eLearning and Technology

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

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 50 min 20 sec ago
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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.

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Great Firewall of China

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 3 hours 50 min ago
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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.

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Flickr removes CC-licensed photos from Wall Art program

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - 3 hours 50 min ago
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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.

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Teacher texts can profoundly impact student success

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.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/teacher-texts-student-392/

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8 tips for creating video in online learning

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.”

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/creating-video-online-426/

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The Governor versus The Board

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?

http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/hot-topics/x1524581698/The-Governor-versus-The-Board

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

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

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Tech Industry Rallies Around Microsoft in Data Privacy Battle With US

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-12-18 23:23
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Katherine Noyes, E-Commerce Times, Dec 18, 2014

It's not only the North Koreans who want to view your private data and email E-Commerce Times is reporting on a case pitting Microsoft against the U.S. government. A number of organizations have come to MS's aid after "a case challenging a U.S. government search warrant for Microsoft customer data stored on a server based in Ireland." This is by no means the first case where American judges have found that the jurisdiction of the American government extends into other countries. Microsoft's Brad Smith argues, "We believe that when one government wants to obtain email that is stored in another country, it needs to do so in a manner that respects existing domestic and international laws." The U.S. government's "unilateral use of a search warrant to reach email in another country puts both fundamental privacy rights and cordial international relations at risk." Just ask Sony, which is having similar problems with a foreign government.

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What the Sony hacks reveal about the news industry

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-12-18 23:23
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David Uberti, Columbia Journalism Review, Dec 18, 2014

If traditional newspapers won't cover the Sony leaks, then Gawker and Buzzfeed will. And if Gawker and Buzzfeed won't, then someone else will step forward. This changes the role of journalists in a manner that might be instructive to educators: "The new role of journalists, for better or for worse, isn’ t as gatekeepers, but interpreters: If they don’ t parse it, others without the experience, credentials, or mindfulness toward protecting personal information certainly will." I would feel more sorry for Sony weren't for its decades-long history of user-hostile business practices, up to and including the famous  rootkit incident, in which Sony hacked their customers' computers. I do feel more sorry for Seth Rogan, though I don't like his movies a lot.

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The Case for Group Work

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-12-18 23:23
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Matt Acevedo, Blackboard Blog, Dec 18, 2014

Count me as being among those with no fondness for group work. Matt Acevedo writes, "We all know the why: group members don’ t contribute equitably. There’ s invariably that one driven person who does most of the work, a few folks who contribute just enough to get by, and the one slacker who no one hears from until the day before the big project is due." So what is the case for group work? Acevedo argues, "It is crucial that we (educators) also design and facilitate experiences that mimic the real-world context in which our students will one day operate." Maybe so - but by experiences of groups in learning are very different from groups in the real world.  then groups should be designed very differently. People from different professions (or programs) should be brought together, for example. Group governance should also resemble real-world experiences. And they should, as Merrill argues, be "engaged in solving real-world problems."

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The Trouble with Tor

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-12-18 20:23
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Paul Rubens, eSecurity Planet, Dec 18, 2014

Good article describing  Tor (The Onion Router), a system originally developed by the U.S. military in order to facilitate secure and anonymous communications. Tor works by sending messages over a series of routers - each router encrypts the message and sends it along to the next. Nobody but the receiver knows the final destination and the identify of the recipient. It has been used to hide the location of websites and online services, such as the Silk Road, a website used by drug dealers. Though Tor is secure, it can fail to protect its users; this article describes how. Agencies (mostly law enforcement) can infiltrate by setting up  fake routers and monitoring traffic, sending malware to host machines, or simply targeting people who use Tor for more conventional investigations.

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How The 70:20:10 Model Can Takeoff

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-12-18 20:23


Mark Rose, eLearning Industry, Dec 18, 2014

According to article, here's how he 70:20:10 model ratio breaks down:

  • 70% of learning from on-the-job experience
  • 20% of learning from people (i.e. role models, coaches, or managers)
  • 10% of learning from formal training (i.e. seminars, classes, or reading)

The typical interpretation of that will be that actual training, therefore, breaks down into two-thirds social, one-third formal (with the rest being on-the-job). I still think that's too much formal. But another (better) way of looking at it is to understand that 90 percent of learning comes from outside the classroom or LMS. This means understanding the need to provide learning support outside these locations. That, in my view, is what is needed to address the sceptics. (p.s. when used as a verb, "take off" is two words, not one word.) Se also: 70:20:10 Forum.

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

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-12-18 01:04

by Gregory Ferenstein, Venture Beat

Soft-spoken education revolutionary 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. Khan is the founder, executive director, and faculty member at the Khan Academy, an online education provider. Speaking at the Atlantic’s Navigate tech conference, Khan said that the online education providers and independent technology “boot camp” schools will end up playing an important role in pressuring legacy universities to change their outdated ways.

http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/14/khan-academy-founder-has-a-couple-of-big-ideas-for-overhauling-higher-education-in-the-sciences/

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Forward Planning on Technology

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-12-18 01:03

By Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Technology can address some of the financial and organizational challenges facing public flagship universities, according to a new report, but those challenges have to be solved with input from the entire institution — not just a “coalition of the willing.” Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit research organization, last academic year traveled to 10 institutions in the Public Flagship Network, a group of 17 such institutions, to learn how the universities are using technology to respond to shrinking state funding and changing student behavior. Ithaka’s researchers interviewed 214 senior administrators, directors of online learning, department chairs and staffers at those universities, finding similar concerns: The institutions are struggling to perform the traditional functions of a research university as outside forces — politicians and students among them — urge them to make higher education more affordable and accessible.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/12/15/report-recommends-public-flagship-universities-plan-incentivize-technology-classroom

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Online education growing at Purdue

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-12-18 01:02

By HELEN STORMS, Purdue Exponent

The amount of online classes available to Purdue students has continued to grow in recent years. Currently, there are about 135 undergraduate courses that can be taken online each semester, and this number will only increase in the future. In fact, according to statistics from Purdue’s spring 2015 graduating class, about 51% of the graduates have taken at least one online course throughout their time at Purdue. Some of these classes are almost entirely online, whereas others still conduct the course partially face to face. This type of course is becoming the preferred format because it allows students to listen to the lecture before coming to class to make better use of class time.

http://www.purdueexponent.org/campus/article_95bbc052-f949-56f4-a377-878dc0fd4d5a.html

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Abstracts of Three Studies Related to Pedagogical Agents

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-12-17 23:22
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Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, Dec 17, 2014

Quoted from the article:

  • "Pedagogical agents produced a small but significant effect on learning."
  • "Gender bias affects learner’ s perception on virtual agent. Implications are discussed in terms of how stereotypes of expert-like and peer-like agent can be effectively utilized"
  • "Students who viewed a highly embodied agent also rated the social attributes of the agent more positively than did students who viewed a nongesturing agent."

So - students get more out of agents that act like people, but that isn't always a positive thing.

 

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Try Out / Please Break TRU Writer?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-12-17 23:22


Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Dec 17, 2014

So I like this idea: "The idea of the  TRU Writer is a simple way for faculty, researchers, students to publish web content in a rich, media form without having them create accounts. Rather than try and explain, take a ride on the random example spinner (Randomness is something I nearly always try to toss into the mix)." You can try out the TRU writer here.

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Adaptive learning markets: talking Turkey

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-12-17 23:22
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Philip J. Kerr, Adaptive Learning in ELT, Dec 17, 2014

This post looks at work being done to advance adaptive learning in Turkey. "OUP," writes Philip Kerr (referring to Oxford University Press) "probably the most significant of the big ELT publishers in Turkey, recorded ‘ an outstanding performance’ in the country in the last financial year, making it their 5th largest ELT market." Why is Turkey special? Kerr lists several reasons: it has a young population, it's " in the middle of a government-sponsored $990 million project to increase the level of English proficiency in schools," it "one of the world’ s largest educational technology projects: the FATIH Project," it has a "burgeoning private education sector," and is in the process of adopting educational technology. My main counsel to Turkey would be to be cautious: the private sector will promise the moon, but you have to hold them to outcomes.

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EMMA project meeting – Madrid

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-12-17 23:22
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Grainne Conole, e4innovation.com, Dec 17, 2014

Grainne Conole summarizes an  EMMA  project meeting - EMMA is "The European Multiple MOOC Aggregator" and collects information from, as the name suggests, several MOOCs. The MOOCs (and we're beginning to see this as a trend) had a small number of participants, about 70 each for five MOOCs. At the bottom iof the post is a set of criteria to assess MOOCs I(that are pretty specific to this project).

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10 Online Learning Trends to Watch in 2015 [#Infographic]

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-12-17 01:07

by D. Frank Smith, EdTech Magazine

Frank is a social media journalist for the CDW family of technology magazine websites. Amid the shifting sands of online education, which trends can we expect to set the tone for e-learning in the year ahead? Online options are growing, and the classroom format is changing to incorporate the technology. There are a few trends on the cusp of explosive growth in the coming year. A new infographic from TalentLMS, a cloud-based learning management system, offers its picks for the top 10 E-Learning Trends to Follow in 2015:

http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2014/12/10-online-learning-trends-watch-2015-infographic-0

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