I’d like a (selfish) vacation

August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I need to get away! OK, I know this is going to sound greedy (I am literally on vacation now–check out that 20+ lbs striped bass caught off Cape Cod), self-centered (I actually do love hanging out with the extended family and friends: 19 in total over the last two weeks) and probably lame (boring) to many, but I’d really like to find a “get-away” vacation for programmers. « Read the rest of this entry »


I’ve been in this really good MOOC for the past 20 years, it’s called “The Internet.”

August 1, 2012 § 12 Comments

I’d like to suggest a great MOOC that has been around for years. It is “massive” (nearly a half million members); it is open–as in free (no charge); it is open–as in anyone can participate (no enrollment requirements/restrictions); it is open–as in shareable/reusable (there is no copyright: all content by all contributors is in the public domain); it is open–as in community driven (topics and direction are self-organized by peers); it is open–as in transparent (all information is available to all); it’s online (www.linuxquestions.org), and it provides over 200 “courses” (tutorials, resources and related discussions) across a variety of areas:
– Applications / GUI / Multimedia
– Hardware
– Networking
– Programming
– Security

Some of the programming tutorials include: Beginning with Java; BSD Sockets programming in C with examples; Building C programs on Linux; Building C++ programs on Linux; Emacs for an IDE, etc.

There is even a process for credentialing where peers rate the activities of others in order to establish users’ reputations. Those who provide helpful insights are rewarded, while those who offer less helpful support get neutral or even negative reputations. This peer to peer assessment model is something many MOOCs are struggling with.

So why isn’t this recognized as a MOOC? The cynic in me says, well because MOOC’s are really marketing tools to promote a university’s “innovation,” garner financial support (e.g. grants, investment funding, etc.) and/or drive online enrollments (i.e. take a MOOC, then enroll in a “real” course). Why does every college or university need a MOOC or other OCW/OER initiative, rather than really take advantage of the openness of shared resources to enhance, contribute and redistribute?

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