Apache OpenOffice

Please consider making your students aware of this software.  It is reliable and compatible with Microsoft Office.  And it’s free.

Cloud computing is terrific but some students may have older computers or a dial-up connection.  Already several of 12Keystrokes’ students are using OpenOffice


(From their website):

Why Apache OpenOffice: Great Software

Great Software requires great people. Apache OpenOffice is the result of over twenty years’ continuous high quality software engineering. Designed from the start as a single piece of software, Apache OpenOffice has a consistency and a quality that is world class. Its open-source development model means there are no secrets.

  • Better by design

Developed over twenty years, Apache OpenOffice is a mature, reliable, product. OpenOffice was designed from the start as a single piece of software – not bolted together from separate software packages. This makes it very consistent and easy to use – what you learn in one application is immediately usable in another. The context-sensitive help works across all applications, unobtrusively providing the precise help you need. You can even open any type of document from any application – OpenOffice is really one piece of software. It also runs on all major computing platforms – Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, Apple Mac – isn’t that great!


“You don’t have to be an armadillo to study armadillos. You don’t have to be an ancient Greek to study ancient Greece. And you don’t have to be a Marxist to study a Marxist.” – from “Of Armadillos and Marxists” (The Read . . . #28)

Orange Dean

Apparently, it does need saying after all.  This too: “In teaching history or politics, the same idea holds. How many ways are there to interpret the industrial revolution? If you say ‘one,’ you’re badly wrong, no matter which one you pick.”

Enjoy the apropos post over at Confessions of a Community College Dean.


“Neoliberal policy makers who have advocated for increased privatization and market-based educational reforms have produced a system that has expanded opportunity for all.” – from Academically Adrift (The Read . . . #27)

The (excerpted) conclusions: both positive and negative outcomes result from applying a market framework/economics discourse to higher education.

The positives may be surprising, but some of the negative effects on student/faculty behaviors should not be – regardless of the reader’s political persuasion.

Who would grant that an economics (or populist) discourse can affect students/faculty?


“[C]hildren from less advantaged families are left to fend for themselves, and in the process they typically reproduce their class location.” – from Academically Adrift (The Read . . . #26)

Typically (as opposed to “obviously”), most people reproduce their class location.

Either at home, at school, or elsewhere, students must learn the cultural competencies that lead to academic success. The culture of higher education isn’t natural, “organic” or neutral. It’s artificial. Like aspartame.

Would any educator suggest (either directly or indirectly) otherwise?

Employing crude imagery/stereotypes (see “First/Second Sketch”), Realist’s brand of populism makes (allegedly) corrupt business/political machinations visible through hyperbole, imagining dire effects wrought upon potential CCC students. In particular, Realist’s representations of these imagined students merit further comment and contextualization, not blind acceptance or willful ignorance, since they are the primary means by which Realist (et al.) appears to re-imagine (the culture/costs/rewards of) higher education as transhistorical.

In any event, “Third Sketch” will examine those representations and imaginings after concluding its foray into Academically Adrift.

CLA Parental Ed CLA AA vs White


“[R]ecent surveys of students and faculty have found that faculty are more likely than students to report that being well off financially is an essential or a very important goal to them.” – from Academically Adrift (The Read . . . #25)

In general at four-year institutions, faculty are not rewarded (very much) for focusing on undergraduate instruction but on research. However, to counter this orientation as well as the quoted survey result in the title of this post, the authors suggest that faculty embrace research to fulfill a “quasi-religious commitment” (see below).

This effectively shifts blame for the commercialization of higher education away from any faculty influenced by financial incentives and onto administration/industry/govt. (which lack a “moral imperative”).

The dichotomy is a bit precious: workers/laborers must often search for (and find) spiritual meaning in what they do. The problem is not that some faculty hear a “calling” but that this frame narrative – similar to the transhistorical/educator-centered discourse that informs Realist’s (et al.’s) writing – works to etherealize the faculty (and the “true” university), their financial concerns and, by extension, the financial concerns of their students. Etherealization does not radically confront commercialization: instead, it mostly maintains the status quo.

(A second consideration: one could suppose that the commercialization of research at four-year institutions is analogous to certain aspects of CCC’s Reinvention and ask if undergraduate instruction suffers of benefits from the application of a market framework/economics discourse. As it turns out, according to the authors, the answer is rather mixed.)

bayh dole site


12Keystrokes wishes to acknowledge the personal reflections President Obama offered this afternoon. (The Read . . . #24.76, Interlude #8)

12Keystrokes wishes to acknowledge the personal reflections President Obama offered this afternoon and not meet those reflections with silence but with an article first read some while ago.  So here is a link to an old article (everything really is on the internet) and its list of 26 benefits packed away in an “invisible knapsack.” 

Of course the article is dated – much richer material/theory has been written since, and no one wishes to treat this topic (or any topic) in a reductive fashion – but precisely because the article is twenty-five years old, it furthers productive conversation by helping to contextualize today’s reflections.