news (external)

A Flexible Future

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-12-02 13:39

By Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Some of the country’s most rigorous research universities have a new obsession: flexibility. Institutions such as Duke and Harvard Universities and the Georgia and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology are laying the groundwork for curricula that will be delivered through a combination of face-to-face instruction, blended courses and distance education. A common goal is to offer students “flexibility” — a word several administrators used to summarize their institutions’ aspirations. Regardless of the definition, flexibility has much in common with MIT’s plans to “modularize” education — breaking courses down into smaller modules that can be taken on their own or shuffled and rearranged into a more personalized experience. In a preliminary report released last year, MIT toyed with the idea of “unbundling education and blurring boundaries” — combining distance and in-person instruction to the point where students could one day spend as little as two years on campus.

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Fossile fleischfressende Pflanze in Bernstein entdeckt

ScienceTicker.Info - Tue, 2014-12-02 13:20
Erstmals haben Paläontolgen eine fossile fleichfressende Pflanze entdeckt. Bei dem Fund handelt es sich um zwei mit Drüsen bedeckte Blättchen in einem Stück Baltischen Bernsteins. Er stammt aus einem Tagebau bei Kaliningrad in Russland und ist etwa 35 bis 47 Millionen Jahre alt.
Categories: Science News

5 rockstar superprofessors of online learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-12-02 01:10

By Jake New, eCampus News

Much has been written about how massive open online courses (MOOCs) have given rise to a cast of so-called “rockstar professors.” While rockstar professors aren’t actually a new concept, their star power has always been more-or-less confined to the campus where they teach. MOOCs, however, have given these other charismatic professors a global stage in which to teach and — for better or worse — to entertain.

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Technology is enabling ‘lifestyle learning’ for MBA students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-12-02 01:05

by Scoop

Business schools are increasingly adopting digital technology to give students greater flexibility in their studies with the international trends of ‘lifestyle learning’ and online MBAs beginning to catch on in New Zealand. Andrew Crisp, Director of CarringtonCrisp a UK based, education marketing consultancy recently visited New Zealand to speak at the 2014 Asia Pacific Association of MBAs (AMBA) Conference. He comments, “Technology is having a dramatic impact on business education. Flexibility is the key theme to consider, it means that people can learn at any time and anywhere, working at their own pace. This is what we call ‘lifestyle learning’ – the ability to learn in a way that fits around your life commitments.”

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Online courses have huge potential to expand access

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-12-02 01:02

by Pete Cannell, the Scotsman

We are in the midst of a digital revolution. Anyone with a suitable device and access to the internet has a vast range of information at their fingertips. At the same time mobile technology has opened up new channels of communication, through social media. All this has happened in less than two decades. What does this mean for education, and in particular, for adult education and lifelong learning?

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Christmas Shipping - Tue, 2014-12-02 01:00
The xkcd store has some new stuff in it, and we're currently shipping for Christmas.

Some of the larger xkcd comics are available in wall poster form, including a map of the combined North America subway system, a chart of nearby exoplanets, a map of what each US state is shaped like, and Up Goer Five.

You can also get a bunch of xkcd t-shirts! I just made some new ones; you might like this Greek letters shirt, and Wikipedia users may enjoy this warning shirt.

In addition to shirts and posters, you can get mugs, stickers, buttons, signed prints.

Note: We'll be shipping stuff all through December. The holiday deadline for US orders is December 18th, so you should order before then if you want your stuff by Christmas.

Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Online Programs Offer New Opportunities for Arab Students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-12-01 01:10

By: Al-Monitor, US News

With the explosion of online programs in recent years, distance education is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for many would-be undergraduates in the Arab region, especially those who have jobs or families to take care of. Broadly speaking, the Arab world offers three main types of online education. The first is the virtual model, where courses are taught entirely online. Such programs have taken off in recent years as instability has rocked many Arab countries. Online learning has also proven particularly attractive for women, especially in more conservative Arab nations, because it allows them to pursue their education while continuing to maintain the home. In Saudi Arabia, where women aren’t allowed to drive, online programs eliminate additional expenses, such as having to hire a car service to get to class.

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How 6 higher ed institutions are continuing to approach MOOCs

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-12-01 01:04

By Keith Button, Education Dive

As the debate continues over the value and purpose of massive open online courses — and whether they will become as revolutionary as they were originally touted to be — colleges and universities are examining their own MOOC efforts. Several higher education institutions that recently launched MOOCs are reviewing their successes, failures, and costs. Many are either launching new rounds of free online courses or considering new MOOCs, largely for their perceived promotional benefit — and perhaps even for credit. Here’s a look at what 6 institutions have done with MOOCs, and what they are planning or considering for their next steps.

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Business Education Faces a Challenging and Disruptive Future

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-12-01 01:03

by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)

• 70 per cent of business school respondents agree or strongly agree that “technological innovation will bring new entrants to the business education market”

• Just over 90 per cent said “technology will promote the growth of new business models for business education.”

• 90 per cent agree that “business schools will develop flexible degrees that allow students to mix study and work

• 75 per cent agree that business schools will develop new products to help younger and older workers who no or only limited experience of higher education.

• Only 50 per cent of employers are aware of MOOCs, but 70 per cent agree that “more training and development in our organization will be delivered online in the next five years.”

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Done - Mon, 2014-12-01 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Why MOOCs are only part of the answer for higher education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 23:02

Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Nov 30, 2014

For the record, I have never thought of Tony Bates as a critic of MOOCs, particularly, though he has certainly weighed in with his opinions on how they could be improved (which is what we would hope for and expect). here is a case in point. He writes, "cMOOCs have the most potential, because lifelong learning will become increasingly important, and the power of bringing a mix of already well educated and knowledgeable people from around the world to work with other committed and enthusiastic learners on common problems or areas of interest could truly revolutionise not just education, but the world in general. However, cMOOCs at present are unable to do this, because they lack organisation and do not apply what is already known about how online groups work best." Of course, I regard these criticisms of MOOCs as features of MOOCs, and not flaws. I respect the research, but I believe it was conducted with an incomplete understanding of internet technologies and learning models based in personal development rather than content acquisition.

[Link] [Comment]

Careful with that Axe, Eugene!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 23:02

Valdis Krebs, T N T : The Network Thinkers, Nov 30, 2014

A big headline in the local newspaper trumpeted the fact that the City is eliminating 19 positions (something their cost-averse editors deeply love). This seems unwise at the best of times, but the city is closing the positions "by attrition", which is the equivalent of using random selection. That's often a really bad idea.  It's hard to imagine something more demoralizing than the realization that, when you leave, nobody will replace you. As Harold Jarche points out, even targeted job reductions can miss the mark. How often have governments and corporations let key catalysts in their operation go because they looked only at the job description, and not at the person? But this same reasoning also applies to developing the organization. Social network analysis is crucial to understanding what a person actually does, so that when the time to replace the person (in more enlightened places, at least) management will have a good idea what talents and qualities are needed to do the job. Via Harold Jarche.

[Link] [Comment]

Two design models for online collaborative learning: same or different?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 23:02

Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Nov 30, 2014

Tony Bates looks at "what we might call the Toronto school, Linda Harasim and her former colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in Toronto (although Linda has been  firmly based for 25 years at SFU in Vancouver/Burnaby), and the Alberta school, Randy Garrison, and colleagues Terry Anderson and Walter Archer." Both sets of thinkers were influential in Canadian distance education in the 90s and beyond. Interestingly - but perhaps not surprisingly - both sets were interested in what Harasim called online collaborative learning (OCL) and the other three called the Community of Inquiry Model (CoI). As Bates says, "online collaborative learning can lead to deep, academic learning, or transformative learning, as well as, if not better than, discussion in campus-based classrooms." But it doesn't scale well, and requires the contribution of skilled instructors.

[Link] [Comment]

Tag des brandverletzten Kindes am 07.12. 2014

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Sun, 2014-11-30 23:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Tag des brandverletzten Kindes am 07.12. 2014
Categories: Science News

Beyond Hello: Ignite Your Passion for Discovery

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 20:01

Dean Shareski, Ideas, Thoughts, Nov 30, 2014

This is a nice project that is worth a nod. Dean Shareski is traveling across Canada hosting evenings where educators can gather and share stories with each other. The program is called Beyond Hello: Ignite your Passion for Discovery, and is sponsored by the Discovery Education Network. "These 5 minute talks take a great deal of work to develop and while short in duration, impact folks for long after the event," he writes. Voluntary informal learning in a pub: if it can work for teachers, it can work for anyone.

[Link] [Comment]

iDEA Programme Badges – Recognising Digital Skills

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 20:01

Andrew Robertson, Microsoft UK Schools Blog, Nov 30, 2014

So, should you be given a badge for instantiating a particular political perspective, or espousing a particular philosophy? One would think not. But this program comes dangerously close to that line, close enough that it gives pause for thought. "The iDEA Programme (Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award) and the partnership with the Nominet Trust and the Duke of York, which aims to support young people who have a creative spark of entrepreneurship... here is a competition to find the best digital business ideas... (it) also offers young people the opportunity to learn skills and earn recognised badges that will not only help them when and idea comes to them, but also improve their employability."

[Link] [Comment]

Competency Education in a K-16+ World

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 20:01

Jonathan VanderEls, Connected Principals, Nov 30, 2014

The redefinition of learning as defined by outcomes rather than process is in full swing and there are proponents and opponents equally. I think the debate boils down to two sentences: first, competency-based education can support student learning as evidenced by good test scores (that's what this post shows), but second, is that all there is to an education? But maybe we're thinking of this incorrectly. If we can obtain the learning outcomes we desire using competency-based learning, and if (as a bonus) this can save time and money, then shouldn't we be asking what else we can do in education? Can we build community, immerse students in authentic experiences, give time for play and exploration, foster metacognitive skills? Let's call this model of learning "Competency-Plus".

[Link] [Comment]

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 17:01

daffyskies, YouTube, Nov 30, 2014

This video teaches you how to make ice cream, and along the way, teaches you an interesting scientific principle. It's yet another example of how you can learn anything online. Best of all, the author writes: "This was a school assignment and my first time using iMovie :)" Perfect.

[Link] [Comment]

Knowledge as Recognition

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2014-11-30 05:01

Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Nov 29, 2014

This is a short essay I wrote as a contribution to Philosophy 12, a high school philosophy class. I tried to structure the paper according to the requirements of the assignment (keeping in mind that I haven't studied any of the lessons in the class and can only guess what authors and theories they covered). The assignment was to "state and support a proposition of personal knowledge" and in my case the proposition I wished to support was the idea that 'knowledge' is not some sort of propositional attitude, that is, not a justified and true opinion or belief, but rather, the result of what Hume would call 'custom and habit'. This is a view I have advanced in the past, but never in this exact form, so I thought it was worth sharing.

[Link] [Comment]

Online Learning: Outcomes and Satisfaction among Underprepared Students in an Upper-Level Psychology Course

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-11-30 01:07

by Dr. Colleen McDonough, et al; OJDLA

Online learning is on the rise, but research on outcomes and student satisfaction has produced conflicting results, and systematic, targeted research on underprepared college students is generally lacking. This study compared three sections (traditional, online, and 50% hybrid) of the same upper-level psychology course, taught with identical materials by the same instructor. Although exam scores were marginally higher in the traditional course, final grades and written assignments did not differ across sections, nor did student satisfaction. Student engagement predicted outcomes online. Taken together, these results suggest that outcomes and satisfaction are equivalent in online, hybrid, and traditional courses, and that a student’s own diligence and drive might better predict success in online learning.

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