news (external)

The challenges of open data: emerging technology to support learner journeys

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-09-02 03:20

Graham Attwell,, [Sept] 01, 2014

One of the consequences of an outcomes-driven competency-based education system is that it creates the risk of running through the gamut of issues surrounding metadata that characterized the development of online learning resources. This appears to be the basis for the development of LMI in Britain - labour market information. Graham Attwell describes and links to the "LMI for all" API in this presentation. This is a better approach than simply defining XML schemas, as it creates access to data that can actually be used for applications. Maybe second time around we'll get more of this right "with the intention of optimising access to, and use of, core national data sources that can be used to support individuals make better decisions about learning and work." I'd love to see something like this for Canada.

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Reflecting on reflection

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-09-02 03:20

Harold Jarche, [Sept] 01, 2014

I have often described the 'Downes Theory of Education' (which is not original to me, and which is too simple to be called a theory) as follows: "To teach is to model and demonstrate; to learn is to practice and reflect." So much writing focuses on the first pair of activities; the bulk of educational literature is focused on how to teach. My focus has generally been about how to learn, but even here I have tended to focus more on practice and less on reflection. But reflection should not be overlooked; 10,000 hours of practice may produce expertise, but 10,000 hours of unreflective practice produces nothing but sore shoulders. Harold Jarche begins this important conversation. I think it's necessary to expand on the idea. A lot.

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Community Source Is Dead

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-09-02 03:20

Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, [Sept] 01, 2014

I've never been a proponent of what is sometimes called 'community source' (but which is really a closed federation posturing as though it were some sort of open source). The way it  worked was, "several institutions contract together to build software for a common need, with the intent of releasing that software as open source." Fair enough. And it did address the problem of bringing together the resources needed to create such software. But there's a second problem, says Michael Feldstein: "What is the best way to plan and execute software development projects in light of the high degree of uncertainty inherent in developing any software?" Community source is difficult to manage, and nowhere nearly sufficiently agile to respond to changing needs. See eg. the interesting comment from Josh Baron: " I certainly understand the desire on the part of institutional leaders to have control over key decisions and reduce the messiness, this was my first reaction when entering the Sakai community as well, but as soon as these leaders begin to take control they can end up ruining the 'secret sauce'." See also: Kuali for-profit.

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The Real Legacy of MOOCs: Better Introductory Courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-09-02 02:09

By Joshua Kim, PBS Media/Shift

The real impact of MOOCs will be found in the traditional introductory course. Today’s MOOC-catalyzed efforts to improve introductory courses diverge somewhat from the core motivations of NCAT grant recipients and participants. Mostly gone is the impetus to lower instructional costs. The motivations to improve introductory courses to affect student retention and success have not gone away, but they have been joined by a push to improve the value that students perceive from their learning experience in the course.

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How online education can help Colorado adults

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-09-02 02:05

by Gabi Zolla, Denver Posts

If Colorado is to maintain an economy and living standard that is a model for other states, extending online education opportunities to low-income and working adults is a vital step in that direction. The technological breakthroughs of the Information Age have been impacting education at both the K-12 and college level. This has caused many debates about the value of online education, and criticism of newer online programs with open and free resources. But no matter one’s views, the truth is that online education will only continue to expand at all levels, and when it comes to making virtual learning opportunities accessible for all, the higher education world has been doing just that.

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No Chalkboard Needed: J-Schools Experiment with Blended Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-09-02 02:02

By Katherine Krueger, PBS

If a course is thoughtfully designed, Kelvin Thompson, a member of the team building online learning tools at the University of Central Florida, sees no drawbacks to strategically implementing blended learning methods. The University of Central Florida has been leading the charge in developing online tools to support blended learning courses since the mid-1990s. Working with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, they developed a Blended Learning Toolkit to provide resources for instructors looking to design blended courses. Thompson said almost as an afterthought, the group developed a subject-neutral MOOC to teach educators and developers the ropes for designing these classes.

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Educator’s Guide to LiveBinders

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-09-01 21:20

Justin Stallings, The Edublogger, [Sept] 01, 2014

Overview of what looks like a really interesting tool, Livebinders. "To accommodate this ever evolving world of information, teachers and students both need an online tool where they can collect, share, reflect, and grow from their learning. This is where a tool like LiveBinders comes in.   LiveBinder  is your digital binder for all of your online content and learning." The article is probably an advertorial and all that (otherwise, why flood it with links to the LiveBinders site), and the product is essentially a hosed commercial service, but the concept is still attractive.

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What Digital Accelerates

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-09-01 21:20

George Couros, Connected Principals, [Sept] 01, 2014

Good article on the benefits that can be realized by digital technologies in schools. I especially like the discussion under the heading 'empowering voice'. George Couros writes, "there is still the mindset in many organizations that administrators need to “ control” the story that is sent out about their schools.   The feeling is that with every blog post, tweet, website, etc., approval must be obtained before it is shared.   This is not leadership.   Our job is to not control talent, but to unleash it."

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The Open Access Interviews: Paul Royster, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-09-01 18:20

Richard Poynder, Open, Shut, [Sept] 01, 2014

Long, interesting, and important essay by Richard Poynder on open access (20 page PDF). The context is an interview with Paul Royster (pictured), who has established the second largest institutional repository in the US at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with some 60K open access works. A great accomplishment. But he is surprised to see it attacked by open access advocates. "He was startled to hear SPARC announce to delegates that henceforth the sine qua non of open access is that a work has to be made available with a CC BY licence or equivalent attached... the OA movement no longer views what he is doing as open access."

Well, I've had  this argument with people before. I have long felt that the insistence on CC-by (which allows commercial reuse) comes not from actual proponents of open access, but by commercial publishers promoting their own interests. That's what we see represented in this article. "The OA movement’ s failure to address the definition problem, and its willingness to “ partner” with publishers is enabling publishers to bend and mould OA to their needs rather than the needs of the research community." How? "By insisting on CC BY, the OA movement is encouraging publishers to further increase their prices — and without providing any additional value."

Additionally, CC-by sets the stage for the enclosure of open access works. The University of Ottawa's Heather Morrison explains: "Picture Elsevier buying out Hindawi, for example (is this more far-fetched than Elsevier buying out Mendeley or Springer buying BMC), then including Hindawi content in ScienceDirect and shutting down the Hindawi OA sites." In the LMS world it would be like Blackboard buying out companies that offer open access software like, say, MoodleRooms. She adds, "there is nothing to stop publishers from lobbying against public spending on archives (have people really not noticed that governments around the world are listening to such arguments)?" (See also)

For my part, I continue to support what is called 'Green' open access, in which authors and institutions archive their own work, without the intervention (and expense) of publishers, and in which, for me, and for the people who have actually promoted open access,  open access is “ immediate, permanent online access, free for all on the Web” (with no reference to, or need for, a specific licence). And I will go further and say that Creative Commons and organizations like SPARC, by privileging CC-by, are actually harming rather than helping open access.

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‘Sense of belonging’ enhances the online learning experience

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-09-01 02:09

by Lisa Thomas and James Herbert, the Conversation

We investigated strategies to support learning for non-traditional students in online contexts and found that “sense of belonging” was one aspect deemed to be important. Participants were asked to discuss their experiences with online learning courses and strategies that supported learning for the diverse range of students in this context. A key finding of this research suggested that where teachers were able to foster a sense of belonging in their course, students reported greater enjoyment, reduced anxiety and were less inclined to withdraw from the course.

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Online learning attracting new entrants

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-09-01 02:04

by Virtual College (UK)

The arrival of online learning has opened up the world of education to people who previously felt shut out, as they have the chance to learn at their own pace and fit their classes around their existing work and family commitments. An increase in the number of people signing up to apprenticeships has also been fueled partly by the e-learning boom, as many of these individuals are supplementing their learning on the job with classes in their own time. Competency-based education is another growing trend across the sector, with this having roots in the US. The University of Wisconsin’s UW Flex and Capella University’s FlexPath are among the other most notable examples of learning establishments taking note of competency-based education and this is likely to continue to make waves in the coming years.

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Will learning coding boost kids’ college, career prospects?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-09-01 02:02

by eSchool News

Interest in computer coding is surging for a growing number of students stoked by popular computer gaming and smartphone apps–and hoping for a crucial leg up when applying to college and launching careers. Students and their parents view coding as an indispensable skill in the digital era, especially since the number of programming-related jobs is projected to soar in the next decade. Interest in programming among students and parents springs partly from the omnipresence of technology in children’s lives. The ability to develop a computer game or smartphone app has become–if not cool–at least a lot less nerdy. About 46 percent of recent college graduates say they are underemployed, according to a survey this year by management consulting firm Accenture. That’s up from 41 percent last year.

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Ballooning - Mon, 2014-09-01 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Moocs are free – but for how much longer?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-09-01 00:18

Chris Parr, Times Higher Education, Aug 31, 2014

You can't just say “ Moocs have started out as a free opportunity – and free is a great way to get people interested,” as Stanford's John Mitchell does. MOOC means free. If academia wants to charge tuition for instruction, I won't complain, since academia has been doing that for 2,500 years. But they don't get to call such courses open or MOOCs. Because they're not!

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GKV, KG 5-Statistik

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Mon, 2014-09-01 00:00

Die im Informationssystem eingespeicherten gestaltbaren Tabellen aus der "KG 5-Statistik (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung: Leistungsfälle und -tage von ambulanten und stationären Kuren, Müttervorsorge- und Müttergenesungskuren, Krankengeld bei Kuren)" des Bundesministeriums für Gesundheit wurden um das Jahr 2013 ergänzt.

Categories: Science News

Daphne Koller on Education, Coursera, and MOOCs

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-08-31 02:10

by Russ Roberts, EconTalk

Daphne Koller of Coursera talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about online educational website Coursera and the future of education both online and via bricks-and-mortar. Koller, co-founder of Coursera with Andrew Ng, explains how Coursera partners with universities, how they try to create community and interaction, and the likely impact of widespread digital education on universities and those who want to learn. The conversation includes a discussion of why Koller left a chaired position in computer science at Stanford University to run a for-profit start-up in a crowded field.

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10 Free Online Courses That Every Professional Should Take

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-08-31 02:04

by RICHARD FELONI, Business Insider

We asked Salman Khan, founder, executive director, and lead tutor of Khan Academy, for the top 10 lectures professionals in any industry would appreciate, and included them below. Not every lecture is the first one in its respective series, but Khan thinks each is a good indicator of whether you’d like to spend more time going through all the videos and exercises in that course.

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LI colleges, universities boost online courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-08-31 02:02


Online education at most Long Island universities and colleges is being boosted in the 2014-15 school year, with the state university system continuing its major push and other schools reconstructing courses, hiring staff and adding infrastructure to support virtual learning. “We are realizing a vision of learning anytime, anywhere,” said Wendy Tang, an associate professor at Stony Brook University. She also is director of an online SBU program that leads to a bachelor of science in electrical engineering.

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Bookless library opened by new US university

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-08-30 21:17

Alison Flood, The Guardian, Aug 30, 2014

Although purists might think of a bookless library as a contradiction in terms, I think that something like this is the only way forward for librarians (and books, like scrolls and tablets, may continue to be kept in museums and archives). I also like this: "Once a book has been viewed twice on this system, it will be automatically purchased. The set-up, said Miller, 'allows for many more books to be available for the students, and the university only has to pay when the student or faculty member uses the book', allowing students 'to make direct choices regarding the books they want to read and have available in the library'."

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With $30 Million More in Hand, IFTTT Looks to the Internet of Things

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2014-08-30 21:17

Mike Isaac, New York Times, Aug 30, 2014

Forget Google and Facebook. The future will be run by companies like IFTTT: "The way we see the Internet of Things playing out, there’ s going to be a need for an operating system that’ s detached from any specific device,” Linden Tibbets said. “ What we’ re doing now is the foundation for that.”

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