Online courses, still lacking that third dimension

When colleges and universities finally decide to make full use of the internet, most professors will lose their jobs, says Randall Stross for Digital Domain. That includes me. I’m not worried, though, at least for the moment. Amid acute budget crises, state universities like mine can’t afford to take that very big step–adopting the technology that renders human instructors obsolete. I began teaching classes online 10 years ago, but the term “online” is misleading. What I really mean is that I teach a hybrid course: part software, part hovering human. A genuine online course would be nothing but the software and would handle all the grading, too. No living, breathing instructor would be needed for oversight.

“We should focus on having at least one great course online for each subject rather than lots of mediocre courses,” Bill Gates suggested in his 2010 annual letter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…

Click here for the full story…Read More

Should you be snuggling with your cellphone?

WARNING: Holding a cellphone against your ear may be hazardous to your health. So may stuffing it in a pocket against your body, reports the  New York Times’ Digital Domain. I’m paraphrasing here, says Randall Stross, but the legal departments of cellphone manufacturers slip a warning about holding the phone against your head or body into the fine print of the little slip that you toss aside when unpacking your phone. Apple, for example, doesn’t want iPhones to come closer than 5/8 of an inch; Research In Motion, BlackBerry’s manufacturer, is still more cautious: keep a distance of about an inch. The warnings may be missed by an awful lot of customers. The United States has 292 million wireless numbers in use, approaching one for every adult and child, according to C.T.I.A.-The Wireless Association, the cellphone industry’s primary trade group. It says that as of June, about a quarter of domestic households were wireless-only. If health issues arise from ordinary use of this hardware, it would affect not just many customers but also a huge industry. Our voice calls — we chat on our cellphones 2.26 trillion minutes annually, according to the C.T.I.A. — generate $109 billion for the wireless carriers…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Oops! We could not locate your form.