Miscellaneous

WITHIN creates distribution platform using WebVR

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 16:43

Judy DeMocker, The Mozilla Blog, Jun 16, 2018

It's still a novelty but we might be seeing much more virtual reality (VR) on the web soon using tech standards WebGL and WebAssembly. This is something that has been coming for some time with the development of the WebVR standards and the WebVR API. The experience will work with web browsers (I tested it with updated versions of Firefox, Chrome (which worked) and Internet Explorer (which didn't)) and also with VR headsets. Here's an example. But explore the Within website for a sense of what's to come - here's an immersive space experience, a taping of Saturday Night Live, and a song from U2. The key here is "is making VR content accessible to everyone, whether they’re watching on a laptop, mobile phone, or headset." Next: a shared group experience. There's (a lot) more to write about this, but for now let's just take a few minutes to admire.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

It’s easier than you think to craft AI tools without typing a line of code

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 16:26

James Vincent, The Verge, Jun 16, 2018

OK, this isn't quite as easy as depicted in the article, and to actually use it to do anything you will have to type some lines of code, but the gist of the article points to an important new trend in software, specifically, the ability to use services to build features that are then accessible through other applications that you build. Scenario: suppose I'm building an elearning application to teach people how to use a drill, and I want them to learn how to hold it properly. I train the AI model using pictures of correctly and incorrectly held drills, then I connect my e-learning application to the AI model, and the application looks at people holding drills and tells them whether they're holding them correctly or not. Lobe is a service that creates the AI model; you still have to write your own e-learning application, though.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Canada’s The Logic is a new subscription news outlet focused on the innovation economy, à la The Information

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 14:27

Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, Jun 16, 2018

The difference between me an the people launching The Logic is that they think quality news and education should be sold to rich people while I think quality news and education should be distributed for free to poor people. It seems to me that the events of recent years should have taught us the wisdom of the second path, but the push (through such things as the previously mentioned Shattered Mirror report) is that we should be charging more subscription fees. I would love to do the same thing the people at The Logic are doing but I'm not willing to charge subscribers $300 per year for it, because I think it's wrong for the people, and wrong for democracy.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Transparency and the Marketplace for Student Data

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 14:06

N. Cameron Russell, Joel R. Reidenberg, Elizabeth Martin, Thomas B. Norton, Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy, Social Science Research Network, Jun 16, 2018

According to these four authors from various Fordham Centers, "Student lists are commercially available for purchase on the basis of ethnicity, affluence, religion, lifestyle, awkwardness, and even a perceived or predicted need for family planning services." According to the report (38 page PDF) some 14 separate data brokers sell access to student data. This results in email marketing to students from hundreds of sources. It's a business that would like to exist in the shadows; as the authors write, "transparency often exists solely because of regulator enforcement." Companies come and go and rise again under different names.

They get their data from surveys administered through schools, through student data brokers, and from self-reported data through honeypots (like scholarship information sites). Schools themselves don't seem to be a data source, but "organizations like the College Board and ACT, Inc. that administer college entrance exams and other standardized tests appear to be important sources of data for educational institutions advertising to students." See also the Hechinger Report.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

EdX Begins Testing a Paywall

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 13:38

Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, Jun 16, 2018

The problem with certain models of education is that they require commercial sustainability. Thus with EdX. "EdX has been struggling to figure out how to support its work ever since Harvard University and MIT first opened it for learning in 2012." I don't know how EdX burned through an initial startup of $60 million (by contrasts, the cMOOC initiative burned through $4.95). I do know that that at EdX there was never a thought that open online learning would be a social good worth funding for its inherent value. No. It has to be a company. It has to be a start-up. As though no other model exists. Here's the EdX announcement.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Models for online, open, flexible and technology enhanced higher education across the globe – a comparative analysis

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:14

Dominic Orr, Martin Weller, Rob Farrow, International Council for Open and Distance Education, Jun 15, 2018

This large report (65 page PDF) is a survey of what the authors are calling OOFAT - 'online, open, flexible and technology enhanced' resources. The unwieldy acronym should perhaps be seen as a warning. The authors define an 'OOFAT Model' combining content, deliver and recognition. Then by evaluating them along two dimensions - organizational flexibility and procedural openness - they created six 'OOFAT Types', which I won't list here. That gets you to page 10, and we're still in the executive summary. The authors then define five business strategies using OOFATs. So do we learn anything? We are told 'no one size fits all' and that 'the disruption model does not fit - a mixed economy is emerging.' Of course, only higher education institutions (HEIs) were surveyed - that's a bit like surveying nothing but taxi companies and concluding there's no disruption coming. The useful bit in the report is the list of technologies employed (p. 22). The OOFAT taxonomy, meanwhile, strikes me as arbitrary. Via Martin Weller, who offers a summary.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:17

Kaitlin Devine, Paul Smith, Ad Hoc, Jun 15, 2018

This gotr passed around the office today and it's a pretty good guide (and required reading) for administrators of technical services. 'Ad Hoc' is the name of the company that drafted this. It's focused on understanding customer and user needs, designing simple solutions, and phased-in migrations. It also emphasises ongoing development, working with an open stack, and evergreening deployment. Managers especially should read the recommendations on understanding trade-offs, clarifying business rules, and ending outdated management practices.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

UF Online’s New Corporate Partner: Discover Financial joins Walmart with Online Education benefit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:21

Phil Hill, e-Literate, Jun 15, 2018

As mentioned here last week, Walmart is getting into the business of providing access to education for its employees. One of its partners is University of Florida (through UF Online). Today Phil Hill reports " UF Online announced another partner: Discover Financial Services, issuers of the Discover Card and Diners Club International, with its 14,000 employees."  UF Online calls this type of program Employer Pathways, and as Phil Hill remarks, "in the process (they) seem to be defining an alternate method of marketing and enrollment management." Additionally, he notes that the program is "managed by Guild Education, 'a tuition reimbursement and education platform that helps large employers extend education benefits, including tuition reimbursement, to workers.'" Read more about Guild Education at their home page and in CrunchBase

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Developing world leaders agree education is their top priority

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:24

World Education Blog, Jun 15, 2018

This is a summary of a newly published report (120 page PDF) surveying priorities selected by citizens and leaders in the developing world. Education, along with peace and security, are at the top of the list. That said, "Poorer and less democratic countries are more concerned about ensuring access to basic public services — health, water, food, and energy." Interestingly, climate change just doesn't rank as a priority - this tells me that climate change and global development are linked. If we want people to care about climate change, then we have to make sure that their basic needs are met. Including education.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Second Annual Podcast Revenue Study by IAB and PwC

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 16:55

Interactive Advertising Bureau, Jun 14, 2018

Podcasting started in 2003 (which was when I launched Ed Radio) or 2004 and became popular, then disappeared, and now is a global industry worth some $313 million. This rep[ort (20 page PDF) looks mostly at revenue models (especially advertising) but still offers a broad outline of podcasting trends generally. I find that I tend to bounce back and forth between podcasting (twit, trig, titus) and the radio (CBC, alt/indy), with some live audio (mostly baseball and comedy) thrown in.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Reflective Learning as the New Normal

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 16:37

Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, Jun 14, 2018

I've long said "to learn is to practice and reflect," and I am by no means the first to say such things. This article pursues that theme, and lists some different types of reflection. As John Dewey stated, “We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” Eric Sheninger adds, "It is not a hard ask at all to ensure that students are provided with an opportunity to reflect on the learning target for the day." Having said all that, it's a biut jarring in 2018 to see images of paper-based reflection journals. I mean, really?

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Southern New Hampshire U Issues Blockchain Credentials to College for America Grads

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 16:33

Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology, Jun 14, 2018

"SNHU partnered with Learning Machine for its digital diploma project; the software company co-developed Blockcerts with the MIT Media Lab in 2016." I'm seeing quite a bit more of this sort of thing, though I have to say I think that digital certificates are the least interesting application of these new technologies to online learning. But in any case, there's this: "In some ways, this is piloting what a modern transcript would be: digital, portable, owned by the student, can be verified using the encrypted assets. Employers ... don't need to call up SNHU and verify that information, it's self-verified."

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

As Google for Education tools enter classrooms across Canada, some parents are asking to opt-out

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 15:23

Craig Desson, Josh Flear, CBC, Jun 14, 2018

Google is not only creating new consumers in schools, it's creating a new consumer database from schools. "According to Google's privacy policy for their educational products, the company doesn't collect student data for advertising purposes or sell them to third parties. The apps are also ad-free. But that doesn't mean Google isn't collecting data on students. The policy allows for the collection of information including location or GPS data, what mobile network a user is on, or their phone number."

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Digital Portfolios and Content

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 11:47

Silvia Tolisano, LangWitches, Jun 14, 2018

This is a good article introducing issues and approaches to content in digital portfolios in schools. "The content created and chosen to include in a digital portfolio can be free flowing or follow a more rigid structure... it depends on what the learner craves and feels more comfortable with. The worst seems to be, when a portfolio owner feels a lack of ownership, is so paralyzed and constrained from a given structure or to the contrary, a lack thereof, that they don’t create and publish anything" (the writing style is similar thoughout, different enough to be noted, a stringing together of phrases, conjoined with commas).

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Has Google Become a Journal Publisher?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 11:22

Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, Jun 14, 2018

The answer to this question is "no". But Google does publish a fascinating journal called Distill - this article on AI and Interpretation distracted me for a good fifteen minutes before I could finish this post. And Distill seems to bother Scholarly Kitchen writer Kent Anderson a lot. The Scholarly Kitchen is, of course, largely an advocacy blog for publishing companies, so the take is not unexpected. If Distill wants to be taken seriously, writes Anderson, "adding an editorial board, a management layer, and more of the things publishers do would only help if they are serious about having a true academic journal." But Anderson's problem is that Distill is already taken seriously. Distill doesn't need to adapt. Scholarly publications do.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

CORE becomes the world’s largest aggregator

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 11:07

Balviar Notay, JISC, Jun 14, 2018

According to this report, "As of May 2018, CORE has aggregated over 131 million article metadata records, 93 million abstracts, 11 million hosted and validated full texts and over 78 million direct links to research papers hosted on other websites." There's a link to a table comparing CORE with seven other open access paper harvesters: BASE, OpenAIRE, Paperity, SHARE, 1findr, OneRepo, and Unpaywall.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

What makes a great leader, explained in eight counterintuitive charts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 06/09/2018 - 14:00

Shane Snow, Quartz, Jun 12, 2018

I'm not so sure the charts are counterintuitive, but the eight 'magic quadrant' tables capture aspects of diversity and adaptability that contribute to great leadership (or, maybe, great groups). Though there are eight charts, the theme is consistent throughout: it's better if individuals have diverse core values, because this brings in a variety of perspectives, but they need to stick to them (otherwise they're just panderers and opportunists). But they need to be flexible on things that aren't core, willing to change strategies and adapt to changing circumstances. This is what allows people with diverse values to work together.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

D2L Bets on The Cloud and Advances in User Experience

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:27

Phil Hill, e-Literate, Jun 11, 2018

This is significant. Phil Hill described D2L's new technology deployments in contrast with Blackboard and (to a lesser extent) Canvas. As part of this he notes how the way institutions deoply LMSs has changed. "According to David Koehn, VP of Product Management at D2L:

  • All new Brightspace implementations are on AWS cloud;
  • Virtually all current Brightspace implementations use Continuous Delivery; and
  • Approximately 50% of current customers are already on the AWS version of cloud deployment; and
  • By the end of 2018, a large majority of customers will be on cloud deployment.

What this means is that universities won't be running their own servers any more. But more to the point, it means that the back end can scale (or shrink) as needed, can link to sevrices as needed, and take advantage of other aspects of the AWS cloud environment.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Vast Potential for Blockchain in Libraries

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 17:39

Eric Hellman, Go To Hellman, Jun 11, 2018

There is no such potential, writes Eric Hellman. " All the good attributes ascribed to magical 'blockchain technology' are available in 'git', a program used by software developers for distributed version control," he explains. "The folks at GitHub realized that many problems would benefit from some workflow tools layered on top of the git, and they're now being acquired for several billion dollars by Microsoft, which is run by folks who know a lot about that digital crypto stuff." The details are complex, but yes, he's right, to a point: "if you have a problem where you need to reach consensus (or disagreement) about information by the usual (imperfect) ways of humans, git repos are possibly the Merkle trees you need."

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Myths of Priority and Unity in Mathematics Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 17:09

E. Paul Goldenberg, Cynthia J. Carter, Education Sciences, Jun 11, 2018

I have in the past challenged the presumption that certain topics are instances of 'foundational' learning but suggesting that concepts like succession and substitution might be more basic in math than addition and multiplication. This article (12 page PDF) makes that case in a much more convincing form. It attacks "a false assumption: that mathematics is a fixed, linear sequence of skills that must be acquired ... building block by building block." And it argues against the idea "that topics are unitary things." And here's the point: "assumptions about pedagogical priority based on the structure of mathematics can create barriers to children’s learning, as can using statistical prevalence to make claims about cognitive necessity." What we call 'foundational' might be statistical or conventional, but it is not indispensable. Related: Jeannine Diddle Uzzi, We should teach math like it's a language.

Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]

Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content