Miscellaneous

Doctoral dissertation successfully defended

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 21:00


Hans Põldoja, hanspoldoja.net, Sept 29, 2016

Worth a look (212 page PDF). "The underlying concept of the study is the open education ecosystem....Firstly, to clarify the design challenges related to the open education ecosystem, this study summarizes a set of design challenges presented in design case studies. Secondly, it identifies and recommends a set of design patterns that address these design challenges. Finally, the study proposes the structure and components that are needed for the open education ecosystem." The dissertation is based on five publications and - what he doesn't tell us here - was the result of 13 years worth of work. Via Teemu Leinonen, who recommended it to me.

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Watch Disco Demolition Night Turn Into a Disaster in Real Time With This Amazing Footage

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 21:00


Matthew Dessem, Browbeat, Sept 29, 2016

Back in the 1970s, when disco became popular, it was all you could listen to (except maybe for the occasional classical music station). That could never happen today. If you don't like what's on the radio, you go to the internet. “ This garbage of demolishing a record has turned into a fiasco!” Piersall goes on to make the case that Steve Dahl is a symptom of national decline, telling Bill Gleason, “ We have become followers. So many people, insecure, don’ t know what to do with themselves and how to have a good time— they follow someone who’ s a jerk!” There's also an entire baseball game on this video, so enjoy.

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Determinants of Teachers' Attitudes Towards E-Learning in Tanzanian Higher Learning Institutions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 15:00


Dalton H. Kisanga, The International Review of Research in Open, Distributed Learning, Sept 29, 2016

This is a good paper, crisply written (notice, for example, how the literature review is to the point, relevant to the topic, and supports the conceptual design of the study). It's a simple survey, but at least consisted of a random sample (within constraints) and we see the actual questions. Analysis looked at responses across clusters of questions, considering for example a person's attitude to e-learning, and mapped them to demographic and other factors. Positive attitudes toward e-learning are associated with exposure to e-learning (in line with the theory of the mere exposure effect) and "are also in line with the developed conceptual framework of this study adapted from the TAM theoretical model, which explains the relationship between an individual's perceived ease of use (EoU) and attitude (A) towards a stimulus." Meanwhile, "teachers' negative attitudes towards e-learning could be attributed to other external factors that can hinder e-learning adoption."

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A Far Cry from School History: Massive Online Open Courses as a Generative Source for Historical Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 15:00


Silvia Gallagher, Ciaran Wallace, The International Review of Research in Open, Distributed Learning, Sept 29, 2016

Good article that takes advantage of the fact that in some MOOCs knowledge is created and not merely transmitted. "Learner participation in MOOCs is a two way process whereby learners are both consumers and producers of knowledge. In these connectivist environments, learners are not only being encouraged to interact with one another, but are also given the facility to share and create content." This paper is a detailed examination of how this can work and reports on a specific case; "The MOOC examined in this research focuses on the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923 in Ireland, and was delivered over six weeks by Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and Futurelearn." Good paper in what is a pretty uneven issue of IRRODL.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

New LinkedIn features emphasize learning as more workers face threat of automation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/29/2016 - 15:00


Nat Levy, GeekWire, Sept 29, 2016

This article is more about the e-learning feature in LinkedIn than it is about the dangers of automation. Right now the  LinkedIn Learning services offers premiun subscribers a course-finding service, online learning support, and posting of newly acquired competencies on the personal profile, basically combining services offered by LinkedIn and Lynda.com. The next part of the system is obviously a job-matching feature that will recommend opportunities to users, and potential candidates to employers.

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Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Education in the Age of the MOOC

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/28/2016 - 17:00


Noam Ebner, Social Science Research Network, Sept 28, 2016

Good paper (47 page PDF) on the development and delivery of a MOOC on negotiation and conflict resolution. It's focused around four major issues:

  1. Can we provide the same quality of negotiation education in a MOOC format
  2. Can the signature pedagogy of the negotiation field, the experiential learning model, be implemented in a MOOC?
  3. Can we provide students in a MOOC the same experience that has made negotiation courses successful?
  4. What implications might this have for negotiation and dispute resolution education?

I really like the section on quality (it should be required reading). "Interestingly, the standards for assessing the quality of traditional negotiation courses have been somewhat vague both in terms of outcomes within the course," writes Noam Ebner.

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What Do Forbes, NYT, And Sotheby’s Have In Common? They Make Online Courses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/28/2016 - 14:00


Anuar Lequerica, Class Central, Sept 28, 2016

There's virtually no content in this article (would it be too much to do an interview or get a point of view?) but the author points to an important trend. "The World Bank, PwC, and Fundaç ã o Lemann offer MOOCs on Coursera. Microsoft, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and the Inter-American Development Bank all offer MOOCs on edX. Google offers an Android Basics Nanodegree on Udacity."

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The Open Research Agenda

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 13:00


OERhub, Sept 27, 2016

Passing this along: "The Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) is conducting a global survey of OER ahead of the 2nd World OER Congress....You can find out more and take the survey at  http://rcoer.col.org/surveys.html. If you’ re feeling in a mood to contribute to a survey, please also consider sharing some thoughts on our open research consultation at  http://tinyurl.com/2016ora."

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Google’s creepy Allo assistant and our rocky relationship so far

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 13:00


Paul Bradshaw, Online Journalism Blog, Sept 27, 2016

I actually admire Google's efforts to make  Allo work. Allo has a greater range than Siri, even if it does listen in to your conversations and act like a friend that's trying too hard to be liked. Eventually we'll all use an assistant like this, but they'll have to work out some of the glitches and get past the 'creepiness' factor. What concerns be about Allo and its ilk is that it's tied to the phone. The phone is our least secure device, is a consumption-only device, and is tied to things that matter, like our phone number (and hence, telcom account and billing). Here's a bit more about Allo.

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Open education and the Unenlightenment

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 19:00


Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, Sept 26, 2016

"This desire for knowledge, the very belief that acquiring knowledge was a worthwhile pursuit, underpinned much of cultural development through to the 20th century. And although it started out as a privileged pursuit, the basic premise, which we can summarise as 'knowing stuff is good'... " writes Martin Weller. "The Unenlightenment sees a reversal of this basic principle: wilful avoidance of knowledge." It won't be enough, he argues, to simply create great OERs. "Education needs to fight not only for its own relevance, but for the culture within which it is situated. " maybe - but at the same time it needs to fight against the culture in which it is situated. The culture of education is a culture of privilege and special rights and inside favours and manipulating the law (and statistics, and whatever else needs manipulating) to ensure this never changes. And - from where I sit - the problem is that many of the people within education do not want to let go of this culture. It is, after all, how they make their living.

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Yahoo hack hits 500 million users, but who are the suspects?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 19:00


BBC, Sept 26, 2016

The lesson here is, if you put your data into a big giant data store, it's going to be hacked. And the agency that does it is probably going to be a national government. Pundits are talking about the Russians, the Chinese and even the North Koreans, but I have to consider the American NSA to be equally likely suspects (the only difference is that they're marginally less likely to get caught). On the bright side, "If this is state-sponsored I don't think they actually want the information - it is more about the impact of the data breach."

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Deep neural networks for YouTube recommendations

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 13:00


Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, Sept 26, 2016

"The YouTube system is built on top of Google Brain, or as we now know it, TensorFlow. To give an idea of scale, the models learn approximately one billion parameters and are trained on hundreds of billions of examples. The basic problem is posed as 'given this user’ s YouTube activity history, which videos are they most likely to watch next?'" The recommendations are (in my experience) not so great - they reflect my YouTube interests, but not my wider interests. The  full paper is available from Google (8 page PDF)

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Blind people do math in the ‘visual’ cortex

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 13:00


Jill Rosen-Johns Hopkins, Futurity, Sept 26, 2016

What I like about this item is that it speaks against the idea that there is a special area for discrete functions in the brain. “ If we can make the visual cortex do math, in principle, we can make any part of the brain do anything.” Here's the  original paper (6 page PDF)

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Seoul Man speaks: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Meets the Fourth E-Learning Revolution

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 10:00


Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan, Sept 26, 2016

Curt Bonk "gave the keynote speech at E-learning Week at Coex," in Seoul Korea. He writes, "I was asked to speak about the Fourth Industrial Age (more info on it; see the Davos Reader). At the start of the talk, I spoke on self-driving cars and planes, robotics, 3-D printing,  augmented intelligence, artificial intelligence, and much more.  Below is the abstract that I came up with. My slides are posted." Do follow the links, which make this an interesting item.

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How Microsoft is Poised to Destroy MinecraftEDU

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 10:00


Wesley A. Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Sept 26, 2016

By "destroy" Wes Fryer means "raise the price of" but the implications are fairly clear; he is concerned Microsoft's new licensing policies will price it out of schools' ability to pay. "Rather than purchase a one-time license with perpetual upgrades, just for computer lab computers, now K-12 schools are being asked by Microsoft to pay $5 per student, per year, for the privilege of playing Minecraft." See also Jeremy Hsu, who writes, "By tailoring Minecraft to formal school settings, Microsoft runs the risk of sacrificing some of the game’ s inherent strengths. But it’ s still a no-brainer for Microsoft to leverage Minecraft in its broader struggle with Google for control of the education market." (It's like I'm reading two completely different perspectives on the same thing).

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MOOCs at Five

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 12:00


Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Sept 25, 2016

One of the biggest disappointments I had with the commercialization of the MOOC through the Stanford and MIT products was the idea that the MOOC would have to be "sustainable" through some user pay mechanism. In 2009 the  average tuition was around $4500; this accounted for between 30-50% of the total cost of an education. And of course it was paid only by wealthier families; low income earners need not apply. If you multiply that by the  2 million people enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Canada, you get $18 billion. If MOOCs could have reduced this number, they would have been a substantial success, and not cost students a dime. I think we could have made a dent in that. But too many people sound like Alex Usher, saying "The problem is there’ s no revenue model here." No, that's not the problem.

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Q&A with CNI’s Clifford Lynch: Time to re-think the institutional repository?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 12:00


Richard Poynder, Open, Shut?, Sept 25, 2016

In this long (25 page PDF) article and interview with Clifford Lynch, Riochard Poynder looks at the state of affairs of open journal repositories (for example, the Open Archives Initiative Protocols for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)) and does not appear hopeful. "As with all issues concerning scholarly communication and open access, no one appears to have the necessary authority (or even perhaps the capability) to oversee strategic decision-making at this level effectively. And that is why it seems to me most likely that the academic publishing oligopoly will succeed in appropriating both OA and the institutional repository." From where I sit, reading this article, the main culprit (beyond the publishers themselves) seems to be the indifference of university professors. Publishing openly still seems to be a "minority sport".

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Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 12:00


Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Sept 25, 2016

There are several things to say about this report. First, the headline is wildly overstated. 'Not finding' a correlation is very different from 'finding no correlation'. Second, it's a metastudy. The authors took a number of previously published studies, copied their data, cleaned it up and ran a new analysis on it. Third, only in-class student evaluations were used, not the popular online teacher evaluations. Fourth, we are given utterly no definition of what counts as 'learning'. Does it mean test scores? If so, it's old news that students don't base their evaluations on test scores. Finally fifth, the original study, still in preprint, is locked behind a paywall, and I just don't think I could bear spending $41 only to find that it's test scores. If the authors of this study have anything to say, let them say it openly where it can be scrutinized and criticized.

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The Mostly Complete Chart of Neural Networks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 22:00


Randy Krum, Cool Infographics, Sept 24, 2016

It's just an infographic and won't give you a need knowledge of neural network configurations. But it's still useful. "Though all of these architectures are presented as novel and unique, when I drew the node structures… their underlying relations started to make more sense.mOne problem with drawing them as node maps: it doesn’ t really show how they’ re used. For example, variational autoencoders (VAE) may look just like autoencoders (AE), but the training process is actually quite different."

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Not Your Mothers Father of Distance Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 16:00


Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Sept 24, 2016

Alan Levine makes the point that "in this age of 2016, that it is shocking that someone would put three white men on screen with a label of 'founding fathers.'" and expands on a deeper history of distance education that explores the correspondance schools of the 1800s. In  my post I put the cut-off at the use of wireless radio, which would rule out the post-based correspondance schools. Levine presents "as an addition to so called 'fathers' Anna Elliot Ticknor," writing "I only know of her through a fabulously written Hybrid Pedagogy article by Keith Brennan titled 'The Victorian MOOC'." I wouldn't call this a MOOC - not only was it not online, you had to apply to get in. Also, I don't think you can achieve massiveness when your organizzer and instructors are writing to each participant personally by letter. No matter; I think he's made his main point that there was much diversity in the founding of distance education that we are led to believe.

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