Worth Reading” is a hand-picked weekly collection of new and not-so-new articles, ideas, events and other items for busy professionals in higher education that prefer to spend their reading wisely.
The Socialist Origins of Big Data. The Planning Machine: Project Cybersyn and the origins of the Big Data nation.
By Evgeny Morozov
Excerpt: “In Allende’s Chile, a futuristic op room was to bring socialism into the computer age.
In June, 1972, Ángel Parra, Chile’s leading folksinger, wrote a song titled “Litany for a Computer and a Baby About to Be Born.” Computers are like children, he sang, and Chilean bureaucrats must not abandon them. The song was prompted by a visit to Santiago from a British consultant who, with his ample beard and burly physique, reminded Parra of Santa Claus—a Santa bearing a “hidden gift, cybernetics.”
By Donn Davis
Excerpt: “For decades, America’s colleges and universities have been on a massive spending spree, building new dorms, student centers, sports complexes, and academic buildings. Despite all these expenditures, the key metrics are not much better. Graduation rates haven’t increased at the pace of much of Europe and Japan. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the percentage of young Americans who are less educated than their parents exceeds other leading nations.
What if the leaders of our colleges and universities had channeled just a fraction of this edifice-complex capital into technology improvements instead?”
By Aisha Labi
Excerpt: “Closing the skills gap: companies and colleges collaborating for change explores the role of partnerships between US industry and higher education to prepare students and employees for the modern workforce. It considers how their cooperation can address the current “skills gap”—a growing gulf between the skills workers possess today and the skills businesses say they need—and investigates what US companies are willing to do to narrow that gap.”
By Ry Rivard
Excerpt: “It’s hard to raise much excitement over a chart, but a recent one that breaks down how colleges can reduce the number of sections they teach and reduce faculty time while educating the same number of students might be getting there. But not all the excitement is positive.
The chart is part of a summary of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded studies by the Education Advisory Board, a business that produces research for colleges. The board looked at seven colleges, mostly regional public universities whose names have not been revealed, and tried to figure out what it costs to teach students. Analysts combed through 250 million rows of data to draw up reports that spelled out the costs of each student credit hour in each section in each department of each college.”