Miscellaneous

The Complex Universe of Alternative Postsecondary Credentials and Pathways

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 15:40

Jessie Brown, Martin Kurzweil, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jul 25, 2017

This is a survey document (56 page PDF) tracking research and commentary on the rise of alternative credentials (such as microcredentials, badges and certificates) and alternative learning pathways (such as word-based learning, MOOCs and short courses. The report has very little to say about effectiveness (see the executive summary) though it does make comments in passing as it cites other articles (eg. by the Chronicle). It looks into the historical antedecents and is a detailed examination of the rise of these alternatives, including how they are beginning to be incorporated into traditionaal programs. At the end, it remarks on the dearth of quality assessment for these alternatives: "evidence of the efficacy and value of these alternatives— for students and taxpayers— is still thin. Robust data on many programs’ features, cost, enrollment, and outcomes are simply not available."

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes and Institutional Finances

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 15:10

Jessie Brown, Martin Kurzweil, American Council on Education, Jul 25, 2017

This newly released report from  the American Council on Education (25 page PDF) begins up front with a definition of instructional quality - sort of: "we maintain that the most sensible approach is to consider both inputs and outcomes, or to look at how actionable instructional inputs impact student outcomes."  Reading through the report, though, we ssee the usual: persistance, completion rates, and GPA. It should be noted that this report seems far more interested in their impact on institutional revenue. I read this as an extended logical model; although "we are not aware of any study that directly evaluates the impact of improvements in instructional quality on net revenue" the report makes the case that such a link is there. As such, it does the job quite well.

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Feed your need to know

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 14:54

The Keyword, Google, Jul 25, 2017

I search a lot, and I search in fairly precisely defined areas, and I need to keep up on news in these areas, so the new Google service - a feed based on my search interests that updates with news daily - would seem to be perfect. Except, first, it's only available in the U.S.; I'll have to wait a few weeks. And second (and worse, in my mind) it's only available in the Gogle App (for Android, iOS and Pixel Launcher).

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

The principles of learning to design learning environments

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:41

OECD, Jul 24, 2017

This is a chapter from the recently released OECD  Handbook for Innovative Learning Environments, the entirely of which appears to be accessible for reading online (knowing OECD, this may be an accident, so download it quickly). The principles in and of themselves are interesting. There's seven in all, and each is a conjunction of sevaral points, so if we teased them out there might be a dozen or two. These pronciples, which are learning-centered, are then applied to teaching and to learning environments. As Grainne Conole says, "One to explore in more depth… "

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

DIY VR Viewer

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:33

Richard Byrne, Free  Technology for Teachers, Jul 24, 2017

How much was oculus Rift again? OK, you're probably not getting the same quality of virtual reality, but you can't beat the price. "YouTube "celebrity"  Roman UrsuHack  offers the following video that provides an overview of making your own VR viewer."

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

WeChat’s director of user growth talks up new features for overseas clients

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:29

Clayton Jacobs, ReadWrite, Jul 24, 2017

Worth keeping an eye on, because we'll see this capability migrate to our part of the world eventually: "WeChat began as a messaging app back in 2010 created by China’ s Tencent, but over the years, it has quickly become a tool of everyday life in mainland China. WeChat has 889 million monthly active users; 83 percent of people surveyed use WeChat for work, and 93 percent of respondents from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities use WeChat’ s internal payment system for offline purchases."

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:16

Cindi May, Scientific American, Jul 24, 2017

So this is another one of those research surveys of "students who were enrolled in an introductory psychology course" which tell us utterly nothing but make it into the news anyway. In this case, the 'news' in question is Scientific American, which should be ashamed of itself. The study measured computer use in class and found "students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and the longer they are online the more their grades tend to suffer." There's no reason to believe this is true generally, especially for courses that are  not  data-dumps like Psych 101. Via Joanne Jacobs.

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Beginning the  Conversation…A Made-in-Canada Approach  to Digital Government

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:06

Government of Canada, Jul 23, 2017

Some of the key conversations taking place in our field are echoed in this report on digital government in Canada. Most of the interestinbg stuff is near the end of the document: connecting with external tralent ("mechanisms like  Interchange  and newer flexible staffing regimes make it relatively easy and fast for hiring managers to bring outside professionals into government for short-term assignments"), user-centric design skills ("  a skills gap that needs to be addressed in the public sector at the intersection of user-centric design and agile prototyping and development"), cloud and open source technologies ("open source platforms have become an increasingly important foundational element for digital transformation in public sector organizations across the world"), digital identity ("many participants expressed a desire for the federal government to play a stronger leadership role, and to pilot digital identity solutions"), and digital literacy ("digital literacy was identified as being needed across government, at all levels and functions, to support smart decision-making"). The resulting website - Digital Canada - keeps people up to date on the program (and incidentally leaves the antiquated 'Common Look and Feel (CLF)' standards in the dust behind it as through they weren't even there) and their Twitter feed.

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Evaluating personalization

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:34

Philip Kerr, Adaptive Learning in ELT, Jul 23, 2017

This post looks at "the constellation of meanings that are associated with the term ('personalization'), suggest a way of evaluating just how ‘ personalized’ an instructional method might be, and look at recent research into ‘ personalized learning’ ." It follows a previous post illustrating how the term has been rendered meaningless by marketers. Unfortunately, writes the author, "but perhaps not surprisingly, none of the elements that we associate with ‘ personalization’ will lead to clear, demonstrable learning gains." But  what counts as a gain? This is what is missing in the research. "The Gates Foundation were probably asking the wrong question. The conceptual elasticity of the term ‘ personalization’ makes its operationalization in any empirical study highly problematic."

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Information Underload

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:17

Mike Caulfield, Hapgood, Jul 23, 2017

Mike Caulfiend comes out with a gem of a post questioning the concept of 'information overload'. The problem isn't too much information, he writes. The "big problem is not that it’ s a firehose, but that it’ s a firehose of sewage. It’ s all haystack and no needle." He has numerous examples: numerous cancer studies, no cancer cure. Numerous research studies, no repoducability. Big data in education, but no idea where this data should lead us. An "algorithm could only match you with the equivalent of the films in the Walmart bargain bin, because Netflix had a matching algorithm but  nothing worth watching." I keep telling people, 'education isn't a search problem'. Maybe I should be saying 'education isn't an algorithm problem'.

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Personalized Learning: Budget cuts spur new teaching model

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:06

Sarah Julian, NonDoc, Jul 23, 2017

This is a post touting  Momentum Schools, Oklahoma's version of personal learning. "Momentum gives students the choice of how, when and where they attend school [and]    instead of traditional group class time, students schedule meetings with individual teachers to assess schoolwork. Students work at their own pace to ensure they master the content." Doing what? I wonder. The story doesn't tell us. Digging into the Momentum site reveals it's competency-based learning.  We see pictures of students at computers, so I can guess. And the  reason  this model was adopted was to save money, so they're cutting teacher interacton. And I don't see any real  freedom  in this model: students are bound to the content, bound to the machine.

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous

Here (with 2 Years of Exhausting Photographic Detail) Is How To Write A Book

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 13:45

Ryan Holiday, The Mission, Medium, Jul 23, 2017

This is a terrific post delivering exactly what the title promises, running from ideation, proposal, research, writing and editing, and even cover design and legal review. The value of the post isn't in giving aspiring writers a recipe they should follow - indeed, the method is completely paper-based and therefore more cumbersome than necessary. But it offers valuable suggestions about process, for example, the notecard system, which is very similar to what I do here with OLDaily (each one of these posts is like a separate notecard). It's something to show students to have them think about the process of knowing, the process of learning, the process of creating.

[Link] [Comment]

Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content