👓 Mob Mentality and Toxicity in Academia by Allison Harbin, Ph.D.

Read Mob Mentality and Toxicity in Academia by Allison Harbin, Ph.D. (Post-PhD)
I’d like to thank the incredible outpouring of support and emails that I have received. If I have not yet responded to your email, have patience, and please keep writing me. If you are a dean or tenured professor, thank you so much for reaching out. Let’s keep this conversation going. We owe it not just to ourselves or to academia, but most of all, to those whom we educate. As of posting on Monday at 1:30, my blog has received over 160,000 hits. I am also now in the top 0.01% of the most searched for people on academia.edu. This is bigger than any of us know. This is no longer about the suspected misappropriation of my work, nor even about the depressing reality that legal action was brought against Dr. Mao by another graduate student a year prior to my own. This is now about how and why this was allowed to happen, and about the mob mentality of those in academia who refuse to acknowledge the writing on the wall.

I’m so glad to see that there are others paying attention to this issue. I hope the issue keeps moving forward.

👓 A Field in Which the Old Devours the Young is a Field that is Dying: A Post about Graduate Student Empowerment by Allison Harbin, Ph.D.

Read A Field in Which the Old Devours the Young is a Field that is Dying: A Post about Graduate Student Empowerment by Allison Harbin, Ph.D. (Post-PhD)
When I was in graduate school during course work, a fellow grad student told me this anecdote: Just as their seminar had finished up, and the 10 or so students were mulling around and packing their things, the professor, who was nearing retirement, turned to them and said: you have no idea how much the faculty is afraid of you graduate students.

👓 Why I Left Academia: Part III, The Aftermath by Allison Harbin, Ph.D.

Read Why I Left Academia: Part III, The Aftermath by Allison Harbin, Ph.D. (Post-PhD)
The next few days following my defense, or to be honest, the next few weeks, still feel emotionally distant, almost as if it happened to someone else. I felt numb, the dumb shock of the loss of my career, was, and in many ways, still is too acute to bear. I was in mourning for the passion and love I had poured into my dissertation. I was mourning the reality that my ethics-driven account of how intersectional feminism can-and must- be applied to contemporary art history didn’t matter, that it had never really mattered.

The academy already has some horrific problems. Those shown here in gory detail really make me want to vomit. This feels to me like it should be the equivalent of Susan Fowler writing about Uber in her damaging article Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber, but she’s writing about the academy. Somehow it feels like this story is not going to be damning enough or get the traction it needs to make sweeping changes where they ought to happen either at her former institution or at institutions across the world.

I hope that trustees at universities and colleges everywhere read this and push hard for change since it appears that the issue isn’t being solved at the Dean level. This type of academic dishonesty is rotting away at the structure that underpins the enterprise–it’s not just a small blemish on the exterior of the facade.

If you’re not following Dr. Harbin, I recommend her blog.

👓 Why I left Academia: Part II by Allison Harbin, Ph.D.

Read Why I left Academia: Part II by Allison Harbin, Ph.D. (Post-PhD)
The two weeks leading up to emailing my dissertation to the entire committee plus my outside reader (a professor from a different university who also need to approve your dissertation, a requirement for most humanities Ph.D.s) are a blur. Every waking moment was spent writing, editing, and emailing drafts that never received comments, or even acknowledgement that they had been read. This was followed by proof-reading and re-writing my dissertation entirely on my own. This was nothing new. I had to email my dissertation mostly un-read by my advisor to my entire committee (a scandal in and of itself), because, as my advisor wrote in a terse email to me, they did not have time to read it.

The harrowing plot thickens…

👓 Why I left Academia: Part I by Allison Harbin, Ph.D.

Read Why I Left Academia: Part I by Allison Harbin, Ph.D. (Post-PhD)
This is my personal story of why I decided to leave Academia. While sad, I know I'm not the only one to have experienced this. This is why I am sharing the story of my Ph.D, my dissertation, my dissertation committee members, my experience with the dean, how my defense went, and why.

A gut-wrenching story with a brutal ending. I’m hoping that multiple outlets will pick up this entire story and give it greater exposure.

👓 ‘Personalized Learning’ and the Power of the Gates Foundation to Shape Education Policy | Hack Education

Read 'Personalized Learning' and the Power of the Gates Foundation to Shape Education Policy by Audrey Watters (Hack Education)
There are two obvious sources of funding and PR for “personalized learning” – the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The former has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on “personalized learning” products and projects; the latter promises it will spend billions.

There are some out-sized influences in the education space. If only the US Government were better at pushing influence in this area…

👓 A Domain of One’s Own in a Post-Ownership Society | Hack Education

Read A Domain of One's Own in a Post-Ownership Society by Audrey Watters (Hack Education)
The University of Mary Washington’s initiative, “Domain of One’s Own,” is phrased thusly as a nod to Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own,” in which she famously quipped that “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” We can critique – and certainly we should – the class implications and expectations in Woolf’s commandment here; and we must consider both the financial burden and the transaction mechanism of a push for domains in education – as Maha notes, for example, many students in Egypt don’t have a credit card with which to make online purchases. “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days,” Woolf wrote in 1929. (That 500 quid is the equivalent to about $37,000 when adjusted for inflation.) But Woolf is not simply talking about having a piece of paper – a title, for example – that decrees she owns the room. It’s about having the financial freedom and a personal space to write. To own is to possess. To own is to have authority and control. To own is to acknowledge. It implies a responsibility. Ownership is a legal designation; but it’s something more than that too. It’s something more and then, without legal protection, the word also means something less.

There is some important internet philosophy going on in this article. Though written for an education-based audience, I think it’s got an important message for everyone about owning their own space online and being able to write and freely express themselves.

👓 Why Are Coding Bootcamps Going Out of Business? | Hack Education

Read Why Are Coding Bootcamps Going Out of Business? by Audrey Watters
Within the past week, two well-known and well-established coding bootcamps have announced they’ll be closing their doors: Dev Bootcamp, owned by Kaplan Inc., and The Iron Yard, owned by the Apollo Education Group (parent company of the University of Phoenix). Two closures might not make a trend… yet. But some industry observers have suggested we might see more “consolidation” in the coming months.

Some great observations on non-profit vs. for-profit educational institutions and the social inequality that exists between the two.

Reply to I defy the world and go back to RSS by Bryan Alexander

Replied to I defy the world and go back to RSS by Bryan Alexander (bryanalexander.org)
It may be perverse, but in this age of Facebook (now 2 billion strong) I’ve decided to rededicate myself to RSS reading. That’s right: old school, Web 2.0 style. Why? A big reason is that Facebook’s front page is so, so massively unreliable. Despite having huge numbers of people that are my friends, clients, and contacts, it’s just not a good reading and writing service. Facebook’s black box algorithm(s) may or may not present a given’s user’s post for reasons generally inscrutable. I’ve missed friends’ news about new jobs, divorces, and deaths because the Zuckerbergmachine deems them unworthy of inclusion in my personalized river of news. In turn, I have little sense of who will see my posts, so it’s hard to get responses and very hard to pitch my writing for an intended audience. Together, this makes the FB experience sketchy at best. To improve our use of it we have to turn to experiments and research that remind me of Cold War Kremlinology.

Bryan, so much of what you’re saying is not only not backwards, but truly awesome and inspiring, and not just with respect to RSS.

I’ve lately become more enamored of not only RSS, but new methods for feeds including lighter weight versions like microformats h-feeds. A few months ago I was inspired to embed the awesome PressForward plugin for WordPress into my site, so I could have an integrated feed reader built right in. This makes it far easier to not only quickly share the content from my site, but it means I can also own archival copies of what I’m reading and consuming for later reference, some of which I store privately on the back end of my site as a sort of online commonplace book.

There also seems to be a recent renaissance with the revival of blogrolls. I’ve even recently revived my own to provide subscribe-able OPML lists that others can take advantage of as well. Like your reading list, it’s a work in progress.

On the subject of blogs not being dead and decrying the abuses of the social silos, you might be interested to hear about the Indieweb movement which is helping to both decentralize and re-democratize the web in useful and intelligent ways. They’re helping people to take back their identities online and let them own their own content again. They’re also using open protocols like Webmention (a platform agnostic and universal @mention) and Micropub or syndication methods like POSSE to make it easier to publish, share, and interact with people online anywhere, regardless of the platform(s) on which they’re publishing.

As an example of what they’re doing, I’m publishing this comment on my own site first, and only then sending it as a comment to your post. If you supported Webmention, this would have happened seamlessly and automatically. I’ll also syndicate it as a reply to your tweet, and if you reply on twitter, the comment will be pulled back into my comment stream at the original.

As you may expect, some educators are also using some of these tools and specs for educational reasons.

👓 Another tenure-track scientist bites the dust | Science

Read Another tenure-track scientist bites the dust by Adam Ruben (Science)
Matthew knew the deal when he joined his department: 10 years of work, and then you have to apply for tenure. “But,” he told me, “nobody talks about, ‘What if I run out of money beforehand?’”

We’ve really got to reorganize how research is done in this country. The brain drain is destroying our tremendous lead in basic research.

👓 Teaching With Emerging Technologies | Inside Higher Ed

Read Teaching With Emerging Technologies by Michelle Pacansky-Brock (Inside Higher Ed)
Michelle Pacansky-Brock says digital learning is reshaping the higher ed landscape, and suggests five things instructors need to succeed. As online and blended learning reshape the landscape of teaching and learning in higher education, the need increases to encourage and support faculty in moving from delivering passive, teacher-centered experiences to designing active, student-centered learning. Our new social era is rich with simple, free to low-cost emerging technologies that are increasing experimentation and discovery in the scholarship of teaching and learning. While the literature about Web 2.0 tools impacting teaching and learning is increasing, there is a lack of knowledge about how the adoption of these technologies is impacting the support needs of higher education faculty. This knowledge is essential to develop new, sustainable faculty support solutions.

This might make an outline for a nice book, but as an article it’s a bit wonkish and doesn’t get into the meat of much.

Bookmarked WPCampus 2017 (WPCampus.com)
A two-day event filled with sessions, networking, and social events covering a variety of topics, all dedicated to the confluence of WordPress in higher education. The second annual WPCampus conference will take place July 14-15, 2017 at Canisius College in lovely Buffalo, New York.

How did I manage to miss this? I know they livestreamed the sessions, but did they manage to record them?

👓 Something New For Baby To Chew On: Rocket Science And Quantum Physics | NPR

Read Something New For Baby To Chew On: Rocket Science And Quantum Physics by Lynn Neary & Julie Depenbrock (NPR)
The books introduce subjects like rocket science, quantum physics and general relativity — with bright colors, simple shapes and thick board pages perfect for teething toddlers. The books make up the Baby University series — and each one begins with the same sentence and picture — This is a ball — and then expands on the titular concept.

Ooh! We definitely need more books like these in early childhood education.

👓 Thoughts on Audrey Watters’ “Thoughts on Annotation” | Jon Udell

Read Thoughts on Audrey Watters’ “Thoughts on Annotation” by Jon UdellJon Udell (Jon Udell)
Back in April, Audrey Watters’ decided to block annotation on her website. I understand why. When we project our identities online, our personal sites become extensions of our homes. To some online writers, annotation overlays can feel like graffiti. How can we respect their wishes while enabling ...

👓 HxA’s Guide to Colleges in The Wall Street Journal | Heterodox Academy

Read HxA’s Guide to Colleges in The Wall Street Journal by Jeremy Willinger (heterodoxacademy.org)

We are beginning to see a few universities taking concrete steps to show that they value viewpoint diversity and the free and open exchange of ideas. An article over the weekend in The Wall Street Journal describes some of these steps and discusses them in the context of HxA’s newly revised Guide to Colleges. (See Colleges Pledge Tolerance for Diverse Opinions, But Skeptics Remain, by Douglas Belkin.)

The article opens with a discussion of an extraordinary step at Johns Hopkins (for which we just raised its HxA score and its rank):

A string of protests on college campuses that shut down events hosting conservative speakers has prompted universities around the country to pledge more tolerance for diverse opinions, but skeptics say they’ll believe it when they see it. Johns Hopkins University announced Thursday a $150 million effort to “facilitate the restoration of open and inclusive discourse.”… The new initiative at Johns Hopkins, an institute funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, hopes to “examine the dynamics of societal, cultural and political polarization and develop ways to improve decision-making and civic discourse,”

The article contrasts Hopkins with Harvard (as well as Berkeley and Yale):

Harvard University, which has repeatedly been in the crosshairs of free-speech advocates, was 103rd out of 106 schools in the Heterodox ranking. Heterodox, which weighs schools’ regulations as well as the ratings of other first-amendment groups, cited Harvard’s history of censoring outside speakers, a blacklist on private clubs, fraternities and sororities, and a laminated “social justice” place mat handed out to students before winter break in 2015.

The article closed by discussing our top-ranked school:

The top-ranked school is the University of Chicago. Provost Daniel Diermeier said the ideal of viewpoint diversity is central to the university’s mission. “We believe that the best education we can provide students to prepare them for the world is to hear diverse points of view even if they feel uncomfortable,” Dr. Diermeier said. “We want to provide them with the tools to find counterarguments.