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Who Takes MOOCs? Educated, Employed, First-World Guys.

Who Takes MOOCs? Educated, Employed, First-World Guys. | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
They promise equality of access to higher learning, but online courses will only succeed with better general education in place first, say two educationalists. A revolution in education has been promised with a little help from technology. Massive Open Online Courses are free, online, university-level instruction that anyone can access...
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critical reasoning
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Prove the scientific consensus and win a prize: A time-dishonored PR ploy used by cranks, quacks, and pseudoscientists (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. edition)

Prove the scientific consensus and win a prize: A time-dishonored PR ploy used by cranks, quacks, and pseudoscientists (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. edition) | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Last week, antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. teamed up with Robert De Niro to issue a challenge to provide one scientific study that proves thimerosal in vaccines is safe, with a cash prize of $100,000. They thus joined a long line of antivaxers, creationists, and climate science denialists offering money to “prove” the scientific consensus. Science doesn’t work that way.
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A researcher looks at marketing to kids

A researcher looks at marketing to kids | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
One researcher and parent counted the ads for unhealthy food and beverages seen by children and teens on their favourite websites. See what she learned.
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Public Indifference Is Trump's Greatest Asset on the Path to Autocracy

Public Indifference Is Trump's Greatest Asset on the Path to Autocracy | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Can It Happen Here?
Jan 31, 2017 | 30 videos
Video by The Atlantic
This is a clear moment of crisis for Americans, says Atlantic senior editor David Frum. “We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States in decades,” he explains in this video. What can people do when Congress refuses to check the president, civil unrest fuels his agenda, and he uses Twitter to stifle dissent? Read more in The Atlantic’s March 2017 cover story, “How to Build an Autocracy.”
Authors: Daniel Lombroso, David Frum
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, February 15, 6:42 PM
I have posted that it is rare I agree with David Frum. This is a time when I do not.
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‘Spectacular Betrayal’ as Trump Rolls Back Wall Street Regulations

‘Spectacular Betrayal’ as Trump Rolls Back Wall Street Regulations | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump is set to hand the U.S. economy “back over to Wall Street” on Friday, with a regulatory rollback that critics say could put consumers and the financial system at risk.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump plans to sign executive orders Friday “establish[ing] a framework for scaling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law” and rolling back an Obama-era regulation requiring advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. That rule was set to go into effect in April.

Trump plans to sign the orders surrounded by bank CEOs.

“The Wall Street bankers against whom Trump ran are making policy now,” said Robert Weissman, president of watchdog group Public Citizen.

“The worst job-destroying economic crisis since the Great Depression was directly caused by deregulation and regulatory failure,” he said. “Now the president who ran on a jobs-creation platform announces that he aims to slash the modest measures put in place to prevent a recurrence of the crisis. If Trump succeeds in rolling back Dodd-Frank rules he will rush the country straightforward into another job-killing financial crisis. This may be the most spectacular betrayal yet by the president of his voters, as he shunts aside their concerns and pushes forward the agenda of his cronies and the well-connected.”

Furthermore, White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, who formerly served as president of Goldman Sachs, told the Journal that Friday’s memoranda were merely “a table setter for a bunch of stuff that is coming.”
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The Guardian view on fear of Islam: terrorism is not a religion | Editorial

The Guardian view on fear of Islam: terrorism is not a religion | Editorial | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"The hatred of Muslims can damage western societies far more than Islam could"


"The murder of at least six people in a mosque in Québec city is a brutal reminder that Muslims are by any measure the people who suffer most from terrorism in the world today. Terrorism is a tactic, not a religion, and it has been employed in the past 150 years by Muslims, Jews, anarchists, communists, Christians and Buddhists, all of whom were to some extent motivated by their beliefs. Yet there is a persistent belief in the west today that Islam has some unique and visceral connection to violence and intolerance that no other faith approaches. This is wrong in theory and untruthful as to the facts. It tends also to conceal the real damage that some interpretations of Islam can do to the lives of believers, and of unbelievers too."

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Muslim leaders in Quebec City find it difficult to ignore tensions that preceded shooting

Muslim leaders in Quebec City find it difficult to ignore tensions that preceded shooting | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Quebec City's Muslim community was unsettled by acts of intolerance long before six men were gunned down in one of the city's largest mosques during Sunday night prayers.
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Academics, stop limiting your sense of self by equating your identity with your specialization

Academics, stop limiting your sense of self by equating your identity with your specialization | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"Many people decide to get a Ph.D. because they feel a strong personal connection to the subject matter. Thinking, writing and talking with people who appreciate a subject or field of study as much as you feels validating. For some, the discovery of that subject may have clarified a sense of educational purpose. Perhaps it even illuminated a sense of individual purpose or a frame through which the world makes more sense.


Of course, not everyone feels that way about the material they research and teach during graduate school. But for those who do, it can be easy to tie one’s sense of identity to the academic enterprise. “I am a scholar of 19th-century German painting.” “I am an ecologist.” Rather than “I am currently teaching a course on the figure of the child in British poetry.” Or “Right now I am working on understanding the how the charter school movement impacts social mobility for low-income children.”


The difference might seem purely semantic. Yet the length of time spent in graduate school can enculturate students to feel a deep sense of connection between their identity and their field of scholarly inquiry."


Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, January 31, 2017:


"Your work is not your identity, writes IHE contributor to grad students 


“Many people decide to get a PhD because they feel a strong personal connection to the subject matter,” writes Sarah Peterson, yet this emotional investment can make life very difficult for those who choose to pursue non-academic careers. 


While Peterson notes that the “false equivalence” between an academic's identity and their subject of study “can make you feel engaged, invigorated and interesting,” she also warns that doing so can alienate some people from the core values that made them pursue an academic field in the first place. 


The author concludes by offering four ways readers can reconnect with their core values to help guide their non-academic job search."

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Don’t be so hard on yourself! UBC study on first-year student stress

Don’t be so hard on yourself! UBC study on first-year student stress | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"Stressed out university students, take note: self-compassion may be the key to making it through your first year, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Researchers from the faculty of education’s school of kinesiology found students who reported higher levels of self-compassion felt more energetic, alive and optimistic during their first semester of university. When the students’ sense of self-compassion levels rose, so too did their engagement and motivation with life."


Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, January 31, 2017:


"UBC releases study on first-year student stress 


“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” is the message that a new University of British Columbia study is sending to first-year students suffering from stress. 


The university reports that “self-compassion” ranks among the top factors that help students make it through their first year of study. 


According to a UBC release, researchers at the school have found that students who reported higher levels of self-compassion “felt more energetic, alive and optimistic during their first semester of university. When the students’ sense of self-compassion levels rose, so too did their engagement and motivation with life.” 


“Research shows first-year university is stressful,” said Co-author and UBC Kinesiology Professor Peter Crocker. “Students who are used to getting high grades may be shocked to not do as well in university, feel challenged living away from home, and are often missing important social support they had in high school. 


Self-compassion appears to be an effective strategy or resource to cope with these types of issues.”"

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Universities Canada issues statement condemning US anti-muslim travel ban

Universities Canada issues statement condemning US anti-muslim travel ban | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

OTTAWA – "Canada’s universities are deeply concerned about a new executive order issued in the United States Friday preventing individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. This action affects students, faculty and staff at Universities Canada’s 97 member universities. 


The executive order restricting travel into the U.S. affects research partnerships, international studies, academic conference participation, field visits and in some cases family relationships of our university students, faculty and staff. The new order is having an impact on Canadian campuses and communities that is real, immediate and profound."


Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, January 31, 2017:


"Universities Canada issues statement condemning US travel ban Canadian universities have issued “a rare political statement” by opposing the current ban on citizens from seven countries entering the United States, as well as the suspension of refugee admissions, writes Simona Chiose for the Globe and Mail. 


In a statement released over the weekend, Universities Canada voiced grave concerns about US President Donald Trump’s executive order, noting that it would have a “real, immediate and profound” impact on students, faculty, and staff at Canadian campuses. “University presidents and academics from across the country are saying that this is too important to stay quiet on,” says the organization’s president Paul Davidson. 


“This is not just a political and rhetorical statement to offer support to academics around the world, it’s about students, faculty and staff on Canadian campuses now.” A number of universities have issued individual statements expressing concern about the travel ban and offering support to students affected by it."

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Burying bad news in the killing fields of Yemen

Burying bad news in the killing fields of Yemen | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Two years of Saudi-led coalition bombing of Yemen has culminated in a situation in which 18.8 million people are now in need of some form of humanitarian aid. Britain and the U.S. are implicated in Saudi war crimes, but the western press has largely ignored the atrocities.
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We need to work less to live better - for our health and for the environment

We need to work less to live better - for our health and for the environment | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
A lot needs to be done to reform our economic systems and to address critical issues like pollution and climate change. Reducing work hours is one way to make substantial gains.
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Why reproducing lab research and published results can difficult--and how scientists need to do better

Why reproducing lab research and published results can difficult--and how scientists need to do better | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Last week, a review of the reproducibility of several highly cited cancer biology papers was published. The results were mixed and demonstrate how difficult reproducing published results can be at times—and how scientists need to do better.

David Gorski on January 23, 2017
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Ontario can’t allow massive pay hikes for college presidents: Editorial | Toronto Star

Ontario can’t allow massive pay hikes for college presidents: Editorial  | Toronto Star | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"‘The colleges’ boards should knock inflated salary expectations for their presidents down to size. If they don’t act, the government should step in and end this unseemly exercise.’"


Summary from Academica Top Ten - Thursday, January 26, 2017:


"ON must reign in proposed salary increases for college presidents: Toronto Star 


“Raise your hand if your salary increased by more than 50% in the past five years. Nope? Didn’t think so,” writes the Toronto Star in response to recent reports that Ontario’s college presidents could receive as much as a 50% pay increase. 


The potential increases are reportedly due to the lifting of a five-year wage freeze on non-unionized public sector workers. The Star argues that ON needs to reign salary increases in, “[n]ot only to stop a salary race at the college level, but to manage pay expectations for other public sector workers, including those at universities, hospitals, school boards and government agencies.” 


The editorial lists the pay increases that a number of colleges have proposed for their presidents, with some slated to increase as much as half a million dollars."

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Report on the Health of Canadians - marketing unhealthy food & beverage choices to kids

Report on the Health of Canadians - marketing unhealthy food & beverage choices to kids | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
The Heart & Stroke 2017  Report on the Health of Canadians  examines how industry is marketing unhealthy food and beverages directly to our children and youth, and how this is affecting their preferences and choices, their family relationships and their health.
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What if, degree in hand, you suddenly realize you should have studied something else?

What if, degree in hand, you suddenly realize you should have studied something else? | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, February 21, 2017


"What to do when you are no longer interested in what your degree has trained you for “After putting in the time, money and energy to complete a degree, it can be extremely discouraging to realize you no longer want to work in that industry,” writes David Tal for the Financial Post. The author notes that going back to school to take a new program will not be an option for many, and so he offers a series of steps that recent graduates can take to pursue a career path that is not related to their degree. These steps include reflecting on what makes the person happy, identifying prior skills, volunteering, and networking. “While making the switch is difficult, it’s not impossible,” concludes Tal."

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The Guardian view on Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim orders: not in our name | Editorial

The Guardian view on Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim orders: not in our name | Editorial | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"Donald Trump has been president of the United States for 10 days. Many were prepared to give Mr Trump a chance. But even they must conclude he has been in office 10 days too long. Americans did a dreadful thing by electing Mr Trump. But the reality of it is only beginning to hit home. It is not his words that matter, awful though they are on subjects such as torture, but his actions. These raise urgent questions about whether America can afford to have such a president governing in such a way for four years — and how things may realistically change.

On Friday, Holocaust Memorial Day, just after Theresa May’s white-knuckle visit to the White House, Mr Trump crossed a line that should not be crossed. He signed an executive order banning Syrian refugees indefinitely and everyone from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States for 90 days. It was a cruel, stupid and bigoted act, designed to hurt and divide. Hundreds of people have already been detained. It was also cowardly, as bullies’ actions sometimes are. Mr Trump’s Muslim ban – because that is in practice what it is – avoids predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan with deep terrorist connections, and ones such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Emirates in which Mr Trump has business interests."

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Sociologist Anne Wortham on Authenticity, the Real Meaning of Individualism, and the Choice to Abstain from Activism

Sociologist Anne Wortham on Authenticity, the Real Meaning of Individualism, and the Choice to Abstain from Activism | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
"A civilized society is one whose members expect that each will address at all times, as far as possible, the rational in man."
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Girls believe brilliance is a male trait, research into gender stereotypes shows

Girls believe brilliance is a male trait, research into gender stereotypes shows | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Study highlights how children as young as six can be influenced by stereotypes such as the idea that brilliance or giftedness is more common in men
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The men shot in the back and killed in the Quebec City mosque shooting

The men shot in the back and killed in the Quebec City mosque shooting | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"The six men killed in a Quebec City mosque on Sunday night were shot in the back as they gathered for evening prayers, says the vice-president of the mosque where the attack occurred.

"It's a very, very big tragedy for us," Mohamed Labidi said tearfully. "We have a sadness we cannot express."

The victims, many of whom were fathers to small children, include a grocer who helped newcomers settle into the community, an esteemed food scientist who fled violence in Algeria in search of a better life for his family, a programming analyst for the Quebec government, two friends from Guinea and a pharmacy worker known for his kindness."

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Nursing students say new US-based entry exam is failing them; only 27 per cent of Francophone students pass

Nursing students say new US-based entry exam is failing them; only 27 per cent of Francophone students pass | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"Canadian nursing students are calling for changes to the current entry-to-practice exam which they say is loaded with American content and lacks Canadian context."


Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, January 31, 2016:


"Nursing students call for an end to current entry-to-practice exam 


Canadian nursing students are demanding that the current entry-to-practice exam be scrapped due to inappropriate content and a failure rate that has allegedly skyrocketed since the exam was implemented in 2015, reports CBC. 


The previous Canadian Registered Nurses Exam had a reported average pass rate of 87%, yet this number has dropped to roughly 70% since the introduction of the US-based National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s exam. 


CBC adds that the new exam has been disproportionately difficult for Francophones, with this group attaining only a 27% average pass rate. 


The low success rate is also having the adverse effect of encouraging schools to focus more on exam preparation rather than clinical work and training, says Bryce Boynton, president of the Canadian Nursing Students Association."

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Canadian universities pull ads from hard-right US news outlet Breitbart

Canadian universities pull ads from hard-right US news outlet Breitbart | critical reasoning | Scoop.it

"Two Canadian universities are among the organizations that have removed advertisements from an ultra-conservative news website formerly headed by a top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The move is part of a campaign spearheaded by Sleeping Giants, an American activist group, aimed at diverting advertising dollars from Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that came under fire during the 2016 presidential race.

“Following the U.S. election, folks around the world are looking for ways to show our support and register our outrage at the rise of the extreme far right,” said Emma Pullman of SumOfUs, which is collaborating with Sleeping Giants to target Canadian organizations.

The University of British Columbia and the University of Montreal pulled ads in recent weeks after they became aware that their promotional material was appearing on the site."


Summary from Academica Top Ten - Tuesday, January 31, 2017:


"uMontréal, UBC pull ads from far-right US news website 


The University of British Columbia and Université de Montréal have removed advertisements from a far-right website formerly led by Donald Trump’s top adviser, reports the Canadian Press. 


Both schools were quick to point out that they only recently learned that their promotional material was appearing on the site. “It wasn’t Université de Montréal that chose to buy advertising on the site,” said uMontréal Spokeswoman Genevieve Omeara. “It’s programmed publicity that is placed automatically on certain websites. We took precautions to ensure it would no longer happen.” 


UBC’s Susan Danard added that the website “got accidentally on [the ad agency's] list and when we became aware of that we asked them to pull it, which they did.” The CP reports that the removal of the ads is part of a campaign driven by Sleeping Giants, an American activist group that works to divert advertising dollars from the website in question."

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More than tweets: What Canada can do in response to Donald Trump's travel ban

More than tweets: What Canada can do in response to Donald Trump's travel ban | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Justin Trudeau has said the right things about supporting immigration and diversity in view of President Trump's travel ban — but there are some immediate actions the federal government could, and should, pursue as well.
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How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control

How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Enough with online hate speech, sexual harassment and threats of violence against women and marginalized groups. It's time to take the global crisis of online abuse seriously. In this searching, powerful talk, Ashley Judd recounts her ongoing experience of being terrorized on social media for her unwavering activism and calls on citizens of the internet, the tech community, law enforcement and legislators to recognize the offline harm of online harassment.
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Quit social media | Dr. Cal Newport | TEDxTysons

Published on 19 Sep 2016 


'Deep work' will make you better at what you do. You will achieve more in less time. And feel the sense of true fulfilment that comes from the mastery of a skill.

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Facebook is trying to tackle fake news, but what should mainstream journalism do?

Facebook is trying to tackle fake news, but what should mainstream journalism do? | critical reasoning | Scoop.it
Frontline Club panel discuss the problem of ‘alternative facts’ and concede that social media is not the only organisation publishing falsehoods
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