news (external)

10 OER resources every educator should know about

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

As textbook prices soar, tuition skyrockets, and educators are more pressured than ever to provide innovative courses and lectures packed with multimedia and current materials, the open education movement and its open education resources (OERs) have never been more critical for success than now. What began in the ‘90s has now evolved into massive national, state, and university repositories that can be accessed by anyone, anytime…and the best part is, almost all OERs are free. What makes these current repositories worth investing time, however, is that thanks to decades of feedback, many are vetted by educators and are organized into highly-accessible repositories. Many of these OER resources also provide step-by-step guides and OER tools to make multimedia, such as videos and tutorials.

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Why e-learning has a promising future in India

by Shivaji Chatterjee, Financial Express

Universities will see more students accessing their coursework from outside the traditional classroom. As per the Docebo report issued in July 2014, the worldwide market for self-paced e-learning reached $35.6 billion in 2011. The five-year CAGR is estimated to be 7.6%, so revenues should reach $51.5 billion by 2016. While the aggregate growth rate is 7.6%, several world regions have higher growth rates. The highest rate is in Asia at 17.3%, followed by Eastern Europe (16.9%), Africa (15.2%) and Latin America (14.6%). According to another report, India’s online education market size is set to grow to $40 billion by 2017 from the current $20 billion. India has one of the largest education systems in the world with a network of more than 1 million schools and 18,000 higher education institutions. More than half of the country’s 1.2 billion population falls in the target market for education and related services.

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How To Prepare For An Online learning Program

by elearning Infographics

This infographic describes the concepts of online learning programs. Elearning is the online learning methodology utilizing the digital technologies. The Infographic also deals with the perspectives to be considered for the online learning programs, top highlights of the online programs and a lot more. The world of technology continues to grow and the reality of online learning has become more relevant today than ever before. The trend of Online Learning is expanding rapidly, both in scope and level of general acceptance. Online learning can expand student options, provide new staffing for hard-fill subjects and enhance power-blended learning.

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Article at the Open Badges in Education workshop

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-12-20 21:00

Hans Põldoja,, Dec 20, 2014

Post linking to an article on the use of open badges in education. Covers badges briefly and most notably, identifies the following use patterns (quoted from the post):

  • composite badges can be achieved by completing multiple assignments;
  • activity-based badges can be awarded automatically based on measurable learning activities;
  • grade-based badges are based on the grades that the learners have received;
  • hierarchical badges are divided to several levels, some of which may be composite badges based on lower level badges.

Interestingly, as the author notes, none of these are based on learning outcomes, showing that there is still a gap between the implementation of badges and the ideal envisioned.

[Link] [Comment]

The conundrum of creating an open course in a closed site – Storyboard OOC update

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-12-20 21:00

Gabi Witthaus, Art of e-learning, Dec 20, 2014

So this, I think, is the opposite of a MOOC: "We chose to use a platform that requires people to have accounts and sign in, in order to be able to set up and manage the groups effectively." Ironically the letter they choose to drop MOOC is not 'O' for 'Open' but 'M' for 'Massive'. It's true that if the course is not open, it won't be massive, but the really important bit is whether or not it's open. Additionally, setting up a course in such a way as to require management of groups is also contrary to the intent of MOOCs. So why not just call it an 'OC' (Online Course)?  Well, it wouldn't be very interesting if it were just one of those, would it? And that's why we're getting so much false-MOOC pollution.

[Link] [Comment]

The secret to the Uber economy is wealth inequality

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-12-20 21:00

Leo Mirani, Quartz, Dec 20, 2014

We need to be careful about which part of the new technology-enabled on-demand economy we are cheering for. Uber, for example, or AirBNB appear to be tech-enabled, but they're not, really. " In my hometown of Mumbai," writes  Leo Mirani, "we have had many of these conveniences for at least as long as we have had landlines -- and some even earlier than that. It did not take technology to spur the on-demand economy. It took masses of poor people." This isn't exactly what we're trying to achieve in education. Via Kottke.

[Link] [Comment]

Developing Personal Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-12-20 17:25

In this online presentation I discuss the evolution of personal learning technology and then itemize in more detail the elements of the NRC Learning and Performance Support Systems program, including the personal learning record, personal cloud, resource repository network, competency detection and recognition, and personal learning assistant.

6th IEEE International Conference on Technology for Education, Amrita University, Kerala, India, online via A-View (Keynote) Dec 20, 2014 [Comment]

What Are MOOCs Good For?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2014-12-20 01:05

by Justin Pope, Technology Review

Indeed, for all the focus on the role of MOOCs in higher education, they might have a significant role to play in high schools and below. Teachers are already a big audience (a study of 11 MOOCs offered by MIT last spring found that nearly 28 percent of enrollees were former or active teachers). This is particularly promising because teachers pass what they learn on to their own students: when they make use of edX and other resources in their classrooms, they multiply the effect. As Coursera moves explicitly into teacher training, its classes could have as much impact by reaching a few hundred teachers as they would with thousands of other students.

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WCC takes students’ lead, focuses on online classes

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2014-12-20 01:04


Elearning students take courses at a community college for myriad reasons, and as diverse as students are in their intentions, they are equally diverse in their station in life. Part-time and full-time jobs, sometimes multiple jobs, courses at other colleges, families, children and disabilities can all hinder students’ abilities to pursue an education. But with today’s technology, an education is more accessible than ever.  “It has become the preferred method of delivery for many students,” said Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Recruitment Evan Montague. “I think it responds to a wider set of individuals and helps people see education can be possible.”

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Distance learning is revolutionizing education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2014-12-20 01:02

By John G. Flores, the Hill

Today’s advanced learning platforms, content and networks have become so integral that learners quite reasonably expect to use technology that is fast and reliable to help them achieve their goals. And yet, students and teachers continue to discover all the ways technology can help them learn, offering stimulating lessons and interactive methods that create invaluable learning experiences. By encouraging continued investment into these 21st century solutions, we can help ensure that distance learning continues to benefit more students every day.

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Strict Finitism and Transhumanism

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-12-19 20:24

Peter Rothman, Humanity+, Dec 19, 2014

I have a very unhappy  relationship with the concept of infinity. I maintain that I can't comprehend infinity, and infinity insists on inserting itself into my cognition. This impacts what I think about pretty much everything (including, even, what I mean when I say 'everything'). For me, the pragmatic question is that, if infinity is in any sense 'real', then it may be impossible to 'grow' or 'develop' cognitive processes that rely on it. This has a direct impact on what I can (or want to) say about learning and cognition - for example, a network process that does not have 'infinity' somehow built in will be incapable of performing 'real' mathematics or other cognitive functions. My own thought is that the concept of infinity is a convenient fiction - there are no 'real' infinities, and a system of reasoning (such as mathematics) that produces one is to that extent also a convenient fiction. To get a sense of the sort of debate I have in mind here, read this article.

[Link] [Comment]

The Internet Is a Zoo: The Ideal Length of Everything Online

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-12-19 20:24

Mark Uzunian, SumAll, Dec 19, 2014

I don't link to infographics. That's one key message I want people to take from this post. So please don't send me infographics to link to. Having said that, this post is a link to an infographic, because this one actually occupied my attention for a couple of minutes, and presented some useful information that appears to be  data-backed (you'll have to scroll down past the advertorial content (which is why I don't link to infographics)). So what is it? Basically, it lists the 'ideal' length for everything from tweets to Facebook messages to blog posts. The numbers feel right to me (which is how I evaluate even the most carefully researched data). P.S. if you're going to do infographics, the least you could do is animate them, as Eleanor Lutz does with her beautiful images.

[Link] [Comment]

A depiction of space-time-action analysis (STA) in six slides — plus an addendum of revelatory quotes

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-12-19 05:23

David Ronfeldt, Visions from Two Theories, Dec 18, 2014

in computer science we have 'frameworks', which are sets of applications and methods that allow us to do things. In theory, as well, we have frameworks, and these perform similar functions conceptually. I'm not a big fan of them in either realm, but I get their value. The current post discusses aspects of the Space-Time-Action framework. David Ronfeldt writes, "all three circles — space, time, and action — are treated as independent but interactive variables, roughly equal in size and location, with complex overlaps.... It makes 'thinking and doing' — not vague 'action' — the dependent variable. And as I’ ve argued in various writings, it’ s a more accurate way to depict and assess cognition."

Personally, I don't think we have a clear idea of what either space nor time are. The precision of the measurements and the abstraction of language lull us into thinking we comprehend them. But even the simplest of questions about them befuddle us. Questions like: do space and time end? Are they quantuum in nature? Do they change as our perception of them changes? For foundational principles of cognition, they really are quite fuzzy.

[Link] [Comment]

Great Firewall of China

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-12-19 02:23

Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, Dec 18, 2014

Terry Anderson writes about some unexpected issues with IRRODL, the online journal he founded. While browsing in China he discovered that it did not run smoothly at all. "Google Translate (banned). Further investigation found that we used Google analytics, google API’ s that are built into the Open Journal System we use and one other Google service – on each page view!" The Chinese government is concerned about the expansion of American media, just as we are in Canada, writes Anderson. It would be better if they adopted more open practices to help their own scholars and researchers.

[Link] [Comment]

Flickr removes CC-licensed photos from Wall Art program

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-12-19 02:23

Ryan Merkley, Creative Commons, Dec 18, 2014

I can't say that I'm surprised there was an outcry, and I hope people now understand what the CC-by license allows. The Creative Commons blog states, "Our vision is one where content of all kinds is freely available for use under simple terms, where the permissions are clear to everyone. If that doesn’ t happen, creators can feel misled or cheated, and users are left uncertain if they can use the commons as a source of raw material." I would content that this is exactly what happened, and that the promotion of the CC-b y license as somehow "more free" fostered exactly this sort of misunderstanding.

[Link] [Comment]

Teacher texts can profoundly impact student success

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-12-19 01:09

By Timothy Chipp, Abilene Reporter-News

A text message can have a profound effect on the ability of students to learn, according to some researchers at Hardin-Simmons University. Scott Hamm, director of online education at the school, along with Chuck Ruot, a professor of fitness and sport sciences, and Wade Ashby, director of academic technologies and system integrations, explored how communication on a student’s level can help teachers impart their knowledge and entice learning outside the typical classroom setting. And being on a student level means using text messaging instead of email, Hamm said.

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8 tips for creating video in online learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-12-19 01:05

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Instructor-generated video can increase student satisfaction with, and engagement in, online courses. But there are many variables to a video’s success. Here are eight tips to help educators create effective videos for their online courses. According to a new report published in the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, instructor-generated video can have a positive influence on student satisfaction with, and engagement in, online courses. Research conducted by the American Academy of Neurology also reveals that “watching videos helps boost brain plasticity,” or the ability of the brain to undergo physical changes at any age. Learners who were trained to perform a particular task through videos performed better than those who learned through images and text, the researchers found—and they concluded that video has a “higher impact on the brain.”

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The Governor versus The Board

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-12-19 01:02

by Dean Florez, the Bakersfield Californian

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Governor Jerry Brown — a longtime proponent of low-priced college — and UC President Janet Napolitano — politically adept agency manager and public college advocate — are at loggerheads over whether UC can raise its tuition 5 percent per year for the next five years. Though seemingly a routine budget battle, at issue are fundamental questions about the “public” part of public higher education. Should UC focus on maintaining prestige or keeping tuition down? In an educational landscape with vastly more educational options for students, what obligation does the UC have to enable choice?

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Blind Trials - Fri, 2014-12-19 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Khan Academy founder has two big ideas for overhauling higher education in the sciences

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-12-18 23:23

Gregory Ferenstein, Venture Beat, Dec 18, 2014

So let's have fun talking about why these would never work: "Sal Khan has a few ideas for how to radically overhaul higher education. First, create a universal degree that’ s comparable to a Stanford degree, and second, transform the college transcript into a portfolio of things that students have actually created." OK, to be fair, I think that he does point to some things that are broken in today's system of education related to articulation and credentials. But I don't think anyone (except Khan) believes there should be a single standard degree, much less a Stanford degree. And a moment's reflection will reveal the search and intelligence problem that results when grades are replaced with portfolios; how will an employer find what was formerly a BA from a slew of portfolios? The discouraging thing is that the business press and VCs take this level of thinking seriously.

[Link] [Comment]


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