Miscellaneous

Get Started With Serverless Computing On Kubernetes With Minikube And Kubeless

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 07/24/2017 - 14:34

Bitnami, Jul 27, 2017

This is the sort of thing that could eat the rest of my vacation (or a lot longer, if you don't have a developer background). Kubeless allows you to manage a "serverless" architecture (it's not really 'serverless', it's just that all of your applications and functions run on other people's servers), and you use software like Kubernetes to set up and coordinate them. This is bleeding edge and far  from user-friendly. From Wikipedia: "Kubernetes (commonly referred to as "K8s") is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications that was originally designed by Google and donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation." There's a webinar this Wednesday if you want to learn more.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Are MOOCs, Bootcamps and Other Alternative Education Options Effective?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 15:59

Kara Voght, U.S. News & World Report, Jul 25, 2017

According to this article, "A new study questions the quality of these programs, as well as the evidence that demonstrates their efficacy." When an article questions whether any form of online learning is "effective", the first question to ask is, "what do they mean by effective?" This is what I wondered on reading this article. I was disappointed, on multiple accounts. First,  American Council on Education  study cited in the article in no way resembles the coverage in this article. After gnashing my teeth I did some hunting and found a  second article  by the same authors published by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences which  does  cover the topic. But on a  reading  of the article I found nothing questioning their effectiveness (save the oft-repreted comment about MOOC completion rates), only an assertion that there is insufficient research on their quality. Both these reports - by researchers  Jessie Brown and Martin Kurzweil - are quality reports. It's a shame the U.S. News & World Report treats them so disrespectfully.

 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Complex Universe of Alternative Postsecondary Credentials and Pathways

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 15:40

Jessie Brown, Martin Kurzweil, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jul 25, 2017

This is a survey document (56 page PDF) tracking research and commentary on the rise of alternative credentials (such as microcredentials, badges and certificates) and alternative learning pathways (such as word-based learning, MOOCs and short courses. The report has very little to say about effectiveness (see the executive summary) though it does make comments in passing as it cites other articles (eg. by the Chronicle). It looks into the historical antedecents and is a detailed examination of the rise of these alternatives, including how they are beginning to be incorporated into traditionaal programs. At the end, it remarks on the dearth of quality assessment for these alternatives: "evidence of the efficacy and value of these alternatives— for students and taxpayers— is still thin. Robust data on many programs’ features, cost, enrollment, and outcomes are simply not available."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes and Institutional Finances

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 15:10

Jessie Brown, Martin Kurzweil, American Council on Education, Jul 25, 2017

This newly released report from  the American Council on Education (25 page PDF) begins up front with a definition of instructional quality - sort of: "we maintain that the most sensible approach is to consider both inputs and outcomes, or to look at how actionable instructional inputs impact student outcomes."  Reading through the report, though, we ssee the usual: persistance, completion rates, and GPA. It should be noted that this report seems far more interested in their impact on institutional revenue. I read this as an extended logical model; although "we are not aware of any study that directly evaluates the impact of improvements in instructional quality on net revenue" the report makes the case that such a link is there. As such, it does the job quite well.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Feed your need to know

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 14:54

The Keyword, Google, Jul 25, 2017

I search a lot, and I search in fairly precisely defined areas, and I need to keep up on news in these areas, so the new Google service - a feed based on my search interests that updates with news daily - would seem to be perfect. Except, first, it's only available in the U.S.; I'll have to wait a few weeks. And second (and worse, in my mind) it's only available in the Gogle App (for Android, iOS and Pixel Launcher).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The principles of learning to design learning environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:41

OECD, Jul 24, 2017

This is a chapter from the recently released OECD  Handbook for Innovative Learning Environments, the entirely of which appears to be accessible for reading online (knowing OECD, this may be an accident, so download it quickly). The principles in and of themselves are interesting. There's seven in all, and each is a conjunction of sevaral points, so if we teased them out there might be a dozen or two. These pronciples, which are learning-centered, are then applied to teaching and to learning environments. As Grainne Conole says, "One to explore in more depth… "

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Categories: Miscellaneous

DIY VR Viewer

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:33

Richard Byrne, Free  Technology for Teachers, Jul 24, 2017

How much was oculus Rift again? OK, you're probably not getting the same quality of virtual reality, but you can't beat the price. "YouTube "celebrity"  Roman UrsuHack  offers the following video that provides an overview of making your own VR viewer."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

WeChat’s director of user growth talks up new features for overseas clients

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:29

Clayton Jacobs, ReadWrite, Jul 24, 2017

Worth keeping an eye on, because we'll see this capability migrate to our part of the world eventually: "WeChat began as a messaging app back in 2010 created by China’ s Tencent, but over the years, it has quickly become a tool of everyday life in mainland China. WeChat has 889 million monthly active users; 83 percent of people surveyed use WeChat for work, and 93 percent of respondents from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities use WeChat’ s internal payment system for offline purchases."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:16

Cindi May, Scientific American, Jul 24, 2017

So this is another one of those research surveys of "students who were enrolled in an introductory psychology course" which tell us utterly nothing but make it into the news anyway. In this case, the 'news' in question is Scientific American, which should be ashamed of itself. The study measured computer use in class and found "students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and the longer they are online the more their grades tend to suffer." There's no reason to believe this is true generally, especially for courses that are  not  data-dumps like Psych 101. Via Joanne Jacobs.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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