news (external)

Post-Soviet Higher Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 22:15

Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Jun 17, 2018

I think there's a really important insight buried in this look at post-Soviet educational institutions: " a market-driven system does not necessarily lead to a differentiated system; in fact, it may be the opposite... Though subject to market competition, in all countries institutions became more homogenous." Once enterprises reach a certain size (larger than a family business but smaller than a college) specialization makes them vulnerable to competition. And "specialized institutions may not be very resilient in the face of economic shocks.  Avoiding specialization is thus a hedge against uncertainty in future demand."

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Advocates are becoming journalists. Is that a good thing?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 22:06

Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review, Jun 17, 2018

The way to read this post is to replace the word 'journalists' with the word 'educators'. So. Would it be a good thing if advocates became educators? Fopr example, consider a potential educational program about Amazon’s marketing of a controversial facial recognition software product to US law enforcement as provided to schools by the American Civil Liberties Union. Is this OK? What if the funding agency were the Koch brothers. Matthew Ingram argues "the world of journalism and the world as a whole are probably better off now that there are activist organizations that are trying to use the tools of modern media to tell stories." But the line between education and journalism and propaganda is a thin one.

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Does Higher Education need blockchain?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 21:51

Chris Fellingham, Medium, Jun 17, 2018

As the Class Central report suggests, this article reminds us of Audrey Watters's outline of blockchain in education dating from April of 2016 (where she wrote "One Bitcoin is currently worth about $415" - heh). "Decentralised trust systems may well be the future but I don’t see that it solves a core problem," writes Chris Fellingham. "Edtech... ?does not have a problem of trust in its credentials?—?it has a problem of credibility in its courses." It may be that the decentralization blockchain enables might be valuable, he writes, but it may come with a cost, just as decentralization of news media brought with it the scourge of fake news.

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Propositional Content in Signals

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 21:32

Jeffrey A. Barrett, Brian Skyrms, UCI School of Social Sciences, Jun 15, 2018

I cut my teeth on Choice and Chance by Bryan Skyrms, so I was naturally interested in this article on information and meaning. It's nice and clear and will give the reader a good sense of some of the issues involved in determining the informational content of a signal (and especially the informational content of a signal when the signaler is lying or deceiving). Personally, I don't think signals have informational content (that puts me very much in the minority). Or, if I had to say it a different way, I'd say the information is the signal. How can you say an animal crying a false warning in 'intending' to deceive? The signal is just what it does; the effect is to scatter the rest of the animals, allowing the animal access to the food. We don't need a parallel information-theoretic account to describe or explain what happened.

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The Existential Question: Why Do We Measure?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 20:59

David Vance, Chief Learning Officer, Jun 15, 2018

My interest in measuring things is pretty minimal, but that's probably because my interest in the six reasons outlined in this article is pretty minimal. The six reasons are: 1) to answer questions, 2) to show results, 3) to demonstrate value, 4) to justify our budget (or existence), 5) to identify opportunities for improvement and 6) to manage results. I don't focus on questions, I focus on discovery. My results are of the "it works or it doesn't" variety. Value is in the eye of the beholder, not a number. Budget (and price, for that matter) is based on willingness to pay, not value. I focus on improving affordances, not filling gaps. And I'm not a management person. That doesn't mean we should never measure. It just means it is vastly overrated.

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Cryptocurrencies Make Their Way to Campus, Bringing Flexibility and Risks

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 20:34

Erin Brereton, EdTech, Jun 15, 2018

The headline pretty much says it all. The big risk (aside from wildly fluctuating currency values) is currency-mining malware. "If ransomware was the scourge of 2017, cryptocurrency mining could be the problem to watch this year — especially in higher education. In a recent Vectra analysis of the five industries showing cryptocurrency mining attacks, higher education had the majority of activity by far (85 percent)."

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Educational and Occupational Credentials should be in

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2018-06-15 13:36

Phil Barker, GitHub, Jun 15, 2018

The current effort to match credentials to competencies, and digitize credentials, is ongoing. This is a discussion thread on GitHib addressing the question in the title. Of note is the most recent post in which Phil Barker outlines recent work done in the field by a W3C Community Group . There's also an earlier posts that lists a number of websites showing various educational and occupations credentials. Barker adds, "There is a draft on appspot with more details of the changes we would make, i.e. term definitions, ranges etc."

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Scepticism over Google plan to replace labs with virtual reality

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2018-06-15 02:04

By David Matthews, Times Higher Ed
Google and a Danish technology firm claim that they have removed the need for biology students to set foot in a laboratory by creating virtual reality simulations of experiments, clearing the way for the world’s first online-only biology degree. Arizona State is to be first university adopter of new technology, launching fully online biology degrees. The partnership is a sign that VR is beginning to change how the physical sciences are taught, although there is scepticism over whether the technology can entirely replace hands-on lab experience. Announcing the initiative at Google’s I/O developers conference, Jennifer Holland, a programme manager at the company, said that using VR labs, universities “will now be able to truly offer an online biology degree”.

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An Inside Look at Online Carding Courses for Cybercriminals

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2018-06-15 02:03

Digital Shadows, Bank Info Security
As customers spend more and more money online each year, the opportunities for fraud increase in parallel; experts project a loss of $24 billion to payment card fraud by the end of 2018. Payment card fraudsters rely on a sophisticated ecosystem and support network that provides a wide range of credit card details, fraud tools and online tutorials. This whitepaper lifts the lid on e-learning credit card fraud courses. These programs coach aspiring criminals to make $12,000 in monthly earnings and point to the increased sophistication of the professional cybercriminal ecosystem as fraudsters seek to up-skill themselves. Think: High-paying job with a degree in cybercrime and membership to Bad Actor Fraternity from Fraudster University.

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UC should make changes to its course evaluation process to prevent bias

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2018-06-15 02:02

Daily Bruin Editorial

Evaluations are written into the University of California’s decision-making process when it comes to academic employees. But given the lack of standardization and the heavy presence of bias in conventional course evaluations methods, it’s high time the University changed its policies to use evaluations exclusively for feedback purposes, not for its personnel matters…. A 2014 study found that when online instructors disguised a woman as a man and a man as a woman, the female identity received lower performance reviews. A 2015 study looking at student reviews on the website found that instructors with Asian last names were rated lower on “clarity” and “helpfulness” than instructors with Western names. And in January, former UCLA psychology professor David Jentsch tweeted about an evaluation that complains about not the content of his course or teaching style, but that “It’s disgusting that UCLA allows gay people to teach our courses.” This demonstrates that students don’t see instructors in a vacuum. Identity politics, not to mention other nonacademic factors, can play a role in how they evaluate a course.

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Tag des Schlafes am 21.06.2018

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2018-06-15 00:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Tag des Schlafes am 21.06.2018
Categories: Science News

Tag des Sonnenschutzes am 21.06.2018

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2018-06-15 00:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Tag des Sonnenschutzes am 21.06.2018
Categories: Science News

Concentric Sky Announces BadgeRank - a New Search Engine for Digital Badges

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2018-06-14 22:22

Cision, Concentric Sky, Jun 14, 2018

Quoted, with useless adjectives removed: "Following the release of the digital badge stacking tool - Badgr Pathways - BadgeRank allows anyone to explore the digital badges published by Open Badges compliant systems around the world." According to the release, "BadgeRank indexes over 100,000 digital badges from around the world and ranks them based on signals such as Endorsements by external organizations and Outcomes for credential holders" (their pointless capitalization).

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Open source community calls in the wake of GDPR

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2018-06-14 21:59

Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, Jun 14, 2018

So I ended up adding three comments to Doug Belshaw's post. He reports that the lawyers have said they have to delete all their meeting recordings because of GDPR. I firmly doubt that mass deletions of recordings are taking place in actual law offices, because the risk of not having a record exceeds the risk of not having deleted it. Anyhow, here's what my responses were: "I think that the first thing you need is a second opinion. The lawyer seems very over-cautious. It strikes me that what the lawyer is requiring go well beyond the provisions of GDPR. p.s. I want to call my bank and have them delete any records they have related to me. Especially the ones that say I owe them money.  p.p.s. What I have learned over the years is to never ask a layer what course of action to take. The lawyer will always recommend the path of zero risk. Instead, ask the lawyer what the risks are. Then you decide.

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Free MOOCs Face the Music

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2018-06-14 13:44

Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, Jun 15, 2018

Inside Higher Ed reports very sympathetically on the new EdX subscription fee (covered here yesterday). It interviews Adam Medrox, edX COO and president, who says " here is a lot of evidence showing that having some ‘skin in the game’ is beneficial in online learning." It also interviews Phil Hill, who "doesn’t think edX will have a problem finding students to pay the support fee." And it quotes Class Central's Dhawal Shah writing that "the announcement was the latest in a phenomenon he termed “the shrinking of free.'"

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What Do Online Students Want? 3 Findings From a New Survey Offer Some Clues

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2018-06-14 13:27

Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, Jun 14, 2018

Watch out for the marketing with this one. The Chronicle article is simply a restatement of the first page of 'key findings' (p. 6) (except it changes the title of the third from "Online learning is providing a positive return on students" investment' to "Regrets" since it is the Chronicle, after all). The report (62 page PDF) is a lot more detailed than that. Learning House, which produced the report, wants your data in return for the download (though typing "no spam" works). The survey of 1500 online students is actually worth the time to read it. Not so the Chronicle article, which is mostly a vehicle for an advertisement for an expensive 'Future of Learning' report embedded right in the middle of the article (where it looks like the report being reviewed in the article, which it's not). It's hard to believe the Chronicle would accurately project the future of learning, but since I'm not about to pay them $179, I guess I'll never know.

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Harvard Hosts 60-Year Curriculum Symposium

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2018-06-14 02:10

By Cait Etherington, eLearning Inside

In a 2017 interview with the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Dean Hunt Lambert, who leads Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, emphasized that the 60-year curriculum recognizes that people begin their learning careers in earnest in their teens, continue learning throughout their work years, and even continue their educations during their retirements. Continuing education programs evidently play an integral part in the learning lives of most adults, but this will expand as the need to reskill increases over the coming decades. As several recent studies have found, in today’s disrupted economy, life-long learning is no longer just for ambitious upskillers. To survive in today’s economy, everyone needs to commit to reskilling on a constant basis. The idea of 60-year curriculum captures this shift, and this weekend’s symposium is a chance for thought leaders to begin exploring its far-reaching implications on higher education.

Harvard Hosts 60-Year Curriculum Symposium

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Ideas for Creating an Effective Syllabus for Online Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2018-06-14 02:05

By: Danielle Geary, Faculty Focus

Online students need to feel an instructor presence in their classes. Thorough explanations and effective communication help fulfill this need and can transform a mediocre online course into a great one—and it all starts with the syllabus. Structure and communication. That’s what I’ve found to be the keys to an effective online course syllabus. Well, that, and something I call a chapter checklist, to go along with the syllabus. I’ve discovered both to be essential to my asynchronous online foreign language course.

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India’s top universities can now offer full degree programmes online – but there are concerns

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2018-06-14 02:03

by Scroll India

On May 24, the University Grants Commission, India’s higher education regulator, approved new regulations for online education. The regulations are yet to be formally notified but the commission said they “will be made applicable from the academic session 2018-19”. The regulations clear the way for universities that rank high in the government’s ranking and rating systems to offer even degree programmes online. In theory at least, a student will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree without attending college. Lectures will be recorded or delivered through video-conferencing and discussed in an online discussion forum; e-content will replace textbooks and there will be a provision for self-assessment.

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Blackboard Mobile Credentials: Cashless Solution or On-Campus “Big Brother”?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2018-06-13 19:46

Cait Etherington, eLearningInside News, Jun 13, 2018

In a press release yesterday, Blackboard announced that it's bringing Student IDs to Apple Wallet. " With Blackboard Mobile Credentials, student credentials in Apple Wallet offer secure access to facilities, residence halls and more, as well as payments for dining, laundry, vending and retail, creating a seamless experience while navigating campus.It will be piloted this fall in three universities." This article discusses the implications. It notes that "automated attendance monitoring is listed as one of the technology’s key features" and suggests while "most students will resist the heightened surveillance these new digital IDs make possible, there is little question that college and university administrators and postsecondary educators will welcome the arrival of the new technology." I'm also seeing this as a pretty effective way to lock in your customers, because now moving away from Blackboard would mean replacing your student ID system.

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