Miscellaneous

Translation for massive open online courses to be developed by the traMOOC project

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 12:00
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Unattributed, Open Education Europa, Mar 18, 2015

According to this short report, "The traMOOC project launched in  February 2015 aims at tackling this impediment by developing high-quality automatic translation of various types of texts included in MOOCs from English into eleven European and BRIC languages." Automated translation is on the cusp of becoming everyday. In addition to the well-known Google project there are numerous focused research projects, including NRC's world-leading machine translation system called  Portage (which we will be integrating into LPSS). Where things really become interesting is when this is combined with speech recognition to create real-time video captioning. "The (traMOOC) project results will be showcased and tested on the Iversity MOOCplatform and on the VideoLectures.NET digital video lecture library." (Image)

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Walmart pledges $100 million to boost jobs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 12:00
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Patricia Sellers, Fortune, Mar 18, 2015

This story is revealing because of what WalMart says about the initiative as it launches it: "'The education-to-employment system is broken,' says Walmart Foundation president Kathleen McLaughlin... Harvard Business School’ s Bridge the Gap report details the pressing need: 51% of retailers have trouble filling middle-skills roles." It would also be nice to see the company raise wages further to provide a stimulus for people; there's not a lot of incentive to take training for a $9/hour job, but a return to the days when a person could make a decent living working in a store would be a welcome change in the social landscape.

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$1.55M MOOC Project to Expand Global Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 12:00
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Kellye Whitney, At Whit's End, Mar 18, 2015

I think it's interesting that a course review site has achieved enough legitimacy to be able to use its data to develop a MOOC-centric training network (I'm less thrilled that international development funds are diverted to do this). But maybe it will provide a lasting benefit. "The  U.S. Agency for International Development  (USAID) and  CourseTalk.com, an online course review company, are launching a two-year, $1.55 million project to expand quality education and career training globally..." The Technology & Social Change Group "will analyze more than 70,000 course CourseTalk  reviews from students to study awareness and usage of MOOCs among 18 to 35 year olds in Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa."

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Coursera's Stiglitz: MOOC revolution is just beginning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 12:00
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Roger Riddell, EducationDive, Mar 18, 2015

Coursera's  director of business and market development Julia Stiglit says the MOOC revolution is not over. "I think it’ s just beginning. I really do... It’ s something that’ s still evolving, but the place where I see Coursera and MOOCs in right now is in the space of lifelong learners, who are really looking for educational opportunities." I think that open online learning will continue, and maybe even a form created specifically for older learners who like traditional courses. My vision of the future of open online learning, though, is wider than this.

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Bob Braun Reports that Pearson Is Spying on Social Media of Students Taking PARCC Tests

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 15:00
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Diane Ravitch, Mar 17, 2015

The site that broke the story has  been "attacked and closed", but this is what Bob Braun wrote: "Pearson, the multinational testing and publishing company, is spying on the social media posts of students– including those from New Jersey– while the children are taking their PARCC, statewide tests." The original post is  here (link still down) and the full text of the article has been reposted here. The spying appears to be sanctioned by the Department of Education (DOE) in the U.S. also from Bob Braun: "Hmmmm. Coming to a school near you. http://www.tracx.com/... Pearson Streamlines Social Media Listening and Monitoring With Tracx." More from Daily Kos. Jersey Jazzman  says the story "proves the inferiority of their (Pearson's) products." After a bit of a delay, the story has broken on the Washington Post Blog and... well, that's it. More from Kevin Jarrett. Response from Watchung  Hills Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett.

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The digital ducking stool

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 10:00
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Helen Lewis, New Statesman, Mar 16, 2015

Another article looking at the phenomenon of mass retaliation on this internet, this time depicting it as public shaming. "To me, public shaming is a symptom of institutional failure. It flourishes when people feel there is no accountability or possibility of redress through other channels. As our legal system matured and the concept of due process developed, we were content to outsource punishment to the state. Now, with trust in our institutions failing, we want to take matters into our own hands again."

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OER World Map

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 10:00
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Various authors, Mar 16, 2015

A year and a half or so ago UNESCO launched an OER mapping project. It has now come to fruition. "Using local knowledge to describe the OER ecosystem, the OER World Map will visualize the world of OER and support a range of widgets and tools, including powerful statistical analysis." Here's the OER World Map blog.

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CRC Blog

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/15/2015 - 14:00


Various authors, Centre for Research Communications (CRC), Mar 15, 2015

From the email lists: a new CRC blog. "The Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham works nationally and globally with researchers, funders, institutions and publishers, on challenging and exciting opportunities in opening access to research.  The recently-launched CRC Blog http://thecrcblog.wordpress.com will provide updates on all the SHERPA Services (RoMEO, JULIET, OpenDOAR and FACT) and projects (SHERPA/REF, OARR and JoRD)."

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Half of Canadians wish they had sought more career planning advice, survey finds

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/15/2015 - 11:00


Press Release, Canada NewsWire, Mar 15, 2015

According to this article, "One in two Canadians who have not had career counselling say they would have sought professional career planning or employment advice if they could do it over again, a new survey has found." Of course, it's easy to find regret about the past in any population. I would be curious to know how people who followed career planning advice would have responded. In my case, had I followed the advice, I would have had a career in the military. So what would have happened? Would I today be a general, an unhappy sergeant, or perhaps lost out on a battlefield some place? Regrets, I would have had a few. Maybe. The survey was commissioned by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC). Via Academica.

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Why I Cancelled My Kindle Unlimited Subscription

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/15/2015 - 11:00


Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 15, 2015

"The reality of Kindle Unlimited ended up being wildly divergent from all the hype," writes Joshua Kim. While he awaits the long-promised audiobooks, the selection currently available, he says, is nothing he would want to read. "The selection on Kindle Unlimited is shockingly bad.   Amazon seems to have been completely unable to persuade authors or publishers to join the program." (You can stop reading at the 'wish list' what begins with 'The Sellout: A Novel'; the articule does not resume after that long list).

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Can We End 'The End of College' Already?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/15/2015 - 11:00
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John Warner, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 15, 2015

More pushback against the 'end of college' theme (ironically in an issue of Inside Higher Ed that also discusses the  closure of Sweet Briar college). This post addresses Kevin Carey's argument (discussed here) on 'The End of College'. I'm generally critical of Carey, but I'm really put off by the tone of this article, which seeks mostly to belittle him. Warner's criticism is, essentially, "In Carey’ s formulation, because an already highly educated professional can pass an online Biology course, we are on the cusp of a revolution." Perhaps Warner should recall that, not so long ago, it would have been very difficult even for a highly educated professional to take a course in biology. Belittling Carey won't change what is happening in the environment.

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Debunking the Myth about a Creative Destruction of Higher Education with Technology as the Driver

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 15:00


Unattributed, Contact North, Mar 14, 2015

The central premise of this post is that "while it is the case that technology is sneaking into the nooks and crannies of the post-secondary system, it is not producing transformative change." Looking at the evidence itself - from the structure of universities to the nature of assessment - the author argues that little has changed in universities. The author also identifies several reasons for the "stasis" seen in the system, things ranging from government funding, collective agreements and faculty resistance. My view is different. I don't think we can look inside the system for signs of change - it will remain static right up to the last moment. We have to look outside for the trends which will produce a 'sudden' crisis in the system. MOOCs, for example, produced little change inside universities - big surprise! - but took the world outside universities by storm, signifying several latent trends building up in momentum. People in universities will think that credentialing and government funding will keep them static - right up to the moment they don't. Mark me on this.

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The Big Picture

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 21:00
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nick shackleton-jones, aconventional, Mar 13, 2015

I love the diagram, and the concept is well-executed, but the word 'apps' stands out like a sore vendor-specific thumb. It shows up in the responses: "People have begun to grasp Journey 1, the journey from courses to resources, but still struggle with the journey from resources to apps." So why don't we fix the terminology:

  • Courses - prepare you for the future ('remember these directions')
  • Resources - support you in the moment ('use this map')
  • Sources - guide your behaviour ('use the SatNav')

It's a slightly different take on the meaning of 'source', but we can visualize being led by the source of something (whereas the word 'app' really has no intuitive associations beyond the brand it refers to). (I thought about using 'horses' or 'forces' or even of making up a word instead of using  'sources' to replace 'app', but I think 'sources' fits best).

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On rote memorization and antiquated skills

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 21:00
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Daniel Lemire, Mar 13, 2015

"To my surprise," writes Daniel Lemire, "there is an abundant supply of teachers and parents openly supporting rote memorization and antiquated skills." He then deals with some of the objections people raise. Like, for example, learning to do long division by hand to understand what's "under the hood". Well, what is under the hood? "How processors do divisions is not quite like pen-and-paper long division." That's true with most mathematics 'foundations' - they're not foundational at all! Another objection he meets is that the information memorized is useful. Well, maybe it is. But "rote memorization on its own is theory divorced from practice." If you get in the practice, then if it's actually useful, it will be remembered pretty quickly. And what's key is this: "Nobody ever became a great mathematician, or even a good one, by relying on rote memorization." (Image)

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Manu Sporny

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 21:00
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Manu Sporny, YouTube, Mar 13, 2015

This is a YouTube channel with a set of resources about linked data (LD) in JSON. If that sentence makes no sense to you at all, you can safely skip this resource. But if you're doing work with linked data in JSON, you may well want to watch the series: 1. What is Linked Data? http://youtu.be/4x_xzT5eF5Q 2. What is JSON-LD? http://youtu.be/vioCbTo3C-4 3. JSON-LD: Core Markup http://youtu.be/UmvWk_TQ30A 4. JSON-LD: Compaction and Expansion http://youtu.be/Tm3fD89dqRE 5. Linked Data Signatures http://youtu.be/QdUZaYeQblY 6. Credentials on the Web http://youtu.be/eWtOg3vSzxI Via Elf Pavlik by email.

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Fast Food Commercials Aimed At Kids 'Deceptive'

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 13:00
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News Staff, Science 2.0, Mar 12, 2015

I have long argued that if we are to filter web content for kids at all, we should be censoring things that are really harmful, like fast food products. I'm not alone, maybe. " Fast food advertising doesn't emphasize healthy menu items enough, and by giving away toys in things like Happy Meals restaurants are being deceptive even by their own self-regulation standards, according to scholars." Of course what I would prefer more than censorship would be to see something like corporate responsibility when marketing to kids. But hoping for that would be naive, I guess.

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A digital public space is Britain’s missing national institution

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 13:00
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Jemima Kiss, The Guardian, Mar 12, 2015

I'm not sure I agree with the 'public garden' metaphor as a model for provision of open educational resources in the community. I understand the desire to move the discussion our of the crass competitive marketplace. But what I find is that when we divide environments between public and private in this way is that the public environment becomes a bit of a wasteland. That is not to dismiss the need for public investment in these resources. So I would rather use a public roads metaphor rather than a public park. But they should be available in the same environment as other resources. Related: BBC's Research and Education Space (RES): "The  Research and Education Space (RES) is a new platform of linked open data catalogues from a wide range of online educational resources. RES aims to significantly improve access and use of these resources for teaching, learning and research."

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Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:00
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Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, Mar 11, 2015

Doug Belshaw flags this interesting account on time created by Brain Pickings's Maria Popova. The core thread of the discussion describes how our perception of time changes. The simple and immediate explanbation for this is, "We construct the experience of time in our minds, so it follows that we are able to change the elements we find troubling." It's like McTaggert says: time is not real. And it shows how flexible our perceptions are. "It is clear that however the brain counts time, it has a system that is very flexible. It takes account of [factors like] emotions, absorption, expectations, the demands of a task and even the temperature." Good stuff.

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Skills for the Networked World

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:00
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Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID, Other Reflections, Mar 11, 2015

This is an interesting post because it summarizes a number of other posts on new skills and comes up with a list as a bit of a synthesis of them. I think that overall it's a good list, though there's some duplication and cross-categorization. And it mixes skills and values. Things like autonomy (aka 'courage zone') and diversity are values (and he should add openness and interactivity). Things like cognition (aka 'critical thinking') and pattern recognition (aka 'meta-cognition') are skills, and are what we recognize as critical literacies. Here are his core skills, quoted:

  • meta-cognition: "working out loud, building one's PLN and PKM, digital sense-making"
  • critical thinking: "to take decisions in the face of flux and ambiguity, to embrace change"
  • diversity and inclusion: "super-additivity where the sum of the whole exceeds that of the individual parts"
  • relationship building: "collaboration is working together on a common problem, while cooperation is freely sharing without any objective
  • community participation: "sharing, creating, and debating of knowledge around a domain"
  • courage zone: "agility and  adaptability  in learning... ability to question tacit assumptions and biases"

 

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Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:00
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Kevin Carey, New York Times, Mar 11, 2015

There is what Kevin Carey sees as "official" and what will really be official. Two different things. Let me start where we agree: "In the long run, MOOCs will most likely be seen as a crucial step forward in the reformation of higher education." But MOOCs will not depend on defending the traditional degree structure in order to be successful. Indeed, the danger of MOOCs to traditional institutions is that they will replace such traditional (and traditionally biased) measures such as 'admitted to Harvard. I've talked about this before: credentials based on what you actually do, rather than whether you qualify for legacy status at an Ivy.

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