news (external)

Cybersecurity Online Course Addressing Advanced Cybercrime and Security Threats

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-06-20 02:05

by MIT

MIT Professional Education will offer its first online course on Cybersecurity to a global audience of professionals from Sept. 15 – Oct. 27, 2015. This course, featuring 14 faculty from the world-renowned MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), is offered in support of a campus-wide MIT initiative to counter the real and damaging threat of cybersecurity attacks facing organizations around the globe. Additional sessions of the course will also be offered from Nov. 10 – Dec. 22, 2015 and Jan. 12 – Feb. 23, 2016. The course launching on Sept. 15 is being offered at an introductory price of $545.

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2-Year Colleges in Calif. Hope Online-Course Upgrades Will Improve Completion

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2015-06-20 02:03

by Meg Bernhard, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Representatives of the California Community Colleges on Monday announced upgrades in their online-course system, the California Virtual Campus, that are intended to improve students’ completion rates. The college system said the effort was designed to make it easier for students to find courses that fulfill transfer requirements and create pathways to the California State University system. Among the improvements are a design that works better on mobile phones and includes an improved search function. The community-college system also has increased efforts to improve the quality of its online courses, to better prepare students to take such courses, and to train instructors to teach them. Those efforts fall broadly under the system’s Online Education Initiative.

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Intelligence Deficit Syndrome

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 19:12

Dpug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog, Jun 19, 2015

Doug Jognson riffs on a post from Dilbert author Scott Adams on what he calls Complexity-Induced Mental Illness, The point is that there are so many numbers, controls, options and doodads in society that it's causing people to stop being able to cope. But what about the 25% who do cope? I think there's an attitude here that's important, and it's one of letting go. Focus on what you need, forget the rest. It's OK if your VCR blinks 12:00 on and off if you are not using it to tell the time. It's fine if you don't understand file format options if you're happy to read and write regular Word documents. If you know which button makes the door go up and down and what's all you want to do, who cares what the other buttons do? And if you can't let it go, experiment and simplify. When I meet a new faucet in a new hotel room (something I've done hundreds of times) I just fiddle with it until I've figured out hot-cold, fast-slow and shower-tap. Letting go, experimentation and simplification are cognitive skills, and we should teach them.

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Valedictorian Made A Secret Instagram Account To Write A Personal Note To All 657 People In His Class

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 16:12

Jacob Geers, Thought Catalog, Jun 19, 2015

OK, so he did this before he ever became valedictorian, and he did it anonymously, which makes it even better. I love stories like this. It's a case where someone sees that people are doing their best, that they're genuinely good, and that there's a way to speak to each person. I don't always remember that. And more, when someone says something like this to you, about you, don't you want to be that person they're describing: "You are always so helpful and kind and are willing to be there for a friend in the blink of an eye." It's pretty hard not to be this when you know other people are reading this and saying this about you. Via a bunch of TV website (I guess this has made the rounds in the U.S.).

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Deep Learning Machine Beats Humans in IQ Test

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 16:12

Technology Review, Jun 19, 2015

Some stuff on analytics. In this item, a 'deep learning' machine is reported to have beaten humans in IQ tests. Well, some humans. “ To our surprise, the average performance of human beings is a little lower than that of our proposed method,” they say. Also, in an online lecture, Timothy McKay  describes what can be learned by analysing students' revisions to their essays. Technology Review also  describes a study showing how Google 'deep learning' has taught a computer to read. In this case it's able to cluster words by studying articles from the Daily Mail and the short synopses unrelated authors write about them. Here are four (very superficial)  lessons about Google's deep learning program. Finally, Foreign Affairs on the  limits and dangers of big data. "If algorithms represent a new ungoverned space, a hidden and potentially ever-evolving unknowable public good, then they are an affront to our democratic system, one that requires transparency and accountability in order to function."

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Something has gone very wrong with science

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 16:12

William Reville, The Irish Times, Jun 19, 2015

Brian Mulligan asks on Facebook, "is educational research even worse?" From my perspective, it is. Because all this is especially true of the 'research' published in journals of education: Read Richard Horton, editor in chief of the Lancet: "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, ‘ poor methods get results’ . . ." And not, contra Campbell Collaboration,  this isn't going to be fixed by turning education research into pseudo-medical research. We need to re-evaluate what we're trying to accomplish with research publication (hint: something not related to 'tenure' and 'funding').

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Our Logo - Your Statement!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 16:12
Display, Jun 19, 2015

This is fun. is encouraging people to create their own versions of the openlearning logo (which is just a paintbrush 'O'). It's to underline the site's emphasis on social connections in learning. Their site states, "We understand that for students to learn deeply, they need to be active, engaged, inspired, involved. They need to interact with their peers, connect dots between new and current knowledge and they need to have fun in the process!"

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The Forces Behind The Decline Of For-Profit Colleges

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-06-19 02:05


Barring a last-minute legal decision, as of July 1, the nation’s for-profit colleges are going to be subject to a new Education Department rule known as gainful employment. That is: Do students end up earning enough to pay off their loans? A trade group of career colleges is suing to stop the rule, but this is far from the only monkey on the sector’s back. As recently as 2010, these schools enrolled one in nine college students. Today, some are shutting down, cutting back, tanking in the stock market, even going bankrupt. The bellwether was the giant Corinthian Colleges a year ago, but many others are in trouble as well. Even the University of Phoenix, which five years ago had 460,000 students, has seen that number fall by half.

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University of Arizona will offer bachelor’s degrees online

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-06-19 02:03

by Carol Ann Alaimo,

When Starbucks recently went searching for a school to provide online education for baristas and selected ASU, it didn’t look twice at the University of Arizona. The UA had nothing to offer the world’s largest coffee chain since none of its bachelor’s degrees is available online. Now that’s about to change. After years of delay, the UA is launching a new chapter in its history by offering some of its undergraduate degrees over the Internet, beginning with the fall semester.

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Can Digital Badges Help Encourage Professors to Take Teaching Workshops?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-06-19 02:02

by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

A few colleges are trying a new incentive to get professors to participate in professional-development workshops: digital badges. The idea of offering badges has become popular in education-technology circles in the past few years, in most cases as an alternative to a traditional college diploma, or even as a different way of giving grades in courses. The goal is to create an easy way for people to show employers they have attained a given skill. After all, who ever looks at a college transcript?

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Hemingway - Fri, 2015-06-19 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

It Takes All Kinds

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 01:10

Erin Miller, ACRLog, Jun 18, 2015

Fun discussion of personality tests. And yes, I've done dozens and dozens of the Buzzfeed tests, some of which are not to be taken seriously, but others of which offer at least some insight (a lot depends on the test). The author writes, "The point is that this was a valuable exercise in self-awareness as well as team building. I learned about what motivates and what irritates my coworkers and what different skills sets each of us possess and value. However, I learned the most not from the test results themselves but from hearing feedback and opinions of my colleagues as we analyzed ourselves and discussed in which ways we fit the different categories (colors)." Notice: not one word about making all someone's instruction 'blue' or 'orange'.

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When Learning Analytics Meets E-Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 01:10

Betul C. Czerkawski, Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Jun 18, 2015

Survey article. Not many deep insights here ("It is important to recognize that learning analytics hosts many opportunities and challenges for the society at large...") but there are links to a number of specific analytics projects and some learning analytics tools.

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Games vs Game-based Learning vs Gamification

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 01:10

Pranjalee Thanekar, Upside Learning, Jun 18, 2015

The highlight of this post is a simple table that distinguishes between games, game-based learning, and gamification. "A popular example of Gamification is Deloitte’ s Leadership Academy, which uses rank, rewards, missions and leader boards as one of the ways to encourage its employees and client companies to log on, take courses and continue corporate training despite busy work schedules."

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Max C Roser and 223 of his closest friends are Enemies of the Truth!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2015-06-19 01:10

Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning, Jun 18, 2015

I think that the question we need to ask here is not how wrong Max Roser was not how much damage he has done (both of which, I think, are quantified in this post) but rather, what is it about our existing system to creating and disseminating knowledge in education that makes Max Roser's actions seem reasonable and plausible to Max Roser. Because I'm quite sure he never set out to misinform 223 people. So what led him to, first, believe that the diagram represented a form of knowledge, and second, to share it without verifying the veracity of the information? This is the fundamental problem of education in our society. It is incredibly easy to get people to remember things - too easy (which is why these 'learning outcomes' studies are so misleading). What really matters is remembering the right things, useful things, and usable things. Maybe by studying Max Roser instead of merely complaining about him we can find out how to address this.

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Soziale Pflegeversicherung

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Fri, 2015-06-19 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 2014 ergänzt.

Categories: Science News

Tap, Swipe … but not for long.

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-06-18 22:09

Dean Groom, Playable, Jun 18, 2015

I think it is useful to observe that different devices are used for different purposes. For example, we tend to prefer large devices - such as desktop computers - if we are using the computer for a long period of time. Now true, I read What is Code on my phone (the first time; I reread it on a desktop and enjoyed all the animations too the second time). But reading 38,000 words on a phone isn't something I normally do (what can I say? I was riveted). So generalizations like "teen s are using nothing but phones" may reflect the fact that they're not working at jobs all day (or at least, not desk jobs) more than than some trend about the future of computing devices.

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How to respond to learning-style believers

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-06-18 22:09

Cathy Moore, Jun 18, 2015

This is a post to help bolster the arguments of people who disagree with me. :) But treat carefully. Cathy Moore writes, "Learning styles have been popularized by well-intentioned people, including possibly your professor of instructional design. However, the claim that we have to adapt our design to accommodate different learning styles has been repeatedly debunked by research." My take is that many people who talk about learning styles do not believe that this means we have to "adapt our design" to different learning styles - we are not, in other words, instructionists. Indeed, from my perspective, one of the problems of instructivist approaches is that they are completely indifferent to - and unimpacted by - individual learner differences. So they begin by denying what to me is the most obvious and intuitive fact about learning and education - that everyone is different. But hey, maybe if you read Moore's last paragraph you'll disagree with me. And I certainly agree with this: "I say that the best way to honor people’ s individuality isn’ t to shove them into simplistic categories so we can pour information into them." Taxonomies are for pigeons.

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Foundations for OER Strategy Development

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-06-18 22:09

Nicole Allen, Delia Browne, Mary Lou Forward, Cable Green, Alek Tarkowski, Jun 18, 2015

This document has matured a lot since it began life as a proposal earlier in the year. It is not much more balanced and nuanced, and is approaching a state where it can be considered a comprehensive account of open educational resources (OERs). There are still bits I disagree with: it should be more focused on the value proposition, and less focused on the specific manner in which the value is realized; and it still stresses a common approach (and especially definitions and standards) on grounds of being able to scale rather than a diverse and multi-faceted approach on grounds of usefulness. But it's better - a  lot better - than what I was seeing earlier.

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Gov. Scott Walker Calls Possibility of Taking Online Courses to Finish Degree in White House ‘Interesting’

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-06-18 02:04


Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor who is considering a bid for the White House, told ABC News that the possibility of taking online courses to finish his college degree — if he were to win the presidential election and found himself at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in early 2017 — is “interesting.” “I’ve got two sons who very, very well, before the next election, at least one of them, may have his degree and the other would be just a year out,” Walker told ABC News’ Jon Karl. “Part of it was I wanted to make sure they went through and got what they needed,” he said.

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