Executive Director | Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society | Harvard University

“Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society (“BKC” or the “Center”) is a University-wide research center and one of the largest and most influential conveners and accelerators of scholars, technologists, activists and makers working on cyberspace and related law and public policy matters in the public interest. The Center now seeks an Executive Director to join our team, appreciate our legacy, and help us shape the next generation of making an impact. The Executive Director leads and directs senior leadership, staff, and our extended community executing development, research, and outreach.  

This is a rare and unusual opportunity to join a flourishing, intellectually robust community of faculty, students, fellows, and affiliates from multiple disciplines and backgrounds, committed to studying and improving the digital space by building in it. The Center works on the cutting edge of research and development while operating amid, and benefiting from, one of the most revered educational institutions in the world. We contain legacy and innovation, history and future-vision, ambition and humility. The reach of the Center is global and local, and our passionate, committed community builds, studies, educates and connects. We make a difference in the world. And we are looking for a very special leader. …”

Executive Director | Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society | Harvard University

“Since 1997, Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society has pioneered the study of, and building within, the digital environment in the public interest. The Center now seeks an Executive Director to help us shape the Center’s next generation of work and engagement on technology and society. 

This is a rare and unusual opportunity to join a flourishing, intellectually robust international community of faculty, students, fellows, and affiliates from multiple disciplines and backgrounds, dedicated to studying and improving the digital space by building in it. The Center works on the cutting edge of research and development while operating amid, and benefiting from, one of the most revered educational institutions in the world. We contain history and innovation, ambition and humility. The reach of the Center is global and local. The work and well-being of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are profoundly strengthened by our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and more. Our passionate, committed community builds, studies, educates and connects. We make a difference in the world. And we are looking for a very special leader….”

IBM, MIT and Harvard release DARPA “Common Sense AI” dataset at ICML 2021 | IBM Research Blog

“Before we can build machines that make decisions based on common sense, the AI powering those machines must be capable of more than simply finding patterns in data. It must also consider the intentions, beliefs, and desires of others that people use to intuitively make decisions.

At the 2021 International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), we are releasing a new dataset for benchmarking AI intuition, along with two machine learning models representing different approaches to the problem. The research has been done with our colleagues at MIT and Harvard University to accelerate the development of AI that exhibits common sense. These tools rely on testing techniques that psychologists use to study the behavior of infants….”

What the edX Acquisition Means for the Future of Higher Education

“By entering into this deal, Harvard and MIT have shown that they’re committed to a new business model. That is, they’ll continue their excellence in the residential model for a select few but will also leverage their expertise and teaching resources to provide high-quality education to the masses at affordable prices. To start with, they developed an incredible collection of content in edX, which netted them $800 million. They’ll use that money to further expand their online strategy.

This development should serve as a wakeup call for other colleges and universities. Lamenting a lack of government support and declining enrollments won’t help. They must instead ask how they can orchestrate an ecosystem to offer high-quality education at low cost. They currently follow a vertical integration model where they perform the entire value chain in house, from admitting students all the way to awarding degrees. They must start thinking about how to unbundle the value chain and outsource areas where others possess superior core competencies — for example, to content creators like Outlier.org, outreach platforms like edX, and those in the gaming industry with expertise in artificial and augmented reality and capabilities to create immersive experiences. By partnering and controlling significant parts of value chain instead of resisting them, universities can gain a significant portion of revenues that would steadily migrate toward EdTech companies. Those additional revenues can provide seed capital to universities to drive their own EdTech initiatives. Right now, they’re mere spectators in the game.”

MIT and Harvard Have Sold Higher Education’s Future

“Last week Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sold their edX platform to a for-profit company for $800 million. Founded by the two institutions nearly a decade ago, edX was higher education’s answer to the venture-backed start-ups jostling for an online-course windfall. With the sale to one of those firms, Maryland-based 2U, Harvard and MIT have surrendered. Their decision to fold is a major, and potentially fateful, act of betrayal.

Alan Garber, Harvard’s provost, adopted the language of edX’s profit-maximizing rivals in conceding defeat. “Taking full advantage of [online learning’s] potential,” he told The Harvard Gazette, “will require capital investments at greater scale than is readily attainable for a nonprofit entity like edX.” The decision to sell comes as investor interest in higher education has swelled during the pandemic. Coursera, the Silicon Valley online-course provider, went public in March, and Instructure — the maker of the popular learning-management software Canvas — filed for an IPO last week. The Covid Zoom boom has brought the inevitable wave of start-ups hoping to cash in on the virtual college classroom. So it’s no surprise that the market value of 2U, after the edX announcement, surged past $3 billion.

Before the sale, edX was academe’s public option — a mission-aligned satellite of the brick-and-mortar campus. Now all the major players in the sector are profiteers, legally obligated to maximize shareholder return….

By the turn of the millennium, most societies had handed over their journals to be published by the big commercial players, in exchange for a share of profit. Now most scholarship is published by an oligopolist quintet of information conglomerates that, in turn, charge their college customers usurious fees.

That industry is among the most profitable in the world, in part because academics write and review for free. As the historian Aileen Fyfe has shown, there was nothing inevitable about the joint custody — nonprofit colleges and for-profit publishers — we’ve ended up with. We owe our current predicament, in part, to the decisions of learned societies who chose short-term cash over their scholar-members’ long-term interests. Harvard and MIT have just made the same disastrous miscalculation….

2U’s mission is fundamentally misaligned with the university tradition. 2U, Coursera, and their venture-funded competitors are built to squeeze profit from our students, using our faculty and course offerings. Harvard and MIT had no right, in the meaningful sense, to sell us off. None of us — not faculty members, not students — signed up for edX to increase Silicon Valley’s wallet share. We will look back on this careless abrogation of stewardship as the tragic squandering that it is.”

edX: A Look Backward

“It soon became clear that edX was pursuing a strategy fundamentally different from that which I had signed up for. Rather than being a force for innovation and educational research, it would instead be content aggregator, marketing platform, and a (second-tier) LMS.

This week, edX announced that it would be absorbed by 2U in exchange for $800 million that would establish a non-profit dedicated to access, research, and innovation 

Talk about lucrative investments. Over nine years, Harvard and MIT transformed an initial “loan” of $60 million plus a subsequent investment of $20 million into $800 million that will be fund the non-profit that the two institutions will govern. 

By my calculations, that’s a return of 900 percent – or over 29 percent a year.

It’s my understanding that neither Harvard nor MIT will receive any cash from the transaction. But the two institutions will no longer have to bankroll any aspect of edX and will, it appears, exercise control over the new non-profit entity that the edX sale will create….

edX’s sale will not be widely mourned. But I, for one, feel an acute sense of loss, frustration, and, yes, disappointment. edX had promised to make high quality courses by the best professors in the world available globally for free. It was to drive technological and pedagogical innovations in online education. It was to create an international consortium of educational researchers and innovators. Spoiler alert: It didn’t….”

2U, Inc. and edX to Join Together in Industry-Redefining Combination

“2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU), a global leader in education technology, and edX, a leading online learning platform and education marketplace, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to join together in an industry-redefining combination that will help power the digital transformation of higher education, expand access and affordability, and usher in a new era of online learning. 

2U will acquire substantially all of edX’s assets for $800M in cash. Together, 2U and edX will reach over 50 million learners globally, serve more than 230 partners, and offer over 3,500 digital programs on the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online education marketplace.

Proceeds of the transaction will flow to the nonprofit that will continue under the leadership of edX founders Harvard and MIT and will be dedicated to reimagining the future of learning for people at all stages of life, addressing educational inequalities, and continuing to advance next generation learning experiences and platforms. Drawing on insights gained at Harvard, MIT, and other institutions, this organization will develop strategies and partnerships to help close the learning gap. …”

edX acquired by education technology company 2U – Harvard Gazette

“Today, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and edX announced a joint effort with education technology company 2U to further the reach and impact of online learning across the world.

Under the agreement, edX will be converted to a public benefit entity that is fully owned and operated by 2U. 2U will use its resources to grow the online learning platform with the speed, and at the scale, that learners need today.

The proceeds of the acquisition will be used by a nonprofit led by Harvard and MIT that will focus on closing the learning and opportunity gap through the development of new partnerships, digital tools, and strategies. The nonprofit will devote significant resources to forging partnerships with institutions of higher education, particularly community colleges and other educational institutions that serve under-resourced communities. It will also seek to partner with other nonprofit organizations to tackle longstanding inequities in education, and with enterprises and governments to address workforce reskilling needs, while advancing learning experience platforms and research in all these areas….”

The Stuart Cary Welch Islamic and South Asian Photograph Collection | Harvard Library

“The Fine Arts Library holds the noted curator’s research slides, documenting four decades of unparalleled access to public and private art collections from around the world….

The Fine Arts Library is currently in the process of digitizing, color-correcting, and cataloging this important collection, which is made available open access as it is completed. View the images currently cataloged. …”

Building global open-access knowledge on Digital Self-Determination | Berkman Klein Center

“The Berkman Klein Center’s latest Research Sprint, co-hosted with Digital Asia Hub, explored digital self-determination, a multi-faceted concept that includes ownership and agency over one’s data, and what it means cross-culturally and through various lenses, including for example how digital self-determination can and should play out in areas such as health, the gig economy, and the information economy. The program is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Global Network of Internet & Society Centers (NoC) to advance dialogue and action at the intersection of science, politics, digital economy, and civil society….”

 

Mercè Crosas, de Harvard a secretària de Transparència i Govern Obert | exterior

From Google’s English:  “After 17 years at Harvard University (United States), Mercè Crosas Navarro has been appointed Secretary of Transparency and Open Government, which belongs to the Department of Foreign Action and Transparency of the Catalan government. Until now he had served as head of research data management at Harvard University and head of the office of data science and technology at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science.”

REPEAT (Reproducible Evidence: Practices to Enhance and Achieve Transparency)

“Replication is a cornerstone of the scientific method. Historically, public confidence in the validity of healthcare database research has been low. Drug regulators, patients, clinicians, and payers have been hesitant to trust evidence from databases due to high profile controversies with overturned and conflicting results. This has resulted in underuse of a potentially valuable source of real-world evidence.?…

Division of Phamacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomics [DoPE]

Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.”

Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of Harvard Library’s Advancing Open Knowledge Grant Recipients | Harvard Library Communications

“Harvard Library’s Advancing Open Knowledge Grants Program is excited to announce its first cohort of award recipients. From readying Cabot to produce audible versions of library materials for visually impaired users to highlighting the astronomical heritage of Black and Indigenous cultures, the seven selected projects seek to advance open knowledge and foster innovation to further diversity, inclusion, belonging and antiracism.

The program’s co-managers (Jehan Sinclair, Claire DeMarco and Colleen Cressman), as well as a team of library staff reviewers, evaluated the proposed projects on criteria related to user impact, DIBAR impact, innovation, open knowledge, integration with Harvard Library infrastructure, and accessibility. The review process will be evaluated and adapted for the second round of grants….”

Open Access 101 » Action at Harvard

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“What can you do specifically if you are an affiliate of Harvard?

Add yourself to the Harvard Open Access Initiative’s mailing list or add this blog to your RSS feed to receive updates about future OA events. You can even start posting on it if you want to organize an event!
Email kxu AT fas DOT harvard DOT edu if you are interested in getting involved with the 2007 Internet and Society Conference, whose theme will be openness in the university
If you are a faculty member, take a look at the ways faculty can support open access and try something!
Insist that the administration take a strong stance on open access!

If you are an FAS student, please contact your UC reps and let them know that this is an important issue to you. There are several initiatives to lower the cost of coursepacks that are closely tied in to this.
If you are a faculty member, start a discussion with your colleagues and get in touch with the Committee on Scholarly Communications, headed by Prof. Stuart Shieber.

Join Harvard Free Culture, the student group that is most active about this and other issues dealing with technology and societal change….”