Miscellaneous

Making Change

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 12/24/2016 - 19:00


Miles Berry, An Open Mind, Dec 24, 2016

This is interesting for a number of reasons. Probably my best practical learning in mathematics came while working at the concession stands in the local football stadium; I had to make change a lot. Here's how you do it: leave what they paid you easily video (so they don't later say "but didn't I give you a twenty?). Start with the amount owed. "That'll be $2.21." Count small change to even the number (in this case 4 cents to reach $2.25), large change to add up to an even dollar ("50... 75... 3 dollars), dollars to all to the total (5 dollars, 10 dollars, thank you). It's the opposite of the 'greedy' algorithm described by Miles Berry, and is what you actually do in practice.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Follow the chain

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/23/2016 - 12:00


Doug Peterson, doug — off the record, Dec 23, 2016

One of the hallmarks of the copyright industry is the use of the @copy; symbol, and later on, the Creative Commons badges. The latter offers a link back to the license itself, while both reinforce the concept of copy protection. The Attribution Engine, desc rived in this post, does the same thing, but is linked to a mechanism giving credit to the original artist. Nice, right? Well no - in reality, they're no different from the Pinterest or Flickr logos that appear over embedded photos - they use the photo as advertising for some service, which in turn reaps the benefit of the traffic and exposure. Look at how MediaChain's  Attribution Engine awards credit. Fully two thirds of the visible credit belongs to themselves and Creative Commons. What would really give credit is a link back to the source of the image (like this: Image by Ryan Hafey). I believe in attribution, not in unearned advertising for third parties.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Ria #38: Dr. Katie Linder On Podcasting In Higher Education (Conference Panel)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 21:00


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Dec 22, 2016 On this episode of the Research in Action podcast, Dr. Katie Linder shares the audio recording of a podcasting panel at the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate Conference that took place in Orlando, Florida in November 2016. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The SAP platform and digital transformation

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00


Dion Hinchcliffe, ZD Net, Dec 22, 2016

This is a good but almost impenetrable article reporting on the fundamental shift in digital technology taking place today. If you want the two-line version it is this: the digital world is shifting from self-managed centralized services to distributed cloud services, but the weight of the platform is such that only a few very large vendors are competitive in this market. I think both observations are correct. As Hinchcliffe notes, "Amazon now offers over 50 separate categories of enterprise-class cloud services across the technology spectrum. Competitive offerings have to be literally stunningly rich in features to effectively compete in today's sophisticated and nuanced technology landscape." Who can set up that sort of infrastructure?

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00


Mike Caulfield, Hapgood, Dec 22, 2016

"Which information literacy do we need?" asks Michael Caulfield. "Do we need more RADCAB? Do we need more CRAAP?" We can certainly agree that critical thinking has to go beyond simplistic five-step rubrics. But here Caulfield steers off a cliff. We need to know the background, he argues, in order to differentiate between legitimate news and conspiracy theorists. "Abstract skills aren’ t enough," he maintains. For example, "When I saw that big 'W' circled in that red field of a flag, for instance, my Nazi alarm bells went off." He explains, "My point is that recognizing any one of these things as an indicator — FEMA, related sites, gold seizures, typography — would have allowed students to approach this site with a starting hypothesis." Well, yes. But how do students learn which indicators to recognize? By being told? We know that this is a non-starter. No, they need to learn deep and authentic critical thinking skills. More: my essay On Teaching Critical Thinking.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Model for the transformation of higher education in Africa

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00


Phillip L Clay, University World News, Dec 22, 2016

I have my questions about former MIT Chancellor Phillip L Clay's proposal to renew African education, but the report he refers to is neither named nor hyperlinked, so all we have is this column. In it, he proposes what amounts to a recreation of the elite university system for Africans, on condition that "governments would promise that students from their country would receive the resources that would otherwise be available for the best opportunities in their countries." Also, "by closely fitting education with industrial development, and by aggressively leveraging global sourcing of knowledge and resources to build first-class institutions" and "enrolments would be sized to foster excellence (ie., small)." No mass education for Africa. Clay should make this paper available online and be held to account for his policy positions and advocacy.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Icts In Higher Education Systems Of Arab States: Promises And Effective Practices - A Summary Report

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00

The Regional Forum on ICTs in Higher Education Systems of Arab States was held in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 7 and 8, 2016, with the objective to provide conceptual clarification with respect to the usage of ICTs in Higher Education, to take stock of existing initiatives in the Arab Region, and to contribute to enhancing cooperation and synergies among stakeholders. This report summarizes these discussions, first with respect to some specific topics, and second, with respect to overall themes and concepts.

, , Dec 19, 2016 [Link]
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Categories: Miscellaneous

What Can We Learn From Countries That Effectively Teach Math?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00


KQED, MindShift, Dec 22, 2016

This  report accords with my own sense of the matter. "In every country, the memorizers turned out to be the lowest achievers, and countries with high numbers of them— the U.S. was in the top third— also had the highest proportion of teens doing poorly on the PISA math assessment." By turning math lessons into rote exercises, administrators not only weaken math scores, they also effectively increase inequality.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

My Workflow

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00


Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Dec 22, 2016

I was thinking about working openly recently and decided to document my workflow, such as it is. As you can see I need to devise a way to make my projects and courses more transparent. There's also a PowerPoint version of the image with working links. No HTML version, sorry.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Decentralized, P2P Chat in 100 lines of code

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 18:00


ZeroNet, DecentralizeToday, Dec 22, 2016

I spent several hours this morning messing around with this and actually created  my own peer-to-peer discussion board as described in the article - it works, but I'm not sure people can access it as the port is closed. You won't be able to access it by clicking on your own browser - the link points to a location on your own computer, and if you need to have ZeroNet installed to read it. Ah, but ZeroNet is an easy install, open source and free - download from here, extract into a directory, and then (on windows at least) run zeronet.cmd by double-clicking on it in the directory. It will open in your browser and you're on the distributed internet. What you've done is to load a Python interpreter and personal web server (which only you access). Here are the full ZeroNet documents. I like this a lot.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Wiley'S Misguided Advocacy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 15:00


, noreply@blogger.com (Stephen Downes), CC BY-NC-ND, Half an Hour, Dec 22, 2016 David Wiley once again launches into advocacy for the CC-by license. We've been through this many times, so I'll keep it relatively brief. His text is italicized.
& gt; There is a growing consensus among those who work in open education that the Creative Commons Attribution (BY) License is our preferred license. No there isn't. The list of organizations hasn't grown over the years, and the number people from this list remains stable. & gt; Since the first release of the Creative Commons licenses, newcomers to the field have been attracted to licenses containing the non-commercial (NC) condition. There's a whole paragraph devoted to depicting advocates of the Non-Commercial license (NC) as "newcomers". As if I am a newcomer. As if MIT's OpenCourseWare is a newcomer. & gt; The BY license best reflects our values of eliminating friction, maximizing interoperability, and promoting unanticipated and innovative uses of OER. & gt;No one knows what the NC license condition means, including Creative Commons. The license language is so vague that the only way to determine definitively whether a use is commercial or not is to go to court and have a judge decide. This vagueness is cited by proponents of CC-by but hasn't actually been a problem. There are some good rules-of-thumb which can guide you: - if you have to ask whether your use is a commercial use, it probably is - if someone has to pay to access your resource, it probably is & gt; Example – I want to use some NC-licensed content in my course, but students can only attend my course if they pay tuition. Is that a commercial use? It's a commercial use if the only way people can access the resource is to pay you tuition. But if the resource is free to access for everyone, it doesn't matter whether your students use it also. & gt; For would-be authors of NC-licensed content, the only way to resolve the confusion arising from someone using your content in a way that you think is commercial but they think is non-commercial is to lawyer up and send a cease and desist letter. This isn't unique to the NC condition. It applies to all CC-licensed content. In practice, I find that there has been more of a problem enforcing the attribution condition. But nobody has suggested removing it on these grounds. & gt; The primary thing you gain by choosing a license that includes the NC condition ... The primary benefit is that you prevent people from turning it into a commercial product and selling it. There are numerous reasons why you may want to do this. & gt; Why would someone go to all the cost and effort involved in selling copies of your CC BY licensed material (e.g., paying for ads to drive traffic to the site where they’re selling it) when every copy will include instructions on where people can get the same material for free instead? Because this access is often theoretical. Should the original ever disappear (or in the case of OpenStax, should the URL ever change) there is no resourse; the user must pay for the resource. Saying things like "there would be very little incentive..." creates a nice hypothetical, but we have no way of knowing that there won't be an incentive. We've seen that large businesses can be created out of very marginal returns, soour "very little incentive" is someone else's business plan. & gt; The CC BY language gives you practical protection from newcomers’ concern that some interloper is going to make a million dollars from their work (even if it does not offer protection against all theoretical possibilities).... This is why you don’t see Pearson, McGraw, or other major publishers reselling copies of CC BY textbooks. If we limit the example to textbooks, the statement is possibly true. However, publishers have made millions selling out-of-copyright works, such as the classics of literature. Walt Disney made a fortune by appropriating folklore and fairy stories and marketing them as Disney property. & gt; The only counterexample I can offer to this line of argument, and it’s not a direct one, is the CC BY simulations created by PhET. As I understand it, at least one major publisher includes PhET simulations in their offerings. The publisher doesn’t sell the simulations as a product – I don’t think they could sell the simulations this way for the reasons I’ve described above. But they do include the simulations as a “free extra” to make their textbooks or courseware more attractive than those offered by other publishers. This sounds like exactly the sort of situation I would like to avoid. And it's not nearly as rare as described here. Consider, for example, companies like ResearchGate, which have slurped up all the open access publications they can find, and then require that readers log in to read them, thus creating data they sell to advertisers and publishers. & gt; On the one hand, the faculty member you speak to may feel like this possibility represents a lost opportunity to make some money. I don't actually think this is what motivates supporters of NC. Mostly, people don't want their work to become part of a commercial product that people would have to pay money to access. & gt; Personally, for the OER that I create, I want every learner in the world to use them – regardless of which major resource (commercial or open textbook) their faculty have decided to adopt. If publishers decide to throw my OER in as free extras with their textbooks or courseware, that just decreases the amount of search engine optimization and other work I have to do to make sure people know about the OER I’ve created. It’s free advertising for my OER. It's the existence of commercial content that makes SEO and advertising a requirement. This alone should be a reason to discourage CC-by. It shouldn't be necessary for us to have to advertise open access content. It's a requirement only because commercial publishers want to make sure readers cannot find the free content. Most of us do not want to become entrepreneurs or publishers or whatever. We simply want to share the work we've created. It's the commercial publishing system that makes that hard. As always, I argue that people should adopt whatever license best suits their interests. I continue to fail to understand why David Wiley doesn't respect that choice. [Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Learning Design Principles

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 15:00


Pearson, Dec 22, 2016

Michael Feldstein  points to this report on learning design principles from Pearson. The report (102 page PDF) is called "Objective Design and Instructional Alignment," which gives you a sense of their perspective. The recommendations are (quoted):

  • Explicitly specify observable knowledge, skills, or attributes a learner will achieve in the learning experience in objective statements.
  • Derive these from relevant standards.
  • Align all assessments and content to objectives to create aligned learning experiences, which are essential to effective learning experiences and Pearson's efficacy goals.

The report itself steps through a series of design principles, ranging from 'assessments' to 'learning object design' to 'critical thinking', and accompanies each with a set of rubrics for evaluating the concordant design. I like the structure of the document, though I think the authors could have been more discriminating in their selection of subjects - 'grit', in particular, doesn't really belong. There's also a  blog post providing more background on the project.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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