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Accidentally anonymized donation, democratized learning and more

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By extransit, AgnosticPreachersKid and Tilman Bayer

Million-dollar donation misattributed

Last week a submission showing a screenshot of the recent fundraiser's donation log gained prominence. It appeared to show a million-dollar donation coming from an anonymous source; Paul McNamara of Network World, however, investigated thinking that "a million smackaroos from a benefactor too shy to even accept a public thank-you" ([1]) seemed unlikely. It has now transpired that the donation was actually the third installment of the three million dollars over the three-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation (see previous Signpost coverage). The mistake in attribution has since been fixed (see log: [2]).

"Is globally democratized learning always a good thing?"

Wikipedia featured in an article written by Ben Wildavsky for The Chronicle of Higher Education, which asked the question, "Is globally democratized learning always a good thing?". In introducing the topic, Wildavsky said "At the Wilson Center discussion, former University of Michigan president James Duderstadt ticked off a long list of transformative technologies and modes of learning that seem destined to reshape postsecondary instruction globally ... Along with open courseware initiatives, ranging from iTunes University to Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, he cited Google’s Library Project; Wikipedia; Facebook [and others.] The upshot, he declared, will be 'a new form of collective human intelligence, as billions of world citizens interact together, unconstrained by today's monopolies of knowledge or learning opportunities.' ... the things Wikipedia gets wrong are far less striking than how much it gets right."

Wildavsky went on to discuss some of the concerns with "democratized" learning: "Peer learning has its place, but the wisdom of crowds isn't always, well, wise."


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