With the circumstances laid out in the last post, I’ve decided to play with the edX courseware platform. Skeptical thoughts about Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) like edX and Coursera have been written by those versed in higher education trends and those further removed from higher education, much less distance education. I think the idea behind edX is interesting and has a lot of potential. While online education from flagship universities is no longer much of a novelty, the scale of the endeavor keeps MOOCs in an area of experimentation that may fairly be described as bold.
For all that’s been written a substantial fraction of which I’ve read together with my experience enrolled in an edX course, I still don’t feel I can make a judgement about the mission behind MOOCs. At least I can’t guarantee I won’t have regrets even six month into the future about the warrant behind a statement about MOOCs that inserts either the sort of grand sweeping vision of the model’s advocates or the misdirected disbelief of David Brooks. The ground underneath any possible statement is just moving too fast with new MOOC collaborations announced monthly it seems while the convential wisdom about MOOCs changes at least every two weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
Journeying through the internet in search of employment opportunities or funny cat videos (“or” used in the inclusive sense, remember intro to logic) I stumbled across a website that brings some interesting innovations to both the question and answer site model and to the application of virtual currencies. This website Rugatu brings the two ideas together in an interesting way.
The premise of the site is simple. People ask questions and attach a bounty, and the site’s users offer competing answers trying to win the reward. Paying people to answer questions isn’t new, Experts Exchange has been doing this since 1996. Expert’s Exchange requires a subscription to even view the answers to previous answers though. Every question along with every answer is available free online, and it is possible to ask a question without submitting a bounty. Sometimes it is possible to get a number of impassioned responses for the smallest possible non-zero reward the site and the currency it uses allows. Which brings us to the next major point behind Rugatu. Rugatu uses bitcoins, or more frequently fractions of bitcoins, as the major reward for participating in the site. Read the rest of this entry »
Having finished my Master’s degree and being actively on the job market, I’ve decided it is time to begin exploring options for continuing education as I begin to build a career. There are advantages and disadvantages that come with looking for continuing education opportunities in my current situation. On the downside by not being employed in my career field I lack the opportunity to bring any skills I pick up into my professional workflow with any degree of immediacy.
This means that picking up some tips at a webinar and being able to apply them the next time I’m at work to gain practice with them or evaluate them. It also means that investing time and tuition on an in depth program of study with a narrow focus of specialization could become a net loss when I find an entry level position that falls outside of that area or that demands a wider scope of practice. This latter concern means that credentials such as the various tuition based certificates of specialization and certificates of advanced study have to be put on hold for now. It is hard to justify taking on more tuition and student loan debt a a credential developing a focused specialty when I’m working to market myself towards several potential career paths largely defined more by things I’m avoiding like Traditional Cataloging, Children’s and Young Adult Literacy, and Food Service than by one niche I just feel I have to fill. Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday I had the distinct privilege of playing in the lower division of the Mizzou Quads chess tournament. I has been roughly a decade since I’ve done anything like this so I am rather proud of my 0-3 record that includes a draw in an casual game between rounds to someone with an ELO rating 400 points my senior.
It has been a long time since I’ve really though about chess, but last Tuesday a late night Google and Wikipedia session thrust knowledge of this tournament into my awareness. Most competitions offer information of hotel accommodations, but this was a twenty minute walk from my apartment. What better way to open Comps Week than to spend the Saturday competing in a field of intellectual endeavor I have neglected since March 2002 according to USCF records.
The tournament was divided into two divisions. At the top there was a four player round robin. The bottom division was a six player Swiss bracket. With an ELO rating of 914 I entered the tournament as the bottom seed of the lower Swiss paired division. As bottom seed I did not disappoint with an 0-3 record.