eLearning and Technology

Toronto students create emoji to reflect themselves

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2016-05-01 06:47


Katrina Clarke, Toronto Star, May 01, 2016

There's a very involved emoji-approval process (which is how we end up with an unrepresentative set of emogis) but it'd good to see these students speaking out against it and creating their own alternatives.  “ I thought this would be a good way to spark them thinking about what emojis represent — if they represent them as young women,” said Daniel Pupulin, the students’ communication technology teacher.

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CU system reaping the benefits of massive open online courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2016-05-01 02:05

By Sarah Kuta, Daily Camera

The University of Colorado is starting to see some revenue from the free, massive open online courses it offers to the world through the website Coursera. Though course content is still free, students are beginning to pay for certificates showing they’ve completed a CU course or a multi-course unit in the same subject. Since September, these online course certificates have generated roughly $110,000 across the CU system, a number that is likely to go up this spring with the launch of new multi-course units, said Deborah Keyek-Franssen, associate vice president for digital education and engagement for the CU system. That’s been somewhat of a welcome surprise, as CU did not necessarily expect to make money when it began offering the courses three years ago, Keyek-Franssen said.

http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_29802803/cu-system-reaping-benefits-massive-open-online-courses

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What to Do When You’re Bored With Your Job

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2016-05-01 02:03

by Gloria Cordes Larson, Forbes

I believe it’s critical to commit to a lifetime of learning. Everyone needs to refresh their mind from time to time and learning new skills helps develop new talents that often lead to exciting new aspects of your career. As the leader of a university responsible for developing tomorrow’s leaders, I tell my graduating students that earning their degree is a tremendous accomplishment, but if they want to continue advancing then the learning doesn’t stop after graduation. Whether they plan to go on to obtain an advanced degree, they take online courses to learn the latest social media tools or brush up on the latest enterprise software, it’s critical to keep acquiring new skills.

http://fortune.com/2016/04/24/bored-with-job/

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What can higher ed learn about retention from the healthcare industry?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2016-05-01 02:02

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

In hospitals, population health management uses predictive analytics to separate patients into cohorts by risk level and assign supports accordingly, and some colleges are starting to look to the strategy as a model for addressing retention. Inside Higher Ed reports new research from EAB shows promising results for colleges that have organized their advising services based on the population health management model, in which about 70% of people are categorized as low risk, 25% as medium or rising risk, and 5% as high risk. Middle Tennessee State University implemented a new model based on the healthcare strategy in fall 2014, hiring more advisors and focusing their efforts on high-risk students, who were identified through analytics as those with low GPAs, and it saw a 3.4% increase in retention in one year.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/what-can-higher-ed-learn-about-retention-from-the-healthcare-industry/417779/

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Marketing could become the most expensive part of higher ed

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-04-30 02:06

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Colleges and universities are spending more money on recruitment to attract students in an increasingly competitive field, and Noodle Partners CEO John Katzman calls it an arms race in need of regulation. For Inside Higher Ed, Katzman writes that people are paying attention to the spending spree on campus amenities but not the runaway costs of student recruitment, which ultimately increases the cost of higher education without improving services for students. Katzman suggests a bill that would limit subsidized student loans to the actual cost of education or a new U.S. Department of Education regulation that would limit tuition sharing deals at schools whose marketing budgets get too high.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/marketing-could-become-the-most-expensive-part-of-higher-ed/417777/

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Supply is up in online ed but demand is down — now what?

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

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Higher education marketing is more competitive now than it has ever been before, and it’s only getting worse. Some 70% of chief academic officers say online education is going to be a key pillar of their institution’s strategy moving forward, and demand for online education programs is growing at a slower rate than at any point in the last 20 years. In a conversation about the growth potential of online higher education and the marketing challenges presented by modern competition, Cornell University’s Ashley Budd highlighted the concerns of enrollment professionals who have been trying to get around the shrinking population of traditional college-goers for years. But online education is a dangerous place to look for salvation, given the trendline of demand. “That’s really a scary reality,” Helix’s Seth Odell said. “If you’re turning to online education to solve an enrollment problem, it’s going to be a really difficult problem to solve.” There are now 450 online MBA programs competing for students.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/supply-is-up-in-online-ed-but-demand-is-down-now-what/417722/

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EdTech: Business Mooc Maker Udacity Is Embracing Blended Campus/Online Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-04-30 02:03

by Seb Murray, Business Because

Udacity’s announcement marks the latest innovation among Mooc makers, which are increasingly moving beyond free courses with high drop-out rates and into paid-for, professional education. Udacity’s “Nanodegrees” are monetized. Coursera, a rival, runs “Specializations”, and charges users for certificates, and enrolment, to some courses. Online students are uploading certificates of competition to job sites like LinkedIn. And employers, such as Google, Amazon, and Adobe, are hiring them. “As more online degree recipients enter the workplace, and employers learn that many can perform as well as those with traditional degrees, the momentum to be more accepting of such programs grows,” said Patrick Mullane, executive director of HBX, Harvard Business School’s digital learning initiative. Educational leaders believe online learning is one way to close critical skills gaps, in areas such as data science and web development.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3926/udacity-embraces-blended-campus-online-learning

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Tinker With a Neural Network Right Here in Your Browser.

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-04-29 15:36


Daniel Smilkov, Shan Carter, TensorFlow, Apr 29, 2016

This is a lovely visualization that allows you to play with a neural network by playing with some network parameters and watching the output. Even better, the authors write "We’ ve open sourced it on  GitHub  with the hope that it can make neural networks a little more accessible and easier to learn. You’ re free to use it in any way that follows our  Apache License. And if you have any suggestions for additions or changes, please  let us know."

[Link] [Comment]

If everything is a network, nothing is a network

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-04-29 15:36


Mushon Zer-Aviv, Visualising Information for Advocacy, Apr 29, 2016

Good article that will push your think on networks a bit. The bulk of the discussion is devoted toward convincing people that they ought to look at more than just nodes and edges "to also include  flows  and (as per Galloway and Thacker)  protocols." This makes sense to me, and there are other network properties that should be discussed more as well (connection weights, activation functions, and more). But the author also says "networks need narrative" because "we experience life as a narrative, not as a map and certainly not as networks. A network diagram rarely represents static relations. Narrating a flow through the nodes in the network is a useful way of examining it." To me, that's a lot like saying "we need abstractions". And in a sense it comes down to being able to visualize what's happening. "Visualising algorithms is still a small fringe in the visualisation world. It is mostly academic and so far has mainly served an internal maths and computer science discourse."

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The Price Is Still Right: 15 Sites for Free Digital Textbooks

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-04-29 02:10

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

“Open” has gone mainstream. The world now celebrates Open Education Week. The U.S. Department of Education announced an “Open Education” or #GoOpen initiative and ran its first “@GoOpen Exchange” to get schools and educators committed to the use of open educational resources (OER). Students at Ithaca College, The College of William & Mary and Santa Barbara City College are all pushing their schools to adopt OER. Multiple colleges and universities are trying out no/low-cost OER degree programs. Amazon looks to be getting into the OER business with “Inspire.” And a bipartisan group of Congressional staffers recently held a briefing to learn from experts why they should care about OER. The demand for free learning content may be loud and clear now, but, back in 2013 when Campus Technology first surveyed the top sources for free digital textbooks, the OER world seemed a quieter, less tweeted place. What hasn’t changed, though, is that faculty and students still want to know where to go to find the goods.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/04/20/the-price-is-still-right-15-sites-for-free-digital-textbooks.aspx

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OER in Higher Ed: ‘Huge Awareness-Raising Effort Needed’

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-04-29 02:05

By David Raths, Campus Technology

When it comes to open educational resources (OER) adoption, is the glass half empty or half full? On the one hand, more than 1 billion works have been licensed using Creative Commons since the organization was founded 15 years ago, and in 2015 alone Creative Commons-licensed works were viewed online 136 billion times. Yet awareness of OER in higher education remains low. Approximately 75 percent of faculty respondents to a 2014 Babson Survey Research Group study didn’t know about or couldn’t accurately define OER or why it is important. Changing that situation is the mission of Cable Green, director of open education at Creative Commons and a leading advocate for open policies that ensure publicly funded education materials are freely and openly available to the public. “We still have a huge awareness-raising effort that needs to be done,” said Green. “We all need to teach other people about what this is and why it is important.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/04/21/oer-in-higher-ed-huge-awareness-raising-effort-needed.aspx

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Employers, insurers see promise in self-directed online therapy

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-04-29 02:02

By Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune

Employers and a large health insurer are considering a new way of reaching people with social anxiety and depression. Many who suffer from social anxiety, depression and other mental health problems won’t seek help from a therapist. However, they may find a sense of community in online discussion groups and “anxiety blogs,” said Dale Cook, the chief executive and co-founder of Learn to Live, a Minneapolis-based start-up. The company sells access to online courses for people struggling with mental health issues, and touts its strategies for engaging with sufferers. “They’re looking for online resources because they don’t want to tell anyone, or they don’t have time to go” for face-to-face therapy, Cook said in an interview. “We’re able to identify places where sufferers go to commiserate and suffer together and say: Have you found anything that works?”

http://www.startribune.com/employers-insurers-see-promise-in-self-directed-online-therapy/376658941/

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How to Load a Website in Firefox’s Sidebar

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-04-29 00:35


Lori Kaufman, How-to-Geek, Apr 28, 2016

For various reasons I've been looking at how to create and open sidebars, modals, and other embedded content windows. Now maybe it's true that the whole world uses mobile phones these days, but I still see desktops and laptops (not to mention tablets) as more important in the realm of online learning. And these, I think, will need to support content mixing a lot better than they do. (It reminds me of the days back in the 1980s working on my  Atari computer  where the main thing for me was to be able to have a split editing window so I could move content back and forth.) I keep hearing about how impossible it is but I see stuff like this drag-and-drop sidebar  and I know it's not.

[Link] [Comment]

Your Media Business Will Not Be Saved

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-04-29 00:35


Joshua Topolsky, Medium, Apr 28, 2016

Good article making a point with which I am in full agreement: new technology won't save traditional media because traditional media isn't offering content people want. Note: language warning, especially at the point where they describe the quality of existing media content. Where newspapers and television could get away with very low-quality coverage (not to mention biased coverage and outright propaganda) in the days where they were the only source of content, now they have to provide much better content in order to compete. And they're not set up to do this. "Compelling voices and stories, real and raw talent, new ideas that actually serve or delight an audience, brands that have meaning and ballast; these are things that matter in the next age of media."

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Get Rid of Grade Levels: A Personalized Learning Recipe for Public School Districts

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-04-28 21:35


Travis Lape, EdSurge, Apr 28, 2016

This is an interesting effort that is well worth following over the course of the next year. A school district  in South Dakota is eliminating grades in favour of personal learning. To support this, they have developed a model incorporating alternative learning methodologies for active, collaborative and learner-driven learning. Instead of classes they have things like 'the daily dish', a meeting where learners plan their day around the  on things happening in each of the studios, and 'CT Circles', "critical thinking discussion groups to help learners deepen their understanding of specific learning." I hope  that when they review the outcomes they don't just look at standardized tests (which of course still presume classes and grade levels) and take a more all-encompassing look at student progress. I also hope they give it more than just a year.

[Link] [Comment]

Why World of Warcraft won't let fans play their own game

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-04-28 21:35


Lucy Schouten, Christian Science Monitor, Apr 28, 2016

This item shows the dangers of platform dependence. World of Warcraft (WoW) is a popular computer game. People buy the software, but it requires a web server to act as a platform for in-game interactions with other people. As time went by, new versions of WoW came out. Normally you could just play the older version of a game if you want, but in this case the original WoW server was shut down, making all those computer games worthless. An independent version of the server called Nostralius was set up, but the owners of WoW ordered it shut down, claiming it was piracy. So now the user have no legal way  of playing their own  purchased versions of the game. Sure, it's just a game.  But it still represents millions of dollars of value simply obliterated because the company wants to push a new version of the software.

[Link] [Comment]

Peer review appears to be a poor predictor of impact

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-04-28 06:33


David Kent, University Affairs, Apr 28, 2016

I've spent a lot of time on peer review panels. Not surprisingly, the top selections have an impact, the low selections do not, but in that great area in the middle (and where all the debate occurs) "only ~1 percent of the variance in productivity could be accounted for by percentile ranking, suggesting that all of the effort currently spent in peer review has a minimal impact in stratifying meritorious applications relative to what would be expected from a random ranking." In other words, we would get the same results if we flipped a coin. I'm sure the same is the case for publication peer reviews. The full study is here.

[Link] [Comment]

You Don't Need a Makerspace To Have a Space for Makers

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-04-28 06:33


John Spencer, The Creative Classroom, Apr 28, 2016

Reading this article reminded me of the day my father and I built a baseball diamond on the front lawn of our ballpark-sized front lawn. Sure, he did the heavy work, but I was involved in the design and made sure there was a pole for the flag (which would fly over innumerable baseball games through the decades that followed). Not everybody needs to be a full-on design thinker the way I am - the world also needs people who do things like take measurements, check facts, and apply rigor. But everybody probably needs  some, and people like me need a  lot.And, as John Spencer says, "All we needed was a little freedom, some encouragement, and a few random supplies. And time. Tons and tons of time"

[Link] [Comment]

The need for technopedagogues and will it ever go away?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-04-28 06:33


David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, Apr 28, 2016

According to  Tim Klapdor  a technopedagogue "can oversee the design, implementation and even the implementation of interfaces, environments and the digital tools that support learning or various processes."   But there's a sense in which the  technopedagogue has a foot in two incommensurate camps. As David Jones says, "The techno is interested in scale. On systems and practices that work for the whole organisation or the whole of learning and teaching. The pedagogue is interested – as much as they can be within the current system – in the individual, the specific." But I don't think those traits are inherent in either discipline - I've very interested in personal technology, and mass pedagogy. See also Tim Klapdor, From Us to We  and Administrivia and APIs.

[Link] [Comment]

In Search of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Secluded Hut in Norway: A Short Travel Film

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-04-28 06:33


Dan Coleman, Open Culture, Apr 28, 2016

I've spent a lot of time with Ludwig Wittgenstein in my head, not the least when I went searching for his hut  at the end of the Sognefjord  in Norway. Well, OK, I didn't exactly search for his hut, but I did once sail up the Sognefjord looking for huts generally, as depicted in this photo set. And I certainly understand the benefits of getting away from it all and living in the wilderness for a bit. So, as Dan Colman says,  put  Wittgenstein in Norway  into your YouTube queue.

[Link] [Comment]

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