news (external)

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.

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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.”

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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?”

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Adult - Fri, 2016-04-29 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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"

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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.

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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.

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Love Letter to Online Learning

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

Michelle Pacansky-Brock, Apr 28, 2016

Discussion around the MIT Report  on higher education reforms contines to echo around the blogosphere. It was referenced here in OLDaily  three weeks ago.    Inside Higher Ed calls it a love letter to blended learning  and says "Online education can offer personalized pathways through course content with short lecture videos and well-timed quizzes that help students retain knowledge, the report reads, but it is most effective in a blended setting where students regularly interact with faculty members face-to-face.” But in this post Michelle Pacansky-Brock  calls this "a general misunderstanding" of online learning. "The nature of online classes varies dramatically, much like  face-to-face classes," she writes. "But, in both scenarios, the  teacher  matters and the  teaching  matters." But "a warm body teaching an online class is not necessarily going to result in an effective learning experience for  students." You have to have more than a pulse. Via Phil Hill.

[Link] [Comment]

Digital Durability? My Money is on the Individual

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

Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Apr 28, 2016

Alan Levine makes probably the most compelling argument of all in support of open content: "institutions pretty much just clearcut their web history." Unless the websites are saved by  individuals (for example, the individuals who created them) these sites will simply disappear. Governments, museums, newspapers - all of these simply remove outdated  content. "Why?" he asks. "Individuals have a deep stake in their work. Repositories, institutions? The stake varies with politics, staff turnover, leadership fetishes." Nothing is safe unless  people can keep their own libraries of their own content online. 

[Link] [Comment]

Don’t Dismiss Georgia Tech’s $6,600 Online Master’s Degree

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-04-28 02:10


I’m not about to let my ideological reservations foreclose my curiosity, especially given that so many Online Master of Science Computer Science students praise the program. A $6,600 master’s degree in computer science with a 55 percent acceptance rate and no GRE entrance exam? It’s a seductive proposition for an undergraduate, to be sure. Since the Georgia Institute of Technology announced its Online Master of Science Computer Science degree—OMS CS, for short—in May 2013, the program has elicited wonder, enthusiasm, and trepidation. When you consider the age of students, the OMS CS program is older (33-34 years old) and more educated (more than 700 applicants have advanced degrees and more than 120 hold Ph.D. or terminal degrees). In this sense, the Georgia Tech online master’s program is more in line with ventures such as General Assembly, which enable professionals to advance skills and training.

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ASU’s Global Freshman Academy Taps Adaptive Software for Math Students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-04-28 02:05

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Arizona State University’s online Global Freshman Academy (GFA) is rolling out adaptive software to help tens of thousands of students work through its College Algebra & Problem Solving course. The GFA program, delivered via massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX, will be the first to utilize McGraw-Hill Education’s ALEKS adaptive learning product in a MOOC format. “To date, more than 17,800 students from 186 countries have registered for the College Algebra & Problem Solving course using the ALEKS program, which will provide students with individualized learning and instruct them on the topics they are most ready to learn,” according to a press release from McGraw-Hill Education.

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University of Colorado contemplates 3-year, fully online degree programs

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-04-28 02:02


The University of Colorado is asking its faculty and staff to get creative and develop new, fully online degree programs to launch in the fall of 2018. The CU system is calling for online degree program proposals until July 15, with grants being awarded by Sept. 30. CU hopes to select three winning grant proposals and award each team $200,000 for course development. Faculty selected for the grant will receive a $15,000 stipend, with staff members receiving a $5,000 stipend to support the logistics of course development. Students must be able to complete the degree completely online and in three calendar years, though they won’t be required to work within that time frame.

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Tag des herzkranken Kindes am

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Thu, 2016-04-28 00:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Tag des herzkranken Kindes am 05.05.2016
Categories: Science News

Ausgewählte Informationen aus Anlass des Internationalen Hebammentages am 05.05.2016

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Thu, 2016-04-28 00:00
Ausgewählte Informationen aus Anlass des Internationalen Hebammentages am 05.05.2016
Categories: Science News

Simbot, Give Me Five

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-04-27 18:39

Yian Shang, Elena Zheleva, Source, Apr 27, 2016

This is the sort of thing I want to see enabled for a personal learning environment. It is, of course, a lot easier to do on a multti-user hosted platform such as Slack (using specialty applications called slackbots). Here's how it works: "The basis of our algorithm for finding similar articles is a neural network, which takes the words of each article and projects them into vectors of numbers. We then aggregate the word vectors for each of the words in an article to come up with an article vector. The vectors of numbers allow you to easily uncover the relationships between words and articles by applying different similarity measures, such as cosine similarity. Specifically, the neural network algorithm is  word2vec, which was implemented through the Python topic-modeling library  gensim." This is all off-the-shelf stuff for platforms these days. I can't wait to see it implemented in a personal graph.

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