news (external)

Instructional Design Strategies for Intensive Online Courses: An Objectivist-Constructivist Blended Approach

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-07-16 02:05

by Sue-Jen Chen, JIOL

Due to the time constraints of intensive online courses, instructional design strategies should be modified in order to retain the quality of learning without reducing the quantity of the course content. This paper presents how a blended approach combining objectivist and constructivist instructional strategies was used in the design of an intensive summer online course in the context of a support-based online learning environment. The implementation results revealed that students had a positive learning experience in the course and were highly satisfied with their learning outcomes.

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E-Learning Creates Value for Everyone

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-07-16 02:02

by Monkey Mike, Degree Jungle

E-Learning is the current trend in turning the collegiate system itself into a business, and the movement is making headway around the planet. Today, striving for-profit companies and accredited universities identify that web-based education and learning can enhance their earnings ten-fold. A multitude of systems are presently being used to deliver academic training on the Internet. With potentials in design improvements, e-Learning has reinvented the concept of online education. Twenty years ago, exposure to web-based courses and accredited degree programs was confined to the lucky few who resided in industrial nations. However, today’s learners, even those found in the most isolated parts of the world, have the ability to locate online courses through sites like Degree Jungle and earn their diplomas from a well-known university.

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First Million Coursera Words Translated Into Russian Using Crowdsourcing

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-07-16 02:01

by ABBYY Language Platform

Participants in the Coursera crowdsourcing project for translation into Russian have reached the milestone of one million words translated. Almost 5,000 volunteers are currently working to translate Coursera lectures into Russian. The project was launched on March 24, 2014 by ABBYY Language Services, an official language partner of Coursera. The project is also part of the Coursera Global Translation Community of dedicated volunteers, working together to provide translations for Coursera-hosted courses.

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Power Cord - Wed, 2014-07-16 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

The History of "Personalization" and Teaching Machines

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-07-16 01:06

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Jul 15, 2014

I'm going through my aggregator to find items I missed while writing and delivering three presentations in four days, and this one from Audrey Watters resonates. We need to be careful. As I pointed out in my own talk, there is a big difference between 'personal' (as in 'personal learning environments') and 'personalized' (as in 'personalized learning'). The latter is where you take something off the shelf, customize it, and deliver it. It's a bit like a modern equivalent of learning styles (which is why some people are calling on Willingham to contribute). The former is when people create and manage learning for themselves.  Tim Klapdor has a nice take on it. "How about we think about learners as people – intelligent people – rather than data points?"

Speaking of data points, Audrey Watters's list of a "flurry of blog posts debating 'personalized learning'" all written by men is a bit of an unfair sample. Here's Krissy Venosdale, Joanne Jacobs, Ariana Witt, Linda Pruett, Rebecca W Ralstrad, Billie Ann Blalock - all women, all writing on personalized learning in the last week. It's important to cast a wide net when talking about educational technology - it's too easy to hear nothing but the same old crowd of consultants and pundits, especially if your focus is on social media. And it's too easy to fall back on some familiar stereotypes while explaining why they're wrong. It's a beautiful rich expressive world out there, but you have to close Twitter and go read new stuff by new people.

[Link] [Comment]

‘Making’ Does Not Equal ‘Constructionism’

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 22:06

Peter Skillen, The Construction Zone, Jul 15, 2014

Good post with some thoughts worth remembering. In particular, constructionism occurs "when people are actively creating artifacts in the real world," like making. But more, "is the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it’ s a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe." In 'making', you are in active control of the design process. In constructionism, you are openly reflective about that design process.

[Link] [Comment]

Congrats to Paul-Olivier Dehaye: MassiveTeaching

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 22:06

George Siemens, elearnspace, Jul 15, 2014

I just want to weigh in with a thought on the course created and then deleted mid-session by a professor on Coursera. I'll say it in a way George Siemens doesn't: what a jerk.

Siemens applauds the move. "Coursera has been revealed as a house of cards in terms of governance and procedures for dealing with unusual situations." Well maybe. But that's hardly unique to Coursera. And I frankly don't believe the explanation, "I want to show how [C]oursera tracks you." So how does this show it? It doesn't. The most charitable explanation I can find is that the professor had a dispute with Coursera, which he resolved by killing the course.

[Link] [Comment]

25 Tips to Turbo Charge Your Leadership with Evernote

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 19:05

Miguel Guhlin, Around the, Jul 15, 2014

I don't use Evernote, but that's only because I have my own systems (especially gRSShopper) for doing a lot of what Evernote does. But I would be the first to recommend it as a productivity tool (not just for 'leaders' - that whole 'leadership' jargon thing is getting out of hand). Basically, Evernote is an internet-accessible database you can use to store notes, records, communications, clippings, and more. I like the way Miguel Guhlin presents here, first addressing the problem people face, and the solution using Evernote (and potentially some additional applications, like IFTTT).

[Link] [Comment]

The Sum of Desire2Learn's Acquisitions: Brightspace

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 19:05

Tony Wan, EdSurge, Jul 15, 2014

This is an awkwardly written article and it's a bit difficult to tease out exactly what the author is saying, but I think it's this: the company Desire2Learn has recently acquired four products to extend its learning support capability. These supports extend beyond the bounds of a traditional learning management system, so they're being branded under a separate name: Brightspace. The generic term for the combination of Brightspace and D2L's flagship platform is an 'integrated learning platform'.

[Link] [Comment]

Decision-making ponderings

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 19:05

Col Beer, Col's Weblog, Jul 15, 2014

I want to flag this item because I want to identify it as being wrong. There are two ways this item is wrong, at least in my view:

  • "people base their decisions on their internal representations... richer, more stylized, incorporate multiple levels of abstraction, and take on a structure that enables rapid retrieval of relevant decision-making heuristics and procedures (recognition-primed decision-making (RPD))" - this involves the postulation of a rich representational structure that probably doesn't exist - I would base decisions on what might be called DRD - direct recognition decision-making process.
  • "Zachary et al. (2013) there are four context awareness levels: perception, comprehension, projection, sense-making." I think it's too easy to create cross-categorized taxonomies. This is an example. We could probably identify each of these elements in a 'perception', but there is no principled distinction to be drawn between them, and they actually overlap ('what it means' is another way of saying 'how does it make sense').

In general, through the history of cognition, people have devised elaborate structures to characterize comprehension and decision-making. These are generally fabrications: they are structures built on the presumption that the brain operates as some sort of rule-based information processing machine. It is not, and so these designs are meaningless.

I mention this especiaally for scholars and academics, because you can be dragged down a rabbit-hole trying to identify and discern fine differences between these models. It's important to recall that since none of them are correct, the distinctions between them don't matter (related: see Descates on Scholasticism).

[Link] [Comment]

Feed WordPress 101: The Basics

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 19:05

Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Jul 15, 2014

This is the first of a five part series providing an overview of content syndication as it relates to WordPress. This is an essential component of a cMOOC-type course using WordPress. This first section covers the basic concepts of syndication, and so is appropriate for a wider audience. Alan Levin writes, "it allows a distributed structure for your course. It is pretty much modeled on the way the internet itself works. Instead of students coming to an LMS to do all their work, they’ re doing it in a site that they maintain and it becomes a thing that they manage."

[Link] [Comment]

How to Overcome Challenges to Complete an Online Degree

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-07-15 02:10

by Dawn Reiss, US News

Completion rates for online students are tough to track, since the U.S. Department of Education only began looking at the issue recently, but many instructors and school leaders say the numbers are low. A 2013 study by Babson Survey Research Group found that that 41 percent of chief academic officers reported “that retaining students was a greater problem for online courses than for face-to-face courses.” That’s because many students who start their online degree drop out in the first two or three weeks, says Betty Vandenbosch, provost for Kaplan University, which allows its students to come to school for the first three weeks for free. “Online education is fabulous, but it’s not for everybody,” Vandenbosch says. “Some people don’t realize how much effort it takes. Many of the people who don’t finish barely start.”

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Lehigh Valley liberal arts colleges warm up to online education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-07-15 02:05

by Meghan Moravcik Walbert, The Morning Call

This summer, Muhlenberg is offering its first fully online course — in astronomy — and educators are working to create blended versions of two other courses, in religion and art history. Moravian just landed a spot in a consortium of colleges that got an $800,000 grant to explore and compare online teaching methods. All six of the Lehigh Valley’s private colleges, including Cedar Crest College, Lehigh University and DeSales University, will spend the summer creating a plan to develop ways to incorporate digital technology in the classroom. “This is a timely moment,” Lafayette President Alison Byerly said in announcing a $25,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation that will fund the effort. Private colleges’ foray into online learning world has been slow in coming.

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INFOGRAPHIC: 10 tips for online course design

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-07-15 02:02

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

New infographics reveal advice for designing online courses; tablet-friendly material. According to recent studies, blended and fully-online courses are reaching almost every college and university in the country, with students craving more flexible and personalized learning. But as many faculty are coming to understand, an effective online course is more than just pasting information on a website. Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_11555') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_11555') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_11555') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_11555'); 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_11555') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Social media in education: ethical concerns

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-15 01:03

Unattributed, ALT Online Newsletter, Jul 14, 2014

This is a summary of a recent workshop on ethical concerns around the use of social media in education. Four major areas were highlighted: the need for a code of conduct or legislation, online harassment and bullying, intellectual property, and authenticity of voice. I don't consider these ethical issues as such, but rather, areas of concern where unethical or illegal behaviour might cause problems. The ethical we issues we face are things like the questions surrounding personal data collection, questions about whether what one reads on the internet is (or should be) true, what types of information fall beyond the bounds of legitimate posting (for example, whether we should block war photos, fail videos, and revealing photos, etc). It's an ethical issue, in other words, when we don't know the proper resolution of the question; simply saying something is bad and shouldn't be done is a management issue.

[Link] [Comment]

Peer Assessment for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-07-14 13:03

Hoi K. Suen, International Review of Research in Open, Distance Learning (IRRODL), Jul 14, 2014

This article examines the application of peer assessment in massive open online courses (MOOCs). The authors note that "perhaps the most glaring problem with peer assessment is how trustworthy the results are. After all, within peer assessment, the performance of a novice is being judged by other novices." The best bit is at the end where different approaches are considered, including connectivist MOOCs, calibrated peer reviews, Bayesian post hoc stabilization, and a credibility index.

[Link] [Comment]

Ministers and Key Partners Chart Path Forward for Education and Skills in Canada

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-07-14 13:03

Press Release, Council of Education Ministers, Canada (CMEC), Jul 14, 2014

The Council of Education Ministers, Canada (CMEC), met with "his week with more than 200 key business and labour leaders, academics, representatives of student organizations, and other stakeholders" l;ast weekend in Charlottetown, and recommended the following:

  • Education and training must empower Canadians to acquire the skills they need for success in the job market in a flexible and dynamic environment.
  • Partnerships and alignment with business, labour, education, and training providers are key to ensuring synergy between education and skills training systems and Canada's labour markets.
  • Access to accurate, relevant, and timely labour market and education data is essential to support Canadians to make smart career choices, as well as enable government and business to make evidence-based decisions in planning for the future.

This is the sort of conversation they were having just before they created the Canadian Council for Learning (CCL), a five-year $80 million program that released a number of reports and then disappeared.

[Link] [Comment]

Apps vs Web Tools: Key Factoids To Know About Both Options

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-07-14 02:09

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Using smartphones and tablets in the classroom isn’t necessarily innovative anymore. For some schools it is the norm, still others are just jumping on the bandwagon of using mobile devices (both in BYOD environments and in scenarios where schools supply the technology). That isn’t to say that a lot of classrooms aren’t using desktop and laptop computers anymore, but a lot of data is pointing to the fact that apps are the future, not the web. The handy infographic linked below takes a look at some interesting statistics on apps vs. web tools.

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Report Examines Why Students Pursue Online Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-07-14 02:04

By Vanessa Denice, US News

“A large majority of students pursuing online degrees and certificates are doing so for employment-related reasons,” the report states. “They want full-time jobs, new jobs, better jobs, or need more training for their current jobs. Within a year of graduation, about 40% report improvement in their employment status, typically a raise or promotion.” The study also identified several other factors that influence a student’s college decisions – as well as a few aspects that are no longer as important. For example, the report found that more students are enrolling in online programs from academic institutions further from home. In 2014, only 54% of online students were participating in a program within 100 miles of their home, compared to 69% in 2013 and 80% in 2012.

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Udacity’s Nanodegrees: Edtech’s Challenge To College Credentials?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-07-14 02:02


Sometime next year, an AT&T executive may be sitting at a desk, trying to decide whether to hire that computer science major from a good college—or a whip-smart high school graduate who just passed five or six courses on mobile iOS development from an online catalog. The value of the college grad’s four-year degree will be backed up by a longstanding higher education establishment that includes universities themselves, as well as the independent accrediting agencies that oversee the quality of their instruction. The high school grad will hold a new kind of credential called a nanodegree, whose value has been vouched for by AT&T itself; the company designed the online coursework in partnership with educational technology startup Udacity.

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