Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for February, 2016

I have found the Oasis of Knowledge: UNISA’s Online Library

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As a scholar, it is critical to have access to knowledge.  And while tools like Zotero, are excellent at organizing the knowledge, and search engines such as Google Scholar and the Microsoft Academic Search make it easy to find scholarly knowledge, most scholarly works are generally inaccessible to the public, without paying fairly high fees. (One scholarly paper can often cost as much as buying a book).  But I have just discovered the UNISA Library, which claims to be Africa’s largest academic library, and I believe it.  Even when I went to U.S. universities, including Nova Southeastern University, I did not have as much access to journals as I now have.  So this is one more reason, why if a person is truly going to college for knowledge, UNISA offers amazing value.

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February 21st, 2016 at 11:59 am

The Introduction/Background to my Revised Doctoral Research Proposal

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Compendium_of_Countries_LogoToday, I finished revising the first part of my doctoral research proposal, as there have been several underlying methodological and technological changes from the original proposal.  While I know doctoral research is usually not of general interest, I am still going to be posting the sections of my revised proposal as I finish them, for those who are interested.  Please feel free to ask questions if you have them, and I will do my best to explain statistical techniques or the technology, etc. that I’m talking about.

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February 20th, 2016 at 6:12 pm

My Email to my Appointed Mentor from UNISA

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I was excited today to receive an email from Dr. Abraham Tlhalefang Motlhabane of UNISA who has been appointed to be my doctoral supervisor.  Although, while Dr. Motlhabane has an excellent background in science education, I hope he will have sufficient background in statistical methods to help me get beyond my current limitations, or that maybe other UNISA professors can also help.  After he emailed me, I wrote the following email, which I think is a good self-reflection of where I am on this project.

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February 19th, 2016 at 11:59 am

My Review of the Aspen SIS from Follett based Upon a Short Demo

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Yesterday, I saw a demo of the Aspen SIS from Follett.  For full disclosure, Dylan Holcomb, the Sales Consultant who came out, was a friend of mine from high school, but honestly I wasn’t expecting it to be an SIS that we would be interested in, especially because the price tag is high for the size of school that Highlands Community Charter currently is.  But, after seeing how Aspen works, and how they addressed my blog article about the 3 features that SIS providers are missing, it is on our school’s radar as a potential. Here is a quick review of what I was impressed with, and what things I still think they could do better.

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February 18th, 2016 at 11:59 am

Adventures in Android Accessibility: 3 Screen Readers Tested

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Picture of the Android Robot Logo with sunglasses and a walking caneMy first “real” job out of high school was with an awesome company called Humanware.  At the time they were located in Loomis, where I lived, and I did technical support for their screen readers, which allowed blind individuals to hear what was on the screen.  This was still in the days before Windows, and the technology worked pretty well because every screen had only text.  Windows started to make things more difficult, because the interface was more complex, and dependent upon the mouse and visuals.  But with tablets and smartphones, with their simpler interface, it might be possible to have better solutions, but thus far the Android accessibility “solutions”  seeem to suck.  Here is my quick review of 3 I tried recently.

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February 14th, 2016 at 11:59 am

Life Long Learning at 65 Miles per Hour

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I am a believer in getting “more effect for your effort”, as we only have 24 hours in a day, and no more than about 100 years of consciousness with a contiguous self-identity.   Learning, teaching, and creating are some of the most valuable things we can do to have the possibility that our life’s impact will be more than just dust of this planet.  So I am spending more time in my car listening to books, and less listening to news.  These are some practical tips that I have found using an Android phone as my main learning tool.

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February 12th, 2016 at 11:59 am

My Comments on an Economist Article about having Masters Students Reproduce Published Studies

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Recently, the Economist had an excellent article about the importance of reproducibility in science, and a new academic journal dedicated to reproducing medical studies.  I believe that reproducibility is critical, and that our institutions of higher education could support this, as I wrote in the following comment:

It would be good for many universities to have Masters students to have the option of repeating a previously published study as part of their graduation requirements. This would help prepare these students to do better original research as part of their doctorate, as well as contribute to the field in a meaningful manner.

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February 11th, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Two Quick Case Studies of Where Virtual Onshoring has Come to Fruition

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While no university has truly worked to virtual onshore itself in a major way into the U.S. market, there are two places where I have seen virtual onshoring take off since I coined the term (although I won’t claim anyone uses my term!).   These are in physical goods that can be shipped internationally, and in services that can be delivered via the Internet.

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February 10th, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Virtual Onshoring

How a Virtual Onshored University can break into the U.S. Market

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Yesterday, I posted about the concept of Virtual Onshoring, and how I believe that a university from a developing nation could use this concept to serve the U.S. market, which could lead to significant economic gains for the developing nation.  But how can they do this, and what is stopping them right now?  The following is a summary of what I see would be necessary to succeed.

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February 9th, 2016 at 11:59 am

What Virtual Onshoring Is, and Why Higher Education is Ripe for Virtual Onshored Universities

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I first coined the term Virtual Onshoring in an Open Letter I wrote to Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in 2008. The idea is simply that with power of the Internet, we are now a “global village”, and anyone who has intellectual goods or services in a developing nation, can sell them to customers in more developed nations, in a manner that would be no different than if they were actually located in the developed nation.  This could be very lucrative in the online higher education market, since the University of Phoenix alone makes over a 1/2 billion dollars per year in profit!

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Written by Jacob Walker

February 8th, 2016 at 11:59 am