April 27th, 2017 by Jon Becker

Come Fall, I’m headed back to my tenured faculty position in the School of Education at VCU. That means, among other things, that I’ll be putting my educational researcher hat back on. That doesn’t mean, however, that I intend to re-engage with AERA any time soon. So, as my education research colleagues are all congregated in San Antonio now for #AERA17, it’s a good time to dust off the open letter I wrote almost 5 years ago.


(Have fun Julian and Scott and everyone else…)

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April 26th, 2017 by Jon Becker

Today, ESPN laid off ~100 people, most of those being on-air talent and/or writers. Other than the extremely wealthy and/or a wealthy member of the Trump administration, I don’t wish losing a job on anyone. 

For me, it was a hard day. For better or worse, ESPN is a huge part of my life; it has been for as long as it’s been around. I genuinely feel like people like Jayson Stark and Ed Werder have been in my living room talking about baseball and football respecively for a long time. They wouldn’t know me if I fell on them, but they have been a real presence in my life. More recently, people like Jaymee Sire have been a regular part of my media diet. Many of the people who were laid off today have added tremendous value to my life over the years.

Lots of ink and pixels are being used to explain why this happened, but it’s not that complicated. The media landscape is changing dramatically and ESPN is not immune. They spent ungodly amounts of money for broadcasting rights and bet the farm on rights fees. The latter are disappearing as more and more people cut the cord on cable TV and rely on other media for their content. ESPN, as massive a media empire as they are, wasn’t able to foresee this, and now they’re having to adjust. I think Deadspin is spot on in their assessment:

The memo released this morning by ESPN president John Skipper is instructive. It was hollow and buzzword-laden in the precise way that is meant to speak to Disney investors who want to be assured that ESPN is still capable of “navigating changes in technology and fan behavior in order to continue to deliver quality, breakthrough content.” That’s what today appears to have been really about—assuring Disney stakeholders that ESPN is taking things very seriously and is prepared to keep itself lean and competitive. Don’t think too much about how we’re going to continue to pay rights fees with sustained subscriber loss! We’re making cuts! We have a handle on things!

And that’s where Mark Coddington’s tweet comes in. It’s hard not to see what happened today at ESPN as a huge indicator of a sea change for media. 

For me, it’s hard not to extend this to other parts of our economy and our society. If you read as much as I read about automation and what that means for jobs and the economy, it’s hard not to get a real feeling of doom.

But, at least we have a president who is a “populist” who cares deeply about the American worker, even at his own personal financial expense, #amirite?


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April 25th, 2017 by Jon Becker

Today, I was a committee member at a Ph.D. dissertation hearing and an Ed.D. capstone project hearing. So, it was doctoral day for me. Thus, there can only be one possible tweet of the day…

The blog post linked to goes on to say, “In sum, Gorka’s Ph.D is about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University.”


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April 24th, 2017 by Jon Becker

(NOTE: there’s a typo in the tweet. The URL for the course site is anth101.com.)

There are a few reasons that I’m excited to see Mike Wesch promoting this course. First, my VCU colleague Tom Woodward had an amazing opportunity to work with Wesch and his team in designing the web experience for the course and the site is nothing short of amazing. Second, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Wesch specifically used strikethrough text with the word “Online” and followed it up with “In the World.” That’s a fantastic framing of the experience, especially at a time when the open education community is tilting at windmills over what open pedagogy even means. I’ve been known to say that open education means “learning out loud,” so I’m drawn to the idea of a class not being so much an “online” class as a class “in the world.” That’s exactly it. Thank you for that, Dr. Wesch! Finally, check out the instructional design of the course. It’s a thing of beauty.

I’m super eager to follow along as learners around the world learn in the world with Mike Wesch and others at Kansas State.

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April 23rd, 2017 by Jon Becker

That’s some high quality shade there, President Clinton.

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April 22nd, 2017 by Jon Becker



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April 21st, 2017 by Jon Becker

Seems like the perfect follow-up from yesterday’s tweet of the day

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April 20th, 2017 by Jon Becker



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April 19th, 2017 by Jon Becker

I grew up listening to Mike and the Mad Dog. Mike now does his own show and he’s lost his fastball (if he ever had one). Not sure anyone can really appreciate this video if you aren’t that familiar with Francesca, but I imagine it’s still pretty humorous…

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April 18th, 2017 by Jon Becker

Reminder: as a general rule, if you’re looking to post the tweet of the day, making a joke combining politics and baseball is your best path. Nicely done, Alex Roarty

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