Archive - January 27, 2013

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Review of Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali
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Hey, Peace Corps! Join MOOC While You Still Can!

Review of Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali

We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali By Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87) FP Group, $499 2013 The book can be purchased as a pdf on the Foreign Policy web site: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/ebooks/we_never_knew_exactly_where   Reviewed by Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965-67) Edited by Susan B. Glasser with assistance from Margaret Slattery, Foreign Policy (the FP Group) and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting have launched a Borderlands project in which they will commission “leading writers to travel several of the world’s most impenetrable fault lines, the global gray zones where countries and people-and our own flawed ideas about them-meet.”  Peter Chilson’s eBook is the first in this series to be released.  It provides useful background as a travelogue although it is not, as Glasser claims, “a definitive account” of what has happened in Mali since the military coup of March 2012. The book does represent the Mali crisis . . .

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Hey, Peace Corps! Join MOOC While You Still Can!

Tom Friedman’s column this morning in The New York Times  is entitled “Revolution Hits the Universities” and focuses on online learning but adds a new twist. He writes about MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and Coursera, which Friedman has written about before, as well as edX, the nonprofit MOOC M.I.T. and Harvard are jointly building. One paragraph in particular caught my attention. Friedman writes that today only a small percentage complete all the work in an online course, and even they still tend to be from the middle and upper classes of their societies, but then he writes, “I am convinced that within five years these platforms will reach a much broader demographic. Imagine how this might change U.S. foreign aid. For relatively little money, the U.S. could rent space in an Egyptian village, install two dozen computers and high-speed satellite Internet access, hire a local teacher as a facilitator, . . .

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