Miscellaneous

Introducing the Open Badges 101 course! [pre-alpha]

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 07/15/2015 - 15:00
Display


Doug Belshaw, Jul 15, 2015

It took me about ten minutes to go through  the entire course as it is, which is basically a series of useful images linked in a linear path (next... next... next... - start here). So, yeah, there's a lot of work to be done in this course and it's totally pre-alpha. Totally fair. And you can connect to  the GitHub forums discussing how it can be improved (which, frankly, should be retained as a permanent part of the course - because, why not?) How would I improve it? Well, none of the  broad networks of connectivity envisioned in the course exist in the course. How do you make that work by building a course? I don't think you can - I think you have to start with the broad networks of connectivity, and then design learning experiences (possibly including courses) after you've done that.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Some (further) thoughts about ‘agile’ learning design

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 07/15/2015 - 12:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance eductaion resources, Jul 15, 2015

If you want to learn about agile learning design, you are probably better off learning about  agile software design - from which it is derived - than from reading about agile learning designe. Agile is a well-established and well-tested approach to designing software in dynamic and changing environments; we are using it at NRC to build LPSS. But note, you'll find some key differences between the two. The agile design I read in this Tony Bates article owes a lot more to traditional learning design than it does to agile. Imagine these principles applied to learning:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Now compare with what we read in the Tony Bates article summarizing Peter Rawsthorne’ s model of agile learning design: "clearly defined and measurable broad learning goals... sub-goals or topics, negotiated with learners... core learning materials and tools chosen in advance by the instructor... assessment based on pre-determined criteria linked." I can see the relation between this and agile - but it's like Rawsthorne can't let go of the core principles of instructional design where they conflict with an approach that would result in, well, a cMOOC.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Stop Blaming ‘The System’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 07/15/2015 - 12:00
Display


Dan Haesler, Jul 15, 2015

This is one of those posts where I'm half in agreement and half in disagreement. The essence of Dan Haesler's comment is that we should stop blaming what we can't change and start working on what we can change. "I often hear that things will  never  change until we get rid of NAPLAN or the ATAR and we can’ t innovate in the current educational climate," he writes. "Well if that’ s your position then it’ s a bit of a cop-out. Because let’ s be honest, they aren’ t going anywhere." I agree in the sense that we should not let the system limit us; I often work outside, around or underneath the system to make things work. And like Saul Alinsky, I try to make the system work toward my own ends. But he's wrong when he suggests we should just let the system be. It often is wrong, it was built to impair progress and equity, and it should change - and if we would around the system well enough, ti will change.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Syrians see the limits of an education in refuge

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 07/15/2015 - 00:00
Display


Michael Pizzi, Al Jazeera, Jul 14, 2015

There are issues here that defy easy solutions. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has generally dealt with cases in Africa, and so only provided rudimentary education. But in a middle-income country like Syria, expectations are higher (and, honestly, they should be higher for Africa as well). And, "there is an urgency to these efforts, saying disaffected Syrian youths may be vulnerable to extremism," and this is true in any case where refugees are created, not just Syria. It seems to me online learning and online commerce should be able to help, but in the long run, I think we need to create a freedom of mobility, so people aren't trapped in dictatorships, impoverished nations, or refugee camps. As is always the case, education is a necessary, but not sufficient, solution to humanitarian issues.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Updated E-Learning Definitions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 07/14/2015 - 22:00


John Sener, Online Learning Consortium, Jul 14, 2015

Useful set of definitions that will help people discussing e-learning. It focuses only on types of course (traditional, blended, online) and programs. " Our hope is that it will move us toward a set of shared, commonly understood definitions that will facilitate the sharing of research data and professional standards in our field." Via D'Arcy Norman.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

The battle for open-access information

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 07/14/2015 - 10:00
Display


Martin McKenzie-Murray, The Saturday Paper, Jul 14, 2015

I've been an AAAARG member for a  long time, though in recent years it has become less useful (as people have been sharing citations, but not actual papers). AAAARG has survived legal cases, public opposition, and more, and I imagine it will survive this article, which wile it sounds sypathetic, ultimately insists that the site is doing something wrong, trotting out the old and well-worn argument to do so: “ To state the obvious, most anti-copyright activists have never had to rely on [lending rights] payments or royalties to pay rent. More than that, it has always struck me as odd that many on the left support working wages for the poor, but not the right of authors to earn a living from their work, which is one of the things copyright facilitates." If royalties were the only way to pay authors, I would be in agreement. But they're not, and the way we do it now has resulted in the least efficient and most unfair system possible. Via Darcy Moore.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

An executive’s guide to machine learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 18:00
Display


Dorian Pyle, Cristina San Jose, McKinsey, Jul 13, 2015

I think this is a pretty good article overall. It tells the executive officer what machine learning is without making the mistake of telling them what machine learning is. That is, it focuses more on value and use than it does on technology and mechanics. I think this is a bit of a cop-out, though: "Without strategy as a starting point, machine learning risks becoming a tool buried inside a company’ s routine operations." That's like saying, "without learning objectives you can't rely on machine learning to recommend learning resources." In one sense, this is true, but in another, deeper, sense, you want the machine learning to tell you what the strategic (or learning) options are. You don't know what you don't know, but good AI should help you with that.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Letter on Sustainable Development Goals, Research and Higher Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 15:00


Project SOHA, Google Docs, Jul 13, 2015

Here's a question. If you have stated explicitly in a United Nations document that you support "inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all" do you need to add "notably through open educational resources and open access to scientific and technical information"? And if you support "resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation," do you need to add "socially responsible technological and social innovation and research capacity with affordable access to the Internet for all"? Let me note: I support the content of both additions. But are they necessary? It could be argued that they restrict the application of the principles to only open access and internet for all. Maybe it should be? Or maybe not.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Doing Something About the ‘Impossible Problem’ of Abuse in Online Games

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 15:00
Display


Jeffrey Lin, Re/Code, Jul 13, 2015

On the creepy side, players are finding themselves being admonished for bad behaviour by machines. On the positive side, it is at long last a mechanism that enables a platform to deal with abuse and harassment. "How do you introduce structure and governance into a society that didn’ t have one before? The answer wasn’ t as simple as abolishing anonymity.... While anonymity can be a catalyst for online toxicity, we focused on the more powerful factor of whether or not there are consequences (both negative and positive) for behaviors."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

MIT and German research on the [appalling] use of video in xMOOCs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 13:00
Display


Tony Bates, online learning and distance eductaion resources, Jul 13, 2015

Here's the recommendation from Hansch, A. et al. (2015)  Video and Online Learning: Critical Reflections and Findings From the Field, as cited by Tony Bates: "Think twice before using video.... it seems problematic that online learning pedagogy is concentrated so heavily in this medium." Bates responds, first, that the authors haven't done their research ("the failure in the main text to recognise properly  Richard Mayer’ s contribution to what we know about using video for teaching and learning is unforgivable"), second, that he nonetheless agrees with the conclusion, and third, "those designing xMOOCs have made the most egregious of errors in effective design through sheer ignorance of prior research in the area. Since those making these stupid mistakes in course design come from elite, research-based institutions, the sin of ignoring prior research is even more unforgivable," and fourth, "the real value of this paper comes from the authors’ typology of video production styles." But finally, and he puts it in bold: "we should stop taking xMOOCs seriously. They are badly designed by amateurs who don’ t know what they are doing." Hear, hear.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

News outlets vie for global audiences with translated stories

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 13:00
Display


Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, Jul 13, 2015

What happens in news media usually happens in education not too long after. In this case what we are seeing is the increasing impact of automated translation on media services. It's not quite there yet. But it's close enough that we can begin to plan for automated translation as a way to extend our reach. Certainly educators and content authors are looking to extend readership across languages in anticipation of easy interaction in the future. “ Our goal in growing internationally is to build a global network of locally relevant sites, so we also work with our international teams to highlight great stories that are going viral around the world and bring them to a wider audience,” said Liz Wasden, vice president of communications for BuzzFeed.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

How Not to Let Work Explode Your Life

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 13:00
Display


The Book of Life, Jul 13, 2015

This is part of the much larger "Book of Life", which is being written iteratively by a number of authors. I don't always agree with its themes and emphases but this item caught my eye, and seems to me to be fundamentally right. "Although so often it seems incredibly personal that one fails to combine work harmoniously with family life or with  exercise or with maintaining old friendships, the charge should not really be laid primarily against oneself. The fault lies with something much larger than our own individual failings (real though those are)."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

'How a focus on Aristotelian ethics can develop good digital citizens' by Tom Harrison

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 12:00
Display


Helge Scherlund, Jul 10, 2015

Interesting question: "Does the internet influence the character virtues of 11 to 14 year olds in England?" This post summarizes a study with an emphasis on cyber-bullying by Thomas john Harrison, published as a PhD thesis in his the eTheses Repository.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

"Ideas spread because they are good at spreading, not because they are inherently valuable." - Me

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 09:00
Display


Steve Hargadon, The Learning Revolution Has Begun, Jul 10, 2015

This is a healthy bit of pushback against the popular idea that the spread of ideas is inherently a good thing. "
Think of a virus. The characteristic most important to a virus spreading is that it spreads quickly. Does it ultimately maim or incapacitate or kill its victim? Those things are really secondary to its ability to spread fast before the long-term results kick in, whatever they may be." That is (in my opinion) why the structure of a network is important. A network needs to be able to resist harmful cascade phenomena.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Professor Says Facebook Can Help Informal Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/10/2015 - 09:00


Meg Bernhard, Chronicle of Higher Education | Wired Campus, Jul 10, 2015

From the "welcome to the 21st century" department: "A new study suggests that if engaged in online debate, college students can use the popular social network to learn and develop a variety of skills."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Dropbox Delivers FTP-like Uploading Anyone Can Use

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 19:00
Display


Steve Borsch, Connecting the Dots, Jul 09, 2015

I've always liked haaving my own FTP server because it means I can handle large files without really thinking about it. As well, it's easy to update scripts and web pages. But the downside of having my own FTP server is managing my own FTP server. But as this post notes, DropBox's new service will make FTP-like servers available to everyone. And then anyone will be able to fling around 1 gigabyte files with ease.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Stabilizing AWS Costs on UMW Blogs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 19:00
Display


Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, Jul 09, 2015

Amazon Web Services (AWS) isn't the only cloud hosting service out there, but it's one of the largest and most sophisticated. But as Jim Groom writes, people still get nervous about using cloud technology. " One of the reasons folks were scared of AWS is the fact that you pay monthly based on usage and resources rather than a fixed cost for a dedicated server." And it's not just web services - I get nervous about having my music on Google and my Photoshop on Adobe Cloud. Anyhow, you can keep costs under control, but you have to manage your configuration, otherwise "you could keep throwing EC2 instances at the problem," says Groom. An EC2 instance (I looked it up) is an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, "a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Real training, real-time, real environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 19:00


Amazon, Jul 09, 2015

If you haven't explored these, you may want to take a quick look through the Amazon Web Services (AWS) online courses. Here's their pitch: "Get hands-on practice working with cloud technologies and software. Train on-demand and learn at your own pace. Choose from a variety of Learning Quests to guide you." The 'quests' are courses, more or less, composed on a dozen or so small tasks priced at between $8 and $15 each. Learners (players?) get badges for completing the courses, and can prepare for an AWS certification exam. Amazon is also making the most of its cloud environment to help others offer courses: "Partners can create, manage and run labs anytime. Labs are delivered via the public cloud to classrooms, events or online; anywhere there is access to the Internet." See also: The Cloud Academy Blog.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Body cameras making their way into Iowa schools

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 19:00
Display


Mackenzie Ryan, Des Moines Register, Jul 09, 2015

According to this article, a Iowa school district is "outfitting its principals and assistant principals with small, clip-on video camera." Why? "It's personal accountability," Superintendent Pat Coen told The Des Moines Register. "Did we treat this person with dignity, honor and respect? And if we didn't, why didn't we?" He can say that, but I imagine it's just as much to protect the educators from the accusations of parents. For example: "A parent had complained about the Burlington school leader's behavior after he used de-escalation strategies to try to calm down a student. The incident was caught on a school camera, which Yeoman said he reviewed and later showed to the parent."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

What happens when Facebook says you don't exist

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 19:00
Display


Graham Starr, Christian Science Monitor, Jul 09, 2015

I can only imagine how violated someone may feel when they log on to Facebook and are asked to "verify" their identity by sending documents and photos. I would certainly not send any such information to Facebook. Yet, based simply on the say-so of an anonymous tipster, this is what happens to many Facebook users. It should be a sobering lesson. "The intent, according to the company, is that users know at all times who they’ re talking to.... (But) Identity is such a complex issue, says Drake (Nadia Drake, who doesn't exist). 'Where does Facebook get the power to decide what 'authentic' is?'" Facebook says it needs real names to be able to combat harassment. But there's  no evidence that real names reduces harassment - if anything, it seems to  increase it!

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content