MOOCs

A Massive Open Online Course is a course provided on web which has open access and unlimited participation. MOOCs are game changers for higher education, large scale availability, low cost to students and the questions raised  by the students, all create a momentum to new pathways for education. MOOCs may not be an end game but it certainly has got a lot of us in the game . It indicates that how important it is for people to connect with each other  as a part of their learning experience .The common theme about  MOOCs is connectedness. I think it can work really good because now a days it is not about getting only the information but also about connecting the with each other while getting it. As most of the students using  MOOCs are not enrolled in any college, it shows that, lots of people are taking it just for personal enrichment. So it is very  convenient for students of any kind of age groups and working background. So in a way it has connected higher education workplace and life long learning.(EDUCAUSE LIBRARY WEB PAGE). On the other hand even though you can share any kind of information or a problem using  MOOCs but is it nothing like a conventional class room where physical presence and face to face communication make difficult  things very easier.

 Stanford artificial-intelligence professor Sebastian Thrun, expressed grand hopes when he co-founded Udacity. Thrun saw MOOCs as the start of a teaching revolution where the world’s best professors would run interactive on line classes that would reach hundreds of thousands of students around the world. To attract students, Thrun wanted the earliest classes to be offered for free. He said that Udacity  would break down economic, geographic, racial and gender barriers to higher education. He also said that, he saw on line courses as more effective than traditional classroom lecture classes. But recently Thrun himself said that the MOOCs are not effective for undergraduate studies after all.  Around the world, the study found, it was the economic elite who were taking  MOOCs. In Brazil, China and South Africa, 80% of MOOC  students came from the richest 6% of the population. Of course MOOC students need to have access to computers with fast Internet connections, which automatically throws up a bar to the poor. When some one asked him recently about the future of Udacity in next five years this is what he said “the thing I’m insanely proud of right now is I think we’ve found the magic formula, had you asked me three months ago, I wouldn’t have said that. I’m not at the point where everything is great. There are a lot of things to be improved, a lot of mistakes we’re making, but I see it coming together.” (ON LINE  LEARNING INSIGHTS :- BLOG ABOUT OPEN AND ON LINE EDUCATION,   FROBES ARTICLE BY SUSAN ADAMS)

REFERENCES:-

http://www.educause.edu/library/massive-open-online-course-mooc

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/12/11/are-moocs-really-a-failure/

http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/sebastian-thrun-moocs-not-effective-for-undergraduate-education-after-all/

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was a programmer, writer, political organizer and internet activist. At 14,  Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to on line information.  He later became a steadfast crusader to make that information freely available. He was involved in the founding of  the organizations like  creative commons and social site like Reddit.  On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by MIT PD  on state breaking and entering charges, because he systematically downloaded academic journal  articles from JSTOR. Federal prosecutors later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the computer fraud and abuse act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison but he was later released on the $ 100,000 bail. On the evening of January 11, 2013, Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment by his friend, medical examiner reported that he had hanged himself but no suicide note was found. ( The New York Times Article).

There could be many reasons behind his mysterious demise because he left no note before apparently hanging himself. After the owner of the JSTOR sued him  there were several talks and meetings between him and the owner and Law suit was settled , but then later on Federal  government prosecuted him with heavy fines and decades of imprisonment . There were secret service agents assigned just  to break him down, may be they thought that Aaron knew a lot more than just the academic journals, or they considered Aaron as a threat to the system as he was challenging the federal government for their strict policies of availability of information to average citizens. So there are two possibilities regarding the suicide , either he was forced to commit suicide or may be he just gave up, as per his last conference where he stated that the UNITED STATES VS AARON SWARTZ  was at least one battle he was no longer up for fighting. (The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death Of Aaron Swartz, Rolling Stone Article)

  The kind of property that results from the fruits of mental labour is called intellectual property and our legal system provides certain rights and protections for owners of property. Rights and protections for owners of intellectual property are based on federal patent, trademark and copyright laws and state trade secret laws. Every firm owners have different policies towards their copy right laws but they all are based on the federal restrictions passed by congress. If Aaron had something against this law which clearly he did, so he was supposed to do it wisely and legally but not by breaking the law itself. On the other hand all the data he downloaded was only journals nothing top secret so why Federal government was pushing it so hard to prosecute him?? as a result he gave up in the end …

SOURCES

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-brilliant-life-and-tragic-death-of-aaron-swartz-20130215

http://www.aipla.org/about/iplaw/Pages/default.aspx

Privacy

Privacy is a right or ability to act on that right of people by secluding their selective information. The pieces of information that are considered private usually varies from person to person and culture to culture. But a normal individual considers things like date of birth, financial information, tax information, travel information, home address, phone numbers, medical information and other personal identities private. So person has a right and it is person’s will that to provide or to seclude any sort of these private information. But there are some cases where we have to provide the very confidential information like our tax information which has all of our income and savings and expenses and house hold information, but if we do not provide it then we would not be able to file our tax returns. But on the other hand, lets say if someone has a facebook account then it is not necessary  to provide the informations like date of birth and address etc.

But there are so many cases that people have been scammed by cyber criminals after getting their highly confidential information from on line websites or other social media sites, then again if a person does not want his/her privacy to be intrude then they could stop sharing these kind of informations. While the publication of government or corporation information comes under different category. The freedom of information act of 1982 gives right to every one to access the information government or a corporation holds. But there is specific kind of data which should be not accessible, because there are so many national security issues related to it. So there is no problem regarding government receiving published information as long as we practice our F.O.I right act with in its boundaries. 

TWITTER VS INSTAGRAM

Twitter is a popular micro bloging social networking site that allow the user to send and read maximum of 140 character message known as tweets .It has its own pros and cons spreading news and trends . The pros are so many some of which are like it is big enough for small businesses  to find large numbers of following audience, a registered user can follow their favourite celebrity, they can also follow major news events from around  the world, unlike Facebook each tweet user post goes to every follower. There are also some cons regarding twitter like in 2011 the London riots as angered citizens (mostly youths) took it to the streets and left a trail of destruction and defacement behind them. Many sources blamed the spread of the movement on Twitter. The members of the Riots were able to interact with one another through tweets.( Heather Kuta August 21 2012: Exploring the Pros and Cons of Twitter in Real-Time Events)(Pros and Cons of Twitter:  grosocial.com).

Instagram is an online photo sharing, video sharing  and service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters  to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, like every  other online social media website it has the benefits and the drawbacks . It is more common with in  youngsters mostly girls , its pros are like you can be always in touch with the world events by going through the pictures posted by the athourities, or the users are always in touch with their distant friends who they do not see that often but on the instagram. The cons are many like strangers can follow the user and can get hold of their  private life and pictures of their family and if they post their children’s photos then it is like exposing them to the online predators who could trace the users address by Geo tagging option.(Aron Charles Demand Media; Global Post).

Sources:-

http://blogs.adobe.com/socialpractice/exploring-the-pros-and-cons-of-twitter-in-real-time-events/

http://www.grosocial.com/blog/pros-and-cons-of-twitter/

http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/pros-cons-setting-instagram-photos-private-21084.html

ARAB SPRING: The Uprising

In early 2011 the Syrian public started protesting against the Basahar AL Assad’s administration demanding the democratic and economic reforms. The protests were a response of Arab spring spreading into the Syria from neighbouring Middle Eastern and North African countries. By the end of March 2011 the Syrian government started using violent tactics against the protesters, converting those peaceful protesters into a rebel force. Thousand of defected soldiers from Syrian army joined the rebel forces and established FSA( free Syrian Army) . The rebel forces are backed by western powers like U.S.A and U.K and Arab countries like Qatar and Saudia Arabia, whereas the Syrian army is supported by Iran and Russia which could result in Syrian army using chemical weapons against the FSA and Syrian public. So far there are more 120,000  deaths since the civil war started, millions are fleeing into neighbouring countries like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The FSA and other rebel forces want Syria free of Assad’s regime and economic ,racial and sectarian discrimination, which if happens going to take so many lives and sacrifices.(SYRIAN CIVIL WAR WIKIPEDIA) (A GUIDE TO CONFLICT IN SYRIA  BBC WEB PAGE).

On 25th of January 2011 public protests and demonstrations started in Cairo Egypt against the government of Housni Mubarik resulted in famous Egyptian Revolution , there were so many causes of the civil disobedience but the few main ones were unemployment, inflation, lower wages, electoral corruption, censorship in media and police brutality. Egyptians were so fed up of the Mubarik regime that they founded the Muslim Brother hood and wanted him out of presidency , to oppose  that  Mubarik used police force to push the revolution down by power which resulted in about 850 people killed but he was unsuccessful in oppressing the public and was imprisoned for life after being trailed in the court. Then the new president Morsi was deposed by a coup led by ministry of defence, now the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Adly Monsor, is the interim Head of State until new presidential elections, who is imprisoning the main personalities who were responsible of protest, uprising and awakening of the public through social media, under the law of illegal  protest so it seems like that three year protest and revolution for equality , dignity and human rights seems further away than ever.(AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CNN REPORT) (EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION WIKIPEDIA).

On line activism and social media played a big role in Egyptian revolution and Syrian uprising. In the case of Egypt the Facebook group started which later had 325,000 members who were informed by bloggers and citizen journalists, through Facebook ,Twitter, Flickr, Blogs and other new media tools about the location and times of protests and demonstrations and the dates of strikes as well. (EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION WIKIPEDIA).

Where as in Syria the rebel soldiers mounted the camera on an AK47 so that we could get an actual experience and perspective of the civil war.  The civil war in Syria could be considered the first social media war. Across youtube, facebook,twitter, blog post, and other forums and chat rooms, both sides  are waging propaganda offensives. ( DAILY DOT.COM SYRIAN CIVIL SOCIAL MEDIA WAR).

             Refrences

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25217799

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Egyptian_revolution

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/25/opinion/hellyer-egypt-revolution-three-years-on/

http://www.dailydot.com/politics/syria-civil-social-media-war-youtube/