Miscellaneous

Two-Year Anniversary of Blackboard Acquisition of Moodlerooms and NetSpot

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:50
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Phil Hill, e-Literate, April 18, 2014

Phil Hill reports on the extent and impact of the changes Blackboard made two years ago while acquiting open course vendors Moodlerooms and NetSports and reorienting their corporate strategy. But: "While Blackboard has kept their word and made a major change in strategy, the question arises of whether that matters. According to the Campus Computing Survey for 2011 and 2013, Blackboard’ s market share (combining Learn, WebCT, and ANGEL product lines) has continue to fall in the US over the past two years, from 51% of institutions to 41%."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Where is Higher Education’s Digital Dividend?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:38


Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, April 18, 2014

Terry Anderson poses the question in the title by means of an example from David Wiley: "the cost of renting 75,000 movies  ($9.00 a month   from NetFlicks) or renting  any of 20 million songs from Spotify   ($9.99/month) with the cost of renting a college text book . A single biology text book rents for $12.99 a month from BookRenter." Thus, he writes, "the time is right for a 'market correction' that exploits the affordances of the Net to create drastically lower cost of quality higher education experience." It's long past due.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Offering cMOOCs Collaboratively: The COER13 Experience from the Convenors’ Perspective

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:24


Patricia Arnold, Swapna Kumar, Anne Thillosen, Martin Ebner, eLearning Papers, April 18, 2014

This short paper reflects on the offering of a cMOOC on the topic of Open Educational Resources in 2013. I'm curious to know what platform is used, but this is not described. The experiences, though, are similar to my own. For example, "All the convenors reflected on the challenge of managing multiple virtual spaces and following the conversations that participants had in those virtual spaces." As well, "It remains an open challenge to balance collaborative planning with “ playing-by-ear” facilitating in newly emergent situations."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Cultural Translation in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:03


Bernard Nkuyubwatsi, eLearning Papers, April 18, 2014

This is generally a good paper though I disagree with some aspects. Basically, the idea is that 'cultural translation`- which is roughly "flexibility to allow students from diverse cultures to adjust the courses to their specific settings" - can be enabled in MOOCs through student-selected projects or student-formed groups. Where I disagree with the paper is in how this activity is framed - the author writes of "The inclusion of tasks, activities and assessments that are relevant to various cultural and professional settings" as though it's the professor that is doing this (or minimally, allowing this). But in fact these are activities created by supporting student autonomy and diversity in the course - the more the professor lets go of control, the more inclusive and relevant the course can be. And for that reason too I think that 'translation' is a particularly poor word to use in this context. (10 page PDF).

(p.s. papers in eLearning Papers are still branded 'Open Education Europa', with no mention of 'eLearning Papers' on the web page, but don't cite them as 'Open Education Europa' or they will complain and suggest that you are at fault for getting this wrong).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

2014: The Year the Media Stopped Caring About MOOCs?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:54
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Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, April 17, 2014

Based on information about an unpopular UPenn seminar for media on MOOCs Steve Kolowich wrote this article about the possibility that media are losing interest in the story. I suppose a decline in interest in inevitable and I'm not surprised that the Chronicle's editors would want to pounce on that. But it may be premature; Kolowich wrote me asking if I had data, and thanks to the script I wrote for mooc.ca to extract news coverage of MOOCs I did have data, so I wrote up a quick script that extracted it. Here is the result. My own conclusion is that media coverage hasn't declined significantly.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Drupal to WordPress Migration

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:03


Jennifer Maddrell, Designed to Inspire, April 17, 2014

Jennifer Maddrell has moved her blog from Drupal to Wordpress, and as a result, changed her RSS feed address. As Feedly reports that I'm the first subscriber to the new feed, it seems relevant to post the news here. (p.s. I totally understand the move from Drupal, and like her, find it so much harder to work with than necessary).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Are Instructional Designers Making Themselves Irrelevant?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:55


Dawn Poulos, Xyleme, April 17, 2014

Interesting question to which the answer may be 'yes'. Dawn Poulos suggests, "Being static means being stale, and for instructional designers, stale content is the fastest road to irrelevancy." In fact, the discipline is changing, as exemplified by this list of 'aha moments':

  • "Aha!" Moment No. 1: Reusing Content is a Game Changer"
  • "Aha!" Moment No. 2: I Can Share My Content Outside the L& D Organization"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 3: Collaboration Lets Us Deliver Better Content Faster"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 4: Yes, I Really Can Personalize Learning Content"
  • "Aha! Moment No. 5: Structure Provides Flexibility"

What do you get if you actually implement these five principles? I would argue that you get a cMOOC. But your mileage may vary. Here's the full report (you will have to pay for it with your social network information).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

LMS Metaphors

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:06


Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, April 17, 2014

This is an interesting look at the metaphors used to describe the Learning Management System (LMS), including a reference to a fun  paper from 2007 describing the ways people described Blackboard ("The metaphors of ‘ tree branches,’ ‘ 7/11 store,’ ‘ river of information,’ ‘ fun game,’ and ‘ light bulb revolution’ reveal the communication, information, educational, political, and philosophical aspects of Blackboard cyberinfrastructure implementation... the educational usage of Blackboard did not emerge as the most prominent rationality for Blackboard"). Tom Woodward suggests here that " the LMS is a fast-food franchise kitchen. It does exactly what it is meant to do. It is built for people with minimal skills to make cheap food quickly at scale. It isn’ t meant to be a training ground so people can move up to gourmet cooking. These skills don’ t transfer. You aren’ t even meant to graduate to being a line cook at Friday’ s." Heh.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Breakup Letter to Facebook from Eat24

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 09:52


Lydia Leavitt, Eat24, April 17, 2014

Part of the problem with social media is that being profitable and making money do not mix well together. Witness Eat24's breakup letter to Facebook: "Not to be rude, but you aren’ t the smart, funny social network we fell in love with several years back. You’ ve changed. A lot. When we first met, you made us feel special. We’ d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’ d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends." Via TNW.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

All the passwords you should change because of Heartbleed, in one handy graphic

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 09:44


Harrison Weber, VB, April 17, 2014

*Sigh* "Heartbleed arose inside a version of open-source OpenSSL cryptographic software. Information sitting inside the memory of a server should be encrypted, but a little bit of data could be pulled out under an attack. Most recently, a report emerged alleging that the U.S. National Security Agency had known about Heartbleed for more than two years, and even exploited it. The NSA later denied the allegations." OLDaily and MOOC.ca users are not affected by the OpenSSL bug.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Paying for publication

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 09:39


Danny Kingsley, Australian Open Access Support Group, April 17, 2014

The Australian Open Access Support Group has posted a good series of articles on issues related to paying for open access publication. On this model, commonly called the 'Gold Model', authors or institutions pay publishers fees up front to process and make available the article as open access (by contrast, the 'Green Model' proposes that institutions manage their own article repositories). Many funding agencies, including the NHMRC and ARC in Australia, require that outcomes be published as open access.

Topics covered in the series include "the  cost of hybridaddressing double dipping,  a discussion about whether open access funds support open access,  and a look at what hybrid actually pays for. There is also an analysis of the membership model for open access publishing with a discussion of the attendant issues relating to managing article processing charges."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Rebuilding a Reader

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:19
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Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, April 14, 2014

I complained at length to a Google representative today about this, so Clarence Fisher's comment is timely: "When Google declared war on RSS and the open web by killing off their reader it was a heavy blow for deep thinking and for blogging. At first, I didn’ t miss it. I still had twitter after all. But over time, I began to realize that relying on twitter only for what I was going to read and learn was like relying on the remote control of my TV. It put me too much at the whim of other people and things I just happened to see."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

MOOCs for Development - Day 1

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:12


Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, April 14, 2014

Notes from the MOOCs for Development Conference April 10-11 at UPenn's International House in Philadelphia.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

MOOCs for Development - Day 2

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:10


Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, April 14, 2014

My notes from Day 2 of the MOOCs4D conference.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The MOOCs Challenge

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 14:39
[Slides][Audio]

In my presentation I outline the (real) history of MOOCs, outline design parameters, and sketch future technologies. This is presented in the context of the 'democratization' of knowledge and learning to support international development and educuation.

Education for Development, Philadelphia, PA (Panel) April 11, 2014 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Hits & thoughts ain't evidence

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 08:43


Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, April 12, 2014

As Martin Weller summarizes, "The impact map (http://oermap.org/)  has been developed largely by Rob Farrow and Martin Hawksey, and features lots of Hawksey-goodness. You can do the following on the map:

This is more than I was expecting from the OER mapping project, so I'm pleasantly surprised.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Free report durable Technology Enhanced Learning #Telearning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:49
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Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, April 11, 2014

Inge de Waard summarizes "the Beyond Prototypes report provides a UK-based in-depth examination of the processes of innovation in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) with a special emphasis on building online learning solutions that are durable. The focus is also on design-based research." Here's the full PDF. The report's key insights are worth reviewing:

  • "TEL involves a complex system of technologies and practices...it is necessary to look beyond product development and pay close attention to the entire process of implementation.
  • Significant innovations are developed and embedded over periods of years rather than months. Sustainable change is not a simple matter of product development, testing and roll-out.
  • TEL innovation is a process of bricolage... It also requires engagement with a range of communities and practices.
  • Successful implementation of TEL innovation requires evidence that the projected educational goal has been achieved."

This is advice well worth heeding on the part of those funding and sustaining learning technology initiatives.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Authentic Learning in Primary Science

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:39
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Simon Crook, Simon Crook's eLearning Blog, April 11, 2014

It's the little things that count. Note just this: "students recorded myself performing the procedure using their school's iPads, photographed the equipment and also diagrams on the board to assist them in carrying out the experiment themselves." But if you look at the photo, they're all wearing their lab coats. You may think it doesn't matter, but I think that it does - when they look at their videos of themselves, they see themselves as scientists. (p.s. I think a better ice-melting experiment would have been to have them take the temperature of the air before, during, and after the ice has finished melting - this would explain quite nicely how global warming can produce an unusually cold winter).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

EdTech: Startups On Track To Raise $2B Despite Challenges

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:13


Alexander Russo, This Week In Education, April 11, 2014

Interesting. Alexander Russo summarizes Jonathan Shieber 's article in TechCrunch: "What's super-hard to pull off but really attractive to venture capitalists? Edtech, apparently. Creating and sustaining a successful startup is not nearly as easy as it may look, as described recently in EdWeek... And yet, edtech startups raised over $500M in just the first quarter of 20014, according to  TechCrunch." I could probably spend some of that money to good effect...

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What We Really Need To Know About Ed Tech

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:01


helly Blake-Plock, Mind/Shift, April 11, 2014

I'm not sure I agree with every element on the list, but it raises questions that need raising. Here are the five things:

  • There's no such thing as 'free'
  • 'Open' isn’ t so much about content as it is about the distribution arrangement.
  • Ed-tech companies need to make money
  • You are being exploited
  • Most of the important stuff is under the hood.

There is such a thing as 'free' - air is free, language is free, and the ideas that form inside your own head are free. And 'open' osn't about the distribution arrangement, it's about the priorities that went into the thing in the first place. Companies need to make money - but governments don't (at least, not through the sale of products), and we need to keep that in mind.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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