Sunday, February 14, 2016


Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo, sì perché le presenti osservazioni spogliano d'autorità i decreti de' passati scrittori, i quali se vedute l'avessero, avrebbono diversamente determinato."


I have been reflecting on relationships between learning, power, wisdom, patronage, and education.

I observed a heated discussion on Twitter the other day between Matt Gold, Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel.  On the surface it concerned the question of sponsorship of an academic journal.


There seemed to be an argument going on about appropriate disclosure of funding sources.

As a contributor to Hybrid Pedagogy, I confess that I didn't see any mention of sponsorship. I didn't expect any payment.

I don't feel sorry for myself contributing to Hybrid Pedagogy now that I know that they get money from Canvas.  I hope that I might contribute in some way in the future.

I would like to reassure Matt Gold. He needs to have no sympathy for me.

If Canvas finances the journal, it certainly hasn't made me want to invest in an LMS...
(if I had the funds)

It appears, as far as I can see that Canvas does not have a great deal of influence over the editorial line of the journal...

The funding that I receive from the French State enables me to work pretty freely.

I am happy to work for a public university.  I hope to use my voice to influence education.

I believe that it is very important to question what is considered 'standard academic practise'.

I was happy to read the second tweet here from Matt Gold.

Nothing that I have read or seen changes my support for the work of this contraire.

I have accepted money to write for a French educational magazine whose publisher is part of a group that produces text books.

I wrote articles which I was happy to write which question the standard practices of educational publishers.

When they asked me to write an article about a subject which I did not want to write about, I refused.

I have had no news since...

I would like to thank Matt Gold for asking Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel questions about funding even if the dialogue at times went Twitter crazy.

I was pleased to read that Matt Gold apologised for going Twitter crazy.

I was pleased to read the open letter which Sean Michael Morris wrote to clarify the issue of Hybrid Pedagogy's funding.


There are vital questions to be asked about academic freedom, funding, democracy and the role of education in society.

I agree with Matt Gold that we must challenge the role of corporate funding in academia. We need to extend these questions to education and government...indeed all aspect of our societies.

Google Scholar.

We need to deeply question the role of corporations in our relational/informational/attentional/reputational/educational environments/economies/lives.

Learning is not education.

The 'free market' is no guarantee of our freedom, of our lives.

Science offers no guarantee to our well-being.

League tables for schools and universities, results-based pay for teachers, publication-based pay for academics, PISA, Pearson, Elsevier, standards did that happen?

Who asked us for our opinions?

I would suggest that we need to be concerned...actively.

What is the difference today in a 'State-less' society between Corporations and Government?

What is justice if it can be bought?


Hybrid Pedagogy questions whose voices should be heard and what constitutes scholarship.

I am not sure that I would call myself a writer, an academic, a scholar, I suppose I can accept to be called a teacher.

What is a scholar anyway and who decides?
Shall I let Matt Gold decide?

The definition of scholarship seems to be open to negotiation.

I prefer to be called Simon anyway.

If that name gives me no authority to be curious and to be heard...why?

Wasn't that the idea of democracy?

Whose authority should we respect?

Learned enclosure.

I return to reflecting on learning, on scholarship.

I think of Galileo.

I suspect we respect his authority as a scholar today.

His ideas weren't always accepted by those 'in authority.'

He had a poor peer review by some...

I think of an ongoing discussion with Dave Cormier about knowledge being negotiable.

Let's remember that knowledge is only ever negotiable. There is not one truth.

There are powerful corporations who would like us to believe otherwise...

For in the sciences the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man. Besides, the modern observations deprive all former writers of any authority, since if they had seen what we see, they would have judged as we judge.” 

In 1632 Galileo published his Dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the World and immediately found himself in trouble with the Catholic Church. Summoned to Rome by the Inquisition on September 23 1632, he was put on trial and following the verdict of the Inquisition was forced to renounce his beliefs in Copernican theory and the motion of the earth. The original verdict condemned him to life in prison, but was amended the following day to house arrest, a sentence that remained in force until his death. His book (Dialogues) was banned by the Catholic Church and only in the 1990s did the Church recant its condemnation of Galileo.

Certainty is absolutely terrifying...

Thank God we can laugh about it...about ourselves.

We can can't we?

Learning enclosure.

Who are we learning for? Whose patronage will we accept? How shall we judge them?

How shall we look on Leondardo da Vinci's terrifying military schemes?

Leonardo da Vinci had a number of powerful patrons, including the King of France. He had, over the years, a large number of followers and pupils. His patrons included the Medici, Ludovico Sforza and Cesare Borgia, in whose service he spent the years 1502 and 1503, and King Francis I of France.

Love, faith, hope, charity.

How shall we judge our actions and those of others? Which patrons will we accept to deal with?

How shall we allow ourselves to be judged?

Is there any escape from 'our freedom'?

Or are we lost on the road to nowhere?

Or worse...on the road to hell?

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