Tag Archives: online learning

Cool Tools for Web Engineering

*Pokes head in* Hi! I’ve been super crazy busy this week doing scary grown-up things and for perhaps one of the first times in my young adult life intentionally severed from the interweb tubes. But I am back and here to fill impressionable young minds with pseudo-educational crap.

Xue found this wonderfully useful website that strives to build simplistic tutorials for common web 2.0 tools like flash, xml, photoshop, etc. Curious?

And if you are really, really bored this summer and become wildly proficient in the ways of web 2.0, you should consider working on Wesleying. For fun and for non-profit!

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series: Part VI

  • Stumbling on Happiness“Most of us spend our lives steering ourselves toward the best of all possible futures, only to find that tomorrow rarely turns out as we had presumed. Why? As Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert explains, when people try to imagine what the future will hold, they make some basic and consistent mistakes. Just as memory plays tricks on us when we try to look backward in time, so does imagination play tricks when we try to look forward. Using cutting-edge research, much of it original, Gilbert shakes, cajoles, persuades, tricks, and jokes us into accepting the fact that happiness is not really what or where we thought it was. Gilbert brilliantly describes all that science has to tell us about the uniquely human endeavor to envision the future, and how likely we are to enjoy it when we get there.”

  • The Way the Music Died – (PBS Frontline) “In the recording studios of Los Angeles and the boardrooms of New York, they say the record business has been hit by a perfect storm: a convergence of industry-wide consolidation, Internet theft, and artistic drought. The effect has been the loss of billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and that indefinable quality that once characterized American pop music.”It’s a classic example of art and commerce colliding and nobody wins,” says Nic Harcourt, music director at Los Angeles’s KCRW-FM. “It’s just a train wreck.”
  • The Meth Epidemic – “Speed. Meth. Glass. On the street, methamphetamine has many names. What started as a fad among West Coast motorcycle gangs in the 1970s has spread across the United States, and despite lawmakers’ calls for action, the drug is now more potent, and more destructive, than at any time in the past decade. In “The Meth Epidemic,” FRONTLINE, in association with The Oregonian, investigates the meth rampage in America: the appalling impact on individuals, families and communities, and the difficulty of controlling an essential ingredient in meth—ephedrine and pseudoephedrine—sold legally in over-the-counter cold remedies.”
  • In Loud and Proud: The Rise of Homo Hop – (BBC Radio) “Letitia from Radio 1’s Sunday Surgery meets the artists that are challenging the great hip-hop taboo. Qboy, one of the UK’s rising homo hop stars, has kept his audio diary as he travels to the USA to meet the queer hop stars across the pond.”

  • Dubai: Sudden City – (National Geographic) “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum has led the transformation of Dubai from a drowsy fishing village to a tax-free business haven and world capital of glittering excess. National Geographic senior writer/editor Cassandra Franklin-Barbajosa reads Afshin Molavi’s January 2007 article, ‘Dubai: Sudden City.'”

  • God’s Next Army – (BBC) A documentary akin to Jesus Camp…kinda answers the question as to what those kids do when they grow up.

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series: Part V

  • Out in Iran – “In this startling and unique documentary, Out in Iran, we go to Iran and get the world’s first look at life inside Iran’s persecuted gay community. We meet an astonishing group of courageous people with heartbreaking stories.”
  • Crittercam: House Cats – (National Geographic) “You’re closer to a natural-born killer than you think. Common housecats are actually fierce feline hunters responsible for killing over a billion small mammals and birds each year. Could this cuddly species with a taste for the wildlife spark an ecological disaster?”
  • The Facebook Phenomenon – Listen to a lecture on the popularity of Facebook, a student networking website delivered by Fred Stutzman. Stutzman is a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He is currently researching the effects of social technology and social networks.
  • Diet Wars – (PBS Frontline) A look into all the diet plans out there and how they relate to the American obesity epidemic.

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series: Part IV

  • Shakespeare, Einstein and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education – Professor David L. Kirp describes the conflict between the ways in which American universities are increasingly pressured to function as businesses within a competitive market and how their educational goals are compromised. (I just read his book on this topic. It’s excellent–especially the final bit about the treatment of adjuncts and non-tenured professors.)
  • Big Bucks, Big Pharma Big Bucks, Big Pharma pulls back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for capital gain. Focusing on the industry’s marketing practices, media scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in which direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of prescription medication, and works in tandem with promotion to doctors. Combined, these industry practices shape how both patients and doctors understand and relate to disease and treatment. Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges us to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a for-profit industry for our health and well-being.”
  • The Beginners Guide To L. Ron Hubbard – “Hardeep Singh Kohli ‘s parents instilled in him the Sikh perspective that there are many roads to God so, despite widespread criticisms of the Church of Scientology, he happily attempted to investigate its beliefs. Hardeep has 10 days to find God through Scientology. Hilarity ensues.”
  • danah boyd on MyFriends and MySpace – On June 19, danah boyd participated in the Berkman Luncheon Series to discuss her work and research in the area of social networks. Prior to her presentation she explained, “Publics offer youth a space to engage in cultural identity development. By engaging in public life, youth learn to interpret the cultural signals that surround them and incorporate these cultural elements into their life. For a diverse array of reasons, contemporary youth have limited access to the types of publics with which most adults grew up. As a substitute for these inaccessible publics, networked publics like MySpace and Facebook are emerging to provide contemporary American youth with a necessary site for peer engagement.”
  • Catholic Senators and Presidential Candidates: Their Faith and Public Policy – NBC newsman Tim Russert moderated a discussion on April 23 in Conte Forum with presidential candidates Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) entitled “Catholic Senators and Presidential Candidates: Their Faith and Public Policy.” The panelists aired views on a variety of hot button issues, including the war in Iraq, stem cell research, the death penalty, abortion, and gay rights, in what Wayne Woodlief of the Boston Herald called “a model of what a good presidential forum can be.”

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series: Part III

Hello dears, I bring you today’s assortment of learnings.

  • India’s Untouchables – (National Geographic) “In India’s caste system, they’re viewed as less than human. But this in-depth look at their plight helps them in their struggle toward mainstream acceptance. Listen as writer Tom O’Neill reads from his article about India’s Untouchables.”
  • Smoke Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette – (BBC Radio) “As July 1draws ever closer and England prepares itself for its own ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, Mariella Frostrup explores what smoking has given entertainment and popular culture.”
  • The Mormons – (PBS Frontline) A documentary about their history, beliefs and practices.
  • A Consumers’ RepublicLizabeth Cohen discusses the subject of her latest book, “A Consumers’ Republic,” and how mass consumption in America has affected social relations, physical landscape and political culture of the postwar era.

  • Bob Marley – (BBC London Radio) Miss P takes a look at the man who spread reggae music worldwide with this special documentary. Includes live contributions from Ethiopia and music from what would have been his 60th year.

Please let me know in the comments what you think of the series and what topics interest you. I can keep that in mind when I make the next one because if you can’t tell, my interests are pretty much just random.

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series: Part II

Allo friends. Today, I’ll be posting early since I have a ton of crap to do tomorrow. Enjoy your learnings.

  • The Storm – “‘The Storm’ an hour-long FRONTLINE investigation, examines how and why government at every level — local, state and federal — was unprepared, uncoordinated and overwhelmed in dealing with the Hurricane Katrina disaster that devastated the Gulf Coast in the late summer of 2005 and killed more than 900 people in New Orleans”
  • Charles Dickens – (BBC) A cute, short animation about the life of Charles Dickens.
  • An Introduction to Islam“Director of the Jackson School of International Studies, Jere Bacharach, leads this overview of the basic tenets of the Islamic faith.”
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Father of Modern Fantasy Literature“Although J.R.R. Tolkien did not invent heroic fantasy, in the latter part of the twentieth century, The Lord of the Rings has become almost a standard literary form for the genre. What is it about Tolkien and his work that has fostered this modern literary and commercially successful phenomenon?”
  • How Does the Autistic Brain Work? – “ Crammed into our craniums, the three-pound human brain may be the most complex matter in the universe. And, scientists are learning more about how it works by investigating how it doesn’t work. A 13 year-old young man named Tito Mukhopadhyay may be the Rosetta stone for autism, revealing what it feels like to be autistic.”
  • The Hidden Curricula of EducationDouglas Kellner, Professor George F. Kneller Philosophy of Education Chair at UCLA describes how modern education conditions the student for the capitalist workplace. This “hidden curricula” is inherently conservative. Kneller seeks to explore a more progressive approach.

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series: Part I

  • The Crisis in Darfur: A Challenge of Conscience – “This meeting examines the crisis in Darfur both in terms of the ethnic tensions involved and the impact of global warming and environmental issues on the violence. Speakers also address how individuals can aid the people of Darfur and help resolve this crisis.”
  • Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation -“ Political Science Professor Suzanne Mettler explores how the GI Bill elevated civic and political involvement among its beneficiaries, especially men of the World War II generation, across lines of class and race. In our time of declining civic engagement and growing economic inequality, Mettler argues that the GI Bill offers ‘important lessons about how a public policy can ameliorate both trends.'”

  • Sex and the Professors“Ann Lane explores the issue of sexual relationships between professors and students. Lane is currently working on a book tentatively titled, ‘Consensual Sexual Relations in the Academy: Gender, Power and Sexuality.'”
  • From Darwin to Hitler – “In his book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (2004), Richard Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. Darwinism played a key role in the rise not only of eugenics (a movement wanting to control human reproduction to improve the human species), but also on euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination. This was especially important in Germany, since Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles.”

  • China in the Red – A PBS Frontline special: “Filmed over the course of three turbulent years, “China in the Red” is a two-hour documentary that tells the stories of 10 Chinese individuals — factory workers, rural villagers, and a millionaire entrepreneur — caught up in China’s dramatic, ongoing effort to modernize its economy. Through their intimate personal stories, camera work capturing the unique feel of their cities and homes, and with a soundtrack that includes Chinese rock music reflecting the rawness and energy of a nation in great flux, “China in the Red” offers a view of China that is rarely seen in the West.”
  • Pools in America – (NPR’s On Point) “In their heyday, at their best, America’s public swimming pools were cool, blue pleasure zones where happy kids and adults of all stripes showered down and splashed in. But just as often, they were cultural battlegrounds — over unwashed immigrants, race, gender, class, and public sexuality.”

Wesleying Summer Lecture Series

Continuing in my typical fashion of bringing you somewhat educational content at times when Wesleyan sees fit to leave us to our own intellectual devices (WHY?), I think I shall start a summer lecture series to go along with my Fight Winter Brain Rot series. I will unimaginatively entitle this Wesleying’s Summer Lecture Series. Mostly, it is to remind our dear Wesleyan that it is so woefully behind the times so far as open learning and web technology goes compared to other peer institutions* but also partly because some of this shit is so fucking cool, I’d be depriving the entirety of the human race assloads of awe and wonder if I were not to share it. Seriously. Ok, maybe that’s going overboard. But I’ll do my best.**


Today’s lecture is entitled Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue given by Edward W. Felton, who describes the lecture as “a layperson’s introduction to the technology/copyright wars.” If you’re interested in the glory of, say, the network or the RIAA’s inane legal bullshit this is a fun watch.

It also has a pretty sweet quote from Mr. Rogers about his feelings on videotaping when advertisers and production studios tried to make VCRs illegal in the 1970’s.

*If you are a member of the Wesleyan administration and are offended by this, please feel welcome to contact me (or any internet-literate person between the ages of 17 and 24) and I’ll fill you in on your low-cost, high-yield options that other schools are already whipping us in–student-run blogs notably an exception.

**As always, if you find something fascinating, send it my way at hwood@wes with some idea of what it is. I’m looking for videos and podcasts (mp3s).

Fight Spring Break Brainrot: Part 1

  • The Boy with the Incredible Brain – As the anonymous tipster who sent it says, “I mean HE MEMORIZED 22,500 DIGITS OF PI. And he learned Icelandic in A WEEK. And he sees every number from 0 to 10,000 as a different colorful, textural, moving object.” Yeah.
  • The Brain that Wouldn’t Die – a 1962 film with the tagline ” Alive… without a body… fed by an unspeakable horror from hell!” Check it out on IMDB. MST3K that shit. All by yourself. In your bathrobe.
  • Revolution OS a 2001 documentary which traces the history of GNU, Linux, and the open source and free software movements.

(to see any of the past ridiculously nerdy things I’ve posted for the horde, click on the tag “online learning.”)

Books that are Totally Legal to Read Online

Many people at this school at any given time are reading books so old that their copyright has expired (or they never had a US copyright). What does that mean? It means it’s perfectly legal for you to read these books online and not buy the book.

So for example, you need to read Pride and Prejudice for class. Where can you read it?

  • You can search for it at Netlibrary, a service Wesleyan subscribes to (which contains both ebooks out of copyright and some newer ones).
  • Want to listen to it on your iPod? Try LibriVox, it’s a group site where people volunteer to read parts of the book to create an audio version.
  • Or you can just google “Pride and Prejudice eBook.” Many sites now redistribute the texts freely.