Miscellaneous

The Red Pen Page

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 13:00
Display


Various authors, Education Post, Nov 16, 2014

Education Post has launched something they call the Red Pen page. It's such a brilliant idea I might steal it. Basically it takes an article published by whomever (the first two are from USA Today and the Poughkeepsie Journal) and in a second column posts 'red pen' comments highlighting and correcting errors in the story. "We take aim at the myths and falsehoods that can sometimes cloud the debate and prevent real conversation," the write. Of course, the risk here is that the corrections are selective and slanted. For example, the red pen criticizes the Journal for associating the Gates Foundation with Race to the Top, arguing the program is fully federally funded, which it is. But the Foundation was heavily involved and  helped states financially in obtaining the grants. So the red pen can be as inaccurate as the article it criticizes. Via Alexander Russo.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Why One Professor Thinks Academics Should Write ‘BuzzFeed-Style Scholarship’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 10:00
Display


Rebecca Koenig, Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 16, 2014

I don't think you need to go full Buzzfeed on this, but there is good sense behind the idea that academic writers should write more accessible versions of their articles. I don't mean dumbing it down (though the author of this post may). I mean writing in clear English, organizing the subject in a compelling manner, and eschewing academic obfuscation that can be tentatively maintained as permeating relevant media in a semiotic-complex and modularily inspecific manner. If you've managed to read past the previous sentence you will no doubt enjoy the brilliant Buzzfeed versions of  structuralism and post-structuralism.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The Internet Archive launches its arcade: Classic games in a browser

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 22:00
Display


Christian Nutt, Gamasutra, Nov 15, 2014

From the 'mindless diversions' department of OLDaily: the Internet Archive has made available in-browser versions of classic arcade games, including Frogger, Joust and Galaga, to name just a few. Many of my old favorites are here (I was an arcade rat at the time the first video games came out; I actually paid money to play pong, and though I always preferred pinball (because you could get free games), I played many of the games listed here when they were new). "Archivist Jason Scott writes about the process of getting the Arcade up and running on his personal blog. He explains its purpose like this: '... my hope is that a handful, a probably tiny percentage [of players], will begin plotting out ways to use this stuff in research, in writing, and remixing these old games into understanding their contexts.'" Awesome.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

University rankings – a game of snakes and ladders

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 16:00


Gary Barron, University Affairs, Nov 15, 2014

As I always say when the issue of university (or school, or reseacher, etc) ranking comes up: the purpose of university rankings is not to rank universities. It is to define a set of criteria that are deemed valuable by the ranking agency, and to encourage universities to embrace these criteria by means of shaming those who don't with 'lower' rankings. The differences in rankings described in the current article reflect the differences in the criteria deemed important by the respective ranking agencies. One ranking agency deems 'reputation' to be more important. Another deems publications in natural sciences, medicine and related fields as more important. Neither agency's ranking are relevant as anything other than a lobbying instrument, which is how they should be treated.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Special Issue on Historic Design Cases

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 13:00
Display


Craig D. Howard, Colin M. Gray, International Journal of Designs for Learning, Nov 15, 2014

The International Journal of Designs for Learning has just come out with a really interesting collection of historic design cases. The nine cases span from 1959 to 2003 and examine such initiatives as the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction, Minimalist Instruction, and the Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour. "Without the documentation of these designed artifacts including the narratives of their creations, we take avoidable risks— a misconception that each new breakthrough is itself entirely new, repeating failures we as a field have already grappled with and sometimes overcome, and overlooking the insights built into designs we use every day."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Improving the Utility of Large-Scale Assessments in Canada

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 13:00


W. Todd Rogers, Canadian Journal of Education, Nov 15, 2014

Interesting paper about the potential for large-scale assessment (a.k.a. standardized testing) in Canada. Three major problems are presented: the reliability of the test results, the need to get results early enough to make useful changes, and the provision of resources to support those changes. The point of the paper is to describe what's needed to make the assessments work, but I think it's a lot more convincing as an argument to the effect that they don't work. "Principals and teachers must be provided with reliable profiles that can be validly interpreted, and they must have adequate time and assistance to make needed changes to enhance learning and achievement of all of their students."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Move over MOOCs – Collaborative MOOC 2.0 is coming

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 10:00
Display


Yojana Sharma, University World News, Nov 15, 2014

This is an article about the development of cMOOCs - only they're being called "MOOC 2.0" and being touted as a new invention. Because that's how the world works. And, frankly, I applaude the initiative. "Many conventional MOOCs are developed and designed for Western teaching and learning experiences, says [Professor Auh Yoon-il of Kyung Hee Cyber University], the lead project designer for MOOC 2.0. 'But the general consensus here [among those working on MOOC 2.0] is that MOOCs education must be a collective effort from all parts of the world.'  What is important, according to Auh, is that to avoid a 'type of neo-colonialism', receiving countries must collaborate in devising the MOOCs their students will study." More coverage from Korea's Joongang Daily. And here is the  Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0 website.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Accidental Exposure

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 10:00


Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Nov 15, 2014

After again being confronted by students angry that their dissertations are being sold on Amazon, ProQuest has  announced that it will stop selling them on Amazon. It will still keep selling them, of course, just not in a place where students might accidentally find out. "We discovered that the language in the contract was not clear enough about the scope of the distribution,`said a VP at ProQuest. Yeah, right. The  FAQ refers to it as "dissemination" and you have to read through three quarters of the document before you find the word "sell", and students have to "embargo" their work to prevent this. If they were being clear and honest they would put the word in the first paragraph and give students a way to opt out of commercial distribution while retaining non-commercial distribution.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Federated Education: New Directions in Digital Collaboration

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 17:00
Display


Mike Caulfield, Hapgood, Nov 14, 2014

I think that this is quite a good proposal that has many merits. It begins by pointing to what is probably the central problem with Wikipedia: obtaining consensus within a very large community. "You go online to share it and you’ re teleported past the personal and dialogic and suddenly find yourself having to defend the inclusion of this fact or this edit... And it gets worse, because if you lose that battle (notability, accuracy, citations, linked ideas — whatever the battle is) your contribution disappears." Caulfield then describes as an alternative the federated wiki, where an idea (or item about content) will migrate from person to person before a consensus is developed (if ever). My own approach would probably be less 'tribe' centered and less consensus centred. I don't think there's a whole lot of value in either. But the idea of a piece of content moving from person to person and growing and adapting (which a record of these changes) as a lot of merit, and is worth investigating further.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The Data on Diversity

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 17:00
Display


Beryl Nelson, Communications of the ACM, Nov 14, 2014

Diversity is an asset in pretty much any working or learning situation, but diversity can be a challenge, especially with participants who are not accustomed to diversity. This can result in bias and stereotyping among members, causing them to misrepresent or filter what other group members are saying or doing. "Even a small bias can result in a large difference in the representation of minorities at the top levels of a company." To address these issues, some effective practices include: making data available, creating a critical mass, embracing of differences, and sponsorship of women and minorities. "An organization that says 'we value diversity' is more trusted than one that says 'we are color blind.'" Good article, very detailed, worth the read.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Managing Open Access publication

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 14:00


Owen Stephens, Jisc Monitor, Nov 14, 2014

If you're reading this article and wondering what APCs are, you're not alone. There are  dozens of things it could be, and the author doesn't even bother with a link, let along an expansion of the acronym. From the context, after a bit of sleuthing, I figured out that it probably means 'article processing charge'. But it's very unfriendly of the author not to tell us this. Don't do this! Having said that, I think the project being described is interesting and applies equally to open educational resources. The purpose is to "write a system specification for an application to support data and workflows related to the costs of OA publishing and/or funder mandates." I imagine that publication costs cannot be escaped, though I would personally place the emphasis on cost-effective institutional repositories rather than expensive publisher services. (p.s. the author attribution is a guess, because this information is also not provided).

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Advantages and Disadvantages of SCORM 1.2 vs 2004

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 14:00
Display


Erik T. Lord, eLearning Chef, Nov 14, 2014

Any digital technology that lasts for more than ten years has to be considered a success. "Despite the growth and excitement around the xAPI (TinCan) spec, SCORM remains the most popular and supported method of ensuring a standardized communication between an online course and the LMS." The secret is, it just works. "There’ s a reason most eLearning content is still built for SCORM 1.2… it simply works and generally satisfies the tracking requirements many organizations require."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Beyond Borders: Global Learning in a Networked World

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 20:00
[Slides][Audio]

In this talk I address the phenomenon of open online learning, and in particular the massive open online course (MOOC), and discusses how it opens new frontiers in learning. Through their use of open educational resources and a student-centered pedagogy, MOOCs make learning accessible to people no matter where they live. This is resulting in the transformation of the global education system such that advanced and formal learning is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable. In this talk I talks about the transformation of educational systems talking place, the policy implications of open online learning, and the practical implementation of open online courses.

Unbordering Education, Yerevan, Armenia (Keynote) Nov 10, 2014 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Photos from Armenia and Georgia

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00


Stephen Downes, Flickr, Nov 13, 2014

I've been in the  Caucasus region for the last week or so. Here are photos from Armenia and Georgia: Sevan Lake, Armenia;  Khor Virap Monastery and Mt. Ararat, Armenia; Tbilisi, Georgia;  Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple, Armenia; Yerevan, Armenia.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Why Google wants to replace Gmail

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00


Mike Elgan, Computer World, Nov 13, 2014

One of the values of traditional email and RSS is that you choose exactly what you want to see; if there is filtering and organizing, you do it yourself. This runs against the Google business model, which selects these resources for you (and charges customers for premium placement in those listings). So - argues this article - the release of Google's Inbox means they are working toward the end of regular email.

Mike Elgan writes, "Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That's what it does. That's what the company's search tool does: It mediates our relationship with the Internet. That's why Google killed Google Reader, for example. Subscribing to an RSS feed and having an RSS reader deliver 100% of what the user signed up for in an orderly, linear and predictable and reliable fashion is a pointless business for Google. It's also why I believe Google will kill Gmail as soon as it comes up with a mediated alternative everyone loves"

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The Disconnect: Do we really have a skills shortage? Or just a communication problem

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00
Display


Jessica Barrett, Calgary Herald, Nov 13, 2014

Our  LPSS program is intended in part to address the skills shortage. But suppose it doesn't really exist. "We have not seen wages spike in response to a labour shortage, as would be dictated by the law of supply and demand." Maybe not, but many businesses are not viable if wages spike. Additionally, informal agreements often exist among employers about wage rates. So this data does not entail the conclusion that there is no skills gap. But suppose this is the case; what's happening instead? "We have a problem, not necessarily with the skills, but with how one describes the skills... Digital gatekeepers have none of the leeway inherent in an in-person exchange." Well if that were true it's the same as a shortage, so we should still expect a spike in wages. But what happens instead is that companies make do without. No doubt better algorithms would help (and we'll probably see a follow-up article in a few months that just such a process is being marketed by the main commentators in this article). But going back to the days of the personal interview is not an option.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Academic citation practices need to be modernized so that all references are digital and lead to full texts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00
Display


Patrick Dunleavy, LSE Blog, Nov 13, 2014

I have long been frustrated in academic research by the lack of URLs referencing the cite papers. This article argues for a change in practice to the effect that all papers would directly link to the papers they cite. I have less faith in the author in the utility of the DOI system for legacy content - these are just as often broken as others, as publishers and universities change the URLs of papers and do not update the registry. I also like the idea of 'source quotes' to ease searching for relevant passages: "Source quotes replacing page references do not have to be memorable, nor must they be especially salient bits of text, nor very long ."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Harvard secretly photographed students to study attendance

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00
Display


Matt Rocheleau, Boston Globe, Nov 13, 2014

The lede captures it nicely: "Harvard University has revealed that it secretly photographed some 2,000 students in 10 lecture halls last spring as part of a study of classroom attendance, an admission that prompted criticism from faculty and students who said the research was an invasion of privacy." We are drifting toward a surveillance society, even in (especially in?) academic environments. And institutions should know better apparently don't.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The times, they are (always) a-changin’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00
Display


Melonie Fullick, University Affairs, Nov 13, 2014

Melonie Fullick argues that calls for universities to change are misrepresenting the complexity (and reality) of change in the system. "Universities already have changed, over the decades and centuries. It’ s just that they’ ve never changed enough for the present moment... I’ d say the question is not whether universities will change – since this is ongoing – but what those changes will look like, how they will happen, and whose needs they will serve best." Interesting article with some valid points.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Fall of the Banner Ad: The Monster That Swallowed the Web

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:00
Display


Harhad Manjoo, New York Times, Nov 12, 2014

The internet was originally a military and academic network designed for the free sharing of information and communications. As it began to be opened in the 1990s to allow commercial participation there was significant opposition to the introduction of advertising to the environment. These fears turned out to be well-founded, in my opinion, as much of what is bad about the web today can be traced back to the need to pursue clicks over content. I remember these first banner ads from Wired as I was a longtime member of the Wired online forums (called 'Hotwired Threads'). Today I am reading that sponsored posts  are providing significant returns for advertisers. This next great retreat from meaningful content and communication will be equally harmful. Me need so much to be able to move beyond advertising, but the commercial interest is pervasive, and nobody seems to know how to escape the trap we set for ourselves 20 years ago.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content