Category Archives: General

David Harvey at Occupy London

Via Elaine Castillo.

And this is actually how politics has been evolving, over the last 30 years in particular. More and more money buys influence and buys political power. It also structures the media. Increasingly we find it dominates what’s going on inside of universities. It dominates our educational system, so that universities increasingly become places where all you learn is neoliberal ideology. Where all you learn is corporatist manegerial techniques. And those corporatist manegerial techniques are about actually how to squeeze more and more money out of those who can least afford it.

David Harvey at Occupy London / November 12, 2011 / International Day of Solidarity from Elaine Castillo on Vimeo.

Get the full transcript here.

Open Courses, Open Teaching, This Is Dangerous

An interesting post by Nick Smith at The Tyee, found originally at Michael Geist’s blog.

I became interested in using open source software for the same reason that many do — no licensing fees. It soon became apparent to me that I should use it with my students for the same reason. If I taught them using Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, they would have to shell out to use these products at home. If, instead, we agreed to use Open Office and GIMP, they could download these programs at home for free. When a newer version appeared, the whole class could upgrade without forking out cash.

At Moodle Moot it begins to dawn on me exactly how subversive these ideas are and I am feeling more like a teacher-ninja by the minute. What Downes and the other speakers are advocating is the right to keep the tools and ideas of our age open and available to all rather than packaged and sold to the few who can afford them. “The more expensive it is to develop educational systems,” Downes instructs us, “the greater push there is to commercialize programs.”

The discussion pulls up a little short, limiting FLOSS to its use in instruction. I would suggest such a discussion ought to extend to the institutional framework of public education, which pays out immense amounts of its precious resources to companies like Microsoft et al to stock their classrooms and administrative offices with licensed software and operating systems. (And then certifies tech support and offers classes on how to run their systems). Imagine full implementation of free and open source operating systems! Though at the present juncture, there are several features in addition to the lack of political will that stand in the way of such a proposal: lack of knowledge in IT departments, scaling issues around the software itself, the capability of some of the OS makers to provide institutional appropriate tech support, etc.

That said, the sentiment of the article is bang on, and is something crucial for educators to think about in the digital era.

Section 53

Declined Ballot

53. An elector who has received a ballot and returns it to the deputy returning officer declining to vote, forfeits the right to vote and the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word “declined” upon the back of the ballot and preserve it to be returned to the returning officer and shall cause an entry to be made in the poll record that the elector declined to vote. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.6, s. 53. [emphasis added]