Showing posts from September, 2021

Online higher ed: new questions

As higher ed goes online, we must remember: The medium is the message. There is little point trying to do online what we do in campuses. This is what most online higher ed propositions are built on, and very quickly they become poor copies of the real thing. The screen reduces the whole web of personal interactions and relationships into just content delivery - and universities to diploma shops! It is not surprising that the students do not see the same value in online delivery as they do in the classrooms. But that format also underplays the key strengths that a distributed environment can bring. Flexibility in terms of time and space, for example, may not be that valuable if we are trying to replicate the same activities that happen in a classroom, but mightily important if we try to do what can't be done in a classroom. But there is more: This is not just about access but experience too. There was once a charm getting to know others across the barriers of time and space. Faceboo

The nation-state's last hurrah

  Dani Rodrik defined 'inescapable trilemma' of our world system back in 2007: That a globalised economy, democratic politics and nation states can't possibly coexist. (See here his post in 2007 on this) We could have, he said, two of the three, any two, but not all three. The last five years - the Brexit-Trump years - should have settled the matter. Democracy and nation state trounced global economy, putting one demagouge after another at helm across the world. Democracy's forward march was portrayed as the nadir of globalisation as we knew it. We were, as it seemed, destined to live in an age of ultra-democratic nation states. It indeed seems so, living through the pandemic. The system of 'each country for itself', with populists and ideologues running the show, showed a range of responses, from virus denial, vaccine nationalism and isolationism. The concerted effort of avert the global financial crisis in 2008 was totally missing this time around. Yet, as th

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