The NextGen LMS – Not Just An eLearning Portal

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 19:41

Juliette Denny, eLearning Industry, Jun 11, 2017

This is a list of a bunch of things we expect next-generation learning technology to be, most of which existing LMSs are already in the process of implementing: social network services, knowledge aggregation, mobile learning support, performance management, internal recruitment, and so on. It just seems to me that every one of these things is so much better  outside the enterprise or institutional context. But one thing that did not make the list was 'open'. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

5 Tips For Choosing The Right Open Source Code

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 19:31

Jonathan Saring, ReadWrite, Jun 11, 2017

Ignore for the moment the fact that this article is about open source code, and pretend it's about open educational resources or something similar. The advice it give becomes spot-on. For example, is it readable? "Readability can be good naming conventions for identifiers, good spacing, clear readable logic, well-understood scopes." Exactly. Is the resource actively maintained? Is it well-tested? Are other people using it? And is it documented? "Documentation makes [resources] much easier to understand, use and modify. It’s also a great indication for the thought and carefulness the developer who wrote the [resource] put into it." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Learning, Open Networks

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 18:39

Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Jun 10, 2017

Open online learning entered the mainstream with the growth and popularity of MOOCs, but while interest in open online courses has never been greater MOOCs represent only the first step in a broader open learning infrastructure. Adapted from a talk given March 9, 2017, at the State University of New York in Syracuse, this essay describes several key innovations shaping the future of open learning: distributed social networks, cloud infrastructures and virtualization, immersive reality, and personal learning environments. It outlines the challenges this evolving model will pose to learning providers and educational institutions and recommend policies and processes to meet them. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Equality of Educational Opportunity

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 18:23

Liam Shields, Anne Newman, Debra Satz, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Jun 10, 2017

I'm surprised to find such an article in an encyclopedia of philosophy, but in fact philosophers have addressed the subject over the years, and it is a matter of current philosophical import (hence my own involvement in the subject). What emerges is a generally fair-minded discussion of the issues behind the concept and varying perspectives. It begins by examining the value of education and the various concepts of  equality of opportunity, including opportunity based on merit and  opportunity based on fairness. It also examines why we would support such a concept: is it to aid flourishing, to support society, to fill the labour market or to promote citizenship. Finally, who receives opportunity: is it individuals, or groups? Image: DW. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Handbook of Learning Analytics (open)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 18:09

George Siemens, Charles Lang, Alyssa Wise, Dragan Gašević, elearnspace, Jun 10, 2017

I'll enthusiastically give the platform to George Siemens here: "I’m very excited about a new project that started as an idea during LAK13 in Leuven and is another commitment to openness by the  Society for Learning Analytics ResearchThe Handbook of Learning Analytics. The book, CC-licensed, weighs in at 356 pages and provides a good snapshot of the status of learning analytics as a field. It’s a free download (both the book and the chapters)." Awsome. See also:    Journal for Learning Analytics. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Creative vs. Transactional Collaboration

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 18:01

Asha Curran, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Jun 10, 2017

This post essentially distinguishes between collaboration (which it calls 'creative collaboration') and cooperation (which it calls transactional collaboration) and then asserts that only the former is good. "Collaboration that builds organizational capacity, moves people to take part, and propels the sector forward, by contrast, involves true co-creation and uses the unique strengths of each partner as building blocks." I don't agree with this, and more to the point, I don't think Stanford does either. What they are actually saying, I think, is  that they will work only with people who  already agree with their sense of what the mission is and how it should be approached. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

What Kind of (Digital) Citizen?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 17:29

Alec Couros, Katia Hildebrandt, Open Thinking, Jun 10, 2017

There has been a lot of discussion recently  on the concept of the digital citizen. A lot of the talk is focused on what we might call Right Behaviour. For example, here's Bonnie Stewart on digital platforms: "They do not lend themselves to good digital citizenship because they shape and direct human  behaviour in ways that  privilege capital and circulation and extremes, rather than, say, collaboration or empathy." But maybe there's a concept of citizenship beyond the concept of responsibility. That's what Alec Couros and  Katia Hildebrandt explore in this post. So we have  the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice oriented citizen. More on the current conversation  herehereherehere  and  here. Twitterstream  here.

I'm not really happy with any of those. Not because I oppose responsibility, participation or justice. But rather because I don't see those as definitive of my place in society. We need to base society on voluntary cooperation, rather than involuntary  collaboration. I have the right (or responsibility) to oppose as much as to support, and this isn't inherent, but follows from how I create my own place in society. If I am doing nothing, I have no inherent duty or responsibility to act or care. You don't get to define me; I define myself.  My citizenship begins with, and is defined only by, my  actions. (This is a new concept for me but I think it's an important one.)
[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Are Open Access Journals Immune from Piracy?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 14:45

Angela Cochran, The Scholarly Kitchen, Jun 09, 2017

The answer to this question should be yes (particularly if you use CC-by and don't care if someone locks your content behind a paywall) but  Angela Cochran  wants us to believe it's no. "Sci-Hub harms OA journals," she argues, "when papers are downloaded from Sci-Hub and the associated LibGen database, the publisher site loses the download counts...  usage would never be included giving paying authors and their universities that subsidize the OA activity a less than realistic way to quantify usage." It's all pretty weak.  [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous


Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 14:35

Jun 09, 2017

I think this is a really neat idea but at the same time I feel a sense of unease. Beaker is a peer-to-peer web browser. What that means is that it contacts other beaker hosts and downloads websites directly from them, and then stores them locally. So you don't need to run a web server; your browser is your web server, and it makes your website (plus other websites that you've browsed) available to other Beaker users (services like Skype and BitTorrent run in a similar way). There's a technical paper (19 page PDF) explaining how this works, and download installables (required Node). Why the unease? I think I'd need to feel a little safer. Perhaps that's unwarranted. Perhaps not. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Introducing ARKit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 14:27

Apple, Jun 09, 2017

The important thing to come out of Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) isn't the smart speaker that has been all over the media, it's the Augmented Reality kit (ARKit) that lays the groundwork for what will probably be future hardware from the company. Some jargon: "ARKit uses Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) to accurately track the world around it. VIO fuses camera sensor data with CoreMotion data. These two inputs allow the device to sense how it moves within a room with a high degree of accuracy." More from The Verge, TechCrunch, CNBC, 9to5Mac. While no doubt educators will focus on the teaching applications of augmented reality (AR) the main benefit is in performance support, helping people solve problems without needing extra teaching. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous


Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 12:12

Emerald Publishing Group, Jun 09, 2017

With retirement, and therefore poverty, looming in my future, I have been looking at ways to supplement my income. Services like Peerwith might fit the bill. Offered by Emerald Publishing, it enlists the services of academic experts to provide a range of services to authors. These services include scientific editing, indexing service, funding application support, visuals, and more. My concern, of course, is that as more experts sign up, prices will drop. It could become the Uber of scientific work (and not in a good sense). Buy services here, sell them here. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

An innovative student loan program in Azerbaijan

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 12:02

Jason Weaver, The World Bank, Jun 09, 2017

At first glance this student loan program looks like similar programs around the world. Selection is based on need, there is a year's grace after graduation, interest rates are kept reasonably modest, assets or cosigners are not required, and the loans target students who have already shown academic promise. But where the program is different is in the capitalization. The loans are funded through in-kind contributions from the higher education institutions (HEI) involved. "Each of the HEIs pledged a small number of study places at their respective institution as an in-kind contribution....  eliminate necessity of upfront investment from government or private sources." This greatly reduces the cost of providing the loan. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Look for the Seal

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 11:47

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Jun 09, 2017

When I was a cash-strapped student I had a simple policy: if it was cheaper to photocopy the book at five cents a page than it was to buy it, I would photocopy the book. My counterfeit books were easy to spot: they were the ones held together with paper clamps. No certification or seal would have changed my policy, because it was grounded in reasonableness. The marginal cost of producing a textbook is not more than five cents a page; any excess cost is a monopoly effect. Today, the marginal costs are even lower, yet prices are even higher. It will take more than certifications or seals to make this right. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Google prepares publishers for the release of Chrome ad-blocking

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 16:18

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica, Jun 08, 2017

Joe Mullin writes, "At first glance, it's surprising that  Google, the world's largest Web advertising company,  would want to promote ad-blockers.  But it can also be viewed as a  defensive move to give  the company more control over what types of ads flourish on the Web." My thinking is that Google wants  Google ads to flourish on the web. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Five Biggest Fears that Kept Me from Empowering Students

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 16:04

John Spencer, The Synapse, Jun 08, 2017

What I like about this article isn't just that John Spencer  reviews and gives a strong voice to the objections to student empowerment, but also that he doesn't gloss over them with superficial answers. Empowering students isn't that easy, he writes, and his own experience includes numerous mistakes and false starts.And not necessarily success in the end. "I  realized," he writes, "that students sometimes struggled with so much student ownership. This is why I created a scope and sequence of how I would introduce additional ownership throughout the school year." [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

MOOCs and Open Ed book Interview in China Ed Tech and Upcoming Preconference Symposium at E-Learn in Vancouver

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 16:03

Curtis J. Bonk, Travelin Ed Man, Jun 08, 2017

Curt Bonk has written two more books on MOOCs than I have, something I note with some surprise. This post catches us up with the traveling ed man as he prepares for a talk in Vancouver. He links us to a recent paper published in China, talks about his book, and discusses his preconference symposium. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Monkey mafia steal your stuff, then sell it back for a cracker

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:51

Brian Owens, New Scientist, Jun 08, 2017

We like to think that certain things are uniquely human, things like language, tools, economy and culture. But we are increasingly seeing that these things are found in living beings generally. Take these monkeys in Bali, for example, who will steal your stuff, and then exchange the loot for food. This is a learned behaviour, culturally transmitted, that incorporates both economics and crime. Or take these spiders who use their webs to record information. All this says to me that whatever theory of learning and cognition we embrace has to apply not only to adult humans but to infants and animals as well. Cf. David Hume, Enquiry, Section 33, p, 28. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The Silicon Valley method isn’t enough: A better way to build products

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:33

Phil Libin, LinkedIn, Jun 08, 2017

This is a launch announcement by former Evernote founder Phil Libin for All-Turtles, a company he described yesterday on TWiT as "a Netscape for artificial intelligence." He writes, "the rapid advancement of practical AI is happening right now. I wrote about it last year in  A Charge of Bots, and I believe it now more than ever." Se also: coverage in TechCrunch.

Worth noting: "Consider these six attributes: If you’re a:  (a)  white or South Asian  (b)  male,  (c)between the ages of 22 and 27,  (d)  with a computer science degree  (e)  from Stanford, and  (f)  you still live within 50 miles of Stanford, you have a pretty good shot of getting into the tech startup ecosystem. For each of those things that you aren’t, your odds decrease by a factor of two. Maybe a factor of ten!" [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Intro to Firebase and React

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 19:56

Simon Bloom, CSS-Tricks, Jun 05, 2017

Firebase is a new service from Google enabling you to create and manage a cloud-based database. React is a Javascript library from Facebook that creates dynamic forms. Combine the two together and you get an innovative serverless application. This post documents creating a demonstration app in which "you and your friends will be able to log in and be able to see and post information about what you're planning to bring to the potlock." Why is this relevant? Imagine an online course as a database interface rather than a series of content pages. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Toward a Canadian Knowledge Transfer Strategy: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 19:51

Michael Geist, Jun 05, 2017

Presentation by Michael Geist to a Canadian government committee on  a study on intellectual property and tech transfer. He suggests that the government should look at knowledge transfer more broadly, and focus less on IP and patents. "The emphasis on university-based patenting is misplaced. It can have a corrosive effect on universities, who forego important, publicly-funded research in favour of potential licensing or patenting opportunities.  With properly funded institutions, there is no need to chase licensing dollars." I've made similar arguments internally, with respect to government-produced research, and called for open access to government resources, publications and data. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous
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