Seb's Open Research
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and social software, collected by Sébastien Paquet

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Friday, November 29, 2002
Reality seekers unite

Wired: What Buddhists Know about Science.

The Science and the Mind conference, held last month in Canberra, Australia, explored areas of possible contact and cooperation between Tibetan Buddhism and modern science. [...]

While Tibetan Buddhism and other ancient practices like Taoism have developed scientifically accurate explanations of some phenomena, the Dalai Lama has also said Buddhists can abandon scripture that has been reliably disproved by science. No creationist controversies here, then.

The Dalai Lama has an intense non-specialist interest in science, and he believes there are points of contact (with Buddhism) in cosmology, neuroscience, physics, quantum physics, and modern psychology. He has even opened a school of science at his monastery in India.

"I feel it is basically the Buddhist tradition to try to see reality. Science has a different method of investigation. One relies on mathematics; Buddhists work mainly through meditation. So different approaches and different methods, but both science and Buddhism are trying to see reality," he said.

"When I meet with scientists, it has nothing to do with religious faith. It's just theory or the experience of experiment. So, today's meeting is using reason only, not faith. I'm not trying to convert scientists to Buddhism, and they are not trying to convert me into a radical materialist!" (Someone who believes all phenomena are physical only.)

Problems remain, however. While Tibetan Buddhists are keen to embrace science along shared points of contact, scientists frequently remain uncomfortable with that kind of intimacy. [...]

I suspect that the practice of attentive examination, which is the main way scientists obtain their insights, hunches, big pictures and all, has more to do with meditation than we usually think.

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:11:40 PM  
Compliance vs. Creation

From Whoosh: Business in the Fast Lane,Tom McGehee on what makes a company suck or rock:

Compliance Companies Creation Companies
Policy driven Principle driven
Rule based Relationship based
Conducts training

Allows for structured and unstructured learning

Forced organization Self-organizing
Reactive Proactive
Good of organization over good of individual Good of organization through good of individuals
Measures activity Measures outcome
Ordered Chaotic
Closed system Open system
Patterned Emergent
Internal focus External focus
Risk avoidance Opportunity creation
Confuses models with reality Understands modeling
Tries to re-create past success Tries to create new successes
Methodology based Model based
Expert's mind Beginner's mind
Tolerates diversity Thrives on diversity
Seeks equilibrium Seeks progress
Deficit focused Positive focused
Creates burning platforms Creates compelling opportunities

Application to national governments or revolutionary organizations is left as an exercise for the reader. [istori/log]

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:05:47 AM  

The Public Knowledge Project at the University of Britsh Columbia has recently released the Open Journal Systems (OJS). OJS is an online journal management and publishing system. OJS assists with every stage of the publishing process for refereed journals including:

  • Online Submission of Articles, Reviews, and other Items
  • Online Management for Each Stage of Publishing
  • Comprehensive Indexing of Published Articles
  • Research Support Tool for Each Article Published
  • Email Notification and Commentary for Readers
OJS is freely available under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. For more information, contact John Willinsky ( [FOS News]

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:01:53 AM  
Politics and the Classroom

Web Site Lists Professors Who 'Indoctrinate' Students. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this initiative to identify professors who exhibit bias in their work. The tone of the article (as indicated by the scare quotes in the headline) and of the professors reviewed is that the students rating the professors simply don't understand the material. This condescending attitude won't help, particularly inasmuch as the students have a point: many professors carry their political beliefs into the classroom. But so what? Instead of denying the obvious, embrace it. Professors are not intended to be objective observers of society, they are expected to be interested participants. And as such, they should be encouraged to freely express their biases, and as part and parcel of that freedom, to be ready to take their criticisms like professionals, yes, even from students. By Thomas Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 26, 2002 [OLDaily]

What do you think? []  links to this post    12:58:15 AM  
Learning and world views

Learning is a Recursive, Self-Reflexive System Process. Summary: I'd like to tie together weblogging with my my own world view (individual ontology), relate my becoming to the developing ontology of some system of which I'm a part. This is a tall order... but I needed to signal this aspiration of mine in order to remind me that I'm headed there and to signal potential supporters, collaborators, and skeptics alike that I'm trying to get there.

Another excellent post by Spike. He talks about how personal world views (and thus the world as it is experienced) change as we learn, following Dewey and Piaget. Here's how Dewey defines "sense-making":

As Dewey (as quoted by Burke,1994, p22) said:

Inquiry is the controlled or directed transformation of an indeterminate situation into one that is so determinate in ists constituent distinctions and relations as to convert the elements of the original situation into a unified whole.

[Connectivity: Spike Hall's RU Weblog]

I believe the "unified whole" view is something we all instinctively yearn for, and think it is a source of deep satisfaction, but it is, unfortunately, seldom completely attained.

What do you think? []  links to this post    12:25:56 AM  
Learning resources: the user's perspective

Joseph Hart has started an interesting new weblog on online learning resources. I've subscribed to his RSS feed. In the following post, Joseph puts the finger on an important unsolved problem: locating relevant resources.

Sabbaticizing. [...] When I began this project I was focused on collecting repositories of online instructional resources and putting the collection together in a form that could readily be used by instructors at Eastern and other institutions, perhaps via a web site or portal.

Now, after just a few weeks, I've found that there are innumerable online instructional repositories (depending upon how "instructional" and "repository" are defined)--far too many to simply provide a listing and expect that instructors will be able to effectively use the list.

I've also found that there are many overlapping categories, concepts, interests and approaches: digital libraries, learning objects, metadata standards, open source software, instructional repositories, XML, etc. What seems most needed, at least for my purposes in assisting instructors to use online repositories, is a set of guidelines about locating, evaluating, acquiring, and fitting online resources into course planning and revisions/expansions of courses.

At this point there are many more repositories available and under construction than there are guidelines for using collections of learning resources. Instructors don't have the time to search hundreds of repositories containing thousands of learning objects. The promise of interlinked repositories or master repositories is just that, a research promise that may not be fulfilled for many years. So, the question is, How can online instructional resources best be used now? I do not yet have a good answer to this question. [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]

I'm concerned that many good resources are underused, not for lack of quality, but because they are for all practical purposes "unfindable". I suspect resource authors will each have to take up the responsibility of providing and maintaining part of a shared, overall map of what is out there, if they want their resources to be used.

What do you think? []  links to this post    12:15:50 AM  

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