Miscellaneous

Professors and Politics: What the Research Says

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 19:00


Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 02, 2017

Long discussion of the argument that the professoriate (in the United States) leans left. I have little patience for such discussions because I'm of the view (also expressed in this article) that people on the left self-select into academic positions (just as people on the right self-select into business positions). I also think the disparity is exaggerated by the general right-wing tilt of American society as a whole (what they call "moderate" I call "hard right"). I also see (again as expressed in this article) little to no evidence of any resulting bias in grading or promotion. Finally, if people are serious about encouraging more right-wing participation in academia or in education generally, the solution is simple: make these the highest paid positions in society, and require people in management and finance to work on a teaching salary.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

15 Things We Can Do To Stand Up For Science!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 19:00


Alice Meadows, The Scholarly Kitchen, Mar 02, 2017

I don't think this is a bad list of things, though I would have been more reluctant to recommend specific products and services the way this article does (or, maybe, would have recommend more than one in each category). But to be sure, much of the fault with the recent mistrust of science lies not with researchers themselves (even though they are the audience for this article) but external agencies who have sought to monetize research output. The discussion in the comments on this is pretty good.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Top down implementation of social learning doesn’t work

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 19:00


Jane Hart, Modern Workplace Learning Magazine, Mar 02, 2017

Jane Hart taps into what I think is a fairly common tendency in enterprise social learning: "it is seen in terms of imposing social and collaboration tools on the workforce, compelling them to share and collaborate, and then controlling  and tracking what they do share." This doesn't work because those that are already sharing resist attempts to have them change tools or submit to monitoring and control, while those who don't share resist the pressure to share. She recommends (and I agree) "a supportive bottom-up approach, which is more about supporting those individuals who already are sharing and collaborating with one another and encouraging others to experience the benefits."

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Can Ottawa Do Innovation?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 13:00


Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Mar 02, 2017

This post discusses a National Post article which asserts that Canada has failed at innovation for 100 years and questions whether Trudeau can fix that (presumably via financial transfers to industry, which was the previous government's strategy). I question the original assertion that Canada is not innovative. Alex Usher says Canada copies U.S. innovations, but in fact, the opposite is the case; American companies are more likely to copy Canadian innovations. The measures cited are mostly based on private sector spending (on R& D, on software). We've seen that giving the private sector more money won't actually increased their R& D spending. Innovation simply doesn't happen in branch plants.

In Canada most innovation is created by new companies and based on homegrown R& D from the ground up, and these are usually spin-offs from public sector investment like government and universities. Usher suggests that the locus of innovation should be the provinces, and not the federal government. But innovation is currently based both in the provinces (for universities) and the federal government (through military, through federal science, and through procurement). Of these, only federal science could be relocated to the provinces, but only four provinces have the resources to sustain them, which would actually create more, not less, centralization.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

EdX To Retire Foundational 6.002x Platform

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 13:00


Dhawal Shah, Class Central, Mar 02, 2017

I guess the students who built it have all graduated. We used it for the Personal Learning MOOC. It had some nice features but it definitely did not promote interaction, creativity or discussion. The platform did support limited embedding, which enabled (as described in this article) an interactive circuit diagram tool and a textbook to be embedded.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Against Expressive Social Media

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 14:00


Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Feb 28, 2017

The early days of the internet split into two major categories: talk, and work. Talk took place on Usenet, work took place everywhere else. I was a work person;  I didn't have much time for Usenet. Work eventually won out, and with the invention of the Web - a work thing - creativity flourished. Those days are over. As Mike Caulfield says, "The hyperlinked vision of the web was replaced by Usenet plus surveillance." We fritter out time away with expressive social media, he says. Instead, "We need to start asking the real question, which is how do we teach our students to collaborate and communicate.' Well - no. I mean, yes, but we should have done that by the time they were out of, I don't know, grade 5 or so. Image: Wesley Fryer.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Three recommendations to enable Annotations on the Web

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 00:00


World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Feb 26, 2017

Web annotations have been a longtime dream of many, but for many it was fool's gold - tantalizingly close, but ultimately worthless. We've seen a slew of efforts - web post-its, side-bar wikis, dual-column pages, and more. Now the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has come out with recommendations, including "a structured model and format, in JSON, to enable annotations to be shared and reused across different hardware and software platforms." Will this be the standard that makes the difference? Image: ShowMe

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The LMS Market is Quickly Losing Ground

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 00:00


Carol Leaman, Chief Learning Officer, Feb 26, 2017

About ten years too late, the LMS industry is in decline. "The self-paced e-learning market — defined by LMS, off-the-shelf content and services — is in steep decline and is expected to drop from global revenues of $46.6 billion in 2016 to $33.4 billion by 2021. According to the report: “ In the current e-learning market, the single most unfavorable place to be is the LMS market, which is essentially imploding, particularly in the U.S. corporate segment that has a negative 33.9 percent growth rate."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Nietzsche For Tots

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 21:00


Justin W., Daily Nous, Feb 26, 2017

What I like about the current age is that people have started thinking about different ways of representing (and different audiences) for all sorts of information. Today we have by way of example   Nietzsche in Shapes and Colors, "a board book aimed at introducing Nietzschean themes to children by way of simple phrases and beautiful illustrations, including naturalism." And why don't we teach young children about the wonders of nature, the varieties of perspective, and personal empowerment? I had to wait until I was in university before I discovered these things had names and weren't the products of my imagination.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Battle of the Classrooms: Apple, Google, Microsoft Vie for K-12 Market

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 12:00


Sydney Johnson, EdSurge, Feb 26, 2017

As this article suggests, it's probably no coincidence that Google, Microsoft and Apple each have a product named 'Classroom'. Though all are listed as 'free', each requires the purchase of an expensive application or software suite. The products are being targeted aggressively at schools (especially in the U.S.) and the companies have created associated 'classroom' communities. The tools are mostly used to help students collaborate on documents and to submit homework assignments. Related: are we innovating or just digitizing traditional teaching?

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Language ArtsTechnology in School Who Says I Don't Like to Read? Sparking a Love of Digital Books Across Detroit

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 12:00


Deborah L. Winston, EdSurge, Feb 26, 2017

This article describes the deployment of  MyOn in the Detroit public school system. MyOn provides access to a library of 13,000 titles for young readers. It works "by initially  prompting students to take an interest inventory to decide what types of books they are interested in reading, and a placement test to determine reading ability." We are told that "since adopting the platform, the district has seen the number of books being accessed and read by our students increase dramatically." Interestingly, MyOn has no Wikipedia page. Previously a division of Capstone, it has  just been sold to Francisco Partners, a private equity firm.  More coverage of MyOn from various media.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Copyright Lobby’s IIPA Report: Fake News About the State of Canadian Copyright

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 21:00


Michael Geist, Feb 25, 2017

Michael Geist writes about this year's annual misrepresentation of the state of copy protection and media in Canada by the the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a lobby group that represents the major lobbying associations for music, movie, software, and book publishing in the United States. In particular, he focuses on three areas:

  • The state of Canadian Piracy, which the IIPA reports as rising, when in fact the Business Software Alliance’ s annual report last showed Canada at its lowest software piracy rate ever 
  • The notice-and-notice system, which the IIPA says is not receiving full compliance from ISPs, and which hurts licensed services, when in pact there is nearly full compliance by ISPs, and licensed services are earning strong returns in Canada
  • Fair dealing, which the IIPA has attacked on several grounds, but which consistent with fair dealing regimes around the world, and are more stringent than many, including fair use in the United States

As Canada routinely states every year, "Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It’ s driven entirely by U.S. industry."

 

 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Kaltura Launches Lecture Capture Solution

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 21:00


Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology, Feb 25, 2017

This is just something I want to keep handy for when I talk to people who already have a Kaltura system running. It seems like a pretty easy way to make a lot of learning resources. Or course the quality and value might vary, but creating something is infinitely better than creating nothing.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

The Challenge of Non-Disposable Assignments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 21:00


Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Feb 25, 2017

Non-disposable Assignments (NDAs, though he agrees a better acronym is needed) are assignments that ase seen by more than just the student and the person grading them. They can be thought of as open educational resources, but the status as OERs connotes qualities that may not be there. The challenge of NDAs is to create these assignments in such a way that they are actually non-disposable, and not just disposable assignments published in an open way. "It takes a lot of effort to move past the first impulse of writing ones that sound like they are answering a question or a series of questions. Those have an odor of 'disposable-ness'."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Anthony Johnson Brings 'Johnsonville' to Life

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 18:00


Richard Chang, THE Journal, Feb 25, 2017

My grade 8 class created a model society. I was one of the two banks in our community. It was too much work, I didn't clear the cheques, and the town economy collapsed. But the idea was sound in principle. Later, as part of my MuniMall project, I created something called MuniVille, which again could be a simulated environment for town managers and elected officials. Once again, my ambition far exceeded my abilities, though fortunately no economies collapsed (and the MuniMall community I developed ran for the next ten years). So I like the concept of Johnsonville as described in this article and wish founder Anthony Johnson the best in his "world where each student must find a job, pay the bills, pay mortgage and taxes, and learn by doing projects."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Looking (again) to Domain of One’s Own

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 18:00


Martha Burtis, The Fish Wrapper, Feb 25, 2017

it's good to see a look at a project some time after it has launched and some time after it has (largely) passed into new hands and new ownership. Such is the case with this post on Domain of One's Own. "As faculty have continued to integrate DoOO into their classes, students have continued to engage with the project in a variety of ways." Fer what it's worth, I've been working recently on properly virtualizing gRSShopper - basically setting it up in a complete self-sustaining box that can be easily ported to new environments. I have applications like Domain of One's Own in mind (not that I've told them any of this).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

25 Years Without a Raise

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 02/25/2017 - 15:00


Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Feb 25, 2017

Adjunct instructors at Youngstown State University threw themselves a party this week to mark 25 years without a pay increase. "It’ s 'fair to say that our president and provost recognize that that's a problem and, while we are facing some difficult budget challenges like most in higher ed, [we’ re] committed to trying to rectify that situation," said university spokesperson Ron Cole. It's hard to see how you could recognize something as a problem and do nothing about it for 25 years. A more honest statement would probably say something about how embarrassed they are by this situation and how much they wish it hadn't attracted international attention. Image: Michelle N.

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