What’s striking about Tom Coburn’s appearance on Meet The Press Sunday is not that he went on another, typical GOP anti-government tirade. It’s that he declined to criticize town hall protestors who allude to violence.
Coburn, Oklahoma’s junior senator, told David Gregory that government had earned the ire of the “town hell” protestors, who are mainly Republican, loud and fueled by the right-wing noise machine and vested corporate interests. But, see, the protests are really about massive federal spending, according to Coburn. The health care anti-reform movement is a “symptom” of an underlying condition, he said.
But, in the above clip, Coburn didn’t specifically address Gregory’s comparison of one protestor with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The protestor, who was wearing a gun, held a poster with the words “It is time to water the tree of liberty,” which is a reference to Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote, which goes: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Gregory made the point that McVeigh was wearing a T-shirt with the quote on it on the day of the federal building bombing, which killed 168 people
Coburn’s refusal to condemn right-wing violent rhetoric against the government is a calculated political move to assure his base, but it’s irresponsible and even dangerous.
(Click on this YouTube video and listen to me read some lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” I used this as an introduction to my MERLOT presentation, titled Creating Productive Digital Identities in the Online Classroom.)
Can we deliver online college courses through cell phones? How do we apply humor in online courses without face-to-face contact? How can we improve online discussion forums?
These questions bring up just a small segment of the issues discussed by college online educators this weekend at the 2009 MERLOT Conference, which I’m attending in San Jose, California, the center of Silcon Valley.
As I wrote earlier, MERLOT, which stands for Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, is one of the premier higher education organizations related to online teaching and technically enhanced traditional classes at the college level. Its annual conferences bring together academics, information technology specialists and software/hardware company representatives to share knowledge and information in a fast growing field in higher education.
I posted about presentations I find relevant to my own academic interests on Thursday. Let me add to the list:
Delivering Courses via Blackberry: A Mobile Learning Case Study
This presentation is about a learning program delivered through Blackberry devices by Pearson Learning Solutions and Louisiana Community & Technical College.
I Need More Than My LMS
This presentation gives ideas about how to embed more learning tools in open source class management systems, such as Moodle and SAKAI.
Did You Hear The One About? Important Considerations for Instructors in Applying Humor in Online Courses
It’s sometimes difficult to be humorous on a personal level in online courses. This presentation by experienced online instructors shows the upside and downside to using humor in online education.
From ChitChat to Discourse: Improving Online Discussion
This presentation is about using rating functions to improve posts on discussion boards, which are an important part of many online courses.
Much of the discussion at MERLOT this week has been about how to meet the academic needs of our current tech savvy college students and the generation of students that will follow them. It’s organizations like MERLOT that ensure the academy will be ready for them.
I’m at the MERLOT International Conference in San Jose, California this week, catching up on the latest technology related to online college teaching and giving a presentation about digital identity.
MERLOT, which stands for Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, is one of the premier higher education organizations related to online teaching and technically enhanced traditional classes at the college level. Its annual conferences bring together academics, information technology specialists and software/hardware company representatives to share knowledge and information in a fast growing field in higher education.
My presentation, Creating Productive Digital Identities in the Online Class, deals with how faculty and students show themselves in online courses through profiles, social networking sites, blogs, videos and more. How do these identities shape perceptions? How can they foster knowledge acquisition? How should students and faculty present themselves in a digital sense?
The answers to these questions are not settled, and, as new technologies emerge, the questions will change or even become obsolete. But most everyone’s online identity—not just students and faculty—has become an important social and cultural issue.
Click on the YouTube video to watch a slide show that goes along with a recording of me reading some lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” I’m using this to introduce the presentation. Whitman, the great American poet, had something important to say about identity in his classic American poem.
Here are some other MERLOT presentations scheduled for Friday that seem promising to me:
Strengthen the Link with Blended Videos: Enhance the Connection between Teaching, Learning, and Technology
This presentation deals with using graphic organizers to make better use of YouTube videos in the classroom.
Podcasting for Educators
This presentation deals with how to use podcasting in classrooms.
Have Digital Library Will Collaborate
This presentation is an overview of the digital version of the Library of Congress.
MERLOT in Second Life
This presentation shows a demo of MERLOT’s Second Life Campus. Some universities now conduct classes in Second Life, a virtual world that has tremendous teaching and learning potential in all academic disciplines.