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"Which is the 'community' of a MOOC?" asks Matthias Melcher. It's a good question. I'm pretty hesitant to use the term 'community' too loosely - it represents a lot of good things, like diversity and interaction and all that, but community also can represent bad things, like conformity, in-groups and cliques, exclusion and a narrow vision. As Melcher says, "the word has many connotations of a close or narrow grouping, with many senses like religious fold or congregation, or confraternities and comradeships." So I prefer 'network'. And I prefer the idea of course as 'network' rather than 'community'. And more: there is so much more to this work than community. Rainforests, for example. Related: thoughts about community as curriculum, by Jenny Mackness. And community my curriculum? by Jaapsoft.[Link] [Comment]
Eventually we'll be referring to these in generic terminology, 'wired glasses', say, but for now the technology is still called 'Google Glass' and shows no sign of a new name. And as a new technology it is still in the 'try and see' stage in schools (which is where it should be). Eventually there will come the best pracxtices and the experimental studies and heaps of academic papers and new experts and all the rest. But today, it's still fun. See also: Google Glass in class, by Kathy Schrock.[Link] [Comment]
The information below is copied from the About You page of the FutureEd MOOC. The markers on the map were placed by the participants of the FutureEd MOOC, and the data for the infographics (courtesy of Kim Manturuk of Duke University) is from the pre-course survey that participants took.
We are so excited and privileged to learn together with people from around the world!
I'm wrestling internally with myself about how much I should care about Coursera being blocked in countries like Iran, Syria and Cuba. On the one hand, it's just internal US politics, and it doesn't matter to me whether some US company is blocked by its own government from sending free videos to the rest of the world. On the other hand, it's a law that I'm told wouldn't even apply if Coursera removed the login reqauirement from its service. This is what makes it a 'commercial service' under US law (accurately, too, as they're no doubt monetizing login information; why collect it otherwise?). And it's interesting to see (and encourage) efforts like this Diigo group to free Coursera content so it can be viewed openly (how long before Coursera clamps down on this, becoming officially a locked-content provider?). And I do think people in Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba - and any other place with a government we're not supposed to like - should be able to access open online learning. But I'm back to: it's just Coursera being Coursera, why should I care? The rest of the world is filled with cool stuff.[Link] [Comment]
Pearson is offering a commercial version of a badge platform that support's Mozilla's backpack standard. Dows anyone care to lay odds on how long it will be before Pearson adds proprietary commercial-only elements to its badge platform, in an effort to squeeze open source badges out of the picture? Ah, but maybe I'm being too cynical. According to the story, the badges will complement “ a paper-based representation of a credential by providing proof of an earner’ s achievement in a web-enabled format that can be validated quickly and easily.”[Link] [Comment]
This is one of those projects I like a lot. Edward Tanguay has been watching MOOC videos at a terrific clip and has been posting summaries pn his website. People learning English will especially appreciate the work as there is a vocabulary section attached to each video, and fill-in-the-blank word lessons. Tanguay is also learning Italian and includes links to Yabla videos (these are less useful as Yably is a subscription site).[Link] [Comment]
The gaming world is still abuzz about a massive battle that took place in Eve, an online multiplayer roleplaying game (MMORPG). To put this into perspective, the battle was between two coalitions of forces and involved thousands of individual players. Because in-game assets can be bought and sold, it is possible to attach a price to the battle as well: $300,000. The players are not people who sign up one day and never show up again - they invest hours, days, even years, into developing resources and skills. Things like Eve may just be a game, but they point the way clearly to the future of online learning. Take note.[Link] [Comment]
This is a book-length collection of essays on MOOCs and MOOC pedagogy. You'll find my name as a co-author in Challenges for conceptualising EU MOOC for vulnerable learner groups (though my contribution to the paper was minimal). There's a lot of work in the volume as a whole on student success, self-regulation and persistence in MOOCs, as well as cultural aspects and the use of video. I haven't had the chance to read all the papers, but I've seen enough that I'm comfortable recommending this volume as a whole.[Link] [Comment]
This is a lightly edited transcript of an interview I had with Juergen Rudolph a few weeks ago. A few important points: first, "(A MOOC) is not a group of people trying to reach some destination together. It’ s a place where individuals pursuing their own interest and objectives can interact in a way that mutually supports each other." Also: "the concept of MOOCs is open online learning in a networks kind of infrastructure. This is not simply a teaching mechanism. This is a social perceptual mechanism. A MOOC is a perceptual device for recognising whether a person is capable and competent in that subject area."[Link] [Comment]
So now that george Siemens is leaving the country, everyone wants to interview him! Just kidding, of course. But it is interesting to see the attention he's getting (not that it isn't deserved), especially when you consider where else the press has focused its attention in the last couple of years. As Siemens says, "Regarding Thrun and Udacity, I think the gloating is absolutely justified because this was an individual that was able to get front page coverage in the New York Times and USA Today for saying really absurd things."[Link] [Comment]
I have mentioned in previous posts that I've recently become Program Leader for something called Learning and Performance Support Systems. Well our new program now has an official presence. It's just an information page for now, but as you can imagine, it takes quite a lot behind the scenes to have the program recognized and promoted by the institution. En franç ais aussi.[Link] [Comment]
Dave Cormier, reviewing the progress of the "Is books making us stupid" week of his Rhizomatic MOOC, suggests that he is "frustrated with myself for not getting my point across" and "the book thing has not gone as planned." I am sympathetic; I know the feelinbg of a MOOC getting away from me. But I think he should embrace that. To me, that's the sign of success in a MOOC. And is it so bad that all his participants think he wants to get rid of books? It's just strong enough a point that people will want to react, but not one that can be quickly dismissed. Me? I loved books when I was growing up, and still have a house full of them, but my work - my reading and my writing - are done almost exclusively online.[Link] [Comment]
Quick quiz: what part of "exclusive MOOCs for alumni" is inherently self-contradictory? Here's their plan: "Prospective donors— alumni, other benefactors, even corporate and foundation executives— who take advantage of MOOCs will likely develop a greater appreciation for the institution and its faculty and, therefore, a greater willingness to provide philanthropic support." Because of course Harvard is the neediest charity of all.[Link] [Comment]
February 11 is "is an international day of action called the ‘ Day We Fight Back’ and it’ s our best chance to turn the tide." As Michael Geist points out, "in recent months, we've learned about:
Interestingly, he adds, government officials are "of the view that Canadians would accept surveillance, but they would not accept lying about surveillance programs."[Link] [Comment]
The Mobile Learning Framework covers three broad areas, "to know about mobile learning, to be able to facilitate mobile learning and to understand the implications of implementing mobile learning." The framework is led by Adele Botha of CISR Meraka (CISR is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa, a scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisation). The site is based on the UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning. According to the site, "This comprehensive set of papers articulates various mobile technology support strategies towards the United Nations Education for All goal within the educational contexts." The site looks a little bit abandoned, though there is quite a bit of stuff worth investigating here. See also the associated website.[Link] [Comment]
I actually consider it odd that there are separate streams for academic work and for the trades. And so while I support the idea of free community college tuition, I hesitate a bit because it reinforces this divide. If I were in charge of education, I would consider ensuring that everyone has a trade, which they could learn at a community college level by the time they were, say, 15 or 16. Think CEGEP, but started and completed much earlier in life. Those who wanted to go deeper could then begin studies oriented toward academics and theory, all the while reinforcing (and supporting) their academic work with practical application. I'm sure some academics today would think it odd that their education would ever begin with learning a trade, but I find it odd that it wouldn't. Oh yeah, and then 'free community college' would apply to everyone, not just poor people.[Link] [Comment]
You can probably guess where I stand on the question of creation versus evolution, so I won't go there with this post. Rather, I have one observation based on an exchange that happens a bit later on in the debate. It's this: if you have a belief in anything that nothing could or would cause you to change, then your belief is based on faith, not science. It really doesn't matter what the topic is. If someone asks you, What would change your mind?" and you say, "Nothing," then if you're teaching that belief, you should not be teaching it in a science class. To science belongs the class of beliefs that can be changed by evidence; that's what 'science' means.[Link] [Comment]
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