MOOC video content

The debate as to which presentation style is the best, in the delivery of MOOC video content, is not in any way different from the debate as to which teaching method one should choose in a traditional lecture setting. With many universities offering online courses and millions of students worldwide enrolling in them, video content quality and delivery are getting more attention than ever.  In a MOOC, presentation style and content are almost synonymous.

MOOC, internet, savio rebelo, education
MOOCs in Africa

Good MOOC content (video or otherwise) is one that effects change in the behavior of a learner.  The choice of the presentation style in the delivery of a MOOC via video affects the way people learn and engage with it.  The content also needs to achieve the instructional objectives of subject being taught.  Creating video content devoid of an understanding of the individual needs and capacity of the audience creates bigger challenges for MOOCs.

Developing video content that merely delivers a traditional lecture in digital format runs the risk of creating a feeling of emptiness in a student and causing the student to unconsciously withdraw from the presentation.  It may thus be a good idea to choose a presentation style that is able to captivate the attention of and keep the student engaged for at least 70% of the duration of the course.  To do so, I believe the presentation needs to include the following:

  1. Activity based content
  2. Relation of the subject to real-life applications
  3. Nearly real-time evaluation/feedback

Including activities, during video-content delivery, keeps the learner engaged.  Similarly, presentations, which attempt to relate the subject matter to real-life situations, will draw a student’s attention into the.  Further, when a learner is aware that he/she is being evaluated, almost in real-time, through available digital tools, he/she will take a greater interest in the MOOC.  All in all, I feel that the video content of a MOOC should be student-centered and informal.

Works Cited

“Effective Use of Learning Designs.” Labspace. n.p. Web. n.pag. 25 September 2013

Learning Styles Online.” Illinois Online Network. n.p. Web. n.pag. 25 September 2013

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AmazonFresh Is Jeff Bezos’ Last Mile Quest For Total Retail Domination | Fast Company | Business + Innovation


Would grocery stores be faced by serious competition from a heavyweight like Amazon?  Maybe so.  AmazonFresh is the latest offering from Jeff Bezos‘s Amazon.  Promising unmatched customer service and convinience, AmazonFresh plans to offer grocery deliveries to your doorstep for a small annual membership fee which is less than what an average family would spend annually on transportation and other costs associated with grocery purchases.

If successful, one might soon see grocery stores struggling to compete.  AmazonFresh is definitely one trend to watch that could cause major disruption to traditional grocery stores.

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Another Gunman & Another School – No Lessons Learned

cnn, school shooting, gunman, kumon, Woman cries at the news of the gunman at a Georgia school

Click here: Gunman wielded AK-47 inside Georgia school –

“Another gunman at another school,” the story is all to familiar.  The incident that occurred yesterday wherein a man opened fire with an AK-47 at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Georgia was another in a string of similar events that have taken place since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999.  Luckily, this incident passed without a casualty and many innocent children’s lives were spared.

The story seems to be getting all too familiar and the public in general seem to be desensitized to the fact that lives of innocent children are on the line.

As usual, there will be debates between pro and anti gun-rights activists.  The media will milk the story for what it is worth before it dies and fades away into distant memory.

Though revisiting gun-laws may be a solution to all gun-related violence and crimes, I believe serious thought needs to be given to making facilities housing children safer.

While, public or private schools have become targets of gun-totting loons, they are still relatively safer than the million other locations that house children like private day-care facilities, retail tutoring centers, learning centers, karate classes, ballet classes etc.  Local townships all over the United States have failed to effectively regulate the operational safety of such locations.  Touring some of these facilities, I found that most were in violation of a host of safety and hygiene codes.  Most violated occupancy codes and codes regulating safety of entry and exit.  One can find many child activity locations housing more kids at any given time than allowed by the occupancy certificate issued by the township.   Most of them offer absolutely no security to children in the event that they are targeted by an armed loon.

City officials, in a desperate attempt to attract small business investments within their communities, allow such facilities to re-categorize themselves in order to bend the rules.  For example, many tutoring centers that should be attracting the same scrutiny and building codes if categorized as schools, try and circumvent the code by categorizing themselves as retail educational bookstores.

In my opinion, every single brick and mortar facility involving children should attract the most stringent safety codes to protect the children from all possible dangers, not just from gunmen.  There have been incidents wherein automobiles have lost control and driven straight into a daycare or learning center.  Millions of children in the United States are put in harms way because townships have absolutely no laws that regulate such facilities or the people that operate them.  When such incidents result in the deaths of innocent children, they are no different than casualties at the hands of gunmen.

That being said, I feel that society in general, most of all parents need to challenge their community leaders to enact tough laws for children’s facilities and the people that operate them.  They need to do this because we are talking about the lives of innocent children here.  And because every single innocent life counts.

Its time to wake up and disrupt the status quo on the issue of child safety.

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Can disruption in Television ever happen?

TV, television, savio rebelo, savio rebelo kumon, savio rebelo resigns, savio rebelo coo
Old Television with rabbit-ear antenna

Probably the majority of TV viewers like the way things are and don’t want change.  I think the reason TV disruption on a massive scale hasn’t occured is because it is driven more by the content of programming rather than technology of the delivery. 

Also, the majority of TV viewers aren’t technology savvy.  If someone keeps that in mind, TV disruption could occur.

End Internet Trolling – One blog at a time.

Nicole Smith IAKF, Nicole Smith Kumon
Satirical Cartoon of an Internet Troll
In recent months, more people than ever have begun to talk about the new scourge plaguing the internet: “Internet Trolling.”  Internet trolling is the penchant of some individuals who take pleasure in sowing discord and enjoy creating conflict through the use of the internet.  

Different sources define an internet troll as a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.Researchers have begun studying this new phenomenon and believe that internet trolls actually suffer from a multitude of mental disorders.  Some psychiatrists describe internet trolls as sad people, living their lonely lives vicariously, and constantly jealous of those they see as strong and successful.  They typically possess a poorly developed set of social skills and have difficulty viewing their actions from the perspectives of their victims. The chemical imbalances in their brains make them callous to the fact that they are harming real people and mentally cannot think beyond their computer screen. They feel no remorse for the harm they cause, and actually measure their “success” by the amount of harm they have caused those they do not like.  The disease makes them impervious to rationale, mature arguments against their wares, and will protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed if ever there is an attempt to call them on their trolling.  People with this disorder exhibit desperation in meeting their attention-needs, which are usually unmet in their real life.  

Here are some satirical pictures describing internet trolls. 
nicole smith kumon
Satirical Characteristics of an Internet Troll
nicole smith kumon, nicole smith iakf
Satirical Illustration of the Anatomy of an Internet Troll

Internet trolls also suffer from the “flamer personality disorder” which is closely associated with schizophrenia.  They also suffer from a host of other mental illnesses such as somatoform disorder, factitious disorder, multiple personality disorder, kleptomania and pyromania.  Ironically, pyromania and flamer personality are two distinct mental illnesses though they sound similar and can be easily mistaken for the other. Australian psychologist Karyn Krawford found that, though internet trolling signifies serious mental illness, the more the mentally ill spend online the less empathetic they become.  Others feel that internet trolling is no different than any other criminal behavior like stealing or murder where the perpetrator is insensitive to the suffering they inflict on a victim.  Steven Streight describes characteristics of an internet troll in his blog:

  1. Posts inflammatory comments, not to engage in serious conversation, but to “grief” or annoy an online community.
  2. An obvious glee and elated satisfaction is aroused in them when people join the fight and reply to their deliberately disruptive comments.
  3. Copies and pastes large blocks of text to exhaust the readers of a topic thread, thus driving away legitimate posters of sincere comments. These blocks of text are often recycled and appeared on a variety of threads.
  4. Tends to avoid complimenting people who disagree with them, even when those in opposition to the troll make some valid points.
  5. Shuns any conciliatory statements like “You have obviously spent a lot of time studying this subject, and I’m not certain how to reply to your last remark, so let’s shake hands, part as friends, and move on.”
  6. Never ends a debate with “Thanks for the discussion” or “I’ll consider what you say” or any other finalizing remark, because they love arguing and disrupting civilized conversations.
  7. Keeps an argument going a lot longer than a normal person would, to the point where people will start asking a moderator to turn off comments or block the troll. However, sometimes people will do this just because they can’t tolerate contrary opinions and are angry at seeing them posted to a thread they enjoyed reading. The mark of a troll is to keep hammering away at a point in an obsessive manner.
  8. Acts innocent when called a troll, and states “I’m just stating a contrary opinion, and you can’t handle it”, but the reality is they are not innocent, they are trouble-makers who only post inflammatory remarks, rarely contributing any real value or good information to a discussion.
  9. Starts saying filthy words and making wild accusations when confronted. Their hostility and provoking rhetoric escalates when you ask them if they might be a troll or if they are simply trying to stir up trouble.
  10. When you mention the name of another well-known forum, Second Life, or blogospheric troll, they defend them and accuse you of not understanding that person because you’re a tyrannical censoring fascist or whatever.
  11. Will try to bring up issues that they are angry about, no matter what the topic of a thread is. For example, they will say things like “sounds like the Open Source movement” or “reminds me of Tea Baggers” or “you’re sounding like a typical commie libtard now” or “you sound like some irrational Creationism crank” or “you atheists are all the same”, or whatever it is they’re hostile toward, in an attempt to start a new argument within the current debate.
  12. When people realize or are warned that the person is a troll, and the troll is then ignored, and nobody will respond to anything they say, the trolling person tends to give up and go to some other thread. They crave attention and they try to get it by being obnoxious in a juvenile, or scholarly, manner.
  13. They use a nickname, are anonymous, or use a real sounding name, but do not embed a link to their blog or website in their name, as is common in comment forms. This lack of accountability enables them to get away with saying anything they want, to anybody, and even tell outright lies about what they saw or heard.
  14. They, when not confronted or exposed sufficiently, will seek to have the last word in an online discussion. When nobody responds to their last troll comment, they will proudly proclaim that they “won” what they fantasize as a “content” or “battle.”
Though there will still be outliers, most internet trolls can be categorized into two broad types, “Precursor” and “Lackey.”  Precursor:  These are individuals who are motivated by psychotic delusions or compulsions, or by a neurotic search for false self-esteem.  They suffer from a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychotic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions.  Neurotic trolls try to obtain a false sense of self-esteem by manipulating the reactions of others.  They enjoy demonstrating their “power” to destroy what others enjoy.  Such trolls usually self-identify themselves in their hate campaign by posting pictures of themselves next to the hate campaigns they initiate on the internet.  These are usually compulsive liars who go to any extent to create hysteria over the internet.  They are often manipulative enough to make it past any initial moderation by website administrators.  They inject their own emotional turmoil into other people by luring them into negativity.  It’s a way for them to feel some kind of control or power over their own disruptive emotions, at other people’s expense. 
Lackey:  Also called brown-nosed internet trolls.  They tend to be servile followers of the precursor troll and are usually closely associated with the precursor troll.  They usually follow the former and encourage others to join in the mob.  They yearn for attention and approval of the precursor troll.  They have a longing for consideration of their posts as highly intellectual from the precursor or other lackeys.  Lackeys usually post anonymously or hide behind fake ids.  These types of trolls account for the majority of internet trolls.  Though they suffer from mental illnesses to the same extent as precursors, they lack the guts to self-identify.   Without the face-to-face presence on the internet, lackeys perceive others as a ‘targets’ rather than real human beings with real lives.A comment by a CNN reader in relation to an article on internet trolls caught my eye. It reads, “I am trying to understand the mentality of someone that has to act in concert with others in a comment forum.  Are we all still in 5th grade? Even then, that behavior was lame. Adults needing to act in concert to be mean to someone else anonymously simply means their mother should have handled her business and spared the rest of us from her progeny.”

While internet trolls have many motivations, it is encouraging to see that society has begun to recognize the problem and is doing something about it.  It may also just be a matter of time before all individuals are required to undergo routine psychological testing by medical practitioners during annual physicals thus enabling them to identify mental illnesses early on and help treat them. 

The run of trolls may be finally coming to an end, though there will still be websites that thrive on promoting hate.   More and more online newspapers, blogs, and other websites are instituting anti-troll measures, to stop this pathological trend.  All reputed media outlets online have begun to monitor content in certain sensitive areas, and forbid the use of impersonation, targeted abuse, violence, and threats, and the revelation of others’ personal information.  Most reputed websites have shut down comments as a way to keep internet trolls at bay.  At the New York Times, editors select a limited number of articles daily that may receive comments; two moderators keep an eye on things.  Facebook recently announced its plans to ramp up efforts to delete hate speech, particularly those against private citizens, on its site.

For now, as we continue to witness a tipping point against trolling on the internet, we should also believe that there are still a lot of sincerely good people left on this planet.  I think that there are more good people than misguided ones.  And when the good ones’ tolerance level ends, they rise up and bring about great social change for the greater good.  So, if you have been a victim of internet trolling, believe that you are not alone because every single truly good citizen in our civil society is here for you.
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“Inmates running the Asylum” – Lessons from El Pueblito

The Economist carries the following article in its Aug 17th 2013 print edition:
It covers the growing problem of America’s overcrowded prisons. I think Eric Holder’s proposals for locking up fewer Americans are welcome, but do not go far enough.

Savio Rebelo | Disruptive Frontiers And The Death of Traditional Models

Some time back, I watched the Mel Gibson movie “Get the Gringo.” wherein he is sent to the fictional El Pueblito prison.  The prison is run by the prisoners themselves.  Though amusing, I could not comprehend that such a thing actually existed anywhere in the world.

Doing a little research, I found that El Pueblito was a real-life prison built in 1956 in Tijuana, Mexico, as part of an experiment where researchers, wanting to help inmates readjust to life in the outside world after serving their sentence, allowed their families to stay with them.   Over the years, this flexible arrangement was abused and some of these inmates began ruling over the prison.

The El Pueblito, model-prison-turned-law-enforcement nightmare was effectively destroyed about eleven years back on August 20, 2002.  On that day, approximately 2,000 law-enforcement officers stormed the facility to transfer many prisoners to other institutions, evict entire…

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EDIBLE FOOD PACKAGING – disruption to plastic packaging?

Plastic has been around for as long as I have been alive.  It’s has a nearly indispensable use in food packaging.  However, disposal of plastic waste has become a global nightmare.  Still, no viable cost-effective alternative has replaced it. 

Is “edible packaging” the next disruptive trend that would significantly loosen the grip of plastic over the food packaging industry?