Monday, September 15, 2014

Sharing an article from the Chronicle September 15 2014

 “What You Need to Know About the Past 7 Days”

“Just a Thought”

“As legislators, deans, parents, and students debate what to do about the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses—many of them all but awash in alcohol—maybe it’s time to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Maybe it’s time for Americans to start teaching their teenagers to drink responsibly (if they want to drink), and time to rethink our drinking-age laws—which, let’s face it, seem to have done little more than create a thriving fake-ID industry.”


“Really, where has the current approach gotten us? High-school kids sneak off to drink under stadium bleachers and in parks that closed at dusk. College students party in their rooms and at fraternities and in bars. If you didn’t hear it earlier this week, listen to the piece that NPR’s Patti Neighmond did on college drinking for Morning Edition. Sharon Levy, director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, summed up the situation this way: "We’ve created a situation in which there is an expectation that drinking—and in fact heavy drinking—is just part of the college experience."”


“And then—studies are clear on this, as are stories from virtually every campus—assaults happen. To say nothing of car crashes and hospital visits for alcohol poisoning.”

“Try as they might, colleges are probably not going to solve the sexual-assault problem by requiring that students say "yes" to each caress (as California law may soon require) or by becoming more adept at the due-process requirements of rape charges. Nor are they going to tame the out-of-control campus-drinking culture as long as drinking by anyone under 21 has to be a wink-wink "secret." Maybe it’s time for a fresh start on this one.”


Interesting week eh?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, September 12, 2014

When did rudeness become pranking?

YouTube has given many people “with stars in their eyes” a platform to broadcast their “work”. Quite frankly most of it is garbage (but harmless). However, we are also seeing an increase of “prank” type videos, street fights, and unnecessary violence videos being broadcasted. I am going to talk about the pranks because they are not really pranks and certainly not nice.

I am not going mention the names of the ‘pranksters’, post a link, or give these clowns anymore of a platform then they already have, but I will say that these pranks are skirting the edge of being racist. These pranks consist of things like fake farting on people, stealing peoples’ phones to check the time, stealing people’s gas, or more recently, “Selling Guns In The Hood Prank”. The pranksters are all white males.

They are trying to pass these “pranks,” off as a “social experiments” to see the reactions of ‘poor black people’ when an outsider threatens or provokes them.  All their pranks are being done in poor black neighborhoods and they are targeting black people specifically.

In general, these prank videos are about black people showing themselves either freaking out or in the minority of cases laughing it off; the latter situation is being presented as exceptional. Like many prank videos, they are being selectively edited for the most extreme reactions

Then there is the guy who does this: “I’m going to go around and introduce myself in the neighborhood by using the n-word – neighbors.” As he walks down the street, a soundtrack of hip-hop beats blares. At every black person he encounters, he says, “What’s up my neighbor,” but dropping his voice at neighbor or speaking quickly as he walks by – so that the black people interpret it as “What’s up my nigger.” Then he waits for the response, and to let them know they have been pranked on film. This is supposed to be funny?

My advice as an educator to these no-talent wannabes: play with your dog, play with your toys, or heck go play with yourself; but do not play with people lives, including your own. You are not funny and you will get hurt more than you already have been because that is human nature.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Problem with Punishment

We love to punish people in the United States of America; you could almost say it is national obsession. Case in point: “Incarceration in the United States of America is one of the main forms of punishment, rehabilitation, or both for the commission of felony and other offenses. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. At year-end 2009, it was 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population”, that is over two and half million currently, does not include other forms of legal detention.

The trouble with a punishment-based society is that it does not work in the long run because the punishment is not consistent. What is legal in one state could be punishable in the state next door. A person could be on a cross-country journey and end up in jail because something they were doing at the beginning of the trip became a illegal after crossing an invisible line 600 miles later.

Then there are the elephants in the room in regards to punishment:

  • Punishment is race (social construct of race) based, not necessarily because of hate, but because of economic status; so we will call this the little elephant in the room
  • The big elephant is that the wealthy rarely are subject to punishment because they are capable of buying “get out of jail free” cards. Yes it is true, money can help you bypass punishment

Kids do not need punishment they need discipline. Too much punishment leads to fear, and fear can lead to hate, and so on. Sometimes we think we are helping them but just brainwashing them.

Adults who break rules do not need punishment, they need education and opportunities. Just look at the recidivism rates for those are in this cycle of punishment, it is disgraceful (and society’s disgrace).

This is probably falling on deaf ears, however, let me end by saying: let us not always be in a hurry to punish, maybe we could rush to help instead and see real change happen.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

College Bookstores and beau coups Bucks

I remember distinctly spending a lot of money on textbooks in 1980s when I first went to college, I got my terminal degree in 2011 and realized the price of textbooks kept going up. The textbook industry in my opinion takes advantage of students; they sell high and buy back low, plus they force students to get “new” editions of textbooks all the time even though there are no significant changes in the book.

Anyway, I found the article I am about to share interesting because it comes down to what is in the best interest of the students, and I am sure saving money helps students.

“Rise of Online Booksellers Brings Complaints From Campus Bookstores”

“When the orange Chegg bus rolls onto a campus, one person is unlikely to be excited about its free swag and energy drinks: the college-bookstore manager.”

“The rise of online textbook retailers such as Chegg, Amazon, and, has put official college and university bookstores on the defensive. Once the default source of course materials, campus bookstores run by Barnes & Noble and Follett are responding to the pressure by cracking down on competitors’ on-campus advertising, which bookstores contend violates their exclusivity contracts with colleges.”

“Chegg is a nine-year-old company that offers textbook rentals and sales, along with tutoring and career services. It has irked campus officials and bookstore managers with its marketing techniques, which include recruiting students as brand ambassadors, slipping free Red Bull and Starbucks products into book-delivery packages, and buying back books on the campus, often for more money than the bookstore offers.”

“The company has received dozens of cease-and-desist letters, according to its president, Dan Rosensweig, but it has no plans to scale back its efforts.”

This should be interesting to watch as it unfolds…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, August 29, 2014

This is not something to cheer about 08/29/2014 #higheredchat

“Anthem Bows Out”

“After years of enrollment losses, Anthem Education, a for-profit chain of colleges and career institutes, filed for bankruptcy Monday. The company has abruptly shut down a number of its campuses, leaving state agencies struggling to funnel displaced students into other institutions. Nine more campuses may close today, Anthem officials said.”

“Anthem had 41 campuses prior to declaring bankruptcy, according to its bankruptcy petition. Before it filed for bankruptcy the company sold 14 campuses to International Education Corporation, said an official involved in the acquisition. Anthem is in the process of selling an additional 14 campuses to IEC, but requires federal approval to do so. Unless the U.S. Department of Education approves the transaction by today, nine of those 14 campuses will close, Anthem officials said.”

For profit education is an integral part of the makeup of higher education, like it or not. We should not be cheering when hundreds of people lose their jobs, and when thousands of students lose their school.

I am still longing for the day when all sectors of education are working together for the mutual benefit of the students.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Disruptive technology in today’s classroom 08/26/2014

Have you ever been lecturing, and you all of sudden realize that most of your class is on some kind of electronic device and not listening? It could be the most interesting lecture in the world: however, they have been sucked into cyberspace like junkies awaiting a fix.

Technology does not automatically make a better learning experience, even if the student is typing their notes (there are enough studies proving this).  Sometimes a pen a paper can be a much more powerful learning tool.

Anyway, I found this article interesting enough to share because it tells us about the creative solution educators have to come up with in today’s world to get students to put down their electronics.

“Today's Lesson: Life in the Classroom Before Cellphones”

“Although I had taught for more than 20 years, I didn’t realize that I had forgotten what it was like to teach in a classroom without cellphones until I came up with a plan to relive those halcyon days. It was near the end of the semester, and I offered one point of extra credit per class period for my psychology students who turned off their cellphones before class and put them on the front desk.”

“I was sure that no students would part with their phones for such a meager offering. Wrong: Virtually all my students did. They even said they loved the idea, so the next semester I offered all my classes the same deal for the entire semester, and participation continued unabated. In fact, much to my surprise, after the first few days, when I walked into my classes all the cellphones were already on the table in the front of the room.”

“That first day I tried it, I felt like I had traveled back to a time when students’ attention was focused in the classroom rather than on the phones under their desks. I began to notice the increased number of students paying attention to the lectures and taking notes, and looking around at other students who were participating in class discussions.”

“I slipped back into expecting these long-lost behaviors as the new given, and today I see no reason to ever go back to wrestling with cellphone issues. I am quite content to award extra credit for the attention of the class and for students’ attention to their work all semester long. Twenty-one percent of my students received one letter grade higher for the course from extra credit; 79 percent did not. Any concerns about too much extra credit are easily handled by adjusting the total number of points for the course.”

“But I wanted to make sure the students really were benefiting. So immediately after they completed the final exam, I offered as many as five points of extra credit for completing a questionnaire and writing an essay on their phone-deprived experience. Of 90 students, 82 participated.”

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Origin and meaning of the word Thug

  1. (Thug) historical A member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s.
  2. A violent person, especially a criminal.

            [ mid 19th century: extension of sense 2]



Why has the word Thug become associated with men of color? May I remind you that the majority of men of color in the United States (yes majority) are hard working men, often just trying to make it in life, and the word Thug is not an appropriate description. It seems like every time a man color does something the media outlets deem ‘inappropriate”, the word Thug is sure to follow.


It almost seems like the word Thug is being used to replace another former popular word…

I actually have more respect for those whose racist views are over than those who use “coded” language and who dissemble when questioned.


What is also sad is that many people do not realize they are doing it because media outlets perpetuate the image of “the Thug”.


I will use a situation in American football as an example:


As Richard Sherman puts it “he was not committing any crime, he was showing passion on the football field”.  Evidently, he went on rant after the super bowl, and last I checked, all football players tend to be boastful.


“"The reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's an accepted way of calling somebody the N-word now," he said. "It's like everybody else said the N-word and then they say 'thug' and that's fine. It kind of takes me aback and it's kind of disappointing because they know.”

“"What's the definition of a thug? Really? Can a guy on a football field just talking to people [be a thug?] ... There was a hockey game where they didn't even play hockey! (Laughter from the media) They just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and said, 'Ah, man, I'm the thug? What's going on here?'" (More laughter from the media). So I'm really disappointed in being called a thug," he said.”


“Deadspin notes that the word "thug" was uttered 625 times on American television the day following the Seahawks' win. That's more than any other single day in the last three years.”


FYI, I do not know much about football, and I did not know who Richard Sherman was until this story came out. What I do know is that he graduated from Stanford with a high GPA and is evidently good at what he does.


There really are Thugs out there, there really are people who commit some violent crimes out there, there really are some people out there who are deserving of our ire. However, we need to skip the racial bull$#@! and be aware of what we are saying, doing, and perpetuating.


Being a person of color does not equal being a Thug; by the true definition, Thugs can be found across all color lines.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam