Miscellaneous

NL government to reduce student debt burden by replacing all student loans with grants

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 07:19


Press Release, Canadian Federation of Students, April 3, 2014

The story is in the headline. The Newfoundland government is also freezing tuition. It's rare enough in Canada to be worth highlighting here (by contrast, I lived in oil-rich Alberta for 17 years, faced nothing but rising tuition rates and accumulated $25K in student debt it took me decades to repay). More, via Academica: Budget, Budget Highlights, CBC News.

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Tales of the Undead…Learning Theories: The Learning Pyramid

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 09:46
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Candice Benjes-Small, ACRLog, April 2, 2014

It's worth re-running this item (shared this week by Doug Belshaw). "Since the 1960s, experts have been trying to convince people that the learning pyramid is bogus.  But for every article written exposing its weaknesses, there seem to be dozens of instances where it is invoked as truth in presentations, websites, and trade publications." If you want proof someone hasn't done real research, watch for the cone of experience to show up in their work.

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Crows Understand a Fundamental Part of Logical Reasoning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 09:40
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Jason G. Goldman, Animals, April 2, 2014

David Hume wrote, "It is certain that the most ignorant and stupid peasants — nay infants, nay even brute beasts — improve by experience, and learn the qualities of natural objects, by observing the effects which result from them." We see this over and over again; this link adds to that evidence, as we see crows using heavy objects to raise the level if water in a glass in order to reach food floating in it. Whatever theory of learning we have, it seems ervident that it must be simple enough that children and animals can use it, and this seems to me to rule out theories requiring complex constructivism or the making of meaning. Because crows don't make meaning.

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Robotics Inspiring Students to Pursue STEM

Imagine America as a place where the percentage of students involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is higher than average.   Imagine America as a place where students are motivated to pursue STEM-related degrees and careers.  On December 3, 2013, Bill Chappell of NPRreported, “…only 50 percent [of] students agreed that they are interested in learning mathematics, slightly below the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ) average of 53 percent” (9).

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Reflections on the First Half of #FutureEd at Duke: The Here and the Not Yet

Currently in The History and Future of Higher Education, taught by Dr. Cathy Davidson at Duke University, we are focused on completing the final assignment: designing a university from scratch.

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Stanford scientists put free text-analysis tool on the web

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:24
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Andrew Myers, Stanford Engineering, March 31, 2014

As this prromotional article states, "Ever wondered whether a certain TV show had a slant in favor of a political candidate? Stanford computer scientists have created a website that gives anyone who can cut and paste the ability to answer such questions, systematically and for free. The website is known as etcML, short for Easy Text Classification with Machine Learning." The story says two things to me. First, learning analytics is becoming a commodity, which will manifest itself as a service that other applications can access. Second, if you're developing something and want to develop a market for it, the way to be successful is to create a publicly-accessible protototype and then promote it - I know lots of people have been working on emotional and sentiment analysis, but the world beats a path to the door of the people who actually show how it's done. Via Geoffrey Rockwell.

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Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:19
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Marc A. Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Shneiderman, Itai Himelboim, Pew Research Internet Project, March 31, 2014

I think that the structure of Twitter (specifically: the fact that wheen you post, you post to an audience of all your pollowers) limits the range of possible types of 'conversatuon networks'. So don't take this post as all-inclusive. Where the value lies, however, in the recognition that very distinct forms of networks can form in an environment where people have conversations, some dysfunctional (such as 'polarized crowds') and others less so (such as 'community clusters'). Via Brent Schlenker.

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Moneyball

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:12


Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, March 31, 2014

People are beginning to notice the the proponents of learning analytics need to brink some new data and examples forward to support their case, as the old ones are not only, well, old, they have also been thoroughly discredited. Jim Groom comments, "a lot has happened since 2010. Mike Caulfield pointed out  six months ago, and Michael Feldstein re-iterated, the research claims of the effectiveness of Course Signals to increase retention are deeply problematic."

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The Game of Wrong, and Moral Psychology

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:05


John Holbo, Crooked Timber, March 31, 2014

Some interesting post-MOOC reflections on learning and moral psychology from Crooked Timber, another example I think of how a MOOC well done results in the creation of new knowledge, as opposed to the mere transmission of the old (this may not be so much true for the students of a Coursera course as it is for the instructor). Anyhow, the reflections cause in me some thoughts about the apparent contradition between two principles I have long held, the first of which is a form of utilitarianism, and the second of which is a version of Kant's principle that each person is inherently valuable. Silly problems like the  Trolley Problem are designed not merely to test these principles but to drive a wedge between them. But in fact, the two principles are different aspects of the same principle of ethics, to my mind.

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How the Web was Ghettoized for Teaching and Learning in Higher Ed?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:41
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Jim Broom, bavatuesdays, March 30, 2014

Can't say I disagree with this: "For more than a decade the web has been systematically ghettoized as a dangerous space where people steal and victims are robbed (not entirely false, but not the whole story either).... The fear and loathing surrounding the internet, copyright, and downloading that enabled universities during the late 90s to shutoff the web for anything beyond basic business operations is best summed up for me in the :38 second GI Joe PSA 'Stop All the Downloading.'" I would add that the deeply disturbing aspect is that the materials available through the 'safe' portals are just as harmful, albeit in more long term and subtle ways, as students are guadually acclimatized to a learned helplessness and dependence on augthority and order.

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European Commission launches network to foster web talent through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:36


Press Release, European Commission, March 30, 2014

Nick Kearney pointed me to the European Commission's ususual definition of MOOCs: "MOOCs are online university courses which enable people to access quality education without having to leave their homes." I wonder who it was who convinced them that the massive and open aspects of these courses are compleetely incidental. There's a network discussion group that can be found on the European Commission’ s portal Open Education Europa. "The initiative is coordinated by p.a.u. education and in partnership with Iversity." Oh - that's who think the massive and open aspects are incidental.

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The Shifting Role of University Systems

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 10:32


Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed, March 30, 2014

As the impact of online learning gradually becomes apparent, what becomes of the role of the traditional university system? One person's view: "My personal view is that there is great value in systemness... system can serve as innovation incubators, assisting campuses in building the data-driven strategic enrollment and student lifecycle management infrastructure needed to support education in the 21st century; in advancing next-generation online learning, which will play a critical role in enhancing access, affordability, student success, and institutional sustainability; and leading the way as institutions gradually develop outcomes-driven, competency-based, career-oriented educational pathways."

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