Miscellaneous

Introducing Blackboard’s New School Design Language System

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 19:00
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Jon Kolko, Blackboard Blog, Jun 05, 2015

Blackboard has introduced something called 'New School', which is a "design language" that is "based on principles of approachable simplicity, intended to resonate with an audience of students, parents, faculty, and alumni." Basically it's a way of redefining how Blackboard looks and feels to users. It's "simple and monochromatic, using color for meaning rather than decoration. Learning should be at the core of the product, and so our product should always be visually subservient to educational content and knowledge."

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The Art of Intervenability for Privacy Engineering

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 13:00
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Marit Hansen, Data Protection, Privacy, , Transparency (DPPT'15), Jun 05, 2015

This keynote address (24 page PDF) extends our understanding of privacy and security of personal data. The classical IT security protection goals are confidentiality, integrity and availability. These don't go away. But in addition there are three other goals: unlinkability (privacy-relevant data cannot be linked across domains), transparency (measures can be understood and reconstructed at any time), and intervenability. This last is the subject of the talk. Intervenability means the possibility of intervention in proivacy-affecting processes. It includes, for example: right of access to data about oneself, the right to object, protection from automated decisions, giving and withdrawing consent, and the ability to lodge complaints.

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Why some publishers are killing their comment sections

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 11:00
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Ricardo Bilton, Digiday, Jun 04, 2015

You may have noticed I'd switched over comments on this site to Disqus. It's a half-hearted experiment designed to deal with a common problem: unwanted comments. Mine are mostly spam, but if you look at sites like YouTube or the typical newspaper site the comments go far beyond that. It's not just anonymity: “ The argument used to be that it was anonymous comments [that caused problems] and people felt emboldened... at some point in the last couple of years, a switch got flipped and anonymity was no longer a need when it came to spewing awfulness. It’ s almost like there’ s no shame anymore." But what if comments became community? That's the objective of the Coral Project. "I would love to be able to go to a reporter and say, ‘ I know you’ ve got 10 minutes and 5,000 comments on your story,’ ” Barber said. “ You can go right here and find the contributions from our most thoughtful contributors — spend your time there. Because those people have earned it." So maybe soon I can ditch Disqus and create a comment community that works.

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What If The Problem Isn’t With MOOCs But Something Else?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 11:00
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Matt Crosslin, EduGeek Journal, Jun 04, 2015

I would answer 'yes" to this: "You can say MOOCs are  failing because they lack sufficient 'student motivation,' but what if it was actually the case that society has been failing for decades and  MOOCs are just  exposing this?" Why do you have to motivate students at all? Because you are forcing them to do something they don't want to do. And that to me his the historic problem. "What if relying on too much extrinsic motivation is a failure? What if we are failing to embrace  all of the current and historical research in motivation? What if we know a lot about motivation, but fail to real utilize any of that knowledge?" Matt Crosslin nails it in this post. MOOCs are getting past the idea that motivation is the big problem, and moving on to something else.

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Some big issues in online teaching

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 11:00
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Jenny Mackness, Program for Online Teaching, Jun 04, 2015

Jenny Mackness points to the paradox inherent in massive online learning: "Most of us will not be required to teach student groups numbering in the thousands, but in my experience even the teaching of one child or one adult requires us to have a rich understanding of who and what we are as teachers. Even the teaching of one child or one adult can be a complex process, which requires us to carefully consider our responsibilities." This article is part of the more comprehensive  Program in Online Teaching weblog.

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Pearson board cuts 18 librarians in elementary schools

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 11:00
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Anne Sutherland, Montreal Gazette, Jun 04, 2015

The announced cuts made the national news on television today, which is probably good news for librarians, but the cuts signal longer term trends which are not good news at all: "We've received our budget rules and of course, we are suffering additional, large  budget compressions. The Lester B. Pearson School Board is now over $14 million in cuts this year and some of the targeted areas are in support staff which includes librarians," Stein Day said. The Pearson board serves English-speaking students just west of Montreal. See also CBC, CTV, CJAD, Global.

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I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 14:00
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John Bohannon, i09, Jun 03, 2015

When you hear me grumbling about the state of educational research, it is because education is second only after weight loss as the source of conflicting data, contradictory conclusions, and outright bad research. No doubt no small part of it is fabricated, though the bulk of it is no doubt created by well-meaning people. This article on weight-loss by chocolate is an example of how the system can be gamed to say, well, anything. Some low-quality research was performed, a paper was published, the  press releases were written, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now this story might actually be a meta-hoax - the  paper no longer exists on the journal website and the publisher denies it was ever accepted. But Retraction Watch covered it. And  p-hacking is a real thing. And the  news  stories it generated are genuine. Via Doug Belshaw.

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Leiden University MOOC scripts available for Download

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 11:00
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Jasper Ginn, Leiden University, Jun 03, 2015

It's perhaps a bit ironic that "working with Coursera export data can be a bit daunting, especially when you are working with relatively ‘ difficult’ clickstream or text data." Nonetheless, a  script to export this data is now available, thanks to the University of Leiden. Jasper Ginn writes, "our git repository contains R and Python scripts that aid in the storage, extraction and pre-processing of raw Coursera MOOC data. It further contains a Vagrant virtual box which sets up a virtual environment with all required software and packages installed." Awesome.

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