All it took was a home phone and a little time.
The more than 10,000 registered voters in Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon’s district who have a home phone were called Thursday night and given a chance to participate in the city’s third tele-town-hall meeting.
More than 2,800 of them did so, weighing in with their opinions or asking questions of city officials during the hourlong call.
Departmental directors from police, fire, finance, public works and transportation, water utilities, code compliance, community planning and development, parks and recreation, management resources and the library were on hand to provide information. Residents’ concerns included roads, barking dogs, leaf removal, water quality, how city money is spent and how fast the city is paying off its Jerry World debt.
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Respondents were also polled on what they consider to be the city’s biggest issue. Thirty-one percent indicated transportation, 29 percent picked crime, 27 percent said streets and 14 percent said code violations.
Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they would use a high-speed rail service connecting Fort Worth, Arlington and Houston. Seventy-three percent said they like the city’s recycling carts.
Thursday’s tele-town hall followed one in November that was hosted by Councilman Robert Rivera for residents of District 3 and one in 2012 hosted by Wilemon and Mayor Robert Cluck for residents citywide. More are planned in 2014, the city said.
UTA hires MOOC leader
The University of Texas at Arlington has hired George Siemens, director of the MOOC Research Initiative, to lead a new lab that opens this spring.
Siemens led an international conference at UT Arlington last month that deals with the successes and shortcomings of massive open online courses.
“The big distinction is that our need for learning has changed. Rarely can you enter a career right out of college and stay there the rest of your life. MOOCs, I think, are a reflection in which the learning needs of society of have changed and universities haven’t,” Siemens previously told the Star-Telegram.
Siemens, a well-known international expert and theorist on digital learning who taught one of the first open online courses in 2008, will lead UT Arlington’s Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab.
The LINK Lab will explore the influence of online learning, the effectiveness of alternative teaching, and the growing influence of data and analytics on higher education practices, according to a news release.