news (external)

Silicon Valley likes to promise ‘digital socialism’ – but it is selling a fairytale

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-03-01 20:49
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Evgeny Morozov, The Guardian, Mar 01, 2015

One of the things I've learned over the years is to resist letting positions I hold be defined by their opponents. One of those positions happens to be socialism, and while it is true it has evolved over the years, it nonetheless resembles nothing like what is discussed by Evgeny Morozov in this column for the Guardian, or by Kevin Kelly in the  2009 article Morozov is responding to. Morozov warns that Silicon Valley's promise to bridge "the gap in consumption inequality" will ring hollow: "we might be forced to sell our cars and default on our mortgages, but we would never lose access to Spotify and Google." Perhaps when Morozov is discussing socialism he should look up the phrase "means of production". Inequality is the symptom of wider structural issues in society, a natural consequence of a system based on hoarding, and something socialists seek to redress, but socialism is (despite years of caricature in the American press) about making everybody the same. I would add that even the image attached to the article perpetuates the same misinformation - Obama isn't in any way socialist, and should not be represented as such.

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Program offers online certificate for adjunct faculty, journalism teachers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-03-01 01:05

by Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and the Poynter Institute are offering an online training seminar for adjunct faculty and others who teach journalism. The Poynter Institute and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are accepting registrations for an innovative online certificate program for adjunct faculty and others who teach journalism and mass communication classes at universities and colleges across the country. The course, offered through Poynter’s highly successful e-learning platform, News University (NewsU), provides adjuncts with the skills necessary to be effective teachers. Registration is available at newsu.org/courses/adjunct-certificate.

https://asunews.asu.edu/20150220-online-journalism-teaching-certificate

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Intro to Global Dance: ‘Cloud-breaking’ course takes dance online, into GCP

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-03-01 01:02

by Webster University

How do you have a dance class online? Webster University students from across the globe are actively addressing that question in the Department of Dance’s flagship online course: Introduction to Global Dance. Adjunct faculty member Betsy Brandt, an interdisciplinary scholar and dancer, choreographer, teacher, dramaturge, and writer, created the eight-week course as the first online and Global Citizenship Program course available from the Department of Dance in Webster’s Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. “Betsy Brandt’s tremendous work on this course has been an exciting addition to the Department of Dance course offerings,” said James Robey, Department of Dance chair.

http://blogs.webster.edu/webstertoday/2015/02/20/global-dance-online-course-gcp/

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NEF Launches 2 Programs To Improve Digital Skills of U.S. Students and Workers

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

By Michael Hart, THE Journal

The National Education Foundation aims to improve the digital skills of students and workers in financially disadvantaged area of the United States.The National Education Foundation (NEF) has launched two new programs designed to enhance the digital literacy skills of American students and the job skills of the United States workforce. NEF, a nonprofit that focuses on enhancing academic and job skills for disadvantaged students and adults, has introduced the National Digital Literacy initiative and the Adopt-a-School national initiative, both in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY).

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/02/19/nef-initiates-2-programs-to-improve-digital-skills-of-u.s.-students-and-workers.aspx

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Won’t somebody please think of the children?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Dylan Collins, tech.eu, Feb 28, 2015

So this sounds so unlike Europe, but maybe I'm just naive: "There is a new generation of kids startups focused on platform, tools and adtech fuelled by a broader structural shift in the sector. Occasionally referred to as ‘ kidtech’ , they are tackling opportunities in the kids market that are worth billions of dollars in the adult sector." The tenor of the argument is that the U.S. Children’ s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits behavioural online advertising, and that this is being adopted by Europe, creating a spending gap that is being addressed by, well, what? Advertgising? Kidtech? "Already kids brands are doubling and tripling their digital ad spend for 2015 and it seems highly likely that kids digital ad market will be a $2 billion space inside two years driven by the availability of kid-safe platforms..." It seems to me that if they're loaded with advertisements, they're not exactly kid safe. But like I say, maybe I'm naive.

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A Town Where a School Bus Is More Than a Bus

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Sam Chaltain, New York Times, Feb 28, 2015

Sam Chaltain is gaining traction for some ideas that will be familiar to readers of this newsletter (plus one about school buses that is new to me). From his newsletter: "What if... we started to design schools in ways that imagined young people moving more like a murmuration of Starlings than, say, a regiment of soldiers? What if, in order to reimagine schooling, we got specific about all the things we have always done that we will need to hold onto - and all the things we must let go of in order to make space for something new? And what if, instead of viewing a thing like a school bus as merely a vehicle for transporting children to and from school, we viewed it (as one community has done) as an essential link in the chain of our overall effort to support the needs of children?"

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Whoa wow wow!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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swiked, Tumblr, Feb 28, 2015

So look at  this photo of a dress and answer one simple question: what colour is it?

If you are like me, you will say that the dress is blue (with black trim). But if you are like Andrea and the other half of the internet, you will say the dress is white, with gold trim. Why is this significant? Typically we think we mean the same thing with simple words like 'blue' and 'white'. But in fact, our prior experiences shape the meaning of every word, to the point where we literally see different things when we see the same image. This is why no single model can define a theory of education. Each of us sees the world differently, which means each of us needs unique educational support. More on the blue dress: Daily Beast, Wired, CBS News, Washington Post, National Post, Independent.

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NY Times Textbook Publishing, Inc.

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26


Greg Mankiw, Greg Mankiw's Blog, Feb 28, 2015

This is why economists, and especially Harvard economists, have such a poor reputation. Arguing against the New York Times, Greg Mankiw maintaines that high textbook prices are justified because, if prices are too high, a competitor (like, say, the New York Times) could enter the market and undercut prices. Well, of course, this is happening, with free and open content textbooks, because prices are too high. But what we are finding, as  Economic Logic observes, is that the textbook market is not an open market. It is "remarkably difficult for a new publisher to enter the market" and existing prices "really looks like (open or tacit) collusion among publishers." Even more to the point, though, is his presumption that textbooks must be published by a profit-driven publishing company. If, say, textbooks were deemed a public good, and  offered by the government at substantially lower cost, why would this not be the most viable option? Via Fred M Beshears, by email.

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Why Everyone Was Wrong About Net Neutrality

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Tim Wu, The New Yorker, Feb 28, 2015

I will admit that I was both surprised and pleased by the decision in the United States to support net neutrality, "preserving an open Internet by prohibiting broadband providers from blocking or slowing content that flows across their pipes." In this article Tim Wu - who coined the term 'net neutrality' in the first place - explains why we were wrong to expect the decision would go the other way. But I caution against celebrations too early, and not simply because the cable and telecom companies will start court cases to overturn the ruling. The FCC has merely decided to  regulate the internet, and these regulations, over time, could erode net neutrality, condemning it to a death by a thousand cuts.

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Big data trend now being applied to managing human resources

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Dianne Buckner, CBC News, Feb 28, 2015

Intesresting story in CBC rthis morning on the use of data analytics by employers to manage staffing. "A growing number of human resources executives are starting to dig deep into computerized statistical data on employees, to make decisions regarding salaries, promotions, and even benefit programs. It's a trend that excites some and worries others." Obviously such a system has potential for abuse - but on the other hand, there are obvious advantages to being able to quickly identify, recruit and promote qualified employees. The connection between this item and online learning should be clear.

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What’s Wrong with the Internet?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Edward H. Baker, Strategy+Business, Feb 28, 2015

Review of Andrew Keenm's The Internet is not the Answer. "Keen argues that 'rather than democracy and diversity… all we’ ve got from the digital revolution so far is fewer jobs, an overabundance of content, an infestation of piracy, a coterie of Internet monopolists, and a radical narrowing of our economic and cultural elite.'" My perspective of course is very different. Keen argues "the 'citizen' ... has suffered greatly over the past two decades through the loss of jobs, privacy, and collective identity, and a declining sense of the common good." Maybe. But many people (such as myself) have quietly benefited. We are in a cultural renaissance, a golden age of music, a flourishing of video arts. Yes, there is a concentration of wealth. But the internet didn't cause that, and frankly, I don't see how it can be overturned, except by means of the internet.

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National Adjunct Walkout Day

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Various authors, NAWD | Tumblr, Feb 28, 2015

As Gawker reports, "Today is "National Adjunct Walkout Day" [in the U.S. and elsewhere] when the overworked, disrespected, and underpaid adjunct professors of the world (the US, mostly) go on strike to raise awareness of the fact that, while colleges keeping getting more and more expensive, adjunct professors keep getting screwed." Or as Tiffany Kraft writes, "Over the course of 40 years, the profession devolved from one largely founded on respect and security to one that standardizes unfair labor conditions and creeping corporate gain. Clearly, the tolerance of this issue marginalizes all faculty. Foremost, we need an ideological culture shift, and then we may confront the real issues that undermine the profession, with restored ethos, voice, and action."

More: TakePartAmerica (national Catholic review),  the Chronicle ("Will it make a difference?"), Slideshare  presentation of the issues, the  Daily Texan ("walkout begs reflection on state of US faculty"), CASA News, CPFABryan Alexander ("a deeply exploited population attempts to make its voice heard"), a  snippet and  short article from Inside Higher Ed,  Bleeding Heart Librarians ("even though universities are culpably mismanaged, there’ s little reason to feel sorry for adjuncts"), the  Atlantic ("activists are wondering how to galvanize a collection of workers who drift from campus to campus"), Ontario  CAFA  ("growing use of contract faculty in Ontario traps many in precarious work, threatens quality of higher education"),  Storify feed, adjunct walkout  Twitter Feed and Facebook page.

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6 Best Practices for Developing Competency-based Job Profiles

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26
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Unattributed, HRSG, Feb 28, 2015

This is advertorial content supporting marketing for HRSG’ s CompetencyCore's profile builder, but it's also a good snapshot of where learning management is heading in the corporate space (and probably in the institutional space as well). That doesn't mean everything's going to be broken down into individual competencies (though that is the vision of some). But it does mean that the traditional metric of seat-time or the credit-hour is in the process of being disrupted.

[Link] [Comment]

Questioning the Data

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-02-28 14:26


George Couros, Connected Principals, Feb 28, 2015

"There are a few things that I question when I hear schools talk about solely 'data driven'," writes George Couros. "Nothing works for everyone. Nothing.   So when we look at “ proven methods” , we are often looking at something that is more focused on the “ system” than an individual." Also, "there are often so many things that are going on in school, how can we really compartmentalize the 'one thing' that works?" Finally, he asks, "what is the measure of success?" Education is a complex system designed for individual needs and to serve multiple objectives. Of course no single model can describe it, let alone determine how it should operate.

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How Course Web Design Impacts Student Engagement

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-02-28 01:08

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

When Instructure began analyzing the course designs for its higher ed customers, the LMS company discovered something about getting students to interact with the online elements of their courses. Cloud-based applications have the advantage of generating lots of usage data that can give developers insights about how customers are using their products. Rarely, however, do companies share the data publicly. But that’s exactly what Instructure did when it released an interesting infographic offering summary data from 387 colleges and universities that have used its learning management platform for at least two years. Although the company shares all kinds of data points of interest in the compilation, what really stands out is the analysis Instructure offers on course Web site design. According to Jared Stein, vice president of the company’s research and education division, the company enlisted experienced instructional designers to evaluate a number of course designs and rate the “navigational complexity” of those designs against a rubric.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/02/18/how-course-web-design-impacts-student-engagement.aspx

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ACE and Blackboard Unveil Research on Alternative Pathways to Degree Completion

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-02-28 01:05

by the American Council on Education

The first paper is “Credit for Prior Learning: Charting Institutional Practice for Sustainability,” which identifies and addresses some of the cultural barriers and successful strategies to institutions incorporating CPL. Interviews with leaders and practitioners from a diverse group of seven institutions located across the U.S. offer insights into common challenges, successful strategies and innovative CPL practices. “Embracing CPL initiatives means first acknowledging that college-level learning can occur outside the traditional classroom setting,” said Soares. “For many institutions, this requires a shift in thinking from how credit has been awarded historically.” The second paper is “The Currency of Higher Education: Credits and Competencies,” which explores the challenges in adapting the traditional credit hour to an information-age economy that relies on greater flexibility and productivity. Credits and competencies both reflect important structures of value for diverse stakeholders: government agencies, educational leaders and administrators, faculty, assessors, students and employ

http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/ACE-and-Blackboard-Unveil-Research-on-Alternative-Pathways-to-Degree-Completion.aspx

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Managing Constant Change

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-02-28 01:02

by Jonathan Blake Huer, Educause Review

If you are in higher education using technology, you may often feel like your hotly anticipated, recently purchased technology solution is obsolete by the time the delivery person drops it off. If we are truly on “the back half of the chessboard,”1 the rapid pace of technological change will only continue to increase. Depending on your view, this either causes constant disruption or presents constant opportunity. Are you being disrupted? Or are you the disruptor? How should the academy—bound by deep tradition and extensive regulations—manage this increasing onslaught of change?

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/managing-constant-change

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Tag der gesunden Ernährung unter dem Motto: "Rheuma und Gicht" am 07.03.2015

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2015-02-27 23:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Tag der gesunden Ernährung unter dem Motto: "Rheuma und Gicht" am 07.03.2015
Categories: Science News

Darmkrebsmonat März unter dem Motto "...aus Liebe zur Vorsorge!"

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2015-02-27 23:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Darmkrebsmonat März unter dem Motto "...aus Liebe zur Vorsorge!"
Categories: Science News

The Web’s About To Get Faster

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-02-27 01:05

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Hypertext Transfer Protocol version 2 is a done deal. According to the chair of the HTTP working group within the Internet Engineering Task Force, the draft specification for HTTP/2, as it’s known, was sent off to the Request for Comments (RFC) Editor, where it will officially become an Internet standard. The same delivery included the draft specs for HPACK, the format for header field compression to be used in HTTP/2. Currently, the most common version of HTTP in use is HTTP/1.1. The HTTP/2 standard is expected to speed up loading of Web pages by transporting data between browser and server.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/02/19/the-webs-about-to-get-faster.aspx

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