Miscellaneous

Brightspace – The Next Era of Innovation for D2L

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 09:00


John Baker, Desire2Learn, Jul 20, 2014

I'll just cigte this IHE post in full: "Desire2Learn's learning management system now has a name: Brightspace. The company had previously referred to the system as its 'integrated learning platform.' The name change, along with partnerships with IBM, Microsoft and five major publishers, were announced during Desire2Learn's user conference in Nashville this week." Baker writes, " we are introducing a new brand to represent the evolution to our integrated learning platform. What we are calling Brightspace." So there you go. I can't say I like the name.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) Market to Grow at a 56.61% CAGR

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 09:00


Press Release, Sandler Research, Jul 20, 2014

I both agree and disagree with the prediction made in this report. I agree in the sense that the market for open online learning will continue to grow at a substantial speed. But I don't agree in the sense that the MOOC itself will most likely evolve, will most likely be branded as something other than a MOOC, and will most likely be seen as competition to traditional MOOCs and eating in to their growth. (p.s. just read the summary; the report itself is ridiculously expensive; you get better value for money sticking with OLDaily).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Will SOOCs eat MOOCs for breakfast?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 15:00


Unattributed, Pearson, Jul 19, 2014

You can almost hear the disbelief in  Audrey Watters's voice as she says "wow" on reading this article from Pearson advocating a form of online learning that removes "unwanted diversity" from open online courses. Yes, you read that correctly, and it's not out of context. "This 'unwanted diversity' and one-size-fits-all approach  makes peer-to-peer collaboration largely ineffective, leading to poor outcomes, and high dropouts." The replacement "selectively open online course" (or SOOC) is suggested - though I would replace the term with "Closed Online Course," which is what it is. This perspective is related to  this article in the journal Higher Learning Research Communications in which Watson Scott Swail suggests "we might need to decide, on a policy basis, who we want to go to college, who we want to succeed, and who will pay for it." The list in  the article PDF makes it clear who Swail thinks create the need for closed online courses: part time, low GPA, older, non-white (except for Asian), first generation, low income, etc. Those are the people that real university students pay huge tuitions to make sure their alma maters exclude. And this whole open online course thing is messing it up. No wonder there's such opposition.

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The Asilomar Convention for Learning Research in Higher Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 15:00


Mitchell L. Stevens, Susan S. Silbey, Asilomar 2014, Jul 19, 2014

Worth noting: "On 1-4 June, 2014, a group of educators, scientists, and legal/ethical scholars assembled at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. Their task was to develop a framework to inform decisions about appropriate use of data and technology in learning research for higher education. A modified Chatham House Rule guided their deliberations, which produced the convention presented here." Via Inside Higher Ed. Note that the  attendees are almost all exclusively from the US university system, and that therefore no attempt at diversity of representation or perspective was attempted here.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How E-Reading Threatens Learning in the Humanities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 15:00


Naomi S. Baron, The Chronicle: Commentary, Jul 19, 2014

Having made my living somehow as a student of the humanities, and having read extensively both in the paper-based and digital forms of long and short text, I think I'm in a good position to discuss this commentary in the Chronicle (where else?) from Naomi S. Baron explaining why digital reading is so impoverished. In a nutshell: it isn't. The article looks at reading strictly from the perspective of a paper-based reader, and the surveys (unreferenced and unlinked) seem to be of people from that perspective as well. The core of the criticism is essentially that people can't read deeply online.

"Are students even reading Milton or Thucydides or Wittgenstein these days," she asks. The invocation of Wittgenstein creates an odd example, making me wonder whether she has read Wittgenstein. Reading Wittgenstein is like reading OLDaily (not an accident). Wittgenstein's work was created on small sheets of paper or index cards, which had no fixed order (his books, other than the Tractatus, were actually assembled by his students, who relied on their own notes from lectures as well as Wittgenstein's actual writing). You would never simply 'read' Wittgenstein. And that's the problem with Baron's argument: a failure to understand that there are multiple ways to approach text.

And this makes me think of the obvious counterexample to her argument: software programming. Virtually all of it is done on a computer screen. It is deep, exacting work, involving a precise grammatically perfect body of text running many times longer than War and Peace. It can be read beginning to end, but is better read with intent (to identify a variable, to debug a function, to optimize a sort or search). It proves that people have the focus to create and master deep and complex works digitally. And, I contend, they can do this with Wittgenstein, with Milton or (if they must) Thucydides (far better to read Herodotus or Hume). Indeed, one of the reasons people read shorter items online is that, in many ways, they read much more deeply, extracting and even debating picayune details in book-length discussion threads.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Bringing It to the Masses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 12:00
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Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 19, 2014

I like this more than I should, probably. But it's a great initiative and does for the sciences what I would like to do for education technology research, if only I had the time: to cut through the jargon and state what it is the research actually shows. "Publiscize has an intuitive interface that allows users to create accounts either as scientists, organizations, or “ enthusiasts” with access to daily email alerts about new content." It's also, to me, what the news should be more like. Our news spends a lot of time on violence and conflict (and the rest of the time following celebrities). I think the news would be a lot more interesting if if focused more on discoveries and innovation.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The History of "Personalization" and Teaching Machines

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 21:00
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Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Jul 18, 2014

I'm going through my aggregator to find items I missed while writing and delivering three presentations in four days, and this one from Audrey Watters resonates. We need to be careful. As I pointed out in my own talk, there is a big difference between 'personal' (as in 'personal learning environments') and 'personalized' (as in 'personalized learning'). The latter is where you take something off the shelf, customize it, and deliver it. It's a bit like a modern equivalent of learning styles (which is why some people are calling on Willingham to contribute). The former is when people create and manage learning for themselves.  Tim Klapdor has a nice take on it. "How about we think about learners as people – intelligent people – rather than data points?"

Speaking of data points, Audrey Watters's list of a "flurry of blog posts debating 'personalized learning'" all written by men is a bit of an unfair sample. Here's Krissy Venosdale, Joanne Jacobs, Ariana Witt, Linda Pruett, Rebecca W Ralstrad, Billie Ann Blalock - all women, all writing on personalized learning in the last week. It's important to cast a wide net when talking about educational technology - it's too easy to hear nothing but the same old crowd of consultants and pundits, especially if your focus is on social media. And it's too easy to fall back on some familiar stereotypes while explaining why they're wrong. It's a beautiful rich expressive world out there, but you have to close Twitter and go read new stuff by new people.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

‘Making’ Does Not Equal ‘Constructionism’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 18:00


Peter Skillen, The Construction Zone, Jul 18, 2014

Good post with some thoughts worth remembering. In particular, constructionism occurs "when people are actively creating artifacts in the real world," like making. But more, "is the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it’ s a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe." In 'making', you are in active control of the design process. In constructionism, you are openly reflective about that design process.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Congrats to Paul-Olivier Dehaye: MassiveTeaching

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 15:00


George Siemens, elearnspace, Jul 18, 2014

I just want to weigh in with a thought on the course created and then deleted mid-session by a professor on Coursera. I'll say it in a way George Siemens doesn't: what a jerk.

Siemens applauds the move. "Coursera has been revealed as a house of cards in terms of governance and procedures for dealing with unusual situations." Well maybe. But that's hardly unique to Coursera. And I frankly don't believe the explanation, "I want to show how [C]oursera tracks you." So how does this show it? It doesn't. The most charitable explanation I can find is that the professor had a dispute with Coursera, which he resolved by killing the course.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

25 Tips to Turbo Charge Your Leadership with Evernote

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 15:00
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Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org, Jul 18, 2014

I don't use Evernote, but that's only because I have my own systems (especially gRSShopper) for doing a lot of what Evernote does. But I would be the first to recommend it as a productivity tool (not just for 'leaders' - that whole 'leadership' jargon thing is getting out of hand). Basically, Evernote is an internet-accessible database you can use to store notes, records, communications, clippings, and more. I like the way Miguel Guhlin presents here, first addressing the problem people face, and the solution using Evernote (and potentially some additional applications, like IFTTT).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Sum of Desire2Learn's Acquisitions: Brightspace

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:00
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Tony Wan, EdSurge, Jul 18, 2014

This is an awkwardly written article and it's a bit difficult to tease out exactly what the author is saying, but I think it's this: the company Desire2Learn has recently acquired four products to extend its learning support capability. These supports extend beyond the bounds of a traditional learning management system, so they're being branded under a separate name: Brightspace. The generic term for the combination of Brightspace and D2L's flagship platform is an 'integrated learning platform'.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Decision-making ponderings

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:00


Col Beer, Col's Weblog, Jul 18, 2014

I want to flag this item because I want to identify it as being wrong. There are two ways this item is wrong, at least in my view:

  • "people base their decisions on their internal representations... richer, more stylized, incorporate multiple levels of abstraction, and take on a structure that enables rapid retrieval of relevant decision-making heuristics and procedures (recognition-primed decision-making (RPD))" - this involves the postulation of a rich representational structure that probably doesn't exist - I would base decisions on what might be called DRD - direct recognition decision-making process.
  • "Zachary et al. (2013) there are four context awareness levels: perception, comprehension, projection, sense-making." I think it's too easy to create cross-categorized taxonomies. This is an example. We could probably identify each of these elements in a 'perception', but there is no principled distinction to be drawn between them, and they actually overlap ('what it means' is another way of saying 'how does it make sense').

In general, through the history of cognition, people have devised elaborate structures to characterize comprehension and decision-making. These are generally fabrications: they are structures built on the presumption that the brain operates as some sort of rule-based information processing machine. It is not, and so these designs are meaningless.

I mention this especiaally for scholars and academics, because you can be dragged down a rabbit-hole trying to identify and discern fine differences between these models. It's important to recall that since none of them are correct, the distinctions between them don't matter (related: see Descates on Scholasticism).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Feed WordPress 101: The Basics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:00
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Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Jul 18, 2014

This is the first of a five part series providing an overview of content syndication as it relates to WordPress. This is an essential component of a cMOOC-type course using WordPress. This first section covers the basic concepts of syndication, and so is appropriate for a wider audience. Alan Levin writes, "it allows a distributed structure for your course. It is pretty much modeled on the way the internet itself works. Instead of students coming to an LMS to do all their work, they’ re doing it in a site that they maintain and it becomes a thing that they manage."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Social media in education: ethical concerns

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 19:00
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Unattributed, ALT Online Newsletter, Jul 17, 2014

This is a summary of a recent workshop on ethical concerns around the use of social media in education. Four major areas were highlighted: the need for a code of conduct or legislation, online harassment and bullying, intellectual property, and authenticity of voice. I don't consider these ethical issues as such, but rather, areas of concern where unethical or illegal behaviour might cause problems. The ethical we issues we face are things like the questions surrounding personal data collection, questions about whether what one reads on the internet is (or should be) true, what types of information fall beyond the bounds of legitimate posting (for example, whether we should block war photos, fail videos, and revealing photos, etc). It's an ethical issue, in other words, when we don't know the proper resolution of the question; simply saying something is bad and shouldn't be done is a management issue.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Peer Assessment for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 09:00


Hoi K. Suen, International Review of Research in Open, Distance Learning (IRRODL), Jul 17, 2014

This article examines the application of peer assessment in massive open online courses (MOOCs). The authors note that "perhaps the most glaring problem with peer assessment is how trustworthy the results are. After all, within peer assessment, the performance of a novice is being judged by other novices." The best bit is at the end where different approaches are considered, including connectivist MOOCs, calibrated peer reviews, Bayesian post hoc stabilization, and a credibility index.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Ministers and Key Partners Chart Path Forward for Education and Skills in Canada

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 09:00


Press Release, Council of Education Ministers, Canada (CMEC), Jul 17, 2014

The Council of Education Ministers, Canada (CMEC), met with "his week with more than 200 key business and labour leaders, academics, representatives of student organizations, and other stakeholders" l;ast weekend in Charlottetown, and recommended the following:

  • Education and training must empower Canadians to acquire the skills they need for success in the job market in a flexible and dynamic environment.
  • Partnerships and alignment with business, labour, education, and training providers are key to ensuring synergy between education and skills training systems and Canada's labour markets.
  • Access to accurate, relevant, and timely labour market and education data is essential to support Canadians to make smart career choices, as well as enable government and business to make evidence-based decisions in planning for the future.

This is the sort of conversation they were having just before they created the Canadian Council for Learning (CCL), a five-year $80 million program that released a number of reports and then disappeared.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Extended Artificial Memory. Toward an integral cognitive theory of memory and technology

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:00


Lars Ludwig, Kluedo, Jul 14, 2014

Lars Ludwig wrote to tell me about work he has done on the possibility of extending memory with machines. "This thesis is a contribution toward an integral cognitive theory of memory and technology. It, furthermore, develops a theory and prototype for technologically extending mind (memory and thinking)." I didn't have a chance to read the whole dissertation, clearly, but what I read was enough to pique my interest - for example, his discussion of the various and different meanings we have for the term 'memory'.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Report: Open Access to Journal Articles Gaining Acceptance from Researchers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:00


Leila Meyer, Campus Technology, Jul 14, 2014

More evidence of the increasing acceptability of open access research. "The report, "Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey, June 2014," is the second annual survey of journal authors on their opinions toward open access publication... Compared to last year, the survey found that attitudes toward open access are becoming increasingly positive... the number of respondents who strongly agree that 'pen access offers wider circulation than publication in a subscription journal' increased from 38 percent to 49 percent."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

21st Century Literacy: New Initiative Makes the Case that Learning to Code is for Everyone

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:00


Mimi Ko Cruz, Berkman Center for Internet, Society, Jul 14, 2014

You have to admire their capacity to win research grants. "With a recently awarded $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the researchers (an interdisciplinary team of researchers from MIT’ s Media Lab, the University of California’ s Digital Media and Learning (DML) Research Hub, and Harvard’ s Berkman Center for Internet & Society) aim to engage a broader range of young people in computer programming by building on their interests in areas such as music, dance and sports."

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Beyond Assessment - Recognizing Achievement in a Networked World

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 08:00
[Slides][Audio]

ePortfolios and Open Badges are only the first wave in what will emerge as a wider network-based form of assessment that makes tests and reviews unnecessary. In this talk I discuss work being done in network-based automated competency development and recognition, the challenges it presents to traditional institutions, and the opportunities created for genuinely autonomous open learning.

12th ePortfolio, Open Badges and Identity Conference , University of Greenwich, Greenwich, UK (Keynote) Jul 11, 2014 [Comment]
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