experience.

    6. we’ll just read an open source equivalent of Catcher in the Rye

      But the statement "we'll read an open-source version of anything out of copyright" very much DOES.

    7. STEM disciplines

      Good point. STEM needs the software tools more than the content, perhaps. But much of that functionality is already available in LMSs, which in most institutions don't figure in the ZTC or OER discussion.

    8. openly licensed and not free

      Does this description of "courseware" include OER texts sucked into walled gardens and only available to students who pay first-day-access fees for them, with bundled assessment and ancillaries? What happens when OER authors mark all their content NC?

    9. traditionally copyrighted and “free”

      If we expand our view just a bit to concern ourselves with student cost, these are obviously not free, because they come at a cost assessed in student fees and/or tuition. Similarly, course-packs and fair-use content inserted in LMSs by instructors reduce student expenses and should probably be considered.

    10. the more students use a set of learning materials, the more the publisher owes the author

      Are you really suggesting that a for-profit publishing model should include using content that I wrote and then CONTRIBUTED to try to help build a more open learning community. You can't have that for free and then try to profit on it. I'm changing all my licensing to include NC.

    11. whole course OER

      While perhaps a goal, whole course OER is not the only way to significantly reduce student expense. We're being asked to get worked up over the wrong issue.

    12. is 300 a lot or a little

      Measure enrollment? If the 300 are all surveys and many of the balance are upper-level seminars, the impact of OER could be more significant than reported.

  4. Sep 2019
  5. Aug 2019
    1. Cengage launched its own OER resource, OpenNow, in 2017

      Which uses OER inside its paywall.

    2. resources that will enable schools to offer an ACS-approved bachelor’s degree with zero cost for textbooks

      Is this something that would motivate BSU's Chem Dept?

    3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched its OpenCourseWare initiative in 2000, which made materials from all of the university’s courses freely available on the internet

      MIT since 2000

    4. 30% of students don’t buy textbooks at all

      2013 -- I wonder if this has changed?

    1. Students need a syllabus that is passionate, affirming, and understanding.

      Nice statement

    2. the anarchist tradition of representing self-evident and self-governed humanitarian values

      I didn't know this was a thing, but I like it!

    3. long list of “learning objectives,

      Yeah, I kind-of hate these.

    4. syllabus should be a manifesto that serves as a founding document detailing the rights of the students and the pedagogy of the classroom.

      Manifesto is something of a pledge that the instructor will try to live up to. If students annotate, does this suggest they're stepping into a relationship and making a similar pledge?

    1. Colleges should provide leadership by giving faculty the infrastructure to support their switch to open textbooks. It requires an investment of financial and human capital to support successful OER projects

      Academic labor needs to be recognized.

    2. Open textbooks were used in six percent of the courses

      same question

    3. Thirty-eight percent of courses in our study used access codes, and ninety-four percent of the time these access codes were sold in a bundle.

      Is this comparable at BSU?

    4. At just the forty schools in the study, switching over these courses to OER would save up to $13 million in one semester alone, assuming students use the OER free online. Multiplied out to the full national enrollment at public and private non-profit schools, this switch would save students an estimated $763 million per semester, or $1.5 billion per year.

      I don't think this extrapolation is that conclusive, but it's interesting.

    5. Switching the ten introductory classes in our study to OER nationwide would save students $1.5 billion per year in course materials costs

      This is a big claim -- hopefully data will follow.

    6. the ten courses taken most often

      Good methodology!

    7. access to the online material expires

      So no reference, no MCAT/LSAT/GRE prep, etc.

    8. more restrictive and costly products such as access codes,

      The locking the students into full boat retail and the bookstore is the really sinister bit.

    9. Since 2006, the cost of textbooks has increased four times the rate of inflation

      Good baseline

    1. When publishers bundle a textbook with an access code, it eliminates most opportunities for students to cut costs with the used book market. Of the access code bundles in our sample, forty-five percent—nearly half—were unavailable from any other source we could find except the campus bookstore

      How many bookstores are jumping onto this bandwagon as a way to once again become relevant?

    1. concern over the quality of OER

      CONCERN over the quality doesn't necessarily equal quality issues.

    2. high cost of textbooks had led 64.2% of students to not buy a required textbook and 42.8% to take fewer courses. Additionally, 35.6% said the high cost of textbooks caused them to earn a poor grade and 22.9% said it led them to drop a course

      Updated in 2018?

    3. College Board says students should budget $1,240 annually for books and supplies

      Consistent with BSU

    1. liberatory-resistance

      I'm assuming in this context resistance is a stance I'm sharing with the students, not that students are resisting me? But are we resisting something present and tangible, or are we adopting a stance because it seems (like the manifesto) more politically attractive?

    2. the day after course grades are due

      And yet my syllabi advertise skills and understandings that it's my goal they will take with them. I try to take them past the "you are here because you have to check this Gen Ed box" element in my course design.

    3. epigenetics

      I tend to think of the syllabus as DNA, and the reality of the course in the LMS over the course of the semester as epigenetics that may or may not be carried forward into the next course.

    4. syllabus-as-playlist

      Love this! I might at least subtitle my schedule of lectures and discussions "Playlist" -- esp. since I usually make videos of them that can become a playlist.

    5. syllabus-as-manifesto

      Is there a left/right bias hiding in these word choices? Do I respond to manifesto more positively because it sounds more bottom-up and revolutionary, versus the top-down, authoritarian feel of contract? I think so.

    6. warranties

      Isn't this what SLOs do in the longer-term context of promotion and tenure reviews?

    7. power differential

      This too can be seen in a "war" or "dance" way: ideally, the reason the students are in our classes is because we have the power to aid them in their educations, not just serve as a gatekeeper to a grade or credential.

    8. syllabi as contracts

      Does this line of thought begin to dissolve if we substitute "agreement" or "understanding" for "contract"?

    9. argument is war and argument is dancing

      And, we avoid war but seek to dance.

  6. Jul 2019
    1. du Pont Corp., a major investor in and producer of leaded gasoline

      I think Kovarik could spend more time digging into the DuPont/GM connection. Seems to me that there is a huge advantage moving auto engines to a fuel that can be patented rather than ethyl that any farmer could distill.

    2. Grain is not “used” for fuel; it is fed to cattle after it is distilled with no loss in food value

      Dual use.

    1. “unfortunate” that some staff had felt the need to alter their teaching style

      Maybe this is polite British-speak for "it was unfortunate that their previous teaching style was not something they were willing to have recorded, so they rushed to change it when the cameras were switched on."

    2. lecture capture encouraged poor attendance

      And this matters because...?

    1. Morton Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860

      Horwitz was one of Steinberg's dissertation advisors. His ideas about American law heavily influenced Steinberg's thesis in Nature, Incorporated.

    1. I lorwitz, Transfonnation of American law,

      Historiographic note: Morton Horwitz was one of Steinberg's dissertation advisors. He wrote the most important book about the history of American Law, and his perspective influenced Steinberg heavily. I highly recommend Horwitz's book -- it may be the single most significant book I've read in US History.

    Tags

    Annotators

  7. Jun 2019
    1. 1879 illustration of a prosperous Massachusetts farm,

      I chose this image from several dozen similar ones because it is a farm in Enfield Massachusetts. Anybody know why that's significant? (Answer in Chapter 9)

    1. CC BY NC license

      I've become much more of an advocate of the NC addition tot he open license since I've started noticing how OER texts seem to wind up in walled-garden turnkey learning systems that charge for the homework and assessment modules.

    1. CC BY-SA

      Actually, I've changed the license to CC-BY-NC-SA. I just thought it might be a good idea to signal my intention that the text should NOT become part of a commercialized "walled garden".

    1. WALDEN

      In addition to being a historian, Cronon began his academic career as an English major.

    Annotators

    1. campus grant project

      Can this be duplicated?

    2. obstacles and challenges that were preventing faculty from adopting OERs in their courses—primarily a lack of time, lack of availability of relevant OERs, and a lack of ancillary materials to accompany existing open texts (test banks, PowerPoint files, and other materials often provided by commercial publishers).

      Survey these objections? Is there a way to put $$ to them?

    3. trainings that include data on textbook costs and the impact on students. After the training, faculty participants are offered a stipend of $200 to provide a peer review of an existing textbook

      Add this to the slate of talks I do in the fall.

    4. faculty support and development opportunities, and it became apparent that these elements were critical to the adoption of OERs

      The point is that shifting work should be compensated.

    5. Minnesota State, one of the largest public postsecondary systems in the United States, is comprised of seven universities and 30 two-year community and technical colleges on 54 campuses across the state. The system employs nearly 9,000 teaching faculty and serves approximately 400,000 students each year

      Good summary of MinnState

    1. Students impacted

      Faculty leads, faculty adoptions, students impacted are the three main metrics.

    2. focus their efforts on faculty who could adopt already-existing OERs, as this requires the least amount of money from the institution and the least amount of faculty time

      Low-hanging fruit

    3. how will I get a list of faculty who are interested and a list of faculty who will adopt OERs?

      Old fashioned sales 101

    4. with a strategic OER effort, an institution can achieve a level of 25% of their duplicated student headcount using OERs within a 2–5 year period.

      Build this into a goal statement?

    5. How many students are currently impacted by OERs at your institution? How many faculty are currently using OERs at your institution?

      Two good questions to add to surveys.

    1. The involvement of for-profit companies like Lumen in the production and distribution of open educational resources remains controversial, since they oftentimes wind up charging students for content that is supposed to be free. Advocates for OER also sometimes worry about whether companies will capture and control student data.

      If more OER content was licensed CC-BY-NC-SA, this might dissuade this type of "capture".

    2. For OER to truly scale

      Is this really scaling, or is it productization?

    1. Digital Course Packs combine different course-related materials into a single point of access, including journal articles, e-books, web-sites and links, images, and videos, all in a variety of formats and all presented online.

      This is probably worth formalizing into a "thing" in addition to celebrating things faculty have done individually to achieve same goal.

    1. Faculty engagement[2] with a digital text (for example, faculty annotations that add insights to the text) can also increase student engagement

      Hypothesis as well as the fact that the instructor made the OER for the course probably both positive.

    2. reduced cost and first-day access

      Survey questions should focus on each of these factors.

    3. students’ focus on the quality of the teaching rather than the format of the course materials

      AND, it's usually not an apples to apples comparison -- the ebook is often newer, better, more directly related to course goals, esp. if a specially-remixed OER.

    4. If the choice were entirely up to you, what would your preferred textbook option be when taking a class?

      Results might be different if we tested their price sensitivity: "Would you pay $50 for a print textbook if an online one was available free?"

    1. faculty have a greater responsibility in designing curricula and assignments that foster enhanced engagement with the core ideas about information and scholarship

      In many cases the info literacy, critical thinking, and communication skills may be more valuable than the course content.

    1. increasingly complex course content environment has produced the need for new service models involving collaboration across campus units to educate and support faculty and students

      This is a great statement. Complex both because of technology, but also new types of interactions between these stakeholders.

    2. wholesalers and publishers

      Should we distinguish between publishers that still believe in the value of their content and others who seem to be saying the content is worthless but they want to capture the homework and assessment revenue?

    3. course packs

      Course packs, library reserves, and quick-printed manuals like "Short Handbook" all have long histories.

    4. Bookstores, like ours at the University of Minnesota, have worked hard to provide students with a range of affordable options including used books, rentals, robust buyback options, discounted digital textbooks

      Role of bookstores and their long-term interest in reducing student costs is often overlooked.

    5. (28%) [of faculty] reported that they do not typically know the prices of the books they assign

      This isn't a good look for faculty.

    6. Some faculty and staff may think course material costs are a minor concern when compared with the sticker shock of tuition

      Analogous to the difference between fixed and variable costs in business. Many firms fail because, in spite of impressive infrastructure, they fail to meet payrolls or pay for the next shipment of raw materials.

    7. difference between graduating or dropping out

      And also difference in course success, GPA, job prospects, and all the other results of performance in these courses the student has paid or borrowed so much to get into.

    8. $1,650 in interest

      This is obscene.

    9. $1,200 for books
    10. student loan debt in the U.S. rose to $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2018

      What is the current per capita average? According to Forbes, average student debt of class of 2016 was $37,172.

  8. www.theatlantic.com www.theatlantic.com
    1. archaeological digs should find many pigeon bones in the pre-Columbian strata of Indian middens. But they aren't there. The mobs of birds in the history books, he says, were "outbreak populations—always a symptom of an extraordinarily disrupted ecological system

      The last one, Martha, died Sept 1st, 1914 in the Cincinnati zoo.

    2. her fear is that this data will be misused

      This is probably a sincere and well-founded fear. But that doesn't mean we should lie about the past.

    3. Terra preta, Woods guesses, covers at least 10 percent of Amazonia, an area the size of France

      TP is a mixture of charcoal, pottery shards, human and animal feces -- so at agricultural scale it's clearly a soil amendment rather than the "natural" soil of the region.

    4. plant trees, you get twenty years of productivity out of your work instead of two or three

      Note also that cassava, the staple developed by people in this area, was a tree-crop.

    5. my alarm bells

      Partly because she's on the lookout to protect her interpretation from critics or new ideas.

    6. When Indian societies disintegrated

      And atmospheric carbon levels dropped sharply, possibly contributing to continuing the Little Ice Age.

    7. Aztec

      Most Aztec homes in Tenochtitlán had running water. Rich people had steam baths.

    8. scores of English ran off

      This led to a whole literature (propaganda) of captivity and redemption, which the colonial leaders used to try to dissuade defections.

    9. presentism

      I think a distinction can be made between "judging" the choices people made in the past and trying to appreciate their perspectives, experiences, and world views so we can better understood why they made the choices they did.

    10. streets immaculate

      Their chronicles note with surprise that the streets, squares, and markets are spotless, with not even a stray straw left behind.

    11. Middle East and central Mexico

      Which is an improvement over believing agriculture was invented in the fertile crescent, but still ignores Asia.

    12. 1987 American History: A Survey, a standard high school textbook by three well-known historians, described the Americas before Columbus as "empty of mankind and its works.

      This description seems to rely on a very narrow definition of "mankind".

    13. many plagues, not just one

      And this breaks the back of that argument about viruses rarely being as lethal as they were here. Individual viruses can't communicate with other viruses. Even if they're individually only 50% lethal, four 50% epidemics in a row will reduce a population by roughly 94%.

    14. That's one reason whites think of Indians as nomadic hunters," says Russell Thornton, an anthropologist at the University of California at Los Angeles. "Everything else—all the heavily populated urbanized societies—was wiped out.

      Even when we accept the idea that there were many more natives than previously thought, it's still hard to assess the number of people living in North America, where a century passed before much European exploration settlement began.

    15. high political and ecological stakes

      In other words, what at first might seem to be a historiographical disagreement can become a high-stakes political issue affecting how Americans think of their past actions and choices.

    16. Pox Americana, (2001)

      This is an example of the type of book you might want to read for your final paper.

    17. ninety to 112 million

      This is among the higher estimates of pre-Columbian population, although the logic leading to it seems sound. To be safe, I use a mid-range estimate of 65 to 80 million, which would make the populations of Europe, the Americas, and Africa all about level.

    18. Francisco Pizarro was able to seize an empire the size of Spain and Italy combined with a force of 168 men

      And yet when Alfred Crosby wrote a book questioning the military superiority of the conquistadors and positing disease as the main cause, publishers rejected it with single-word responses like "Nonsense!"

    19. The good hand of God favored our beginnings," Bradford mused, by "sweeping away great multitudes of the natives ... that he might make room for us.

      A sentiment that was echoed by Cotton Mather in Magnalia Christi Americana in 1702.

    20. another deserted Indian village
    21. robbing Indian houses and graves

      Not part of the story we usually focus on...

    22. Should we let people keep burning the Beni?

      Point is, this is a question that can and should be answered, but NOT by automatic reflex of claiming what we think ancient people did.

    23. burning created an intricate ecosystem of fire-adapted plant species dependent on native pyrophilia

      Cronon talks about native North Americans managing forest understory with fire in Changes in the Land.

    24. putatively natural state

      To be clear, Cronon is both an environmentalist AND a critic of the pristine myth. See, for example, his article "The Trouble with Wilderness, or Getting back to the Wrong Nature"

    25. make the meager evidence from the ethnohistorical record tell you anything

      If this is true, isn't it equally a danger for the theories that just happen to be older and more advantageous for white Europeans?

    26. a hemisphere thoroughly dominated by humankind

      So the story of Env Hist, that people have not only been affected by their environments but have altered them, enters deep history in the Americas just as it does in other regions humans have lived.

    27. the Beni, a Bolivian province

      We normally think of Bolivia as a nation of the "altiplano" and the Andes. Like the Inca Empire before it, it spreads down the eastern side of the mountains and includes the westernmost edge of the Amazon watershed.

    28. jimmies

      A mostly New England word for sprinkles. Mann lives in Amherst MA.

    1. 14,300 years old

      14,300, not 20,000 or 30,000. This is entirely consistent with current science.

    2. crossing a giant ice field is a ridiculous notion

      Yes, it is. Which is why the coastal route was much more likely.

    3. window into what it means

      I agree, and this is the way these stories should be taken, NOT as evidence they might be true.

    4. Palaeolithic Spain

      Interesting that story about the Solutrean theory that this article links to calls the theory both wildly inaccurate and racist.

    5. that coast is now under water

      Yes! This is true, and interesting discoveries are currently being made on the Channel Islands off California.

    6. only appears when ice is locked up on land and sea levels drop

      Not a land bridge: as wide as Alaska. And not that temporary: probably existed from about 28,000 to about 12,000 years ago. That's 16,000 years, or three times longer than recorded history.

    7. there’s enough evidence

      Show your work! This is a "History Channel" statement. I've read fairly extensively through the peer-reviewed scholarship, and archaeologists don't seem agreed there's "enough evidence". Even the guys that discovered Monte Verde are much less certain about the 33,000 year old finds, and separated them into a different category.

    8. reject the idea that their ancestors migrated from somewhere else

      Vine Deloria Jr. is one of the big advocates for the idea that "we have always been here", but his argument is primarily political rather than scientific. Realistically, isn't a scientific certainty that native Americans have been here for at least 15,000 years enough?

    9. Craig Childs

      Who is not a trained scientist, historian, archaeologist, but apparently many find him a compelling storyteller.

    10. as the Navajo and other Native American tribes believe

      Which is to be expected, since their experience here goes back hundreds of generations. But that doesn't mean that Indian legends are any more valid than the old testament which says Eden was a place in the vicinity of Mesopotamia.

    11. weren't one group of people; they arrived at different times, and likely by different methods

      These are two separate statements, that require two different types of argument and evidence to back them up. Why do I get the sense you're not going to do that...?

  9. May 2019
    1. more detail

      I'll begin with a list of texts you might want to read, in addition to the ones we'll be reading excerpts from together, in the next week or so.

    2. smallish

      So far, we have 5 people registered.

    1. 970s,

      In the US, many social historians AND cultural historians too. Bill Cronon for example -- note his interest in both "history from below" and in literary critic Raymond Williams.