Weekend Reading

A spoonful of reading:

In some mixed-income developments, the CHA [Chicago Housing Authority] renters cannot have grills on their balconies, while the homeowners can. They cannot use exercise facilities built in the condo buildings; they cannot have friends and family visit them freely; the property managers check their units for good upkeep. They can’t have parties. They report palpable surveillance at all times.

Again and again, former residents of Chicago’s public housing projects tell stories of the community they built there. Some narratives are recurrent: going door-to-door to collect ingredients for dinner during hard times, knowing one’s neighbors, the process of surviving together.

The flipped classroom, a learning technique that requires students to watch lectures as homework rather than in class, is another trend Powers applauded. Unfortunately, it has the potential to be equally problematic. Instructors can record their own lectures for students to play back at their leisure. Yet secondary school teachers, who tend not to have academic freedom or necessary resources, often rely on outside content providers like Khan Academy to flip their classrooms.

What happens if your administrators want to flip your classroom for you? A contract to license MOOC content from a major provider like Coursera or Udacity would certainly be the most efficient way to make use of that content. What if some professors are not familiar with or do not want to teach the content the administration licensed? At the very least, the quality of education that students receive will suffer and the traditional prerogative of the professors whose classrooms get flipped for them will effectively disappear.

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