Video of the day

This may be the coolest time lapse video I’ve yet seen.  Really.  More details here.

Meet the new higher ed; same as the old higher ed

In response to reading a book on how MOOC’s, distance learning, etc., will completely change higher education as we know it in coming decades, Seth Masket pushes back:

The argument Selingo makes is that higher education, for all its goods and ills, is changing rapidly, and the business models many universities (like mine) cling to simply won’t function a decade or two from now. The four-year in-residence university experience usually perceived as the ideal for a college education is decreasingly the norm — college students are now pursuing a variety of ways to get to the degree and find a job.

Selingo highlights a number of examples of students following creative paths to get the training they need. They may study for a few semesters at a community college, take a free massive on-line course from a top university, take a for-profit course or two, do an internship in their expected field of employment for academic credit, and end up at a conventional four-year college, or not. If it ends with them working at the job they want, that’s better, many argue, than spending a quarter million dollars to live in a dorm room, get drunk at frat parties, and walk out with a diploma, massive debt, and few real job skills…

But the old model only begins to break down when employers don’t see anything special coming from a traditional four-year university. Right now, your typical software company, investment bank, or government agency is run by people who have BAs (at least) from traditional American universities, and they’ll place greater stock in applicants who have done the same. [emphasis mine]  That BA from Berkeley or Cornell that they read on a résumé is a valuable heuristic about the quality of an applicant; thoroughly researching the background of every job applicant simply isn’t practical when you have hundreds of those files on your desk. And if you see an applicant with a decent set of skills but an education stitched together from five or six different institutions, does that tell you that this is a clever and entrepreurial applicant, or someone who has a hard time committing to a place or forming long term ties?

As long as those doing the hiring continue to give an edge to applicants from traditional four-year schools, the old model should be just fine. Once they stop believing in that system, who knows what’s next?

Yep.  Ditto for graduate schools.  Where you graduate from does matter to employers and graduate schools.  In large part because most all the people hiring/offering admission when to places like UNC, NCSU, Ohio State, UNC-Wilmington, Virginia Tech, Penn State, etc.  Not University of Phoenix.  As long as the people hiring value traditional four-year institutions, traditional four-year institutions have a huge advantage.  Until that changes, MOOC’s et al., are only so much hype.

Photo of the day

Via Flickr.

View of Sydney skyline during bushfires (October 17, 2013)

Photo by Andrea Schaffer

Map of the day

From knowmore.  This is awesome.  Africa is really, really big (blame the Mercator projection for not appreciating how big):

Africa is much, much bigger than you think

Most maps use the “Mercator projection.” That’s good if you’re sailing somewhere. It’s bad if you’re trying to figure out how big, say, Africa is. On the Mercator projection, Africa looks to be about the same size as Greenland. In fact, it’s 14 times larger. (There was a great West Wing subplot about this.)

There is no such thing as a Republican moderate in Congress. Seriously.

Much-needed post from Tomasky.  The problem, is that we as humans pretty much judge everything in relative terms.  So, if the Tea Party guys are conservative, the “mainstream” Republicans must be “moderate.”   But, in reality, decidedly not so:

The more I think about this Republican “civil war,” the less it looks like war to me. It often gives the appearance of being war because these Tea Party people march into the arena with a lot of fire, brimstone, and kindred pyrotechnics that suggest conflict. But what, really, in hard policy terms, are these two sides arguing about? Practically nothing. It’s a disagreement chiefly over tactics and intensity. That’s a crucial point, and so much of the media don’t understand it. But I’m here to tell you, whenever you read an article that makes a lot of hay about this “war” and then goes on to describe the Republican factions as “moderate” and “conservative,” turn the page or click away. You are either in the hands of an idiot or someone intentionally misleading you…

What’s going on presents many of the outward signs of political warfare. Insurgent radical extremists are challenging already very conservative incumbents whose thought and deed crimes are that they are conservative only 80- or 90-something percent of the time instead of 100 (or 110, preferably). Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), American Conservative Union 2012 rating of 92being challenged? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell? He got 100 percent in 2012!  Hey, I was joking about that 110!

Tomasky is exactly right on this.  And I think very important to note that the Tea party types are truly radicals.  There is truly nothing “conservative” about them.  Calling almost any Republican in Congress “moderate” just because they’re not as crazy as the Tea Party is like calling fuel air bomb a modest explosive because it lacks the power of a nuclear bomb.

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