news (external)

Why Github is Important for Book Publishing

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 6 hours 40 min ago
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Eric Hellman, Go To Hellman, Jan 26, 2015

Something like Github could be important for book publishing. But the documentation is needlessly opaque and the applications take you back to the days of typing commands in terminal windows. In addition to a diagram without lables we get explanations like the following: "Someone working on a project will first create a 'feature branch', a copy of the repository that adds a feature or fixes a bug. When the new feature has been tested and is working, the changes will be 'committed'. Each set of changes with be given an identifier and a message explaining what has been changed." Now if you don't already understand these concepts, these sentences will not help you. And this is the simple explanation (I read the official documentation and it's a long explanation of how it's different from Subversion). I've never found a clear and non-technical description of Git or GitHub (I believe they're separate things, but who knows?) nor an easy-to-use application. Just me? Maybe. But the difficulty of understanding Git makes me really sympathetic with people who have difficulty adapting to tech.

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The Power of Detentions

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 6 hours 40 min ago
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Sam LeDeaux, Connected Principals, Jan 26, 2015

It is worth noting that detention is essentially prison for students. However, note:
- there is no trial
- there is no defence or representation
- there is no appeal
- (probably) rich kids still get off (The Breakfast Club notwithstanding)
It is worth pondering what the real lessons are being learned when detentions are given out.

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Cybrary’s Free Online Training Reshaping Cybersecurity Education

By: Amanda Vicinanzo, Homeland Security Today

A shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the public and private sectors has left the US vulnerable to major cyberattacks. In response, Cybrary, the world’s first and only free massive open online course for IT and cybersecurity professionals, announced the availability of free classes to the general public. “We have the firm belief that IT and cybersecurity training should be free,” Ryan Corey, co-founder of Cybrary, told Homeland Security Today. Th Cybrary is designed to provide comprehensive IT and cybersecurity training options for a range of users. With classes ranging from entry level to very advanced, Cybrary has attracted interest from people just breaking into the field as well as seasoned cyber professionals.

http://www.hstoday.us/briefings/industry-news/single-article/cybrarys-free-online-training-reshaping-cybersecurity-education/60d771bafa7b18158b7f059e6ebf0480.html

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Become an alien hunter with free online course from Harvard

by Michael Franco, CNet news.com

“20 years ago, the only planets we knew of were in our own solar system,” says course instructor Dimitar Sasselov. Times have changed, and this course will tell you how. Questions about whether there’s life beyond our own universe has filled millions of pages of speculative fiction, taken up years of time on movie and TV screens, and consumed billions of hours of kids’ and astrophysicists’ daydreams. Now, a new free online course offered by Harvard can arm you with facts you need to learn more about “alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe.”

http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/become-an-alien-hunter-with-free-online-course-from-harvard/

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Online short courses proving popular among professionals in SA

BY BEKEZELA PHAKATHI, Business Day Live

According to Rob Paddock, GetSmarter chief academic officer, short courses are proving popular among working professionals as the educational needs of modern working professionals have changed. “The existing higher education system worked exceptionally well for the industrial-era economy, at a time when information was scarce, and change happened slowly. After school you went to university to gain access to scarce information, and then you generally worked in one or two jobs for the rest of your life implementing the knowledge you gained at university,” Mr Paddock said. “Now that we have entered the information era that has all changed. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months, according to the American Society of Training and Documentation. The result is that modern working professionals now have to become lifelong learners if they wish to stay relevant and advance their careers.”

http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/education/2015/01/20/online-short-courses-proving-popular-among-professionals-in-sa

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Autonomy and Value in Social and Workplace Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-01-26 15:59
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Charles Jennings, Learning Performance, Jan 26, 2015

"The ‘ Jennings & Reid-Dodick C-Curve’ ," writes Charles Jennings, "was developed in the early stages of an L& D transformation for a Global FTSE100 company more than a decade ago." It describes a curve that travels backwards from more autonomy to less autonomy, creation of standards and controls, and gradual re-autonomy. I think it's pleasing to many managers and trainers, who appreciate the move toward steps 2 and 3 (and imagine the progression to autonomy in step 4 can happen after they retire). But despite this weakness, it reinforces the idea that value is tied to autonomy. You can only go so far with control (and not as far as depicted in the model). For real value, people need to interact and make decisions on their own at the point where problems, issues or opportunities are directly confronted.

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At Davos, Technology CEOs Discuss The Digital Economy

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-01-26 15:59
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Amie Colquhoun, Don Tapscott, Jan 26, 2015

Don Tapscott reports from Davos, where they're learned that we need alternative energy sources, that we have to deal with global warming, and that education matters. Of course, they say lots of things (publicly) at Davos. "For the first time in history, economic growth is not generating a meaningful number of new jobs. Factor in the hangover from the financial collapse of 2008 and we’ re witnessing youth unemployment levels across the western world from 15 to 60 percent. But panelists said that this was a temporary problem and not a structural problem." I disagree.  Half the world's wealth is in the hands of a tiny minority. That's a structural problem, and  it explains today's youth are unemployed instead of solving energy problems, addressing global warming, and benefiting from a free and global education system. See also this  earlier Tapscott article on Davos 2015.

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Asian education points to the power of partnership

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-01-26 15:59
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Dominic Collard, Pearson, Jan 26, 2015

Half the world lives in Asia and yet some writers can't resit talking about it as though it were a single entity. Of course, the real purpose of this post is to promote something else: "It will be by seizing the opportunities that technology is offering; by partnering with organisations outside the school gates, that education will be transformed." When I look at the partnerships schools have undertaken in the past - with publishers, for example, the phrase "mutual benefit" doesn't spring to mind." The words "exploitation" and "predatory" do. And the writing in this post makes Asia seem more like a place to be colonized than partnered. But hey, maybe I'm wrong this time. Maybe they will leave as much value as they take from these new Asian markets. We'll see.

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'We All Felt Trapped'

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-01-26 12:59
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Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Jan 26, 2015

"In all of drama and comedy there is no figure more laughable as a rich man who does not know what he is doing," writes Paul Mason. He's writing about the elites in Europe who have no understanding of why austerity failed in Greece (hint: rich people there still pay no tax). But he may as well been talking about the moguls at MIT, who can't comprehend what went wrong in the case of Walter Lewin. A couple quotes, at least, had me thinking this way. "I would call it an unprecedented area," said Erin Buzuvis, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies at Western New England University. "There isn’ t even a lot of precedent for online harassment in general." Um, what? “ We have never in the academic profession -- never, never -- in a collective way looked at the threat posed by professors,” (Billie Wright) Dziech (a professor of English at the University of Cincinnati) said. Because, you know, those in power would never behave badly.

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Nano-Degrees as a New Model to Integrate into Higher Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:05

by Matthew LeBarr, Forbes

Last year, AT&T and the online educational organization Udacity teamed up to offer a “nano-degree” that directly trains students for a job with AT&T. This move is in line with a new government report that suggests that more cooperation between universities and businesses is the key to economic success in the future. However, Michael Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, is skeptical of nano-degrees. The degrees, he claims, are no substitute for a liberal arts degree. The nano-degree is simply a different kind of beast than a liberal arts degree. Nano-degrees are targeted training for a single job, while liberal arts degrees provide skills for a variety of jobs. Dr. Roth shouldn’t fear for his institution, but neither should he dismiss the nano-degrees as useless. The two can coexist and serve different purposes. Comparing the two is inappropriate and only serves to make both look worse.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2015/01/19/nano-degrees-as-a-new-model-to-model-to-integrate-into-higher-education/

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Online Learning Revolution Brings Business To Emerging Markets

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:04

by Seb Murray, Business Because

“One of the biggest transformations in education came about as a result of the ubiquity of [the] internet in our lives,” says Sanjay Sarma, director of online learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Business schools have adopted the online delivery method, with a host of their programs being flipped online and Moocs being launched. Many of these courses are populated in part by educated and employed users seeking part-time study, but providers have sought to expand learning and bring educational to all. The web has enabled underrepresented groups around the world such as women, youth, the disabled and citizens in rural communities to gain quality education.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3044/online-learning-revolution-brings-business-to-emerging-economies

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From Gamification To MOOCs To Cloud, Learning Is Increasingly Tech-Based

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:02

By Christine Kern, Business Solutions

Talent LMS, a cloud-based learning management system, has laid out its top 10 online learning trends for 2015 in an infographic. Among these trends are gamification, Big Data, personalization, m-learning, a focus on ROI, APIs (application programming interfaces), automation, augmented learning, corporate MOOCs (massive open online courses), and cloud learning management solutions. All of these technological trends are significant, because they address the changing demands from learners, who increasingly see online, social, and mobile technology as essential features of the learning experience.

http://www.bsminfo.com/doc/from-gamification-to-moocs-cloud-learning-increasingly-tech-based-0001

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P-Values

xkcd.com - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:00
0.05 level" and hope no one notices." alt="If all else fails, use "signifcant at a p>0.05 level" and hope no one notices." />
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Internet college: Some students never set foot on campus

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-01-25 01:04

BY SCOTT WUERZ, Belleville News Democrat

Local universities and colleges are increasingly embracing the trend of schools offering more Internet-based courses. Students, in many cases, can now go to school from start to finish and never set foot on campus – unless they choose to walk in graduation ceremonies. McKendree University senior Kyle Green, 30, lives in Joliet. He’s never laid eyes upon McKendree’s campus in Lebanon. But he expects to graduate from the school at the end of the spring semester. “It doubled my speed in finishing school,” Green said. “I’m planning to make my first trip to McKendree in May when I graduate.”

http://www.bnd.com/2015/01/17/3614503/it-doubled-my-speed-in-finishing.html

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Why online learning needs to get serious about apps

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-01-25 01:03

by Ryan Craig, Venture Beat

Smartphone users’ sessions are currently 3x longer when they’re using apps vs. browsing websites. Apps are also visited much more frequently than websites. Total time spent on apps is currently growing at an annual rate of over 20 percent, and according to comScore, for smartphone users, apps now account for over 50 percent of total time spent with digital media. 18-24-year-olds are the heaviest app users. Apps are purpose-built. So it’s not a stretch to imagine one app for Economics 101 and another for Psychology 110. Apps are ideal for simulations and gamified learning experiences. They’re also perfect for incorporating real-world inputs (such as location of the student) into learning.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/17/why-online-learning-needs-to-get-serious-about-apps/

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6 Alternative Social Media Tools for Teaching and Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-01-25 01:02

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Facebook and Twitter may be ubiquitous, but there are many other social media tools out there that can enhance teaching and learning. Here, three educators share their favorites. VoiceThread lets people upload and share images, videos and documents and then have an online conversation about each other’s posts through audio, video or text comments. Alexandra Pickett, director of the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence and an adjunct instructor at SUNY Albany, started using VoiceThread in 2006, primarily as an icebreaking activity in her online course. She introduces herself to her students through an informal video of herself at home with her daughter, so her students can get a full picture of who she is, professionally and personally. “One of the things that you want to do initially in an online course is to establish a sense of social presence among the participants in the course and with the students,” said Pickett.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/01/07/6-alternative-social-media-tools-for-teaching-and-learning.aspx

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Badges: A New Measure of Professional Development

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-01-24 01:09

By Michael Hart, Campus Technology

Some higher ed institutions are experimenting with digital badges as a way to encourage and document learning among faculty and staff. Badges are quickly becoming acceptable currency in the world of higher education. Purdue University, for example, known for developing and commercializing innovative applications such as Course Signals, has embraced badges with another Purdue Studio project: Passport, a system for creating, issuing and sharing digital badges for learning and assessment. Badges have also found a home with massive open online courses, enabling students to earn credentials for specific work even when they do not complete the entire course.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/01/14/badges-a-new-measure-of-professional-development.aspx

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21st-Century Libraries: The Learning Commons

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-01-24 01:04

by Beth Holland, Edutopia

Printed books still play a critical role in supporting learners, but digital technologies offer additional pathways to learning and content acquisition. Students and teachers no longer need a library simply for access. Instead, they require a place that encourages participatory learning and allows for co-construction of understanding from a variety of sources. In other words, instead of being an archive, libraries are becoming a learning commons.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/21st-century-libraries-learning-commons-beth-holland

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MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU: Blazing Trails for Interdisciplinary Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-01-24 01:02

By Ann Elliott, Edudemic

School-specific versions of two popular video games recently debuted: MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU. These games require students to apply knowledge in the context of a virtual world, fostering an interdisciplinary learning experience that integrates siloed concepts. MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU call for skills that transcend curricular boundaries and thus better replicate the real-world intellectual challenges that students will face. Read on to learn how other educators are currently using these games in their classrooms and how you can, too.

http://www.edudemic.com/minecraftedu-and-simcityedu-blazing-trails-for-interdisciplinary-learning/

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Using Gamification to create a Blogging Culture

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-01-24 00:56
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Sumeet Moghe, The Learning Generalist, Jan 23, 2015

I like the way this experiment begins: "How about we used the same money that we’ d use to hire a journalist, to instead engage ThoughtWorkers in writing about their work lives? Not only would the communication be far more authentic, we also stood a good chance of shaping a culture where people could write freely without the fear of being judged or considering their experiences to be 'not much to write home about'."

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