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Weekend Reading: Summit Edition

Studying How Debris Influences Glaciers
My state’s legislature this year has decided to follow the advice of Complete College America and more or less eliminate remediation. (The completion agenda is a more or less pious fraud, as Gary Rhoades has demonstrated. But taking up the completion agenda sure sounds like strategic dynamism, so on we go.)

And what happens when legislators vow to “end remediation as we know it”? Management invites faculty in over the summer for weeklong, 30+ hour “remediation summits.” (Mercifully, I think they’re being paid. Doubly mercifully, I wasn’t invited!)

What could possibly go wrong?

On to this week’s links:

  • Friend-of-ProfHacker Bethany Nowviskie’s talk at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, “Reality Bytes,” got unexpectedly pointed in the wake of recent events at UVA: Those of us who work with rare books and manuscripts are more buffered from utter change than many of our colleagues on the teaching faculty and elsewhere in the library. It’s tempting and certainly comforting in times of upheaval to see ourselves as the small, still center of the academy, where a kind of monasticism endures. But we are no less responsible (and I would argue, given our particular expertise, considerably more so) to understand and engage with the digital scholarly revolution, and to help contextualize and channel its energies.
  • Kent Brooks explains “What Makes an Effective Technology Committee in Education” (Version 2): The composition of the technology committee should not necessarily be filled with “uber” geeks, should not assume that younger employees, since they use computers all the time must somehow magically know how to deal with tech issues and must not be fill with members who are the biggest complainers as a way to appease them with a thought process which says since they are included they can at least be heard and if not then its their own fault.
  • Dr. Crazy has an excellent post examining some key questions–“What Does It Mean To Be Collegial? What Constitutes Civility? And How Do We Promote These Things?”: As I see it, if we want to motivate faculty to “collegial” behavior, which is related to civility but not identical to it, then what we want is transparency, clear and open communication about rewards for doing one’s job well and consequences for not doing it.  What I see at my institution right now is that there are few rewards in place for doing all of the things that are part of a tenured professor’s job, and very few consequences for not doing those things.  At least not any that are open and public.
  • Jonathan Coulton examines creativity, commerce, and the end of scarcity as a factor in pricing cultural goods: This difference between physical and digital is the meat in this sandwich. After all, the music business didn’t exist until it became possible to record music onto a medium that could be mass-produced. To be clear, I’m not saying that nobody made money making music before there were records, just that the music industry as we know it is almost exclusively based on the idea that there’s a physical object you can sell, and that access to that physical object is the only way you can play the music whenever you want. That’s obviously over.
  • Tom Standage (author of The Victorian Internet, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, and An Edible History of Humanity ) previews his next book, Cicero’s Web (2013), in “The Distractions of Social Media, 1673″: Anthony Wood, an Oxford antiquarian, was among those who denounced the enthusiasm for the new drink. “Why doth solid and serious learning decline, and few or none follow it now in the university?” he asked. “Answer: Because of coffee-houses, where they spend all their time.”
  • In a bonus sixth link, Alex Wellerstein at “Restricted Data” takes a hard-hitting look at “The Hair of Physicists.” (Via Alice Bell.)

In this week’s video, the director Brave, Mark Andrews, talks with Google’s Ryan Germick:

Bonus video: “Code Club: The Interview.”

Have a great weekend!

Photo “Studying How Debris Influences Glaciers” by Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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