Miscellaneous

Pearson Releases Rights to its Learning Design Principles

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 14:00


Leo Doran, EdWeek Market Brief, Jan 08, 2017

The meat of this short report is found in the link to the release of the research and rubrics (102 page PDF) Pearson uses in its learning design projects, all under a CC-by license. Previously covered here. "Pearson also issued a shorter report on how the company says it is “ Using Learning Design to Build More Effective Engaging Products” and a promotional blog post," writes Leo Doran.

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Medium's pivot catches publishing partners by surprise

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 11:00


Peter Sterne, Kelsey Sutton, PoliticoMedia, Jan 08, 2017

Medium is one of the better content sources out there; I follow a number of their publications. It has had a variety of business models over the years, most recently being a traditional ad-revenue system. But yesterday  co-founder Evan Williams Evan Williams  announced that Medium is getting out of the advertising business. "It’ s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet," he wrote. "It simply doesn’ t serve people. In fact, it’ s not designed to." So what next? I assume they have a plan, but it wasn't part of the announcement. It's "a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’ re creating for people." But I will be curious to see the direction they follow. Photo: Christopher Michel

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Decoupled Drupal with Ember: Introducing Ember and JSON API

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 01/08/2017 - 11:00


Preston So, Acquia, Jan 08, 2017

Content management systems are making the transformation from being website hosts to being data services. In this way a single CMS can serve any number of different applications, websites, or data services. This article describes how a Javacript framework called Ember is performing this task with the Drupal CMS.

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Using technology to personalize learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 20:00


Maggie Hos-McGrane, Tech Transformation, Jan 07, 2017

Two part article (part one, part two) on personalization (there may be more parts in the future) based on a review of  Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology by  Peggy Grant and Dale Basye. This first part summarizes a 2010 initiative called  Project RED (Revolutionizing EDucation) "which looked at the ways that technology can improve student achievement." The second part is "a list about the benefits of using technology for learning." I'm hoping future installments look more deeply at both the book and the subject.

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The Real Name Fallacy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 20:00


J.Nathan Matias, The Coral Project, Jan 07, 2017

Good article that challenges the idea that anonymity is the cause of poor behaviour on social networks (and that things would improve if we required people to use their real names). " the balance of experimental evidence over the past thirty years suggests that this is not the case. Not only would removing anonymity fail to consistently improve online community behavior – forcing  real names in online communities could also  increase  discrimination and worsen harassment." So if it doesn't actually help, why do so many pundits call for an end to anonymity? "This  provided the justification for more advanced advertising-based business models to develop, which collect more of people’ s personal information in the name of  reducing online harm." Via Ben Werdmuller.

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Star launches free e-learning for all

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 20:00


Press Release, Star Pubs, Bars, Jan 07, 2017

Star is a pub and bar company in Britain. You  lease pubs from them then eke out a living. It's in their interest to promote successful pub lessees, and so they've released  this e-learning training package of courses. Why is this important? It shows that online learning can be sustainable even when students aren't paying for it. Via  Eat Out.

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5 Reports Every Enrollment Manager Should Read

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 20:00


Daniel Fusch, Sarah Seigle, Academic Impressions, Jan 07, 2017

I found this list useful as these reports offer a bit of a snapshot of the industry. They are:

  • Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates - Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) - 160 page PDF
  • Jon Boeckenstedt - Interactive Dashboard - web page, with the dashboard about half way down, in the blue box
  • 2016 US Chief Admissions Officer Career Profile - American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers  (AACRAO) - 62 page PDF
  • Further Correlations Between Financial Aid, Retention - EAB (part of the  Advisory Board Company) - study of 40,000 students at 3 universities - press release only, couldn't find the study on the EAB website
  • The International Student Experience - World Education Services (WES) Research -  54 page PDF (signup required)
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Finding ‘Personalized Learning’ and Other Edtech Buzzwords on the Gartner Hype Cycle

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 20:00


Michael B. Horn, EdSurge, Jan 07, 2017

This is an odd list. It's useful to debunk the buzzwords, but this item seems to endorse some questionable ones. Let's go through the list:

  • personalized learning - is nearing Gartner’ s peak of inflated expectations - yes, that seems right. But not simply among the "chattering classes" (whatever that means; I think it's a dog whistle saying "hey, I'm a Tory, listen to me")
  • competency-based Learning - is placed on the slope of enlightenment, which definitely feels wrong. No, I wouldn't conflate it with personalized learning (a straw man, if I ever saw one), but with the whole competency infrastructure still in development, I'd say it's still approaching inflated expectations
  • blended learning - moving toward the slope of enlightenment. Sure, but what an odd selection. Personalized and competency-based refer to pedagogy or learning design, while blended refers to choice of technologies.
  • project-pased learning - slope of enlightenment. I did a lot of project-based learning when I was a high school student in the 1970s. So if it's not yet on the slope of enlightenment, it's in trouble.

No, this article doesn't make things clearer at all.

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The Learner Engagement Spectrum

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 01/07/2017 - 17:00


Juliette Denny, e-Learning Industry, Jan 07, 2017

Educators love nothing better than a good taxonomy. It's like dangling catnip in front of them. So courtesy of  is the learner engagement spectrum. "The Learning Management System can act as an indicator of engagement throughout the organization. If you have the right tools which let employees communicate and share their knowledge, you have several ways to make good use of their engagement spectrum." Note that this article looks like paid placement for  Growth Engineering (and if so, should be declared as such, ahem). They want you to sign up to view this 23 page workbook. Don't. It's just a pitch to take you to the Academy LMS, which touts game-based learning. Hey, I like a good LMS as much as the next person, but unmarked paid placement like this discredits the entire industry (and especially the publications that run it). Read more.

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When are Digital Media and Tools Wrong for Teaching and Learning?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:00


Hugh Beaulac, Emerging EdTech, Jan 06, 2017

My answer to this is: almost never. But let's hear the other side. "Digital media changes the way students think. One  study says that reading on digital platforms makes youngsters more focused on 'concrete details rather than the big picture.' ... it would seem better to use non-digital platforms for teaching subjects where abstract thinking is crucial." And "the price we pay for being constantly inundated with information is a  loss of our ability to be contemplative and to engage in the kind of deep thinking that requires you to concentrate on one thing." There is also the concern about "screen addiction". I don't take any of these arguments to be conclusive; digitally literate students may think differently, but it does not follow that they are faring more poorly.

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2017: Quarks, Love, and Insight

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:00


Gardner Campbell, Gardner Writes, Jan 06, 2017

Gardner Campbell starts off the new year with a terrific post asking the question: "what are the elementary particles and fundamental constituents of learning?" It's not that there's a right answer, but rather, that it sets us in motion asking the deep questions about our discipline. And whatever I may have thought about the question, I don't think I would have come close to Gardo's answer: love and insight. I don't see these as even close to elementary, but rather complex and complicated phenomena that require textbooks (or steamy summer movies) to explain. But if you're a teacher, and you're looking for feedback, it's the 'aha' of insight that is your primitive data (and Vicki Davis has a nice post on  love of teaching today too).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Interaction networks for learning about objects, relations and physics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:00


Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, Jan 06, 2017

One of the criticisms of neural networks (and of associative inference generally) is that it cannot generalize. See, for example, Fodor and Pylyshyn 1988. Of course in the 25 years since the criticism was leveled they have faced the sternest of all critics: empirical evidence to the contrary.  This paper describes a neural net that can learn Newtonian physics. "Our results provide surprisingly strong evidence of IN’ s ability to learn accurate physical simulations and generalize their training to novel systems with different numbers and configurations of objects and relations."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Person to Person: That’s How My Kind of Internet Works

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:00


Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Jan 06, 2017

I'm not so much a person-to-person person. I prefer mass media and talking to large groups. But that's my shortcoming, the habits of a person raised in the era of best-selling books, newspapers and television. And as comfortable as I am with the format, I can see it's weaknesses very clearly - as Alan Levine points out, there's no person at the other end of the line. And it's only when there's a person there that any of this makes any sense (maybe that's why YouTube comments are so horrible - we know nobody at YouTube will ever read them).  Photo: Timur Saglambilek.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Dramatic Growth of Open Access

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 19:00


Heather Morrison, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, Jan 06, 2017

Heather Morrison writes, "Arguably the best indicator of the global collaborative growth of open access, whether through archives or publications, is the ongoing impressive growth of what we can access through the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine, which surpassed two major milestones in 2016: over 100 million documents (about 60% open access) and 5,000 content providers." Too true.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Google Helping Mobile Publishing? Some Publishers Are Not So Sure

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 01/06/2017 - 13:00


Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, Jan 06, 2017

mentioned Facebook's Instant Articles yesterday and the trap they pose to publishers. According to this article, publishers are also experiencing issues with Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). "Google, to speed up AMP, stores copies of publisher’ s pages and serves them from its own internet network. So when a reader clicks an AMP link, the address bar at the top of the page displays google.com instead of the actual web address from the publisher. 'It looks like a Google story,' said Danny Sullivan."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Facebook’s Instant Articles: damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 17:00


Enrique Dans, Medium, Jan 05, 2017

Maybe things work differently for major news media. Perhaps they still believe they need Facebook. From my perspective, when I stopped posting on Facebook at the end of last summer, my visits  increased substantially. Facebook was neither showing my content nor referring traffic, yet people thought I was posting on Facebook and didn't look elsewhere. Meanwhile, Facebook started suggesting I pay for advertising, and at the same time they started flooding my news stream with advertising. If news media did what I did, their Facebook problem would be solved. But they're like the boy and the filberts. If they want to escape the trap, they have to let go a bit, but their greed won't let them. Image: itsaperfectstory

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Announcement: Donate to OLDaily

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 15:00

Yes, it has only been a year, and I'm asking again. I have maintained OLDaily and the rest of this website at my own expense since 2001. It is not subsidized by my employer or anyone else. I've always been happy to do it, but now I need your help. Click here to Donate.

This site gets a lot of traffic - 400K unique viewers and almost a million page views in 2016. 2290.70 gigabytes of traffic. On average, it has cost $125 a month for the last ten years (currently, it's $US 140, or almost $200 Canadian, per month). Thank you to everyone who helped last year. I raised just over $3000, which paid for the server and the traffic.

I am committed to keeping all my services and resources free, and will not add a subscription to any part of my website, ever. That's a promise. So if you help me provide this service, I'd be happy to recognize your contribution, as thanks, on my Donation Page.


Categories: Miscellaneous

The Cognitive Science Behind Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:00


Clark Quinn, Chief Learning Officer, Jan 04, 2017

It's not clear who actually authored this article, but it reads like Clark Quinn, so I'll go with that. In any case, the author adopts an approach similar to Daniel Dennett's intentional stance, postulating different 'levels' at which we can talk about the cognitive science behind learning. The most basic level is at the neural level, and here "its core, learning is about (forming and) strengthening the connections between certain neurons." No problem. Where things become problematic is at the next level, the cognitive level, where "learning and instruction is about designed action and guided reflection." I think that this account has a lot of problems. Finally, "At a higher level, one might consider social learning." It's a good article overall, which is why I'm passing it along.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Creating cohorts: how to solve the online learning conundrum

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:00


Tim Sarchet, Personnel Today, Jan 04, 2017

One of the problems of online earning is that it can be a very solitary activity. Educators have addressed this problem by creating cohorts - groups of people who travel through the course together. In the physical world, this is easy: set a class time and place. Online, it is more difficult, especially if you are dealing with large numbers of students. People learn at different speeds. People participate at different levels. These can lead to a single person being the only active learner in their cohort. So it's a conundrum.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Downes Prize 2016

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 16:00

Every year at this time I award the Downes Prize to the most-read post of those I've posted some time in the previous 365 days. This year that means any one of 1288 total posts from hundreds of authors around the world. The award is intended to be an objective measure, not based on popularity contests, campaigns, or any other such thing, but reflective of actual interest in the item on the part of OLDaily readers..

Without further ado,
 

This year's Downes Prize is awarded to:

 

Michael Caulfield, for New Directions in Open Education published in Hapgood, Oct 10, 2016 

 

In 2016 we stopped talking about the technology for a bit and started talking about the implications of it. It was a good conversation to have. It relates to many of the themes of the year - the commercialization of MOOCs, the rise of fake news, life and living in the cloud, and the the meaning of learning and our place in it. Caulfield's article, a keynote given at Metropolitan State’ s TLTS conference in Denver, CO., touches all of these things and more.

In the process, Caulfield delivers an incisive look not only at the future of open learning, but also of the nature and objectives of open learning itself. Open learning is not just the redistribution of a Yale lesson or a Stanford MOOC. But why not? It's based in "the human core of open," he explains. It's based in the students' individual needs for belonging, relevance, and diversity of experience. Replaying an open lecture doesn't contribute to these: in fact, in some ways, it undermines them. Through concepts such as loosely coupled classrooms and choral explanations, Caulfield positions open educational resources not only as enabling access to learning, but also enabling a new pedagogy.

This is a genuine and deep contribution to the field, well-recognized by readers of OLDaily, and hence, recognized with this year's Downes Prize.

 

 

Honourable Mentions:

 

The empty brain - Robert Epstein, Aeon, May 18, 2016

 

Teaching and Learning in a “ Post-truth” World - Andrew Campbell, Canadian Education Association (CEA), Nov 03, 2016

 

6 Reasons Platforms Fail - Marshall W. Van AlstyneGeoffrey G. ParkerSangeet Paul Choudary, Harvard Business Review, Mar 31, 2016

 

Theories for Learning with Emerging Technologies - Terry Anderson, Emergence, Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations, Jun 06, 2016 

 

How Google And Others Are Plotting The Revenge Of The Web App - Jared Newman, Fast Company, Sept 10, 2016 

 

So You Want to Learn Physics... - Susan J. Fowler, Oct 17, 2016

 

Sci-Hub, LibGen, and Total Information Awareness - Eric Hellman, Go To Hellman, Mar 21, 2016

 

The jobs of the future – and two skills you need to get them - Simon Torkington, World Economic Forum, Sept 11, 2016 

 

Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy - Trebor Scholz, Rosa Luxemberg Siftung, Jan 17, 2016

 

Amazon Education to Launch New Website for Open Education Resources - Michele Molnar, Ed Week, Feb 15, 2016 

 

How to Learn Effectively in Medical School: Test Yourself, Learn Actively, and Repeat in Intervals - Marc Augustin, PubMed Central | Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Jan 20, 2016 

 

A Genuine Science Of Learning - Keith Devlin, Edge, Dec 29, 2016

 

Meet the Robin Hood of Science - Simon Oxenham, CC BY, Feb 11, 2016

 

Micro-Barriers Loom Large for First-Generation Students - Eric Johnson, Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 01, 2016

 

 


Previous Winners

 

In 2015, the Downes Prize was awarded to Alaa A. AlDahdouh, Antó nio J. Osó rio and Susana Caires for Understanding knowledge network, learning and connectivism published in theInternational Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.

 

In 2014, the Downes Prize was awarded to Matt Bower, Gregor Kennedy, Barney Dalgarno, Mark J. W. Lee, Jacqueline Kenney for Blended Synchronous Learning Handbook

 

In 2013, the Downes Prize was awarded to Tony Bates for Discussing design models for hybrid/blended learning and the impact on the campus

 

In 2012, the prize was awarded to Clayton R. Wright, for his series of posts annotating educational technology conferences.

 

In 2011, the prize was awarded to the  Consortium for School Networking for  Acceptable Use Policies in Web 2.0 & Mobile Era.

 

In 2010, the prize was awarded to JISC for Effective Assessment in a Digital Age.

 

, , Dec 31, 2016
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