Miscellaneous

Free White Paper - Cracking The Mobile Learning Code: xAPI And Cmi5

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 14:22

Steven Westmoreland, eLearning Industry, Nov 29, 2017

I downloaded this so you don't have to. My advice? Don't. eLearning Industry will require that you sign in with your LinkedIn credentials, then require additional information if they're not satisfied with what LinkedIn provides. Then you'll get a 32 page PDF (a far cry from the book that appears in the illustration). The first 11 pages cover a well-worn path outlining mobile learning in general. The explanation of xAPI and cmi5 is minimal and consists mostly of a case study. Yes, xAPI is not the new SCORM. Yes, cmi5 was originally designed as AICC's replacement for SCORM, but is now an xAPI profile. The case studies are: PDF and annotation in the cloud; videos and microlearning. This could be a perfectly good white paper but don't be oversold by the marketing and don't overpay with the LinkedIn permissions.

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Can Learning Really Happen With Crowdsourcing?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 14:13

Roy Saunderson, Training, Nov 29, 2017

It's not easy managing crowdsourcing in support of learning outcomes, writes the author. "Crowdsourcing, in general, tends to be a unilateral, one-way experience used for social computing, problem solving, and creative product development." The question is, how can crowds give individuals high-quality feedback? The crowd itself has to be able to learn, which requires some for of scaffolding. " Learning is incremental and expands as the crowd becomes more familiar and experienced with the framework and language used to give feedback."

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Udacity’s Blitz.com, A Freelancing Platform for Nanodegree Alumni, Shuts Down

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 13:53

Dhawal Shah, Class Central, Nov 29, 2017

The program appeared to be successful, but was closed. Why? The story seems to be this: "it seems Udacity doesn’t really need the job guarantee program anymore to attract new Nanodegree students, and that may be one of the reasons why Udacity has decided not to pursue Blitz further." A second reason could be that it cot too much for Udacity to operate, as it had to set up agreements with companies to hire the graduates.

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TokyoTechXʼs MOOC Development Toolkit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 11/25/2017 - 15:29

Nopphon Keerativoranan, Online Education Development Office, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nov 28, 2017

This is a set of three tools in Python and Excel to support content development in EdX MOOCs. One is a content modification tool, which basically automates cobtent import and export to make it easier to work with entire courses. The second uses a similar functionality to create a course content and outline tool. And the third automates bath uploading of YouTube files, including descriptions and metadata. You can find the tools in their GitHb repository.

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A gallery of interesting Jupyter Notebooks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 18:59

GitHub, Nov 27, 2017

This, or something like this, defines at least in part where we're headed with digital learning resources (formerly known as learning objects). This web page provides links to several dozen 'notebooks' - these are files that can be run on an application called Jupyter Notebooks. You can also view them in your web browser. But running them in the notebook allows you to change and execute the code visible in cells throughout the page. So it's a web page you can reprogram on the fly. Jupyter Notebooks runs on Python, and is included as part of the Anaconda Python distribution, though there are other ways of getting it as well. You can also create Notebooks in other languages, including Perl and Ruby. The examples here show running code for everything from data analytics to neural networks.

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EdTechFrance: The New Face of French EdTech

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 13:42

Céline Authemayou, Nina Fink , EducPros.fr, Nov 27, 2017

According to this article, "The newly founded EdTechFrance is the latest illustration of industry organizations' desire to collectively bolster their visibility and legitimacy. On November 17, the group published a manifesto stating its intention to turn France's focus to EdTech." You can read the manifesto (in French) on their home page. I've translated it, and you can see the English version on my Google+ page. "The manifesto's 140 signatories include educational institutions, numerous startups, among which DomoscioAppScho and Beneylu, and more established companies like Qwant and Unow."

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How To Teach Students to Cover Elections in Real Time

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 13:20

Jason Kokot, J-Source, Nov 27, 2017

Personally I think that every event should be covered in real time by students in the field. Of the hundreds of education conferences I've attended, I can count on one hand the number that have engaged students in this way. That doesn't mean every student should do this. But for those who are so inclined, reporting on an event is an unparalleled way of engaging with the event, particularly when you won't be speaking and your alternative is to be a member of the audience. The current post from J-Source involves student journalists, but there's no reason why students from all disciplines couldn't be included (the same could be said of professional media). 

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Developing a European Maturity Model for Blended Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:46

National Institute for Digital Learning, Nov 27, 2017

I've never been that interested in blended learning but I do want to flag the launch of this project, the new European-funded European Maturity Model for Blended Education (EMBED) Project. "The project adopts a multi-level conception of blended education, including micro-level teaching and learning processes, meso-level institutional innovation and enabling strategies, and macro-level governmental policy and support structures." The article gets interesting about half way through when it asks "what is unique about the EMBED Project?" The answer is that "it should challenge us to do things differently and serve as a catalyst for helping educators to reimagine the nature of teaching and learning in the digital-era."

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Blockchain in Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 18:37

Alexander Grech, Anthony F. Camilleri, Joint Research Centre, Nov 26, 2017

This is a long (136 page PDF) and detailed report on blockchains in education. The authors work slowly and deliberately in their pursuit of accuracy and clarity, which results in a presentation that will be easily understood by most readers. There is a wealth of examples in the document describing use cases, scenarious and pilot projects, and companies involved in the space. The study is a result of a literature serach, desk reserach and interviews. The recommendations display a knowledge of both education policy and blockchain technology. I have no objections to any of the conclusions and recommendations, and would indeed underline some, for example, this: "Only ‘fully-open’ blockchain implementations can reach the real goals and promise of blockchain in education. By this, we mean solutions whose fundamental components include: a) recipient ownership; b) vendor independence and c) decentralised verification." It's still early days; there's a call to bring experts in the space together to create the necessary agreements, and this should probably happen sooner rather than later. The publication is a Science for Policy report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service.

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Net Neutrality and Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:45

Jim Reams, edCircuit, Nov 26, 2017

In the United States the chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the end of 'net neutrality' policies. This will allow internet service providers to charge different rates to different content providers, to favour certain providers with faster speeds, and in a worst case scenario, could result in some content providers (eg., Netflix, Major League Baseball) to disappear entirely from certain provider networks. This article briefly describes the potential impact to education. Some more education-related coverage: Brookings ("a shameful scam that sells out consumers"), Education Dive ("larger companies will pay for faster delivery of their content"), Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) ("Internet socialism is dead; long live market forces"), Ian Bogost ("internet providers will abuse their power absent net-neutrality oversight"), TechCrunch ("no mention of the 22 million comments filed"). It's worth noting that Canada has taken a very different path and "emerged as a world leader in supporting net neutrality."

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Educators on Artificial Intelligence: Here's the One Thing It Can't Do Well

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:12

Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge, Nov 26, 2017

You have to read through to the last section to get to the "one thing computers can't do", and it's this: "“building and foster[ing] meaningful relationships with students.” Which, frankly, is silly. Not that we don 't need relationships; we do. But almost every person on earth is capable of providing them. My cats can provide them. And yes, computers will provide them. But even if they couldn't, this hardly seems to me to be the thing teachers should define as essential to the profession. It results in a picture where we're spending a lot of money to give a student a friend, money we could save by having student find their own friends.

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Distilling Canvas LMS Accusations Of ‘Openwashing’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 23:26

Moodle News, Nov 25, 2017

This unattributed post on Moodle News largely clears Canvas of 'openwashing'. It points out that the software is released under a good open soure license, and moreover, that its APis are open. Some cracks around the foundation: a Canvas host could charge for API access, and Instructure (Canvas parent company) might not "protect the values and principles that have maintained the open source community alive and thriving" in the future. I haven't actually run an instance of Canvas (maybe I should one of these days) so I'm not sure whether there are any practical barriers. But this article makes it sound like I'd be fine.

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Fear and Loathing in the Moodle Community

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 23:03

Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Nov 25, 2017

This is a long post from Michael Feldstein on the opposition to e-Literate's recent data regarding new Moodle installations. A lot of it is irrelevant (though I did learn some things about the now-abandoned dotLRN project). There are two threads to the argument. The second is that the e-Literate analysis is based on good data. The first is that exceptions to that data (of the form, say, "but it's big in Spain") are irrelevant. Feldstein also suggests that readers misunderstood some of the finer points of the analysis. I have no reason to doubt the second (though the account of 'primary LMS' is a bit sketchy). But the first leaves me wanting; I think the international market is more important than Feldstein is willing to credit, especially today, especially to non-American companies, and especially with respect to open source software. 

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Peppa Pig's tale of torture? Why parents can't rely on platforms like YouTube Kids for child-friendly fare

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 16:20

Ramona Pringle, CBC News, Nov 25, 2017

A full mont after reports surfaced on Mashable, via a James Briddle column, BBC News report, and a NY Times paywalled article, the story of the dangerously inappropriate YouTube videos being marketed to kids has surfaced on CBC News. This is a sad reflection on the national broadcaster, which has all but abandoned coverage of science, technology and education. We are told "when it comes to protecting children from content, we can never rely solely on algorithms," but this is the same old 'algorithm as black box' treatment. Algorithms could perform the task perfectly well (in this case all they have to do is scan for guns and fangs!) but we have to be ready to hold companies accoubtable for what their algorithms produce (and what their 'kid friendly' sites contain).

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A.I. Will Serve Humans - But Only About 1% of Them

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 16:05

Robby Berman, Nov 25, 2017

This is another post about the limitations of AI, both in terms of their effectiveness and in terms of their explainability. In terms of effectiveness, they depend on the data they're given (which explains racist AIs) and on the uses to which they're put (which explains selective blindness in AIs). We are also told “We can’t look inside the black box that makes the decisions.” But we can know a lot about it - its data sources, its algorithms, its deployment. These are covered in Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). What about explainability? Because there are so many input variables, we cannot understand AI in terms of simple rules. But we can understand the range of possible outcomes, whichc allows us to create a portrait of how a given AI operates. 

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The rise of the campus meme

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:02

Sahil Chinoy, Ella Jensen, The Daily Californian, Nov 24, 2017

If there's one thing people at elite colleges know how to do really well, it's how to create an in-group. Thus so with memes. The typical meme has been around for ages; I wrote about them in 1999, before the first image meme. These appeared as "I can has cheezburger" in 2007. Since then the format has thrived; sites like Imgur keep the tradition alive. And, of course, so do blogging sites like Tumblr and social media, like Facebook, which of course had its own history as an elite thing. This article is about the latest in-group thing, the campus meme. The idea is that the memes are so obscure you'd have to be a student of the campus in order to get them. But they also become a way for outsiders to look in. "Meme groups have become a mainstay of the United States’ elite universities, and at many schools, there are far more members than students." The meme groups are all in Facbook (natch) and though you have to be logged in to Facebook to view the group home page, you can jump directly to specific images from the listings at the bottom of the article (someone did a lot of work collecting and collating them).

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Consciousness

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:34

Matthias Melcher, x21s New Blog, Nov 24, 2017

Matthias Melcher diagrams my post on Consciousness and extracts some of the essential elements in an easy-to-follow list of key concepts and ideas. "The greatest takeaway so far," he writes, "was the explanation of the mysterious ‘suddenness’ through recognition, see the last entry of my list."

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METRICS: a pattern language of scholarship in medical education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:17

Rachel Ellaway, David Topps, MedEdPublish, Nov 24, 2017

What is scholarship in colleges and universities? Maybe the best part of this post is the background reading you'll have to do to put it into context. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Ernest Boyer's long paper (160 page PDF) on Scholarship Reconsidered even though it dates from 1980 describing three major phases of evolution in the U.S. university system (noting, in particular, their original focus on teaching, and the relatively recent focus on research). Boyer's much shorter (12 page PDF) paper of the same name is an outline of the model (discovery, integration, application, teaching). Glassick, Huber and Maeroff's 1997 Scholarship Assessed model (goals, preparation, methods, results, presentation, critique) is also not to be missed (16 page PDF). Felder (2000) offers a nice summary (4 page PDF). The proposal in the METRICS paper is a seven-part model (meta, evaluation, translation, research, innovation, conceptual, synthesis). It seems to me that the elements of service and social change discussed in the longer Boyer paper have all but disappeared from all three accounts (though maybe they're part of translation and innovation). The need for excellence in teaching seems also to be receding as a goal.

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No, you’re not being paranoid. Sites really are watching your every move

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:02

Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, Nov 24, 2017

Just for the record, my website does not track you when you visit. Even if you sign up for a newsletter, it barely acknowledges that you exist. I like it that way, because there's no data to lose. But my website appears to be the exception. "A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors' keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted." As Steven Englehardt reports in the study, "This data can’t reasonably be expected to be kept anonymous. In fact, some companies allow publishers to explicitly link recordings to a user’s real identity." Via Lindsay Muscato.

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Where is Technology Taking the Economy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:45

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Nov 23, 2017

Irving Wladawsky-Berger offers projections about the new technological environment. "Machines have started to exhibit associative intelligence," he writes, "Associative intelligence is no longer just housed in the brains of human workers, but emerges from the constant interactions among machines, software and processes." It made me think of e-Trucks interacting with each other to form convoys, for example. Then I began to imagine road construction priorities being automatically determined by automated vehicles reporting bottlenecks and slowdowns. Anyhow, Wladawsky-Berger identifies several key changes in our political economy that result from this trend (quoted):

  • The criteria for assessing policies will change from 'growth' to 'job creation' (or maybe simply access to goods and services)
  • The criteria for measuring the economy will change, as virtual goods "generate unmeasured benefits for the user, cost next to nothing, and are unpriced"
  • Free market economies will be regulated. “In the distributive era free-market efficiency will no longer be justifiable if it creates whole classes of people who lose.”
  • "The next era will not be an economic one, but a political one... until we’ve resolved access we’re in for a lengthy period of experimentation"

I think these changes mught be even more significant than depicted here. If we're looking decades ahead, as Wladawsky-Berger, we may be looking at the replacement of money as a mechanism for exchange, as the assumulation of trillions of unused dollars in secret accounts has undermined its effectiveness for the purpose of regulating commerce.

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