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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]
The interesting thing about the meeting I was at in Capri was that there were people from Udacity, EdX, Coursera, and other MOOC initiatives, and how much of the discussion focused around preparing people for jobs. "That's the scam," I argued. We're not preparing people for success if we're preparing them for jobs; quite the contrary. This post from John Hagel reflects a similar sentiment. "What we need are learning environments that will draw out and nurture capabilities that today are only in the background, if present at all – capabilities like creativity, imagination, curiosity, and emotional and social intelligence that transcend conventional disciplinary boundaries." We need to foster a new sort of literacy.[Link] [Comment]
The title of this post is way overstated. But the post nonetheless contains a neat idea: a 'user manual' for you! "Basically, the user manual is a “ how to work with me” guide: It outlines what you like, what you don’ t like, how you work best. It was something these CEOs would give their team members when they joined the company in order to shorten the learning curve of working with them." Of course - why limit it to CEOs? Why not for individual people! Here's mine.[Link] [Comment]
I'm not generally a fan of "x in the classroom" type resources because my focus is on online learning. To me, the objective is to get learning out of the classroom and into the community. That said, I thine this resource because it looks at how one topic - space and space exploration - can be used to introduce multiple topics - in this case, inquiry-based learning, ICT tols, diversity and gender balance, and careers in space and space-related industries. "It aims to educate teachers how to introduce and attract more and more young people to careers in space."[Link] [Comment]
You will want to have a look at this video from the Institute for the Future and ACT Foundation. It describes The Ledger' as it is used in education to define 'edublocks'', which in turn are basically blockchain credentials. What's significant is that it enables anyone to give learning credits to anyone. I have to think that this is the beginning of a huge debate: "The idea of a ‘ national learning economy’ isn’ t new— America has been moving in a direction where work and education are integrated, rather than sequential, for the past several decades. The ACT Foundation defines this as the new American Dream, or a way for workers to 'achieve greater life satisfaction and economic security.'" See also: the Learning is Earning blog, press kit, Audrey Watters on the Ledger, the HyperLedger Foundation, Women's Learning Studio, Kathy Moore.[Link] [Comment]
Although admitting "it is too late to radically turn the tide" Alastair Creelman offers advice to make social networks more friendly and more social. "Sadly most posts in my feed are just soapboxing or commercial. Many simply broadcast "evidence" for their particular ideology and in many cases there is no real invitation to discussion." I don't think we as individuals can change that trend in the major social networks precisely because this runs counter to the interests of their advertisers.[Link] [Comment]
Derrida's impact will probably be found through people other than Derrida himself. "Derrida bristled at the idea that language could suffice to tell us how and who to be in the world. His suspicion of logocentrism, 'an over-hasty, naï ve devotion to reason, logic, and clear definition,' says de Botton, means he felt that 'many of the most important things we feel can never be expressed in words.'"[Link] [Comment]
Terry Anderson is right. I should have used the word 'education' instead of 'learning'. "In fact only a very tiny fraction of the “ learning” that has ever taken place historically and of course 100% pre-historically, has occurred in a classroom. Only beginning in the 19th Century have a few children of rich minorities been able to learn part of what they learned in life in a classroom. " (p.s. the possessive form of my name is "Downes's". :) )
He also writes, "Strangely, this overview chapter ends without a summary or conclusion." I thought about that when I wrote it. What would a good summary or conclusion for this material be? I decided that there wasn't one - the material is itself a summary, and to try to wrap it up in a single paragraph or so would be to take the abstraction too far. So I settled on what was essentially an ellipses...[Link] [Comment]
Readers of the OLDaily Twitter account are receiving tweets from what is essentially a Twitter bot - sure, the posts are copies of what I write for the newsletter, but the rest of it is automated. This Twitter bot takes it a step further, creating new posts from a set of sample posts using what is known as a Markov Chain - this is a type of artificial intelligence that detects similarities in a base set of data and generates new and still similar content. It also generates nonsense, but that's half the fun, right? The thing wit Twitter bots is that they are not always used for good. Consider the case of the author who tweeted about former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and faced a deluge of hate tweets launched by a bot.[Link] [Comment]
In 2005 I gave a talk at Northern Voice "deflating a few pet concepts of the blogerati, such as the value of the long tail and the utility of tagging." people actually shouted at me when I criticized the future of hashtags (well, it was Marc Canter shouting, but he counts as people). But maybe I was right? "A decade in... hashtags are widely regarded as useless noise, with Toronto infographic company Venngage going so far as to say that the hashtag has outlived its usefulness entirely, saying that 'for businesses, they are more trouble than they are worth. And honestly, at this point, they look unprofessional.'"[Link] [Comment]
Watch Nirvana Perform “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Just Two Days After the Release of Nevermind (September 26, 1991)
It's Friday. Time for some weekend music. How about it being 25 years since the release of Smells Like Team Spirit? As Jason Kottke said on his site when he posted this, “ There’ s a freight train bearing down on those boys and they don’ t even know it.” I was never really a Nirvana fan (when the song came out it was tied to advertising for a deodorant, and the marketing campaign just turned me off). But I appreciate this gig, before it all started. A lot. The big song starts at 34:30 in the video.[Link] [Comment]
A Montreal company called GradeSlam has raised $1.6 million in seed funding after launching last fall. According to its website, "GradeSlam provides unlimited tutoring at a fixed cost, one-tenth the cost of traditional models, making one-to-one learning financially accessible in a way that has never been done before."[Link] [Comment]
As quickly as you can say "MOOCs have had no impact" you can discover that free and open online learning has had an impact after all. "Future revenue in the $33 billion e-learning market is expected to fall precipitously in the United States and internationally... The free report, published by Monroe, Wash.-based Ambient Insight, predicts a five-year compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of negative 6.4 percent for self-paced courseware, translating into an anticipated $13.3 billion drop in worldwide revenue from 2015 to 2021." The good news for prroducers is that earnings for other types of e-learning, such as "mobile learning, simulation-based learning, game-based learning, and 'brain-training'" are on the rise. For now.[Link] [Comment]
This article provides concrete evidence that DropBox has been hacked. So if you haven't changed your DropBox password for a few years, you may want to consider it (my own DropBox password is both recent and pretty secure so I'm feeling OK). See also Motherboard's report.[Link] [Comment]
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