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This item began life as an advertisement in Quartz but is in fact quite a useful and insightful article on the concept of 'flow'. According to the eBook (22 page PDF) flow is when "process and people and technology seem to slip into place and make everything feel effortless." The three 'flow killers' are friction, noise and drag, and you can imagine each operating in an educational environment as easily as a business environment (where, I can attest, each operates). Worth a read.[Link] [Comment]
There have been numerous open education resources (OER) projects over the years, but they tend to disappear. Just listen to Michael Caulfield. "People make things possible." he writes. And we have such great, great people in Open Pedagogy. But institutions, they are what make these things last." And the institutional support isn't always there. "The recurring cycle of CELT and TLT center layoffs is all you need to look at to see how much of what we do is built on sand." But no - I don't agree. You can't depend on institutions. And in a sense, you don't need them. Institutions aren't what make tests and exams happen year after year. Institutions aren't what guarantee there will be course outlines and reading lists. What makes this last - the only thing that makes this last - is culture. If it becomes 'the way things are done', then it is done. We need to embed student-produced OER in the culture, not just the institution.[Link] [Comment]
Nice little four-part series on causation and correlation based on the work Causality by Judea Pearl. It's a probabilistic approach to causation. "We stop talking about things as being completely determined by the causes we take into account. Instead, we talk about a cause as increasing the chances of its effect." This is the only way to even begin to think of causation in complex environments, though it requires understanding the essentials of graphs and conditional probability. Consequently this series progresses from 'intuitively clear' to 'gaaaah'. The most important article of the set for educators is probably the second one, which deals with bias. "If you’ re doing a survey study at a college, there can be bias due to the fact that everyone has been admitted."[Link] [Comment]
Microsoft has redesigned its educator community, and while there are some nice points to the design - I can see the badges drawing people into taking courses, for example - when you're there, if you click on the 'Education' link in the upper right hand corner, you go to a whole different education site from which there is no obvious link back to the education community. I now have one badge (pictured) which I got merely by joining. 74 more to go. I also earned a certificate for passing the Office 365 course (by taking the exam; who needs to study?). The site is interesting because it's sort of this half-way point between learning community and MOOC system.[Link] [Comment]
Dave Cormier's column on campus orientation would probably have been of more use published a couple weeks or a month ago, so people could follow his advice. Now they can only compare what they're currently doing with what he's done. Cormier describes the use of a "MOOC-style orientation course" over several years on the UPEI campus, and his recommendation is that institutions ought not "be trying to MOOC our way out of orientation with mass online orientation experiences." Or rather, he says, "I don’ t think online orientation can be the sole approach we take, if our goals include retention and - at the core of retention - belonging." Why? "While information can be handy, information doesn’ t create change by itself.... You can’ t tell people to believe they can do things any more than you can sit people in a classroom and tell them to make healthy connections with each other. It’ s an experiential process."[Link] [Comment]
This is a pretty good report (surprisingly, given the source) on the latest scheme by publishers to extract money from students: access fees to submit assignments and coursework. Yes, you read that right. "Harper told BuzzFeed News that her freshman chemistry class required her to use Connect, a system provided by McGraw Hill where students can submit homework, take exams and track their grades. But the code to access the program cost $120 — a big ask for Harper, who had already put down $450 for textbooks." If you want to see a lot of angry responses, check the #accesscodes hashtag.[Link] [Comment]
Part of LPSS I couldn't interest people in at all was called 'personal cloud'. This wasn't a private cloud per se (though we did ultimately support OwnCloud) as it was a way for a person to manage their own cloud data sources and resources. This, as we read here, is the wave of the future; companies and institutions developing 'private cloud' alternatives such as OpenStack are, according to the author, being played for suckers. A recent Oxford Economics and SAP study (14 page PDF) points to the new cloud wavet, and data from Forrester supports the trend to public cloud services. "David Linthicum is correct to declare that 'The public cloud is already the norm,' and further that 'The private cloud fantasy is over,' writes Matt Asay. What this means for ed tech is that student data won't be locked in institutional 'private clouds'; it will be free and managed by the students themselves in the public cloud.[Link] [Comment]
Kellie Leitch's values are not Canadian values, and the ultimate proof of this is that she would even consider the possibility that there would be a values test for new Canadians. Or for people, generally, at all., , [Sept] 07, 2016 [Link]
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The typical college classroom is not the most exciting place in the world, but with lecture capture becoming more common this may change for the better. Meanwhile, here's Duke's lecture capture survey with reports on the leading contenders in the field. "Most vendors have ramped up video resolution and quality to accommodate the increased capabilities of our current hardware. There were more and better integrations with LMS’ s (mainly through the LTI standard), and more support for mobile devices. One of the most interesting changes we have seen is that a number of lightweight software capture tools like Kaltura CaptureSpace and Collaj that boast a tight fit with media management systems are carving out a new niche in what previously has been a solidly appliance-driven market."[Link] [Comment]
This new report (29 page PDF), writes Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), "showcases insights on the future challenge area of new ways of learning and teaching and includes key findings from the related Knowledge Synthesis Grants." It's one of those reports that is a synthesis of syntheses, and so it's a collection of carefully worded statements and barely concealed contradictions. There are eight major themes ranging from Aboriginal education to experiential learning to innovation in the arts. Throughout the report there are challenges to traditional teaching and learning techniques, but also a scepticism and call for more research in these areas. Canada is recognized as a leader in learning, but there's a concern expressed throughout that we need a national policy, especially in STEM. There's a recognition that diversity is important, but it's described as artificial and an add-on, as in "applying a diversity lens to teaching approaches is integral to achieving successful learning outcomes" (whatever that means). It's a good read, but only as a starting point for further reflection.[Link] [Comment]
I've added 'Team Human' to the Ed Radio list of podcasts. "It’ s a weekly podcast called Team Human, looking to challenge the operating systems driving our society, reveal its embedded codes, and share strategies for sustainable living, economic justice, and preservation of the quirky nooks and crannies that make people so much more than mere programs... The markets and technologies we’ ve created are not new gods. They are not our replacements, but mechanisms we’ ve constructed to make our lives better, more just, and more meaningful."[Link] [Comment]
According to e-Literate on August 31, "Coursera is making a big shift to corporate workforce development as described by CEO Rick Levin on the company blog this morning." But is this a pivot or an expansion? According to what I heard at the MOOC conference over the weekend, it may be more of the latter. Phil Hill argues it's a pivot, though, based on "the subtle shift in the description of their vision... The original vision was disrupting 'education', not 'learning experiences'. The idea was that higher education needed broader access and a new approach. The result might or might not have included a degree, but the idea was to change postsecondary education."[Link] [Comment]
We're still waiting for 2016 data, of course, but it's hard to reconcile the 2015 data with statements that the MOOC era is over. The MOOC user base doubled in 2015. "The total number of students who signed up for at least one course had crossed 35 million — up from an estimated 16– 18 million in 2014." And in 2016, the number of courses has doubled, and many of them are available as self-paced or multiple-cohort options. This means that the frenzied pace of MOOCs has slowed - the courses are smaller, and the interactivity is slowing. But that's good. More MOOCs, more students - and a strong future for open online learning.[Link] [Comment]
Things have changed again. In this case, it means that if you've been using services like Dropbox or Google drive to share things like web pages, you won't be able to do this any more. Dropbox says, "If you created a website that directly displays HTML content from your Dropbox, it will no longer render in the browser. The HTML content itself will still remain in your Dropbox and can be shared." Other services - like OneDrive - have never allowed this. Tom Kuhlmann recommends that you "Use Amazon S3 or a competing service. Here’ s how to set up the Amazon S3 service." Also, "Be careful of free services. Odds are they’ ll be gone or remove the free part of the service and you’ ll be in the same place you are today." That said, we do need a way to share our cloud-stored files online. It's something that's on my mind.[Link] [Comment]
I think that what bothers me most about Facebook and the others is not so much the vileness that they expose as it is the fact that they are monetising it. Here are some wise words from Alan Levine: "the thing about ugliness of online spaces... do not underestimate that the stuff you are not reading in comments as just the tip of the suppressed rage/violence in people we share the non-online world with. Don’ t read the comments, but be aware of them, do not ignore what they indicate about society. Do not pretend what lies beneath them doesn’ t exist." We should be correcting for this, not ussng it as the core feature of our business model.[Link] [Comment]
From where I sit, these estimates seem surprisingly low. I'll let Irving Wladawsky-Berger summarize: "This past July, McKinsey published a second article on its automation study, which examined in more detail the technical feasibility of automating 7 different occupational activities:
A companion interactive website adds the ability to analyze the automation potential of over 800 occupations based on the study’ s data sets." But whether or now the numbers are low, they point clearly to the fact that traditional job training is not preparing people for the future.[Link] [Comment]
First, see this item; it explains what's going on in the text below. Also, this is a bit incomplete; I may well revisit and revise.[Link] [Comment]
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