eLearning and Technology

Online classes can serve students well: Guest opinion

By Kathryn Hubbell, the Oregonian

In response to Ramin Farahmandpur’s Oct. 12 “In My Opinion” column, “Online courses shortchange their students,” I would like to defend online learning. I have taught both online and on-campus classes at Marylhurst University for the past six years, and prior to that earned my master’s in communications management from Syracuse University. The Syracuse program involved spending the first week of each term on campus, then finishing up via online learning from home. I was running my public relations firm in Montana at the time; the program meant I did not have to move in order to get the degree I wanted. The experience at Syracuse was so good that when I came to Oregon and began teaching online classes at Marylhurst, I took those lessons into my virtual classrooms.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/10/online_classes_can_serve_stude.html

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Colleges say student-faculty online engagement and assessment tools contribute to success

By Rachel Weick, Grand Rapids Business Journal

West Michigan colleges and universities are finding that online advanced degree programs are especially popular among nontraditional and professional students whose schedules do not allow for consistent classroom time. The online platform for education is a tool academic institutions can use to meet the needs and expectations of their students in an increasingly data-driven world. Jill Langen, chief academic officer at Baker College Online and Center for Graduate Studies, said the college focuses on small classes of between nine and 12 students. “We really focus a lot with our faculty on a high level of student engagement. There is a lot of interaction that happens on the discussion board. We provide a lot of training and professional development for that,” said Langen. “It really only works if you have a lot of individual attention and classes are really small. It is a real core belief we have.”

http://www.grbj.com/articles/80829-online-strategy-is-essential-element-of-education

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The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs

by Michelle Weise, Harvard Business Review

Something is clearly wrong when only 11% of business leaders — compared to 96% of chief academic officers — believe that graduates have the requisite skills for the workforce. It’s therefore unlikely that business leaders are following closely what’s going on in higher education. Even the latest hoopla around massive open online courses (MOOCs) amounts to more of the same: academics designing courses that correspond with their own interests rather than the needs of the workforce, but now doing it online. But there is a new wave of online competency-based learning providers that has absolutely nothing to do with offering free, massive, or open courses. In fact, they’re not even building courses per se, but creating a whole new architecture of learning that has serious implications for businesses and organizations around the world. It’s called online competency-based education, and it’s going to revolutionize the workforce.

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/the-real-revolution-in-online-education-isnt-moocs/

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Conversation on Workplace Learning and Literacy

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-10-24 23:21
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Stephen Downes, Valerie Irvine, John Kenney, YouTube, Oct 24, 2014

Framed around the LPSS program, and looking at specific issues such as workplace learning and literacy, this discussion outlines some of my views on the problems we are trying to solve, the applicability of the solutions we are creating, and the question of broader social needs being served by the program. I am in one window; Valerie Irvine and John Kenney are in the other.

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Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, IMS Global Learning Consortium, and International Digital Publishing Forum Announce Digital Learning Metadata Alliance

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-10-24 17:21
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Press Release, IMS, Oct 24, 2014

According to this press release issued by IMS, the new organization will be called the Digital Learning Metadata Alliance and can be found at  dlma.org - "The first incarnation of DLMA work will be the metadata schema for EDUPUB a joint collaboration between IDPF and IMS Global to enable e-books that are interoperable across reader platforms, web browsers and educational systems (such as learning platforms and learning tools)." Dublin Core just the other day assumed  formal responsibility over the learning resource metadata initiative (LRMI). The significant feature of this annpouncement is the inclusion of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), which is "the global trade and standards organization for the digital publishing industry."

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Poverty Is Strongest Factor in Whether High School Graduates Enroll in College

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-10-24 14:21
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Laurie Arnston, Higher Education Today, Oct 24, 2014

Despite all the emphasis on how important teaching and testing are for improving educational outcomes,  the fact remains that the worst results from higher-income schools are still better than the best results from low-income schools. This is why education alone is not sufficient to provide opportunities to youth. Governments also have to be focused on measures that address equity, in order to lower the pervasive impact of poverty on outcomes. Measures that do not address this cause are not (despite the rhetoric) addressing outcomes; they are addressing some other objective, an objective the proponents do not want to talk about.

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Solidarity in the Ivory Tower

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-10-24 14:21
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Herbert Pimlott, Academic Matters, Oct 24, 2014

Herbert Pimlott writes, "The growing number of precarious academic workers teaching an ever-larger number of undergraduate students is a threat. It is a threat to our profession, with serious implications for our working conditions, our compensation, and the future of collegial governance. It is also a threat to the existence of higher education and the public university as we know it. Indeed, it is also part of the tale of Canada’ s shrinking middle class."

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LISTedTECH: New wiki site and great visualizations

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-10-24 14:21
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Phil Hill, e-Literate, Oct 24, 2014

Phil Hill onmtroduces us to this interesting site that assembles statistics on technology usage in education, creating useful visualizations in the process. LISTedTECH wiki used to run on Drupal, but has since converted to a MediaWiki. This makes it a lot easier for people to add content (though sadly the RSS feeds are not useful). "  LISTedTECH  was created by Justin Menard, who is Business Intelligence Senior Analyst at University of Ottawa," writes Hill. "The site is broader in scope than just the LMS – there is a rich source of data & visualizations on MOOCs, university rankings, and IPEDS data.  Most of the visualizations are presented by Tableau and therefore interactive in nature, allowing the user to filter data, zoom in on geographic data, etc."

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Isaac Asimov Asks, “How Do People Get New Ideas?”

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-10-24 14:21
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Isaac Asimov, MIT Technology review, Oct 24, 2014

Isaac Asimov was very influential on me ion my youth, and I read many of the dozens and dozens of books he authored. This essay is a previously unpublished article he wrote on creativity, and it is not surprising to see the affinity between my own thought and what he wrote. "What is needed," he writes, "is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected." And, "Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a 'new idea,' but as a mere 'corollary of an old idea.'"

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SUNY Expands Online Course Offerings

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-10-24 02:10

by Fox 28

The State University of New York is adding 56 degree and certificate programs from 17 campuses to a year-old online initiative as part of SUNY’s goal of increasing enrollment by 100,000 students. The expansion of Open SUNY+ announced Thursday is expected to attract 6,000 students next semester, more than triple the number that have enrolled since the program was launched with eight degree programs in January. Regardless of where they are, enrollees will be able to earn an associate degree in computer security and forensics from Broome Community College, for example, or a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Empire State College.

http://www.wwnytv.com/news/local/SUNY-Expands-Online-Course-Offerings-279426942.html

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Tips for succeeding in online classes

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-10-24 02:05

by Erin Malloy, Iowa State Daily

Five tips to succeed in an online class:

1. Stay organized

2: Don’t procrastinate

3: Be self-motivated

4: Set individual goals

5: Connect with instructors

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/dct/article_3dd92b1c-54da-11e4-a346-97046ff66fdd.html

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Minerva’s Virtual College Scores Backing to Grow

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-10-24 02:02

by Bernadette Tansey, Xconomy

The Minerva Project, a San Francisco-based for-profit that aims to provide an Ivy League-caliber college degree for $10,000 a year, says it has closed on the bulk of a $70 million Series B round that will allow it to scale up its freshman class next year. Meanwhile, competitor Udacity, through some of its new online “nanodegree” programs, is focusing on the knowledge needed by its partner companies–which include Google and AT&T—in students they hire, such as wizardry in specific technical and computer programming skills. Udacity is trying to bypass the entrenched university credentialing system by developing employer-backed academic credentials. Whatever edtech models pull ahead, traditional universities would be wise to keep watching.

http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2014/10/16/minervas-virtual-college-scores-backing-to-grow/

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Five Reasons #Gamergate Connects to Educational Technology

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-10-23 23:20
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John Spencer, Education Rethink, Oct 23, 2014

We teach people this stuff. We who create technology and media, who shape thought and opinion, who set examples and and work in public - we are the ones who make it OK to shame and harass and threaten and all the rest.

Today I read that Felicia Day, creator of the (great!)  online show about gaming, The Guild,  has been doxxed for writing a post on #gamergate (to 'doxx' someone is to expose their personal information, such as their home address, online, thus opening them up to harassment and stalking). She had been mostly silent, she says, because "I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline." It turns out her fears were justified. In this post, John Spencer directly draws the link between #gamergate and education. "People are way too quick to minimize the misogyny that exists online," he writes. "I wrote a post about not shaming girls who break dress code and faced a barrage of trolling." He adds, "the misogyny and sexism is rampant at tech conferences. Go visit the vendor hall and see the number of companies that hire women based upon their looks to be the 'booth girls.' You don't have to look hard to find the objectification."

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Rights, restrictions and photos of Cats

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-10-23 14:19
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Stuart Myles, Slideshare, Oct 23, 2014

This is one of the pieces that operates behind the scenes and is necessary for smooth automation of e-learning systems. "IPTC's RightsML, based on W3C CG's ODRL is the standard for expressing permissions and restrictions for digital content for the news industry. The latest report on progress in implementing RightsML, including a new  Python library for creating rights expressions in XML and JSON." Good shoer presentation with a bunch of workflow flow charts describing how rights are managed. The author, Stuart Myles, is Director of Information Management at Associated Press.

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AU profs argue for a new online learning model in Teaching Crowds book

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-10-23 14:19
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Terry Anderson, Jon Dron, Athabasca University, Oct 23, 2014

This nice thing about this book is that you can download it for free. OK, that isn't the only nice thing. The goal, as outlined by Terry Anderson and Jon Dron, is to “ provide methods of learning that are fitted to the subject and people learning them, not the needs and capabilities of institutions teaching them. This is what (networked learning) allows.” As readers here will note, this has been the subject of our work at NRC for some time, dating from the early days of the PLE to the present  LPSS program. Their book looks at Athabasca Landing, which is an implementation of the  Elgg platform developed by Dave Tosh and Ben Werdmuller.

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Columbia issues online course R.F.P. to faculty

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-10-23 02:09

By Conor Skelding, Capital New York

Columbia University’s Office of the Provost has issued a request for proposals to faculty to redesign courses “using innovative, technology-rich pedagogy and learning strategies.” Provost John Coatsworth announced the R.F.P. on Thursday in a university-wide email which publicized the report of the Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Online Learning. The R.F.P. is a “response to the Committee’s recommendation that the University provide support for faculty in this area,” he wrote. Full- and part-time faculty are eligible to apply for grants of between $5,000 and $20,000, as well as “access to the resources and support of the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning.”

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/10/8554732/columbia-issues-online-course-rfp-faculty

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Online classes: Students, teachers adapting to demand for online learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-10-23 02:05

By Erin Malloy, Iowa State Daily

As enrollment numbers continue to climb, Iowa State has seen a rapid increase in the demand for online instruction both on and off campus, according to Ralph Napolitano, associate director for online learning for the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. “I think students are starting to see the variety of ways instruction can take advantage of the online environment of today to provide a rich and interactive learning experience,” Napolitano said. Iowa State Online and Distance Learning currently offers more than 900 online courses annually and more than 50 degrees and certificates.

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_7084550a-54b2-11e4-9f89-eb86d6863350.html

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Edmonton youth design online coding course for latest University of Alberta MOOC

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-10-23 02:02

By Leah Holoiday, Metro

Move over Computer Coding 101 — there’s a new brand of online computer design classes designed by youth, for youth. Intro to Coding, the latest course from the University of Alberta’s series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), offers straightforward concepts for coding, designed for anyone above the Grade 3 level. One of course presenters and developers, 14-year-old Deanna, said she was inspired to bring coding to a larger audience after her experience with U of A’s Girls Coding Club.

http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/1183150/edmonton-youth-design-online-coding-course-for-latest-university-of-alberta-mooc/

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Ministries of ICT, Education, & UNESCO join to formally launch School of Open Africa

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-10-22 23:18
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Jane Park, Creative Commons, Oct 22, 2014

Like the headline says: "“ This event will help establish a conversation platform for policymakers around School of Open Africa, connecting and synchronising education and ICT policies with the innovative open education programs being led by Creative Commons volunteers in Africa. It will also connect current School of Open programs in primary and high school education to academia and NRENs1 — towards the realisation of the international aspiration for universal access to education."

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Four Platforms You Can Use To Make A Blog For Kids

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-10-22 23:18
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Patricia Fioriello, Kids Learn to Blog, Oct 22, 2014

Just for the record: blogging still exists. It's still good for kids.  Educational blogging is still relevant. "Blogs offer a powerful means of socializing and they are also lots of fun. Even though it’ s hard to let your kids loose on the Internet with little supervision, it is healthy in some ways. Careful preparation will enable you help your kids launch their first blogging ventures." This post highlights four platforms where kids can set up blogs.

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