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Weekend Reading: New Frontiers Edition

sunnyThis has been the first week of a new career, and so after a whirlwind of meeting people and learning new acronyms and so forth, I’m a little delirious. In lieu of chatty text here, then, let’s just jump right to the links.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

  • Professor Never discusses her ambivalence around the label, “professor,” in “What’s in a Title?”: It’s not just the awkwardness of phrase or the evidence of internalized shame that needs to be addressed here. By so obviously avoiding “professor,” the phrasing diminishes my role, wrongly suggesting to mainstream professionals that I do not have the credentials of a professor–that I did not do the job of a professor. It takes more than the quip out of the quip, it takes the phd out of it too.
  • I’m not sure there are more exciting words to think about than “pop-up makerspaces.” Jentery Sayers explains in “Portable, Tacit, Temporary”: the portability of these materials helps practitioners generalize research practices beyond their campuses. By “generalize,” I specifically mean unpacking not only what changes from setting to setting but also what persists. Which questions gain traction across communities? What tends to interest a variety of people? What concerns or criticisms are common? This emphasis on difference in tandem with persistence allows us to take seriously the cultural assumptions and habits that congeal in our humanities labs and infrastructures.
  • Bryan Alexander has some useful guidance on “How Not to Write Against MOOCs and Education Reform”: Indeed, this is where many critics of education reform and MOOCs fall down: the difficult economics of education. We can ask for many things – reformed education programs, higher pay for K-12 teachers, expanded funding for universities, a rebirth of tenure track positions, decreases in class size – but often without describing how to pay for any of them. Cutting the salaries of some highly-paid presidents won’t do the trick. Meanwhile, the pressure to cut tuition and other costs is enormous. Appealing to a romantic past might offer an emotional response, but doesn’t teach us how to address huge problems in a very real present.
  • Caroline O’Donovan reports on research by the Engaging News Project in asking, “Would You Click a ‘Respect’ Button More than a ‘Like’ Button?”: Stroud and her team started brainstorming tools that would not only encourage readers to engage in more diverse discourse online and expose themselves to new viewpoints, but which also had a chance of enhancing revenue for news outlets who already spend lots of time worrying about how to get more eyes on their pages for longer periods of time.
  • Roberta Kwok reports for Nature on “Mobile Apps: A Conference in Your Pocket” (featuring friends-of-ProfHacker Jeremy Yoder): Twitter is by far the most popular channel for online conference chatter. The event’s official hashtag can lead users to organizers, panellists and attendees already tweeting about the meeting. Tweets about an upcoming session might suggest whether it is worth attending, and comments about an ongoing or completed panel allow people to pick up the main points if they couldn’t attend.

In this week’s video, security expert Bruce Schneier discusses Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive”:

Photo “Paddy” by Flickr user Matthew Kang / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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