Miscellaneous

10 Strategies For a Workable Future

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 13:00


Institute for the Future, Sept 24, 2016

This is overall a good paper (24 page PDF) that highlights some significant issues. It is presented as ten strategic objectives we have to achieve in order "to create a shared vision of a world of Positive Platforms for work— platforms that enable good, dignified, and sustainable livelihoods for workers." Now from my perspective, I would much rather be thought of as a person, not a worker - not even if I'm doing nine on-contract jobs at once. That said, the point of the paper is to talk about how to bring the people who actually do the work into the risk, reward, and decision-making process of the workplace (however we want to define that). And these ten objectives are in the main laudable.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

MobileSapiens: A Creative Safari

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 13:00


Amy Burvall, AmusED, Sept 24, 2016

At first I thought this referred to Safari, the browser on which nothing works, but it is in fact "a co-created experience that was whimsical, low-pressure, and yet would provide participants with a chance to explore their own creativity." Basically it's a community created on the fly using Google+ and smart phones to inspire participants. Take some time, explore the community, look at the challenges, and maybe try some out.

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Enhancing quality and combating corruption in higher education: A Global Perspective

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 20:00


Stamenka Uvalić - Trumbić, Sir John Daniel, Sept 23, 2016

Discussion of quality standards proposed by CHEA, the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation. You can find a  PDF (28 pages) of the quality standards on the CHEA website. The focus is on "combatting corruption and enhancing integrity" and it was authored by Daniel. He writes "the discussion naturally began by looking at the crucial role that quality assurance should play in combatting corruption and enhancing academic integrity" but that quality control cannot address this alone. The first of the seven principles states "Assuring and achieving quality in higher education is the primary responsibility of higher education providers and their staff." They would have meant "primarily the responsibility of", not "the primary responsibility", wouldn't they?  Slides from the presentation in Namibia are also available.

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Ria #25: Dr. Patsy Moskal On Research On Distributed Learning And Teaching Effectiveness

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 08:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Sept 23, 2016 In this episode, Dr. Patsy Moskal shares about her experience with research on distributed learning and teaching effectiveness. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Nextcloud Box – a private cloud and IoT solution for home users

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 18:00


Thibaut Rouffineau, Ubuntu Insights, Sept 22, 2016

This is interesting. "Nextcloud Box makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps." It's an incremental step beyond OwnCloud. You might not think you'd have your own in-home server, and for today, maybe not. But I think it's what we're looking at some time in the future (maybe as a part of your entertainment system or whatnot).

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When the LMS isn’t Enough

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:00


Axonify, Sept 22, 2016

The site might ask you for a login (it did for me). Axonify combines a few staples in the e-learning industry: chunking into learning events, the spacing effect (or 'drop approach'), question-based reinforcement, and point-of-need support. So it's essentially a learning resource presentation tool. This I think is a fairly standard model and the point of this post is to make it clear that this model - as opposed to, say, the 39 hour university class - is more typical of corporate learning and training. And it's a safe bet that if what you're looking for is ordinary knowledge acquisition (how to repair a motor, how to write some code) this model will probably do the job for you.

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Is the Future of Liberal Arts Programs “K-Shaped”?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 10:00


Thomas Carey, Inside Higher Ed, Sept 22, 2016

I think this is really clever but I also think it's dangerous. The argument is that traditional 'liberal arts' education was intended to create a 'T' - in other words, the graduate would have deep knowledge in one area (that's the I part) and broad but superficial knowledge in others: "depth in a particular discipline like History or Literature was complemented by breadth of understanding and by “ transferable skills” that enabled graduates to apply multiple knowledge perspectives in the workplace." The 'K' replaces that "through exploring epistemic fluency in particular workplace knowledge practices rather than particular professional knowledge domains:

thus "complementing the knowledge and skills developed in their liberal arts majors and in the institutional essential learning outcomes expected of all students." I don't think the liberal arts are supposed to be about business needs. But like I say: clever, but dangerous.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Infographic: The bot platform ecosystem

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 23:00


Jon Bruner, O'Reilly, Sept 21, 2016

This infographic is only a small shard of the emerging ecosystem but it serves to highlight the developing market of AI bot platforms (Siri, Cortana, Now) along with messaging (Messenger, Allo, Skype) and the underlying AI -as-a-service (Watson, Alexa, Luis) and bot frameworks (Wit.ai, BotKit, Bot Framework). Things are beginning to get really really fun.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Culture vs Institutions: Who Pays for Change?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 23:00


Tim Klapdor, Heart | Soul | Machine, Sept 21, 2016

When we pose a dichotomy like "culture versus institutions" most people will say "well it's both". But my point was that institutions are not necessary for openness. There's no middle ground between 'necessary' and 'not necessary'. You have to choose. Tim Klapdor  takes an approach to this issue based on the question of cost. "The idea of asking who pays, and maybe more importantly – who should pay – is no less valid." But if there are costs, I think, you begin to tilt the balance in favour of needing institutions. That's why it's such a good business strategy to ensure that openness creates costs. Thus we see  Berkeley forced by the Department of Justice to remove their open content from the web.

Where there are institutions, where there are costs, we begin to produce inequities. That's why openness needs to join that set of things that belongs to culture. What sort of things? Think of what we all own and what costs each of us nothing - our language, our music, our ways of preparing food, our dances, our stories, our history and geography, our religion and philosophy. These belong to no one. We can pass these to each other free of charge. That doesn't mean you can't make money off any of them - in fact they're all big business. But it means you don't have to. And that's the status our learning resources should have. That's the status our  science should have. Our academic literature. Our ideas and algorithms. Freely created. Freely shared. 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Who are the founding fathers of distance education?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 16:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Sept 21, 2016

Let's just use the phrase "founders of distance education". Tony Bates offers several alternatives to the three suggested by Steve Wheeler (Bates, John Daniel, and Michael Moore) including Isaac Pitman, the University of London External Programme, Chuck Wedemeyer, Harold Wilson, Jennie Lee, and Walter Perry. I've generally averse to including politicians in such lists as they are almost certainly receiving credit for someone else's work. Drawing from this list, I'm thinking that if anyone deserves credit, it's the people who pioneered  the use of radio (anything earlier, including the epistles, would be classified under 'correspondence education'). So the people who obtained broadcasting licences were held by universities in Utah, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in the early 1920s, as well as Australia's school of the air, and Canadian initiatives run by the railroads, would maybe qualify. There were also educational broadcasters  as early as 1923 in India, along with initiatives in Scandinavia and the UK. Who were the people? I don't know. What role would make a person a 'founder' - the builder of the technology, the person who writes about the theory, the experimenter who verified it works, or the directors and politicians who institutionalized it? Bates's list runs to the last, while my list would almost certainly priorize the first.

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Why there is no Facebook killer: the death of the P2P dream

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:00


James Hudson, Hacker News, Sept 21, 2016

The problem, as we all know, is that "Facebook is simply a cage to hold and study us monkeys while we are being fed ads. These ads are targeted based on an analysis of our activity on Facebook." So why isn't there a P2P version of Facebook, where we could get the interactions without the intrusion? The problem lies in the limitations of the mobile web. "It is designed for browsing web pages and downloading data off big servers, not serving up content to the whole world, like a mini version of a Facebook or Instagram server. It's very difficult, inefficient, and unreliable for your phone to serve out data to all-comers: it's a one-way street." Could we pair phones with web-based servers? Sure - but servers cost money. And "getting money means charging a subscription, or targeted advertising. Personally, I'm not willing to pay money to see pictures of your food." Via Doug Belshaw, who also links to the associated comment thread.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

App and resource store

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:00


JISC, Sept 21, 2016

The UK's JISC has released an alpha version of its 'App and Resource Store'. Consisting in the first instance of resources migrated from the now-defunct  Jorum service,  the store will "works just like any other digital store, with a mixture of free and paid-for resources, each with clear licensing and cost." Here's an example of one of the migrated Jorum resources. There are mechanisms to display metrics, reviews and curation. It seems like an awful lot of overhead just to display images and PDFs, and I don't see why there can't be a way to jump straight from list result to resource, without the interstatial. It would also be nice to have a listing of providers, and URLs that did not use the has symbol '#' in a non-standard way,

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An early look at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's investments in education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:00


Catherine Cheney, Devex, Sept 21, 2016

I can't say I greet Zuckerberg's investments with enthusiasm. I personally feel they should fund education the way the rest of us do, by paying taxes and letting allocation be driven by social (and accountable) priorities. Their intent with CZI is to correct some of what they feel are government errors, focusing on graduation rates and introducing mastery learning into learning environments. Their funding "include BYJU’ s, an India-based company that helps students learn math and science on their own, and Andela, a Nigeria-based company that trains top tier tech talent from across the African continent and pairs them with companies in need of skilled developers." Looks like 'picking winners' to me - isn't that also something business thinks government shouldn't do? Via Ann Isabel Paraguay.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Virtue Epistemologist

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 17:00


Richard Marshall, 3:AM, Sept 19, 2016

Longish interview with the philosopher Ernest Sosa, well known for his work in epistemology (that is, the philosophy of knowledge). I don't really agree with him, but it's an interesting approach: "Knowledge in my view," he writes, "is a form of action. It involves endeavors to get it right, and more broadly it concerns aimings, which can be functional rather than intentional. Through our perceptual systems, we represent our surroundings, aiming to do so accurately, where the aiming is functional or teleological, rather than intentional. And the same goes for our functional beliefs. Through our judgments, however, we do intentionally, even consciously, attempt to get it right." There's an extended discussion of epistemology as it relates to archery: what do we aim for, how do we know, what counts as a 'good' shot?

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What is Open Learning Analytics?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 12:00


Mohamed Amine Chatti, Mohamed Amine Chatti's ongoing research on Knowledge, Learning, Sept 19, 2016

This is a short post that could benefit from much more detail. After describing various aspects of open learning (open practice, open access, open standards, open participation, etc.) the author says "the concept of open learning analytics covers all the aspects of ” openness” outlined above. It refers to an ongoing analytics process that encompasses diversity at all four dimensions of the learning analytics reference model." All very good. But does the platform exist? It doesn't seem to. And the core question here is whether people care enough about learning analytics (I know I don't) to build such an open platform.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Choral Explanations and OER: A Summary of Thinking to Date

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 12:00


Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Sept 19, 2016

I missed this when it came out in July but happily quality bubbles to the surface more than once. This is a terrific article from Michael Caulfield on the topic of 'choral explanations'. Here's the idea: creating a single and authoritative explanation of complex topics is difficult and expensive. It's also not necessary; people benefit from having a variety of different versions to choose from. Think Stack Exchange as compared to Wikipedia. So instead of thinking of a textbook as a single authoritative explanation of a concept, think of it as a backbone or skeleton from which to hang these individual contributions. This is a long read, so set aside some time. But make the time; the future of open online learning looks a lot more like this than it does the traditional text or encyclopedia.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 23:00


Bruce Schneier, Lawfare, Sept 18, 2016

We need to be prepared for the day the basic internet infrastructure stops working. Because it will, sooner later - maybe for a minute, maybe for a month. How do we communicate with each other without domain name services? How to we engage in commerce without certification and security? "It feels," says Bruce Schneier, "like a nation's military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar." This has been going on for several months. Via Metafilter. Image: Buyvm.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Institutions And Openness

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 23:00


noreply@blogger.com (Stephen Downes), Half an Hour, Sept 18, 2016

People do not value education not because we have educational institutions. Rather, we have educational institutions because people value education. And educational institutions are only one of many ways people support their own education, because what people value is the education, not the institution. The people inside educational institutions often miss that point. We need policies that support education (or, more broadly construed, knowledge and learning). Because these are the things that are valued. And because people value education (and knowledge and learning), I believe they will value open access - indeed, that they have shown this to be the case - even though educational institutions do not. Institutional change, in this context, is about saving the institution. But if the institutions don't change, culture will find another way. It always has.

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Learning Knowledge and Skills for Agriculture and Rural Livelihood

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 23:00


Anna Robinson-Pant, UNESCO, Sept 18, 2016

Food for thought. "Young people arrange their learning, livelihoods and social practices according to their needs, lifestyles, traditions and evolving environments. Future farmers learn from their parents and role models. Even with limited literacy skills, young people find ways to benefit from mobile phones to obtain information that they need. When it comes to knowledge and skills for agriculture and rural livelihoods, for many of these young people, schooling plays a relatively minor role. Rather it is valued as a means to pave the way for employment in the formal sector, and to develop their social status and image." 144 page PDF.

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Clippy and the History of the Future of Educational Chatbots

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/15/2016 - 16:00


Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Sept 15, 2016

Bots and chatbots have a long online history.  I interviewed one that was running for president more than fifteen years ago. It went about as well as my exchanges with Clippy, Microsoft's Office Assistant. Audrey Watters tells us the story of Clippy and other failed bots in this article, and it's a good read. And she's sceptical about the ability of bots to take on a pedagogical role. "Clippy was a pedagogical agent that urged Office users to utilize a step-by-step “ wizard.” It referred them to the software’ s knowledge base. Templated knowledge. Templated writing. Templated and scripted responses based on key words not on cognition or care." And she's right - this approach is a failed approach. But is it true that "people preferred asking other people for help with Office than relying on the machine?" I don't think so. Oh, no, I would never depend on Microsoft for assistance; it's notoriously bad at it. I would turn to Google.

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