Miscellaneous

A few random thoughts on Cecil, @bittman, and chickens

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 16:00
Display


Steve Krause, Aug 08, 2015

According to  Mark Bittman in Vox, eating a factory-farmed chicken is morally worse than the  killing of Cecil the Lion. As Steve Krause points out, there's a difference between killing for food and fillingfor sport, and a difference between killing an animal on the verge of extinction and one which numbers in the gazillions. But still - I think we should take this argument further. If the killing of Cecil the Lion morally worse than spending $3,000 on a  prosthetic limb for a chicken? I think this is a much harder question. But also: was it morally worse than the  wanton destruction of a hitch-hiking robot? Alan Levine makes a joke of it, but one wonders what it says when a robot that safely hitched across Canada did not even make it off the east coast in the U.S. To my mind, I think it was the tone he took - sympathizing more with the hunter than with the hunted.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Blackboard’s Complexity Problems

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 10:00


George Kroner, edutechnica, Aug 08, 2015

This is a fascinating look at some of the complexity behind the scenes in Backboard's code base. It's a mixture of old code and new, of original Blackboard and acquired products, and support for various types of database. It has multiple ways of representing basic entities (like 'person' or 'course'). And I found this dangerous-sounding tidbit: "The software runs on a version of Java which reached its end-of-life several months ago (and will no longer receive  any updates, security or otherwise, else the Java version would be still another variable)." All I can say is: eek. Via EdSurge. See also Phil Hill on Blackboard's potential sale.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Letter on Open Access

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:00


Various authors, Google Docs, Aug 07, 2015

Cable Green writes: "Today,  a broad coalition of more than 90 organizations representing the education, library, technology, public interest and legal  communities  released a letter  calling on President Obama to open up educational materials created with federal taxpayer  funds." This is that letter on Google Docs. Here's the 11 page PDF. I wish people in Canada would send a similar sort of letter to our elected leaders.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

An experiment with the oerpub editor

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:00


David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, Aug 07, 2015

The  OERPub editor is an interface where you can create your open source textbook on GitHub using a relatively intuitive text editor with various tools. It is in this way a lot like the  old Connexions project (now repurposed and called OpenStax), but without the institutional overhead. This post from David Jones recounts some work with the OERPub Editor. Keep in mind that the editor is still in alpha, so a lot of features aren't working yet.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Here’s a $5M Seed Fund to Support Higher-Ed Innovations Besides MOOCs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:00
Display


Tony Wan, EdSurge, Aug 07, 2015

So what's being funded in learning these days? "University Ventures said it’ s already invested in four companies:

  • CampusLogic, which helps colleges manage the financial aid process;
  • Entangled Ventures, a “ studio” founded by Paul Freedman that connects universities with startups (one of which recently merged with ApprenNet);
  • ProSky, a training platform for specific skills in demand from employers;
  • Portfolium, which allows students to showcase digital portfolios to potential employers.

But Mark Smithers counters: "we need more investment in mainstreaming innovations, not generating new ones."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

White House: Innovation in Higher Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:00


George Siemens, elearnspace, Aug 07, 2015

I can't resist sharing this post describing George Siemenss'ss invitation and visit to the White House (meanwhile people pay very good money to keep people like me far away from such places!). This seems to be true: "Higher education generally has no clue about what’ s brewing in the marketplace as a whole. The change pressures that exist now are not ones that the existing higher education model can ignore. The trends – competency-based learning, unbundling, startups & capital inflow, new pedagogical models, technology, etc – will change higher education dramatically."

Also, this: "I was struck by how antagonistic some for-profits are toward public higher education. I sat in one session where a startup spent much of the time expressing intense dislike for higher education in today’ s form 'my tax dollars are going to bad actors', ironically to be followed up with 'I loved my time in university. It shaped me and made me'. It reminds me of Peter Thiel’ s drop out of school and start a company. But what does Thiel expect when his money and his life is at stake? He expects, for his hedge fund: 'High GPA from top-tier university; preferably in computer science, mathematics, statistics, econometrics, physics, engineering or other highly quantitative.'"

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Coursera Update: A New Name for Verified Certificates

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:00


Corsera Blog, Aug 07, 2015

They will be called 'Course Certificates'. That is all.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

How will ad-blocking software change the web-content industry?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:00
Display


Jean-Louis Gassée, Quartz, Aug 07, 2015

I think that Apple was looking for ways to improve battery life in its mobile devices and someone was smartly thinking out of the box. "With content blocking turned on, the page loaded in two seconds instead of eleven. Once loaded, network activity ceased, which means less strain on the battery." Quite so. I have used ad blocking for years (I use Firefox), not simply because I hate ads but also because they are distracting, slow to load, space-wasting and a huge drain on resources. Plus, they spy on me. "If you have a 1 GB/month mobile data plan, going to the site three times a day will exhaust your data budget— and place you in the caring hands of 22 flavors of spyware."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content