news (external)

Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-09-10 19:44

Paul Ibbotson, Michael Tomasello, Scientific American, [Sept] 10, 2016

I've never supported Chomsky's theory of language learning. So to me, this is old and unsurprising news: "cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’ s 'universal grammar' theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages." The real mechanisms for language learning are network mechanisms. "Children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all— such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things." To my mind (and how I argued in papers like 'Conditional Variability' and 'Why Equi Fails') Chomsky's approach founders on the question of context. This is borne out in the new research. "The contributions from usage-based approaches have shifted the debate in the other direction to how much pragmatics can do for language before speakers need to turn to the rules of syntax."

[Link] [Comment]

Why does deep and cheap learning work so well?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-09-10 19:44

Henry W. Lin, Max Tegmark, arXiv, [Sept] 10, 2016

There's a good  Technology Review summary of this article. In a nutshell: why do deep learning algorithms, which simulate neural networks, work so well? Mathematically, they should be much less effective, because they are attempting to select the best answer from an enormous number of possible outcomes. According to this paper, the reason is that the laws of physics are biased toward certain outcomes, and neural networks - which emulate physical processes - are biased in a similar manner. “ We have shown that the success of deep and cheap learning depends not only on mathematics but also on physics, which favors certain classes of exceptionally simple probability distributions that deep learning is uniquely suited to model.” It's an important lesson: the universe may be described by mathematics, but it is not defined by mathematics.

[Link] [Comment]

How Google And Others Are Plotting The Revenge Of The Web App

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-09-10 16:43

Jared Newman, Fast Company, [Sept] 10, 2016

I've messed around with web apps in the past and I've never really been interested in developing for the mobile app ecosystem. So I'm hopeful something comes of this. "Web apps represent an optimistic view of the world, in which users are free from walled garden app stores, and developers don't have to rebuild their software for a half-dozen platforms." That's not to say there aren't issues beyond the competitive edge mobile apps enjoy, and this article is lavish in its description of them. And it's not a short article. But the work behind "Progressive Web Apps" offers room for hope. "Building immersive apps using web technology no longer requires giving up the web itself," writes Alex Russell, a developer at Google. "Progressive Apps are our ticket out of the tab, if only we reach for it."

[Link] [Comment]

The MOOC Identity: Designing Learning Environments

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-09-10 04:42

In this presentation I place the development of the MOOC in the context of innovative and transformational change. I then describe what will need to take place in  MOOCs to support tranformational change - connectivist design, personal learning, and a distributed ecosystem.

International MOOC Colloquium, Anacapri, Italy (Keynote) [Sept] 09, 2016 [Comment]

National Online Learning Day to be Celebrated September 15 #OnlineLearningDay

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-09-10 02:10

by Business Wire

On Thursday, September 15, the online learning community and its supporters will celebrate the inaugural National Online Learning Day. The community of online learners is rapidly growing as student success expands beyond the bounds of traditional learning. National Online Learning Day celebrates the online learning community and showcases the accomplishments of its students and educators. Online learning is available to all learners—from preschool to high school to college and beyond—and provides students with the ultimate accessibility and personalization. By combining curriculum, technology and the Internet, students can study almost any subject—anywhere, anytime.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_19891') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_19891') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_19891') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_19891'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_19891') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Why the father of the self-driving car left Google

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-09-10 02:06

By Therese Poletti, MarketWatch

One might think that Sebastian Thrun, known in Silicon Valley as the father of the self-driving car, would be questioning his move away from the technology as autonomous cars become more than a pie-in-the-sky dream. “‘You had the coolest job on the planet, why are you doing this?’” Thrun said he is often asked. Thrun, however, believes he now has a more noble mission: Making education democratic and available to all on the internet. The Silicon Valley legend is president and cofounder of Udacity Inc., based a few miles from the GooglePlex, where Thrun started up Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG, +0.35% GOOGL, +0.69% celebrated driverless-cars initiative and other “moonshot” projects. Udacity is a startup that takes advantage of its location, connections and expertise to offer free online courses on topics such as web development, programming, Android and iOS development and many other tech topics.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_19876') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_19876') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_19876') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_19876'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_19876') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Arizona State Action Lab promotes real-time adaptive learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-09-10 02:02

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Arizona State University has launched an Action Lab, a research hub designed to assess and improve teaching models in order to develop better learning outcomes for students. The lab focuses on course design, teaching delivery, adaptive learning modules and personalized learning in order to create best practices and innovative approaches to education provision. Officials hope the lab offers scalable solutions for how different schools can integrate technology and instruction to better meet the needs of a student population increasing in its diversity.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_19861') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_19861') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_19861') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_19861'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_19861') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Star Trek

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-09-10 01:42

[Sept] 09, 2016

I would be remiss if I did not observe what was a watershed moment not only for myself, but for many of my colleagues. I was eight years old when Star Trek first aired fifty years. I'm not sure whether my memories of watching it are from the original airing, or reruns, but my childhood was filled with dreams of interplanetary explorers. Thank you Gene, Leonard, William, DeForest, James, and all the rest. Fifty years passes in a flash, doesn't it? Star Trek Continues.

[Link] [Comment]

Populating threshold concepts in writing studies

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-09-10 01:42

Alex Reid, Digital Digs, [Sept] 09, 2016

I've experience what might be called 'threshold concepts' on numerous occasions in my life, some of which are documented above. I think it's likely every person goes through moments of realization (though, of course, different moments). "Learning them is generally transformative, involving 'an ontological as well as a conceptual shift . . . becoming a part of who we are, how we see, and how we feel' (Cousin 2006). Once understood, they are often irreversible and the learner is unlikely to forget them. They are integrative, demonstrating how phenomena are related, and helping learners make connections. They tend to involve forms of troublesome knowledge, what Perkins refers to as knowledge that is “ alien” or counterintuitive (qtd. in Meyer and Land 2006, 3)." Image: Carr,

[Link] [Comment]

My Watershed Moments

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-09 22:42

I'm following in the footgsteps of Dean Shareski, who originally posted the challenge, and Chris  Kennedy, who posted a response of his own. The idea is to identify some key events in our own professional development, some 'watershed moments', if you will.  Shareski writes, "Watershed moments are those occasions where there the lightbulb came on or something profound was shared or understood."

, , [Sept] 09, 2016 [Link]
[Comment] Share | var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};

What's the organizing principle of today's digital workplace?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-09 16:42

Dion Hinchcliffe, ZD Net, [Sept] 09, 2016

You could pretty much ignore the text in this article and zero in on the centrepiece, the table of four enterprise information management models. No doubt you'll recognize at least one of them, though if your organization resembles most, you'll recognize a mish-mash of them: community and social business; document and content-centric; vendor-centric; and the portfolio of workplace apps. But do check out the text, as it contains numerous links fleshing out each of these models.

[Link] [Comment]

Online Program Management: An updated view of the market landscape

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-09 13:42

Phil Hill, e-Literate, [Sept] 09, 2016

Phil Hill writes, Online Program Management companies (OPMs) "help non-profit schools develop online programs, most often for Master’ s level programs. These providers provide various services for which traditional institutions historically have not had the experience or culture to support. Some examples of the services include marketing & recruitment, enrollment management, curriculum development, online course design, student retention support, technology hosting, and student and faculty support." This post maps the field, noting " the addition of vendors  within  the growing category  of the market that eschews tuition revenue sharing models and offers Fee for Service." Good stuff.

[Link] [Comment]

Transforming Chaos into Clarity: The Promises and Challenges of Digital Credentialing

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-09-09 02:10

by Chelsea Barabas and J. Phillip Smith

Higher education serves as a critical vehicle for upward mobility and equal opportunity in the U.S. labor market. First, it provides opportunities for workers to develop critical skills and competencies, and more generally pursue goals for self-improvement throughout their lives. Second, higher education provides a process for obtaining credentials, which play a critical role in differentiating workers in the labor market by providing signals that represent their skills, competencies, and accomplishments. In an ideal world, credentials would be tightly coupled with the skills and competencies that a student obtains from an educational experience. In reality, traditional academic credentials function more like roughly hewn proxies for ability, whose signaling power must be supplemented by other information. This tends to entrench social stratification rather than transform it. This shortcoming of traditional credentials is evidenced by the disparities in employment along race and class lines that continue to persist even after the massive expansion in higher education opportunities in the United States in the decades after World War II.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_19846') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_19846') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_19846') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_19846'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_19846') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Self-Paced ELearning Market in Steep Decline, Report Says

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-09-09 02:05

By Richard Chang, THE Journal

The worldwide self-paced e-learning market is declining at a precipitous rate, according to a recent report released by Ambient Insight Research, a Washington state-based market research firm. According to the study, the global compound annual growth rate for self-paced e-learning products is clearly negative at -6.4 percent over the next five years. Revenues are expected to drop dramatically to $33.4 billion by 2021, a decline of $13.5 billion over the forecast period. Revenues for self-paced e-learning in 2016 are heavily concentrated in two countries — the United States and China. The growth rate in the U.S. is at -5.3 percent, representing a $4.9 billion drop in revenues by 2021, while in China, the rate is at -8.8 percent, representing a $1.9 billion drop by 2021. The e-learning market in China has deteriorated rapidly in just the last 18 months, the report said. Revenues for self-paced e-learning will drop $6.8 billion over the next five years in the U.S. and China combined, according to the report.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_19826') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_19826') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_19826') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_19826'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_19826') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Online learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-09-09 02:02

By Fahad Malik, Inter Press Service

THE rapid evolution of the internet has revealed avenues of learning that are challenging the traditional norms of education. Instructional content, previously restricted to the classroom, is now being broadcast at lightning speeds to anywhere from bustling metropolises to rural suburbs. Information that was inaccessible is suddenly present, organised and ready for consumption by anyone who is yearning to learn. In our neck of the woods, where public universities are rife with enormous student teacher ratios and private education comes at the expense of debt-inducing tuition, the online learning phenomenon can prove to be a game changer. In fact, Pakistan was among the pioneering nations to develop and successfully implement distant learning in the form of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). Courses were offered and degrees conferred in several disciplines in humanities and sciences to those who couldn’t access higher education due to distance, financial woes or simply luck.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_19811') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_19811') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_19811') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_19811'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_19811') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Wrong - Fri, 2016-09-09 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Trends in Canadian University Finance

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-09 01:41

Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, [Sept] 08, 2016

The funny thing about Alex Usher's report in HESA is that while he keys in on the rising costs on colleges and universities in Canada, he doesn't talk about the students served by those institutions. In the  reports he cites but doesn't link to (966 page PDF) the word 'students' appears for the first time on page 952. He says "government funding is down in real dollars but student income has replaced that income and more besides, so that institutional budgets are still increasing at inflation +1% per year...  given that compensation is 60% of the total budget, that’ s still where the majority of the restraint needs to happen." Given that we're only spending inflation +1% per year I think  the fact that "the proportion of adults aged 25 to 64 with tertiary education in Canada increased from 39% to 50%" (between 1999-2009) is a remarkable achievement. But I guess the business officers don't look at remarkable achievements, and increases in costs (but not government funding) are grounds only for restraint. Though maybe instead we could look at restoring government funding levels and givings students a break.

[Link] [Comment]

Domains of Online Scholarly Presence

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-09 01:41

Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, [Sept] 08, 2016

I was a bit uncomfortable with  Chris Long's reference to publishers wanting to see large numbers of social media followers when considering book proposals, and I'm not keen on the institutional focus, but I was otherwise supportive of his approach, and Jim Groom's discussion, around the idea of working openly. And if it moves us from a culture of closed to a culture of open, I'm good with it: "This vision of public scholarship and infrastructure is echoed in  Chris Long’ s notion of the ideals that can and should undergird a public, land grant university that is invested in cultivating and sharing as widely as possible the ideas that inform who we are as a culture." And after that, we can start to talk about one's personal identity over and above one's institutional identity.

[Link] [Comment]

Soziale Pflegeversicherung

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2016-09-09 00:00

Die im Informationssystem eingespeicherten gestaltbaren Tabellen aus dem Bereich der "Geschäfts- und Rechnungsergebnisse der sozialen Pflegeversicherung" des Bundesministeriums für Gesundheit wurden um das Jahr 2015 ergänzt.

Categories: Science News

Canadian Values

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-09-08 22:40

Kellie Leitch's values are not Canadian values, and the ultimate proof of this is that she would even consider the possibility that there would be a values test for new Canadians. Or for people, generally, at all.

, , [Sept] 07, 2016 [Link]
[Comment] Share | var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};


Subscribe to Ulrich Schrader's Website aggregator