news (external)

The Battle Of Multiple Learning Management Systems: A Learning Application Developer’s View On LTI

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 3 hours 13 min ago

Dov Friedman, eLearning Industry, May 31, 2016

This is some of what we were working with when we developed the Personal Learning course (sadly no more MOOCs until I figure out a way to pay for them). The idea was that we could connect to any LMS using our Arke prototype - this is how we were connecting to the OpenEdX installation using the personal learning environment. Ultimately, of course, we would have connected with the list of LMSs just as this application is - "Rather than building a unique solution for each Learning Management System, learning applications can now be connected with almost all EDU Learning Management Systems using one standard." 

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The OA Interviews: Michaël Bon, Founder of the Self-Journal of Science

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 6 hours 13 min ago

Richard Poynder, Open and Shut?, May 31, 2016

"Right now," says Richard Poynder, "the open access revolution is stalling, and before it will be able to move forward again it will be necessary to recover territory that OA advocates are currently giving away to publishers." Hence this interview (28 page PDF) with  Michaë l Bon, who launched a new open-access publishing service called the  Self-Journal of Science  (SJS). Bon argues "OA advocates have been trying to do things back to front, and as a result have played into the hands of publishers....  By contrast, says Bon, SJS is focused on exploiting the new environment to reinvent scholarly communication." 

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British-Palestinian schoolgirl expelled from public speaking competition

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 6 hours 13 min ago

Middle East Monitor, May 31, 2016

When I was in grade five I won the public speaking competition with a speech about Sir Frederick Banting and the discovery of insulin. It was uplifting and mildly patriotic. But when I was in grade eight I won the same competition with a scathing and powerful speech against the Vietnam War. I won the following three years as well, finishing with "How to be a dictator in give easy steps". The ability to write and deliver a speech is a powerful force, and I'm glad it was developed in me. So I feel for  Leanne Mohamad, a 15-year-old student at Wanstead High School in London, who won a regional final  of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge for a  moving speech about the Palestinians called  ‘ Birds not Bombs’ , but was barred from participating in the  final. She should be allowed to speak.

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CMU offers tuition discount to federal employees for online classes

by Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University has entered into a federal partnership to offer tuition discounts to federal employees. The partnership with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, announced May 24, is an effort to close skills gaps in federal government workers, according to a CMU press release. The 15 percent discount is available only to federal employees and their spouses and dependents for online classes and those taken at one of CMU’s 45 satellite locations. The discount does not apply to the main campus in Mount Pleasant.

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Who has ownership of campus analytics?

By Roger Riddell, Education Dive

Predictive analytics are now widely used in higher ed, but which administrators and departments oversee their use can vary quite a bit from one institution to the next. University Innovation Alliance Executive Director Bridget Burns tells University Business that the number of traditional administrators, like vice president of undergraduate affairs, taking ownership of these efforts is particularly interesting. Providing further context to University Business’ question of who is overseeing analytics and what that job entails are Excelsior College Assistant Vice President for Analytics Lisa Daniels; University of Kentucky Senior Vice President of Analytics and Technologies Vince Kellen; Sarah Lawrene College Vice President for Administration Thomas Blum and Washburn University Director of Success, Evaluation and Retention Elaine Lewis.

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4 Ways to Use Social Media for Learning

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

These four uses for social media in STEM courses focus on deepening student learning through better communication. Social media continues to offer great promise for enhancing learning in the classroom. Much of the usage in college and university courses emphasizes collaborative activities, such as sharing ideas and building community — the social half of the term. But sites like Wikipedia, Twitter and YouTube are useful platforms for the media side too, enhancing communication and content delivery. Here, we look at how educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are tapping into both aspects of social media for learning. Of course, many of their methods can benefit students in any subject.

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Sehbehindertentag am 06. Juni 2016. Das diesjährige Motto lautet: "Kontraste"

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - 23 hours 41 min ago
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Sehbehindertentag am 06. Juni 2016.
Das diesjährige Motto lautet: "Kontraste"
Categories: Science News

39 studies about human perception in 30 minutes

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2016-05-30 17:24

Kennedy Elliott, Medium, May 30, 2016

There' some good information about design in this article as well as some insight into how humans perceive (and even some information about how humans perceive as compared to algorithms). The studies look at how humans perceive lines, shapes, objects and colour: what we think they mean, and what insights and interpretations we draw from different types of representations. Worth a look. 

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OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2016-05-30 17:24

Simon Terry, May 30, 2016

"The thousands of small adjustments we make each day are barely noticed," writes Simon Terry. But change is a constant in human life, and it should be a constant in organizations as well. "Their existence is almost entirely driven by competition for resources, stakeholders and attention. They must deal with the scaled change and complexity of people internally and externally every day."  So far so good. But why then this fixation on purpose, as though it were some centerpiece through which all change must flow. Purpose - the  reason for being - must change also. It must be responsive to the changes within a person or within an organization as well as changes in the environment.

If we think of external factors as  drivers of change, then the purpose of an organization is an  attractor of change - and in a chaotic environment, it becomes a movable target, a  strange attractor.

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No, it’s not you: Google maps really did get crappy

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2016-05-30 17:24

Justin O'Beirne, Quartz, May 30, 2016

As a cartography  aficionado I also have notice the declining quality o Google maps, and in particular the disappearing city names. The author talks about the imbalance (too few cities, too many unnamed roads) at a certain scale, but if you zoom in you'll also notice it difficult to find street names and the names of rivers (you also get a totally different selection of city names). As suggested, these chages to Google maps are probably because it is optimized for mobile (lines good, text bad). "Unfortunately, these 'optimizations' only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances already in the maps. As is often the case with cartography: less isn’ t more. Less is just less. And that’ s certainly the case here."

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Building a Student-Level Data System

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2016-05-30 02:09

by Ben Miller, Center for American Progress

Comprehensive data collection on students in higher education would substantially benefit everyone involved in higher education. For institutions, a student-level data system would be a powerful tool allowing colleges to better document success by counting all students. Linking such a system to other existing federal data, such as those on workforce results, could provide institutions with new data on outcomes. In combination, these new data could help make the case for additional state funding, as well as potentially help recruit students by showing the value of an education. A student-level system would also offer students and families access to powerful new sources of data that could help them make better choices about college. Current federal data can only tell students how specific cohorts performed—most often, those who enrolled in college for the first time as a full-time student. Individuals who attend part time or transfer colleges thus learn little about what their outcomes might be. A student-level system fixes this issue.

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Higher Creducation: Do Students Go to College to Get Educated or to Get a Degree?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2016-05-30 02:04

by Kevin M. Guthrie, Ithaka S+R Blog

What remains to be seen in today’s rapidly changing economy and society is whether your success in the future will be determined more by whether you have been well-educated or if you have a credential from a place that indicates you are well educated. History seems to have favored the latter. The increase in digital surrogates of our work, connected by the network, combined with more of a gig-based and do-it-yourself economy, may increasingly favor what you know and the actual work you have done, rather than where you may have done it. If that is true, institutions of “higher creducation” will need to become better at education.

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National Student Clearinghouse Reporting Center Reports Yet Another Drop in College Enrollment

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2016-05-30 02:02

by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

In spring 2016, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased 1.3 percent from the previous spring. Figure 1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-9.3 percent) and two-year public institutions (-2.8 percent). Enrollments increased slightly among four-year public institutions (+0.6 percent) and four-year private nonprofit institutions (+0.7 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollments (two-year and four-year combined) declined by 0.9 percent this spring.

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World War III+ - Mon, 2016-05-30 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2016-05-29 20:21

Robert Farrow, Open Praxis, May 29, 2016

"This paper proposes a framework that focuses on the ethical significance of a particular group of educational technologies usually referred to as open education," writes Robert Farrow, noting " is “ a paucity of literature” addressing the socioethical dimensions" and the suggestion that while open learning such as MOOCs is intended to extend access to learning, it tends to support the already privileged. There is also the sense in open education can be seen in the sense of non-sanctioned experimentation on human subjects, especially as " research activities are increasingly taking place outside institutions using open, publicly available data and technologies to collect and analyze data as well as disseminate findings," a practice known as "guerrilla research". The framework itself considers these questions from the perspective of three ethical views: the deontic (duty-based), consequentialist (or pragmatic), or virtue and character based theories. I think it's a bit light, but overall the subject is given a decent treatment. 17 page PDF

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Ten years of open practice: a reflection on the impact of OpenLearn

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2016-05-29 20:21

Patrina Law, Anne Jelfs, Open Praxis, May 29, 2016

The best part of this article (7 page PDF) is the last page, where the author draws a number of interesting conclusions from a ten-year review of OpenLearn, an Open University open educational resources (OER) initiative. The paper itself is a bit loose (possibly because of brevity) so we don't see  how these conclusions are established (presumably as results from the survey?) but it is the conclusions themselves that are work looking at:

  • closed environments with a start and finish date i.e. MOOCs, have lower completion rates than open courses with no start and finish date;
  • forced social activity encourages high drop-out;
  • select the most engaging and enticing content within a module, making a key topic accessible;
  • support induction; the OU loses many thousands of learners who have a long wait from registration;

All of these go against traditional practice (and traditional wisdom) in one way or another. But they do so in a way that makes sense to me.

More papers from the current issue of Open Praxis,  selected papers presented at the Open Education Consortium Global Conference, held in Krá kow (Poland) on April 12-14, 2016.

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How Technology and the Changing Needs of the Workforce Will Create the Higher Education System of the Future

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2016-05-29 20:21

Jamie Merisotis, EDUCAUSE Review, May 29, 2016

Good overview article looking at the evolving system of credentials management in U.S. education. But will the One True System do the job? "This new effort, which is linking previously disconnected actors, can be best understood via a new  Connecting Credentials  platform for these actors to learn and share from each other. Rather than a separate set of definitions for each credentialing pathway, there will be a universal taxonomy to connect all credentials." I've seen efforts like this before and their track record is not good. My preference would be to allow credentials to be expressed independently, and then to build systems that can comprehend and interpret these statements. 

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The enterprise technologies to watch in 2016

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2016-05-29 20:21

Dion Hinchcliffe, ZDNet, May 29, 2016

This list shouldn't surprise readers, though it's interesting to note the influence of consumer technology on the enterprise sectors. The top technologies to watch include MOOCs, microservices, public and hybrid cloud, user experiences, team collaboration, social enterprise, and more. The best bit is at the end, though: "the real trend that we see with digital leaders is  actively enabling of mass digital innovation on the edge  through techniques such as the use of empowered networks of internal/expert change agents or using hackathons and developer networks on top of open APIs." If you're still centralizing, you're behind the curve.

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TeachMeet - What's in a name?

EdCompBlog by David Muir - Sun, 2016-05-29 10:40
Ewan recently marked the tenth birthday of TeachMeet (Ten years on from the very first unconference for educators: TeachMeet is 10) where he shared his memories of that first meeting in the Jolly Judge. Unfortunately, I was unable to join the birthday party... but it did start me thinking about my own memories (some of which I shared on his facebook post). It also started me thinking about the name "TeachMeet", how we came to choose it and the bullet (or bullets) we dodged not choosing a different name. I have not used this blog much in recent years abut it seemed right to post about naming TeachMeet in this blog since this is where it all started for me.

Going to the pub with Will RichardsonEwan has described the proto-TeachMeet in the Jolly Judge. He  claims he always had a "stick it to the man" agenda. That may be true for him. Me? I just thought it would be fun to go to the pub with Will Richardson. Ewan also explains that this meeting was called the "ScotEduBlogger Meetup" and states (as if it was obvious) that this name was limiting and that "TeachMeet was born..." (as if it was a painless birth). I remember the choice of the name emerging more slowly, I remember online and offline discussion, and I remember choosing just in time to get the word out for SETT (as SLF was then called).

The discussion about "What to call this thing" mostly took place on the Scotsedublog wiki. On 8 June 2006, Ewan created a page titled newtechmeet and posed the question:
We need a name. Not something too bloggy, not too techy. Suggestions? Later that same day, John Johnston added this as the first suggestion:
How to stop worrying and love the blog.On 10 June 2006, I responded with the following list:
Read/Write Roundtable
Read/Write Roundup
Read/Write Rammy
Classroom 2.0
SETT 2.0
ScotEduBlog Bash
ScotEduBlog Mashup
...I made more suggestions that day (not all of them serious) and eventually posted TeachMeet as a possible name.? Credit where credit's due. I explain on the wiki discussion page that I came up with the name after toying with variations on the newtechmeet page name. I commented, ' a wise man once said, "It's not the tech, it's the teach."' For the record, the "wise man" was Ewan McIntosh. It is something he said while at Jordanhill. I ripped it off and have been using it without accreditation ever since!

TeachMeet at SETT, 2006Almost immediately after posting the TeachMeet suggestion, I edited it to turn it into "ScotEduBlog TeachMeet". I thought any meetup would be all about blogging. And in my defence, I wasn't the only one thinking this way. For example, on a number of occasions, John Johnston defended the inclusion of "blog" or "blogging" in the title. In retrospect, it was much better to lose the "blog" since it has allowed TeachMeet to grow and expand beyond its blogging origins.

The other mistake I made was to limit it to Scotland. I thought this was something for Scottish educators, hence my addition of the "ScotEdu" bit. I thought it was for my chums and friends of my chums. I was even more wrong about that! Thankfully, smarter people than me were in charge of picking the name!

I did have some vision though. I suggested: "What ever we call it, if we think it might become a regular event, we should stick a "2006" at the end." I thought this was something that had legs and that it would be repeated. OK, I thought it would be annual event, but nobody is perfect.

By the end of June, we had the following list of possible names and had started to vote for our favourites:
Read/Write Roundtable
Collaborative Communication Colloquium
Classroom 2.0
SETT 2.0
ScotEduBlog Bash
ScotEduBlog Mashup
ScotEduBlog TeachMeet
Bloggers Anon... and on and on
Blog on
How to stop worrying and love the blog
Mashup Impossible
You've Got eLearning
Lord of the Webrings
Hello Mr Chips/Mrs Chips
Ewan called us to order, drafted four possible logos based on the two most popular choices. (Both Ewan and I liked "EduSlam", but clearly we were outvoted!) It was down to "TeachMeet 06" and "ScotEduBlog 06". We then voted again to choose our favourite logo. On 29 June, the decision was made and this logo was added to the wikipage.

Clearly, the right name was chosen. We ended up with a name that didn't limit us to our Scottish roots. A name that allowed us to talk about more than blogging. A clear example of the wisdom of crowds! (And, it has to be said, the wisdom of Ewan, whose gentle prompting pushed us in the right direction.)

We had a name, we had a venue, all that was needed was to organise and deliver the event. As we made our plans on the wiki, I don't think any of us knew just how successful TeachMeet 06 was going to be. But that is a whole other story...

How Blockchain Will Disrupt the Higher Education Transcript

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2016-05-29 02:10

By David Raths, Campus Technology

Last year, the MIT Media Lab began issuing digital certificates to the participants in its Director’s Fellows program. The authentication behind the certificates relies on blockchain technology, best known for its connection to the cryptocurrency bitcoin. In a blog post, Philipp Schmidt, director of learning innovation at the Media Lab, described how blockchain works: “In essence, it is a just a distributed ledger to record transactions. What makes it special is that it is durable, time-stamped, transparent and decentralized. Those characteristics are equally useful for managing financial transactions as for a system of reputation. In fact, you can think of reputation as a type of currency for social capital, rather than financial capital.” The technology has tremendous potential for higher education, according to Phil Long, chief innovation officer and associate vice provost for learning sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

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