Miscellaneous

The open in MOOC must include the ability to create courses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/18/2017 - 14:00


Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, Mar 18, 2017

"If we want truly open education," writes Graham Attwell, "then we need to open up opportunities for creating and facilitating learning as well as participating in a programme." I agree. He  also adds "Brian Mulligan responded... with a link to the Moocs4All web site. the web site includes this promo video for a free course held last year on ‘ Making MOOCs on a budget.'" But as he notes, "it is possible to hack a MOOC platform together with WordPress or to install Open edX. But it isn’ t simple." All true.

But. As readers know, my  gRSShopper software has always been open source. This is what was used to launch the first MOOCs and what I still use to manage my newsletter. Like the other hacks, however, it is difficult to install. But this will soon change. I am almost completed work on gRSShopper in a boxThis will be a fully contained gRSShopper server you can easily run anywhere. You will be able to use it as either a MOOC or as a PLE (and of course you can use your PLE to take MOOCs). It's not an official project so it has been slow going, but it won't be long now. Stay tuned.

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Debate heats up over free higher education plan

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:00


Yomiuri Shimbun, Mar 17, 2017

Japan is the latest country considering free higher education. "Hakubun Shimomura, the LDP’ s executive acting secretary general, said at a press conference on Friday that procuring funds for free higher education warrants careful deliberation... A special task force was created within the party on Feb. 15 to discuss the financial aspects of free higher education." This follows  sharp growth in California's free college tuition programs. We're also seeing  more  voices opposed to such plans on the grounds that free tuition only benefits the rich. By that same logic, though, free health care would only benefit the rich, because only the rich can afford health care. Our experience with public health care in Canada, though, proves that the opposite is the case. The poor are the major beneficiaries.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

MéxicoX: Meet the MOOC Platform Funded by the Mexican Government

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:00


Dhawal Shah, Class Central, Mar 17, 2017

As Class Central reports, "Mé xicoX, which has over one million registered learners (is) a MOOC platform backed by Mexican government... unded by Mexico’ s Ministry of Education, and it is managed by the General Directorate of Educational Television (Direcció n General de Televisió n Educativa from the Ministry of Education) in coordination with the National Digital Strategy."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

JPMorgan Software Does in Seconds What Took Lawyers 360,000 Hours

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:00


Hugh Son, Bloomberg, Mar 17, 2017

Knowledge workers take note: "The program, called COIN, for Contract Intelligence, does the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial-loan agreements that, until the project went online in June, consumed 360,000 hours of work each year by lawyers and loan officers. The software reviews documents in seconds, is less error-prone and never asks for vacation."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Analytics isn’t a thing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:00


Mike Sharkey, Blackboard Blog, Mar 17, 2017

By this headline Mike Sharkey doesn't mean that analytics doesn't exist, nor does he mean it isn't something important. Rather, he says, software is defined by the problem it solves, and 'analytics' isn't a type of problem. "Analytics isn’ t a thing. Analytics help solve problems like retention, student success, operational efficiency, or engagement," he writes. He raises this point because 'learning analytics' is dropped from this year's NMC Horizon report." I wouldn’ t say that analytics 'has arrived,' so I was a little surprised that it wasn’ t called out as a specific trend," he said. It wouldn't be the first time a trend simply disappeared in a Horizon report - analytics also vanished in 2015 only to reappear a year later.

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The OA interviews: Philip Cohen, founder of SocArXiv

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 09:00


Richard Poynder, Open and Shut?, Mar 17, 2017

Interview with hilip Cohen, founder of the new social sciences preprint server SocArXiv. "Can the newly reinvigorated preprint movement gain sufficient traction, impetus, and focus to push the revolution the OA movement began in a more desirable direction?" Interestng response: Writing on the LSE blog last year he said, “ I hope that SocArXiv will enable us to save research from the journal system.”

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Neural Networks and Deep Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 21:00


Michael Nielsen, Mar 16, 2017

Between meetings with notaries today I was wondering to myself whether work had been done on using one neural network to train another neural network. I didn't find the answer (if you know, send me a note!) but I did find this nice guide to neural networks and deep learning. Michael Nielsen explains these a bit differently than I've seen before, but in such a way as to make some things clearer to me, so I felt it was certainly worth passing along. There are also examples you can work though.

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The Coded Language of For-Profit Colleges

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 18:00


Tressie McMillan Cottom, The Atlantic, Mar 16, 2017

"For-profit colleges," writes Tressie McMillan Cottom, "target and thrive off of inequality." She calls these examples of "lower ed" - in contrast with higher ed, which is where the more economically successful go. "Flexible solutions, on-demand education, open-access career retraining, reskilling, and upskilling— these are terms that talk about inequality without taking inequality seriously."

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An Animated Introduction to Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and How the Media Creates the Illusion of Democracy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 12:00


Josh Jones, Open Culture, Mar 16, 2017

I read Manufacturing Consent many years ago. Its core claims are lavishly documented (indeed, most of the book consists of the documentation; the argument itself begins and ends in the first chapter). Here is an excerpt of the 'five filters' portion of the video:

  • Media Ownership— The endgame of all mass media orgs is profit. “ It is in their interest to push for whatever guarantees that profit.”
  • Advertising— What do advertisers pay for? Access to audiences. “ It isn’ t just that the media is selling you a product. They’ re also selling advertisers a product: you.”
  • Media Elite— “ Journalism cannot be a check on power, because the very system encourages complicity.  If you want to challenge power, you’ ll be pushed to the margins.
  • Flack— “ When the story is inconvenient for the powers that be, you’ ll see the flack machine in action: discrediting sources, trashing stories, and diverting the conversation.”
  • The Common Enemy— “ To manufacture consent, you need an enemy, a target: Communism, terrorists, immigrants… a boogeyman to fear helps corral public opinion.”

I try to make OLDaily the opposite of all that. OLDaily is non-profit. The audience is not for sale to anyone. It functions as a check on power. It acts against the flack machine and restores the conversation. And it rejects the dialogue of demonization.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Collision Course — Why Are Funders Straying from Their Lane?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 12:00


Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, Mar 16, 2017

The pro-publisher website The Scholarly Kitchen is noting with alarm the shift in funding away from publishers and toward initiatives that compete with publishers. "What has led to this lane-changing behavior from  funders and philanthropies with regard to researchers, technology, and publishers?" asks Kent Anderson. "Why are they moving into the publishing world with competitive attitudes? Why are they seeking to define publication choices for their funded researchers?" The responses range from antagonism to opportunism, he writes, with a dose of short-sightedness: "funders  may not realize that there may  be one or two Jenga blocks that, if pulled out, could bring major functions  of the industry down in a tumble." Actually, I think they do realize this, which is why they're scouting for a replacement.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning is the Reward

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:00


Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, Mar 15, 2017

This article makes a nice use of James Nottingham's concept of the 'learning pit' to make the point that "school, as we know it is driven by grades as the main reflection of what students do, or do not, know.   What has resulted is a rat race of sorts where many kids and parents alike have their eye on the prize." It's nothing we haven't heard before, but I like the expression of it. Image.

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Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:00


Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Foundation, Mar 15, 2017

Tim Berners-Lee champions a vision of the web as "an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries." But this vision, he writes, is challenged on three major fronts (quoted):

  • companies (and) governments are also increasingly watching our every move online, and  passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy
  • through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with  bad intentions can  game the system to spread misinformation
  • political advertising online has  rapidly become a sophisticated industry... political campaigns are now building individual adverts targeted directly at users. 

These are significant issues, and as Berners-Lee says, they are complex issues. And they are the result of people and companies working directly against the idea of the web as an open and decentralized medium build by, and for the benefit, of everyone.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

On Next Generation Digital Learning Environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 19:00


Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, Mar 13, 2017

During my talk yesterday someone asked, "which will I see first: a PLE, or a unicorn?" The money seemed to be on the unicorn. But something like a personal learning environment seems to e getting closer and closer. Case in point: the  Nordic model for human centered personal data management and processing. Jim Groom writes, "I really am compelled by the MyData model in the Scandinavian countries because they may be able to pull it off." And his own model of the web as e-learning platform is finally getting some traction from no less than the Horizon Report (for what that's worth). "The reframing of how we imagine personal data and the work we do inside and outside of a particular course does become an interesting moment  for re-positioning the faculty or the student as a node within a broader network through which they share with one another." As I said yesterday, one of these days the PLE will be "invented" by someone at Stanford or MIT. That's how these things go.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

What we’ve learned about VR ads after 100 millions impressions for brands

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 19:00


Brad Phaisan, ReadWrite, Mar 13, 2017

It's hard to believe that virtual reality (VR) has already served 100 million advertisements, but there you have it. What have advertisers learned? Probably a lot more than this article tells us. But we do learn that "All data suggests that VR experiences gain higher attention from audiences. With higher engagement from audiences, brands can ensure that their message is delivered more effectively."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

More loans misery as provider goes under

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 19:00


Billy Camden, FE Week, Mar 13, 2017

The big difference between corporations and societies is that corporations can fold while societies can't. The people in a society don't disappear, the obligations don't just go away, the debts cannot simply be written off. That's one of the major reasons why essential social service, like education, should not be left in the hands of private industry. All the measures we take to protect investors in the case of a business failure end up harming the people in society who depend on these services.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning from Beyoncé and Kanye: Profs use stars to highlight wider issues

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 16:00


David Friend, Globe, Mail, Mar 13, 2017

First they were getting honorary doctorates. Now celebrities and musicians are teaching university classes. or, more accurately, being used as vehicles to teach university classes. "Mahmood says her professor warned students this wouldn’ t be a series of breezy lectures on Beyonce’ s glamorous life. Instead, the pop singer would be a vehicle for exploring broader issues like race, feminism and performance theory, though her self-titled 2013 album." I suppose i could change the format of OLDaily to match. Each day I could use a new actor or singer to highlight developments in media literacy, learning theory, and instructional technology. Today: Elton John's glasses give him a "lens" on the world.

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Why Your Employees and Colleagues Might Be Your Most Important Customers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 22:00


Harvard Business Review, Mar 12, 2017

I used to warn people that unless we in public institutions didn't get our online learning act together, companies like Disney would move in and do our job for us. This advertising content (advertorial) from Disney in HBR s a case in point. "at Disney Institute," says the text, "we believe an organization must cultivate internal customer service with the same intentionality as it cultivates external customer service. Providing great customer experiences is not a single department’ s responsibility; it’ s everyone’ s." It's learning, but it's also a certain perspective on work and learning.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Social Media Production – Reflexive Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 22:00


Rob Watson, Rob Watson Media, Mar 12, 2017

Rob Watson: "We still seem to be dominated by ‘ instruction’ as the main form of learning practice, especially when it comes to learning how to use media technologies and applications. This limits the focus of learning, in my experience to a ‘ transactional’ approach...  we might be serving the learners better if we can offer them opportunities to discover something about themselves in the process of learning." Yes.

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Who’s speaking at TED2017? Announcing our speaker lineup

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 19:00


TED, Mar 12, 2017

Someone said to me today that TED would be a good platform for me. This led to a conversation about how TED is careful not to offend rich people (and indeed, to make them feel good about themselves). Why is why TED will never feature, say, the organizers of Occupy Wall Street. Or me. Case in point, this year's TED. The source of the "ideas worth spreading": "the co-creator of Siri, the founder of the world’ s largest hedge fund, a Nobel-winning researcher who helped discover how we age, the head of the World Bank, and one of the greatest athletes of all time." Yeah, let's keep telling people they deserve their wealth

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Arab Universities and MOOCs: Cautious Cooperation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 19:00


Sabah Hamamou, Al Fanar Media, Mar 12, 2017

Dood article providing an overview of the two major Arabic-language MOOC platforms,  Edraak and Rawaq. "In the Arab world, as universities struggle to reach thousands of students with few qualified professors, many educators feel that MOOCs still have potential. But the number of available courses is relatively small."

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