How to Teach in an Age of Distraction

If you are in higher education, Sherry Turkle's piece in the CHE is one that you should stop and read right now. There are a lot of good thoughts in Turkle's critique of the inattentive age, but two things stood out to me. One was her emphasis on "intellectual serendipity." She argues that meeting in … Continue reading How to Teach in an Age of Distraction

Peter Onuf on MOOCs

Peter Onuf's interview at The Junto blog struck a chord with me, and I want to use it to address some things that are implied in his remarks. (Just to be clear, none of what follows is meant to disparage Onuf in any way. Although I don't know him personally, I respect his scholarship and his position … Continue reading Peter Onuf on MOOCs

Knowledge vs. Box-Checking

Chronicle poster polly_mer recently posted this assessment of the importance of a college education: This is why our responsibility in Gen Ed and even majors classes is to sell the benefits of knowing things instead of checking the boxes.For example, I tell my students that being able to fake interest in deathly dull material is … Continue reading Knowledge vs. Box-Checking

Celebrating Three Years of Blogging at Jacksonian America

Today marks the third anniversary of Jacksonian America. From MOOCs to tariffs to the new Jackson biography, it's been an interesting year. Thanks for reading and participating.

Ian Bogost on MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities

Ian Bogost has provided a great summary of the problems of MOOCs in the roundtable appearing in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Here are the bullet points, but go read the entire piece: MOOCs are a type of marketing MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education MOOCs are an academic labor policy MOOCs are … Continue reading Ian Bogost on MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities

An Open Letter on MOOCs and Social Justice

I try to confine my MOOC commentary to Twitter and Facebook, but this seemed important enough to break radio silence. The philosophy department at San Jose State University has written an open letter to one of their peers at Harvard, Michael Sandel, about his MOOC on social justice. The letter outlines the faculty's objections to MOOCs … Continue reading An Open Letter on MOOCs and Social Justice

Selling The Matrix Revolution in Higher Education

"Our belief is that deep, radical and urgent transformation is required in higher education as much as it is in school systems. Our fear is that, perhaps as a result of complacency, caution or anxiety, or a combination of all three, the pace of change is too slow and the nature of change too incremental." … Continue reading Selling The Matrix Revolution in Higher Education


As last week's posts indicated (here and here), friends and relatives on my personal Facebook page see me post quite a bit about MOOCs. I try to stay off of that topic on this blog (except on occasion) because there are other people who can speak more knowledgeably about it than me. If you're interested in … Continue reading MOOCalicious

An Outsider Looks at MOOCs

My friend Tom Hilpert sent me the following thoughts on MOOCs and gave me permission to post them. I'll respond on Thursday. Dr. Mark Cheathem, a friend of mine who happens to be a college professor, often post links to articles critical of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). At various points in my life, I … Continue reading An Outsider Looks at MOOCs