Miscellaneous

It’s about Trust, Stupid! Why Blockchain-based BlockCerts are the wrong solution to a false problem (2/3)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 03:37
Serge Ravet, Learning Futures, Feb 26, 2019

Serge Ravet offers an extended and well-argued case against the use of blockcerts in education. The term 'blockcert' refers to a specific approach using blockchain to validate digital credentials. The question being posed asks what advantage they have over badges and (especially) the Verifiable Claims W3C specification. The problem, argues Ravet, is different from the solution offered by blockchain: "A credential is not fungible, i.e. its ownership can’t be transferred to someone else or transformed into something different, like exchanging a credential for a bowl of lentil stew." So there is no 'double-speding' problem, the one thing blockchain was invented to solve.

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Casualties of the future: college closures and queen sacrifices

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 02/27/2019 - 03:37
Bryan Alexander, Feb 26, 2019

The primary value of this article is that it lists a welter of college closures and cutbacks, a list suitable for reference when encountering a person who says that the existing system is secure and unchanging. Bryan Alexander postulates that we are now in a boundary zone, "right in the midst of a switching period, a liminal space, marked by uncertainty and instability."

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Is Ed Tech Hype in Remission?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 03:37
Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Feb 25, 2019

I'm not alone in seeing the decline in e-learning, but Michael Feldstein holds out hope for at least one part of it: He writes, "The one area in the market where I see something approaching hype, which I would characterize more as 'intense interest coupled with a lot of hand-wringing,' is in the Online Program Management (OPM) space." From where I sit this is pretty niche; the wider world of learning technology has passed beyond online programs (and passed beyond traditional education altogether). But within the sphere of North American higher education, then yeah, OPM might be noticeable.

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Some questions to use when discussing why we shouldn’t replace humans with AI (artificial intelligence) for learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 03:37
Dave Cormier, Dave’s Educational Blog, Feb 25, 2019

"All of our design and most of our assessments are created in an effort to help people know things," writes Dave Cormier, "and yet there is no clear agreement in education on what learning actually is." This point is especially salient when we ask what it would mean for an AI to function as a teacher. What would it need to know? The AI needs to know both the knower and whatever it is that they want to know - in the sense that they want to know it. This is a complex task, to be sure - but it is not in principle impossible for an AI to solve.

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Education: A free MOOC on cloud computing

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 03:37
Jennifer Jacobs, The Edge Malaysia, Feb 25, 2019

I've learned from the eCampus Ontario Extend MOOC that (a) I need more than one email reminder a week to participate, and (b) when I see a message that says "To see course content, sign in or register" I just move on to something else. Life is too short for logins. But those challenges pale in comparison with the MOOC being offered here by OpenLearning - these's not even a URL to sign up for it! After looking for a notice on their website (none) and for a press rlease (nothing) I eventually found it buried in the course listings. Here it is. Of course there's a login (bleah) and after three modules or so you'll finally make it into Amazon Web Services (AWS) via yet another login. I didn't think it was a terrible course but I did find it a lot more work to take than it had to be. Anyhow, the real story here is the partnership between AWS and the MOOC provider to drive customers toward the service.

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Emerald Open Research

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 03:37
Emerald Publishing, Feb 25, 2019

I will give Emerald Publishing props for trying this. It's an open post-publication review process - the author submits the paper, which is openly published right away, and then reviewed, with the reviews also being posted. The author can then comment on the review. The business model is driven by an 'article processing charge' (APC) starting at $US 1200. "Each gateway is now open for you to submit, read and share research aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, all of which will help research outputs in these vital areas reach a truly global audience without delay."

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Meet YiSi, a machine translation teacher who cracks down (nicely) on errors in meaning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/26/2019 - 03:37
National Research Council Canada, Feb 25, 2019

You may have heard of machine learning. This story is about machine teaching, that is, teaching a machine. This article is about a machine that teaches a machine to learn. It's not as confusing as it sounds: "YiSi is an open-source software that examines sentences produced by machine translation and compares them against the original text or a human reference translation. YiSi assigns an accuracy score from 0 to 100 to each translated sentence, pinpointing problems in translation for developers to improve in the translation system."

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