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Thread: SWJ and Open-Source Education

  1. #1
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Boston, MA

    Default SWJ and Open-Source Education

    What role – if any – could Small Wars Journal play in the open-source education trend that is disrupting higher education?
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  2. #2
    Council Member kehenry1's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri


    An interesting question. I had a discussion via twitter the other day re: "war on terror" & various parts pertaining to it. First, I was asked if I was "googlin" the information and a second asked me what govt agency I was currently or formerly working for and what were my "credentials" (ie academic degrees, affiliations, etc).

    Aside from my small amusement re: the questions, I was somewhat perplexed as to how to explain that what I had learned via the net through association with such groups as this forum and others like it? I settled on laughingly explaining that I had a "BS" from the U of WWW.

    On the non-humorous side, I extend my great appreciation to this site, forum, creators and contributors for the many years of continuing education.

  3. #3
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Mar 2006


    I have always found it either to read 5-10 shorter, footnoted SWJ articles, or web-articles linked into Council threads, then to try to busy out a longer, but perhaps more scholarly work.

    An SWJ article may suffer from a lack of peer review, but the best ones at least point me in the right direction to dig into additional details elsewhere, and for the azimuth they provide, some can be priceless.

    In many cases, the authors have more current BOG perspective as well.

  4. #4
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Oct 2005


    Peer review isn't always 100% valuable, either. I can name a couple of examples from personal experience where the biases of the reviewers tried to shape an article into something it was never intended to be. Besides, I'd posit that the commentary both here and at the Journal blog really does serve a peer review function...just one that's visible to the readers.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  5. #5
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Sep 2009


    Personally I highly value forms like blog and short papers as an additional way to approach and discuss topics. There are of course limitations but to me those feel a bit like a link between the scholarly paper and the face-to-face talk.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  6. #6
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr


    In other words, what measurable impact is there on the professional/academic community?

    I registered for this site in 2008 when I completed college, and for me personally, it has been instrumental in helping shape my professional and intellectual development. SWJ certainly targets a niche market in an oversatured information environment. Formalizing content and delivery will push the envelope further in "disrupting" higher education to "credetialize" the unique social dynamics of an internet blog and forum by monopolizing knowledge "space" (i.e. small wars).

    As kehenry asked, how do you contextualize that kind of education? EdX has the names of big schools behind it while online education requires government accreditation. Does the meaning and legitimacy of credentials need to be reexamined?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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