Miscellaneous

The Motivational Outcomes Of Connectivism Theory In EFL

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 22:37
Mohammad Borna, Mahboobeh Fouladchang, Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, Mar 04, 2019

This paper compares a connectivist instructional method with a communicative language teaching (CLT) method in the teaching of English and concludes that the "connectivism instructional method provide unique opportunities for increasing the self-efficacy and task value of students by increasing social intractions and diversity for choosing tasks." This isn't a result of the type 'treatment X improved test score Y' but I do think that it points to one of the wider values of a connectivist approach. The same authors expand on their findings in this article as well.

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Jumping from one resource to another: how do students navigate learning networks?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 22:37
Alaa A. AlDahdouh, International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, Mar 04, 2019

The question posed here is how students draw links between different learning resources. "Connectivism has yet to recognize how learners form connections to the variety of resources," writes the author. "An often-overlooked stage in the process of forming connections is the evaluation stage. This kind of self-awareness of actions helps the learners judge the value of the node and redirect their learning path."

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Does Artificial Neural Network support Connectivism’s assumptions?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 22:37
International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, Mar 04, 2019

The answer to the question posed in the title is "yes, mostly" (and I would quibble with the places where the paper says they don't mesh) but the real value of the paper is a step-by-step examination of different types of neural networks used in machine learning and (especially) deep learning. "the only hope is to use unsupervised learning model in which  a learner should extract the pattern from given examples without explicit feedback. The repetition and relative similarity between objects in given examples may help a learner to cluster and combine different ideas together to come up with new object. And that is where connectivist's theory lies."

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Recent Work in Connectivism

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 20:02
In this presentation I look at how connectivism is being applied and understood in current literature. I look at connectivism as pedagogy, connectivism as a learning theory, some successes of connectivist methods, and look at connectivism from a wider perspective. Please see this Google Doc for full notes and references. LAK19, Phoenix, Arizona, via Zoom (Panel) Mar 04, 2019 [Link] [Slides] [Video]
Categories: Miscellaneous

UC Drops Elsevier

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:37
Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 01, 2019

I found this to be a nice juxtaposition of stories: on the one hand, the University of California cancels it's Elsevier subscription, and on the other hand, Springer Nature is contributing articles to ResearchGate. The California case is straightforward: "UC wanted to integrate its fees and reduce its costs. Elsevier wanted to charge publishing fees on top of subscription fees, said Ivy Anderson. That predicate made it impossible to reach an agreement.” The Springer Nature initiative is based on a cooperative agreement announced this past April and will see some 6,000 otherwise subscription- only articles made available without access controls. More: Nature Science, Berkeley News, Chronicle, University of California statement. It has taken 20 years, but as the Chronicle reports, Open Access is Going Mainstream.

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Adaptive Leadership For The New #MedEd: The One Hour Read

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:37
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Mar 01, 2019

This booklet (41 page PDF) is a well-informed and forward-looking survey of new appproaches to medical education. Each of its ten sections contains a challenge, short outline of the concept, and a practical example in the form of a case. Topics covered include co-creation, trust networks, personal learning networks, and co-leadership models. As the authors write, "Medical education is shifting its focus from knowledge as the product of learning to realworld competence as its desired outcome. As a result, value creation in medical education is shifting from institutional, positional, and informational silos in favour of fluid networks and communities of practice."

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Playful Twitter accounts and the socialisation of literary institutions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:37
Millicent Weber, Beth Driscoll, First Monday, Mar 01, 2019

Corporate Twitter, institutional Twitter, academic Twitter - can they use humour (and get away with it)? The sense I get reading this article is that though there are pitfalls, they can - and when they do, they drive more engagement. "Humour on social media can be savvy marketing, a demonstration of cultural or social knowledge, and consequently an indicator of status within or affiliation with particular groups. It can be a community-creating exercise; or, conversely, cut across or work against existing communities or conversations."

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Let’s Hear It for Educational Freedom!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:37
Chester E. Finn, Jr., EducationNext, Mar 01, 2019

Like so many other words in our field, the word 'freedom' suffers from ambiguity. In education, in particular, the word 'freedom' is often equated with 'choice'. That's what we read in this column. But from where I sit, freedom isn't choice. Freedom is agency. Indeed, choice - by limiting agency - is often the opposite of freedom. So when I read advocacy journalism such as this article I reframe the question, asking whether the alternatives support increased agency. All too often I find that they undermine agency instead, replacing the best interests of students with the narrow interests of lobbyists or funders.

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Horizon Report Preview 2019

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 03:37
EDUCAUSE, Feb 28, 2019

This report (11 page PDF) carries on Horizon's long-standing tradition of predicting things that have already happened. Need proof? For the short term, Horizon is predicting mobile learning and analytics. Medium term sees mixed reality and artificial intelligence. And get ready, because in 4-5 years we'll see blockchain and virtual assistants (that will be a surprise to anyone who bought a Google Home with Bitcoin). It's not that these predictions are unhelpful, they're also too vague to be useful. Consider 'blockchain'. They write "the  legacy of blockchain might be what the technology inspired rather than the broad adoption of blockchain technology itself." Well - yeah. But what will be the technology inspired by blockchain? I've taken my own stab at that question - but it's hard to see Horizon getting beyond a one-word answer. Via Campus Technology.

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The concept of praxis

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 03:37
Kelli McGraw, Feb 28, 2019

I still think 'praxis' is a meaningless term that serves only to confuse non-academic readers, but here's an overview anyway, with some well-posed questions about the concept.

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The PERLA Framework: Blending Personalization and Learning Analytics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 03:37
Mohamed Amine Chatti, Arham Muslim, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Feb 28, 2019

From the abstract: "This paper discusses the Personalization and Learning Analytics (PERLA) framework which represents the convergence of personalization and learning analytics and provides a theoretical foundation for effective analytics-enhanced personalized learning." It's important to not that the authors distinguish personalization from adaptation (or adaptive learning systems). "Personalization is learner-driven; the system only helps learners decide what to do next." Anyhow, the framework is based on a cycle alternating execution and evaluation (described by feed-forward and feedback indicators respectively). I'm not sure what it adds specifically but I can imagine it being referenced in future work in this area.

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ALEKS from McGraw-Hill: Web-Based, CCSS-Aligned, AI-Driven 6-12 Math Curriculum

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 03:37
Michael Karlin, The Ed Tech Round Up, Feb 28, 2019

This is a glowing review of ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) from McGraw-Hill Education. The idea is that "it is designed to provide instruction and guidance at whatever level a student may need." Of course it is not intended to replace the teacher (yet) and the reviewer takes pains to say this. On the other hand, "the AI is built on information gained from free responses and not multiple choice questions, so it is able to capture more of the subtlety and specifics of exactly what students know." It felt a bit like a softball review but Michael Karlin asserts "the opinions expressed in this review are my own" and "I was not compensated for writing this review" so I take it at face value.

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Understanding Participant's Behaviour in Massively Open Online Courses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 03:37
Bruno Poellhuber, Normand Roy, Ibthihel Bouchoucha, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Feb 28, 2019

This article is a useful correction to the caterwauling about MOOC drop-out rates in the early days of the research. The authors identify five major categories of MOOC users, each of which has a different set of objectives and behaviours in the course: browsers, self-assessors, serious readers, active-independent, active-social. There's also a category called 'ghosts' (or, in the abstract, 'ghots', which I think is actually a better word). According to the authors, "we need to rethink the names and definitions used in MOOC research, especially concerning who is a student, what persevering means, and what success is from the MOOC participant's perspective.

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Moodle Announces Moodle Workplace: The best of Moodle, fine-tuned for organisational learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 03:37
Moodle, Feb 28, 2019

Reflective of a slow trend in educational technology, Moodle has announced a move to corporate learning support with Moodle Workplace. The explanation is, "our community of users and our Moodle Partners have been needing new features specific to learning and development in the workplace." But more telling is the response to the question, "Is Moodle Workplace open source?" It is this: "Moodle Workplace is not being distributed in the same way as Moodle core. For now, Moodle Workplace is only available via selected Moodle Partners, so that we can ensure a high quality experience with Moodle Workplace." In other words: no. Via Checkpoint.

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Electron Express

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 15:41
This is an overview of how applications are being created for the web and the desktop using Node.js packages including Express and Electron. It's intended for a non-technical audience and describes how the software works and what it can do. This not a 'how-to' guide, it's a survey of the landscape. In-House, Ottawa (Workshop) Feb 28, 2019 [Link] [Slides] [Video]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The impact of conformity in education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 03:37
Dave Cormier, Dave’s Educational Blog, Feb 27, 2019

According to Dave Cormier, "When we identify the technology and not the people beyond we missed the systemic cultural practices that are helping to shape the people who are the bad actors on those platforms." Technology may be an enabler, but it's the people who actually behave one way or another. That's why "we need our schools to replicate models of inclusivity and equity that are not about the imposition of conformity. That means that we accept people the way they come in the door, and we help them come up with answers that belong to them." Image: ThoughtCo.

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Advancing academia with Wikipedia

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 03:37
Sharon Aschaiek, University Affairs, Feb 27, 2019

Short description of how universities are designating Wikipedians in residence (WIR) to support the institutional mandate through the coordination of editing and other activities related to the online encyclopedia. "Wikimedia offers free recruitment, training and content creation support to institutions seeking WIRs. According to the organization, these services fall in line with its goal to encourage cultural and educational institutions to share their resources freely on Wikimedia sites."

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MOOCs and the Master's Degree

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 03:37
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, Feb 27, 2019

You have to read to the end of the second page of this three-page article, but the gist is this: "the MicroMasters effort has become a branding and recruitment coup — whether for career acceleration or master's gateways — that should lay poaching worries to rest." While it may look like a very small number of students pass through the MicroMasters and into the institution, the number is still in the thousands, and moreover, "there was no record of them having ever had interest in UMUC before" and "the data was showing a MOOC student population quite different from what UMUC was accustomed to attracting to its online programs."

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Analysis — What If We Personalized Education Funding? How Routing Dollars to Students Instead of Schools Could Fund a More Nimble System

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 02/28/2019 - 03:37
Travis Pillow, Paul Hill, The 74, Feb 27, 2019

The idea touted in the title is being floated by a publication created to support the charter school movement. It would also be supported by proponents of a voucher movement. I don't agree with it, but think it's important to look at the argument. As I read it, I consider the provision of other services - health care, say? From where I sit, it makes the most sense simply to fund the services directly and ensure that people can access them as needed, so we don't have the overhead of distrfibuting vouchers (or whatever), collecting payments, and all the rest. And it is moreover not clear what problem the use of vouchers solves (unless you are trying to insert private providers between the funders and the users of the system).

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Do Better at Conference Diversity

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 03:37
Hopper, Feb 26, 2019

This is good advice not just for conference organizers but for educational facilitators generally. Suggestions range from the obvious (have women on your organizing committee) to the unexpected (consider alternatives to the conference t-shirt). I like that they recommend not just gender diversity but also "racial diversity, age diversity and other forms of diversity." I would add that you don't just want different colours and shapes, you want people offering diverse perspectives. The article also offers advice on bathrooms, childcare and food selection. 

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