Miscellaneous

Here’s how to shape the future of higher education in India

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/02/2016 - 13:00


K Vaidya Nathan, The Financial Express, Jul 02, 2016

Based on his experien ce teaching a MOOC this business writer identifies "five trends that stand out to possibly exert a genuinely transformative impact on higher education in the times to come" (quoted):

  • online learning platforms will democratise higher education;
  • benchmarks for classroom teaching are becoming higher because of this democratisation of higher education;
  • industry and academia could come closer with industry folks getting to learn as and when they choose to, on topics relevant for their workplace;
  • platforms like Coursera can disaggregate course content and make teaching assets available to any faculty to use; and
  • enhance our understanding of student motivation, instructional design and the personalisation of learning pathways.

It is, frankly, a narrow vision, and one not always supported by the evidence. The "democratisation" of education cited several times runs counter to learning as a form of workplace training. And Coursera is making it harder, not easier, to make assets available for any teacher to use. Online learning isn't just about making stuff available for teachers to use in classrooms. Funny how it's so hard to convince anyone otherwise, though.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Amazon Launches 'Inspire,' a Free Education Resource Search Platform for Educators

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/02/2016 - 10:00


Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge, Jul 02, 2016

Amazon's e-learning plans - described  earlier this year - are coming to fruition. It's learning  -  Amazon Inspire - has officially launched. "A free, mostly-OER platform (see below for why it’ s “ mostly OER” ), Amazon Inspire works like a search engine for educational videos, lesson plans and games. Users can search by criteria like topics (say, 'fractions' or 'the Constitution'), standards, grade level, and time to complete, as shown below; additionally, they can rate materials with 1 to 5 stars." There was  quite a bit of discussion when it was first announced in February. Something like this is what I had hoped we could have developed with the LPSS program at NRC. More.

Judy O'Connell comments, "By introducing its new education site, Amazon joins other tech industry giants in an enormous push to expand the use of technology in public schools. It’ s all about the market territory really, under the guise of support." Inside Higher Ed's Joshua Kim writes, "the last thing higher ed needs is another digital learning object repository. We are so over digital learning objects."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

SRI’s Study on Gates Personalized Learning Grants Is Out

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:00


Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Jun 30, 2016

Short note summarizing the Gates Foundation's SRI study (53 page PDF) on personalized learning grants. First of all, Feldstein writes "this is not a report that screams, 'Wow, adaptive courseware works!'" But secondly, and more interestingly, he writes, "Large-scale educational research is incredibly hard and may actually be impossible to do rigorously for certain kinds of questions." Feldstein explains, "one reason the conclusions are murky is because there so many variables in each class— not just each course subject, not just each course at one university, but even with each section of each class taught by one teacher— that really matter." I've  commented on this before.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Maker Education: Pedagogy, Andragogy, Heutagogy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:00


Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, Jun 30, 2016

To be clear, the term 'Andragogy' does not mean (as suggested in this article) "self-directed learning".  The term refers specifically to adult learning - "andr (meaning ‘ man’ ) could be contrasted with pedagogy (paid- meaning ‘ child’ and agogos (meaning ‘ leading’ )". And educators do love their levels and series of progressions, hence the movement in this article from pedagogy to andragogy to heutagogy (from 'heut', meaning 'self). All of that said, the PAH framework (educators do love frameworks) could serve as a useful guide for thought in the area.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

EDEN 2016: Re-imagining Learning Environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:00


Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jun 30, 2016

Tony Bates summarizes the recent EDEN conference, writing "I was surprised at how much importance European institutions are still giving to MOOCs. There were by far more papers on MOOCs than on credit-based online learning or even blended learning. Even the Oxford debate this year was on the following motion: We Should Focus in the Short Term More on MOOCs than on OER." The resolution, Bates writes, as to his relief soundly defeated. But I would have won that debate, in my humble opinion, by talking about the critical role OERs play in MOOCs (our MOOCs) and the role MOOCs play to stimulate the use, production and reuse of OERs.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Inspiring Students: Bringing Awe Back to Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:00


Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, Jun 30, 2016

In his monumental work  The Idea of the Holy Rudolf Otto wrote of the 'numinous' as mysterious, (mysterium) terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans). This post seems to want to do the same thing for education. The key of the tremendous and fascinating is that it holds us in awe. "Awe is a driving force for learning that will not just benefit our students now, but also well into their future. However, traditional views and functions of school deprive many students from experiencing the joy and power of awe as a catalyst for meaningful learning." I am not troubled by a sense of awe - I get it every time I stare into the night sky or look at a butterfly, which is often - but I'm not sure it should be an objective of learning.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Things to Know (and Potential Dangers) with Third-Party Scripts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:00


Yaphi Berhanu, CSS-Tricks, Jun 30, 2016

One of the major reasons I use AdBlocker is that it blocks many third party scripts. These are bits of code web page owners place on their pages to display the advertisement - and to do a lot more. I don't really care about the ad. It's the rest that concerns me. For example, as this post notes, "eavesdroppers can track things like your email, username, full name, home address, purchases, location, history, IP address, and preferences." Additionally, "Third-party scripts frequently cause pages to load slower. For example, Business Insider's actual site loads in about 1 second, while third-party scripts account for the majority of the 7 to 15 seconds of load time." This includes scripts that impact the performance of the page even after it has been loaded; for example, some scripts slow down page scrolls. That's why I'm back on Firefox (Chrome was having difficulties loading AdBock Plus). That's why I'll keep the adblocking software running.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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