Category Archives: research

Truth and consistency – a meditation on meaning

By | April 16, 2015

“What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.” (Francis Bacon)

There’s been a LinkedIn discussion on the question of whether there are “multiple truths” to be acknowledged in the classroom. I participated in that discussion; what follows is adapted from my comments there.

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Responsible data analysis as storytelling

By | March 12, 2015

Sometimes an online conversation can begin around one topic and segue into others, often considerably more profound than the original. Case in point: a recent LinkedIn discussion regarding how variables measured on different kinds of scales might be combined into overall indices most effectively. Backing up from this fairly specific issue raises some fundamental questions about how data analysis is conducted and presented.

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RIP: The US Office of Technology Assessment

By | March 1, 2015

Thinking about the adult literacy study that Lynne Marcus, I, and our crack team put together caused me to wax nostalgic about the federal agency that sponsored the whole event: an arm of the US Congress called the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). Established in 1972 as a specialized arm of the legislative branch assigned to investigate scientific and technological issues that might come before Congress in the form of legislation,

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“Case Studies Of Technology Use In Adult Literacy Programs”

By | February 21, 2015

Context matters, and nowhere more than in information technology. IT is such a powerful force in all our lives that we are fixated on the current moment, and usually have a hard time recalling how things were massively different, only a few years ago. For those of us of a Certain Age, it’s now almost impossible to recall the time when telephones were the private property of The Phone Company (TPC) and hardwired into wall sockets;

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Competency-based Education (Part 3)

By | January 30, 2015

In this part of the discussion, I’m going to present an example of how CBE thinking interacts with a real-world problem. As part of the recent LinkedIn dialogue, I tried to think about how CBE might approach one of my own experienced areas of competence – data analysis. Our personal case studies (N=1) are always good sources of data –

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Educational experiments for fun and profit

By | December 14, 2014

Academia has always been a place for widely differing kinds of educational practices – it’s part of its charm, and why we have each of us generally managed to find our appropriate niches. But in the world of online education, this variety has reached staggeringly divergent levels, with no two schools and often no two programs within one school using similar approaches,

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Academic work as a Moral Tale: An agony in a mere six fits [Part 4]

By | December 8, 2014

Fit the Sixth

Let’s now return to where we began this excursion – the question of the academic job market. Whatever it is, it’s pretty clear that it isn’t what it was 30 years ago, or even 15 or 10 years ago. The old assumption was that if you completed a PhD in a reputable field from a reasonably reputable institution under the supervision of a reasonably reputable committee chair on a reasonable topic using reasonable research techniques,

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Academic work as a Moral Tale: An agony in a mere six fits [Part 3]

By | December 6, 2014

Fit the Fifth

So at the moment, there are a series of groups of faculty, who often have relatively little in common with one another:

  • The old-line tenured faculty, pursuing the traditional faculty courses and roles and quite comfortable with how things are working out, but aging and moving towards retirement. They may or may not hold administrative titles as well.

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Another new story

By | December 4, 2014

I recently published in Medium a brief memoir:

A historical footnote on graphs, social networks, and research in the old days

It recalls the days back in the early 1980s when at the National Science Foundation we began to apply social network analysis – then a largely unheard-of line of inquiry –

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Is Psychology a science? [Part 3]

By | November 26, 2014

I hadn’t intended to make a third post on this topic. But for some reason the issue regarding the definition of science that’s been debated in a LinkedIn discussion continues to generate new opportunities to further develop the point. So what follows is a somewhat reworked version of my concluding post there; there’s not much more I can say.

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