news (external)

Beyond Free - Open Learning in a Networked World

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-07-08 12:51

The evolution of open content and open learning are explored in this presentation that seeks to recapture the essence of what it is that a MOOC is designed to do.

12th Annual Academic Practise & Technology Conference, University of Greenwich, Greenwich, UK (Keynote) Jul 08, 2014 [Comment]

Robots Learn Faster, Better with Online Learning Helpers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-07-08 02:12

by Product Design & Development

Sometimes it takes a village to teach a robot. University of Washington computer researchers have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks. Instead of learning from just one human, robots could one day query the larger online community, asking for instructions or input on the best way to set the table or water the garden. The research team presented its results at the 2014 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong in early June.The research team presented its results at the 2014 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong in early June.

http://www.pddnet.com/news/2014/06/robots-learn-faster-better-online-helpers

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Sloan Consortium Picks a New Name

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-07-08 02:11

by the Chronicle of Higher Ed

The Sloan Consortium, an influential champion of online learning that grew out of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s early interest in the topic, is changing its name and will now be known as the Online Learning Consortium. The consortium was founded in 1992 and published the first issue of its Journal of Asynchronous Learning in 1997. It has been a stand-alone membership organization since 2009, when its parent foundation shut down its online-education program after spending some $80-million on various undertakings and playing a leading role in the growth of online courses, particularly under the leadership of A. Frank Mayadas, a program director at the foundation.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/quickwire-sloan-consortium-picks-a-new-name/53707

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Francis Marion MBA goes online

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-07-08 02:06

by Associated Press

Francis Marion University in Florence says the university’s master of business administration program is going online. The Morning News of Florence reports (http://bit.ly/1lrNyVE ) that students in the program have had to attend two classes a week on campus since 1987. Beginning this fall, students will be able to study at their convenience online. They will still need to meet face-to-face with professors on up to three Saturdays during the semester. The university says the change comes after nearly two years of studying the needs of MBA students.

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140626/APN/306269820

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Sorry, Folks, Rich People Don't Create The Jobs

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-07-07 15:50
Display


Henry Blodget, Business Insider, Jul 07, 2014

Or, put another way, education does far more to create jobs than rich people. That is not to say that we do not need people to make investments or start companies. We do - we need both. But only as a part of a healthy and functioning economic ecosystem that is working toward something larger than mere generation of wealth (such as, creating happy lives for its citizens, building a social and cultural institutions, advancing science and researcher, pushing the frontiers of discovery). Via Doug Belshaw.

[Link] [Comment]

Libraries will lend out WiFi hotspots to foster online learning

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

BY JON FINGAS, Engadget

For the less fortunate, a library may be the only reliable way to get online. But what do they do after hours, or when they can’t make the trek? That’s where a pair of Knight Foundation grants may prove vital. Both the Chicago Public Library and New York Public Library are starting up large-scale projects that lend WiFi hotspots to households with little to no internet access, giving them a chance to pursue internet education programs that would otherwise be off-limits. Chicago’s approach will let those in six broadband-deprived neighborhoods borrow a hotspot for up to three weeks; in New York, the library will offer mobile routers for up to a year as part of existing learning initiatives.

http://www.engadget.com/2014/06/25/libraries-lending-out-wifi-hotspots/

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The revolution in online learning

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

by the Telegraph

Technology has revolutionised learning. From the rise of MOOCs to apps on iPads designed for children who can often navigate iOS before being able to walk, it is clear that technology is providing new education platforms for all levels. According to UNESCO, 6 billion people around the world now have access to mobile phones and digital devices. This astronomic growth of cheap technology presents a huge opportunity for learners, especially in emerging countries. Mobile Moocs: a new way of learning The wider and technologically advanced provision of education tries to satisfy the demands of a fast-growing student population – from 20 million in 1970 to 164 million in 2000 to an eye-watering projected 260 million students globally by 2020.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10924788/The-revolution-in-online-learning.html

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How Higher Ed Is Using Cloud Computing

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

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

I set up my mom’s new iPhone recently, while she sat alongside me and watched. At some point in the setup process, it asks if you want to enable Cloud backup. She looked totally confused and asked ‘what’s a cloud’? While I’m willing to bet that most of Edudemic’s readers are way ahead of my mom in understanding what the cloud is, I’m also willing to guess that most readers can’t talk about what the cloud is being used for aside from a general description of ‘data storage’. That is, in fact, correct. The handy infographic linked below takes it a step further – investigating today’s top cloud innovations in post-secondary education.

http://www.edudemic.com/higher-ed-cloud/

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Darkness

xkcd.com - Mon, 2014-07-07 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Something weird is happening at Coursera

elearnspace by George Siemens - Sun, 2014-07-06 04:29

Something weird is happening at Coursera. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but have boiled it down to two options. Both are problematic.

A bit of background

About two months ago, I posted a short article on a DesignJam that we hosted at UT Arlington. The designjam brought together numerous folks who had some interest in teaching and learning online, often at a massive scale (i.e. MOOCs). Paul Olivier Dehaye commented on the post and described his interest in running a dual-track MOOC, blending instructivist and more collaborative. He was referring to the Massive Teaching course on Coursera that he was to run in June. I’ve been continuing to refine my thinking on this since the designjam, but I had not been following Paul’s course. Today, Apostolos Koutropoulos posted about social experiments and confusion at Coursera. I did a bit of backtracking on Paul’s tweet stream.

Just to confirm, I was removed from the #MassiveTeaching course. Please do not question my integrity without facts.

— Paul-Olivier Dehaye (@podehaye) July 4, 2014

and

Students, please reflect on the fact that a technology company has now effectively replaced your teacher. #MassiveTeaching

— Paul-Olivier Dehaye (@podehaye) July 3, 2014

and finally, in response to a tweet asking Paul what was happening, he replied

@gsiemens Thanks, it felt lonely. I still feel I owe an explanation to my students first, then @coursera to me, then us to others

— Paul-Olivier Dehaye (@podehaye) July 5, 2014

Two options:

1. Coursera has removed a faculty member from a course for some reason without explanation
2. Paul is running a fairly elaborate social experiment

I am uncomfortable with both. If Coursera has removed the course or the faculty member, some explanation is required, both for the sake of the faculty member and the student. The transparency of MOOC providers is rather poor. If Facebook randomly deleted people, it would cause angst. Coursera doesn’t state the conditions under which a faculty member can be removed or a course cancelled. Universities and faculty spend enormous time and resources developing and running courses. Students devote significant hours as well. Everyone deserves an explanation.

If Paul is running an experiment, well, that raises a range of ethical issues around active experimentation with learners. Kate Bowles links to paper and a Google doc that raises additional questions. Given heightened concerns about ethics in social media and experimentation on users, MOOC providers and faculty need to be clear on any research and analytics being conducted.

@gsiemens 100 learners in a room: http://t.co/k6va4Lq9f4 and https://t.co/mPgcQYr9NZ @audreywatters @patlockley

— Kate Bowles (@KateMfD) July 5, 2014

Why (And How) Teachers Are Using Twitter

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-07-06 02:11

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Oh, Twitter. You’re so useful for teachers. You connect educators so that they can share tools, tips and tricks, offer insight, and support one another. You bring your sexy social media-ness into the classroom to keep kids interested in what they’re learning when they think they’re actually (sort of) having fun instead. That said, there are still skeptics. How can 140 characters be so effective? Does anyone even care what I have to say? How do teachers really use it? These questions and more are explored in the handy infographic linked below.

http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-are-using-twitter/

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Students, Colleges are Embracing Online Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-07-06 02:05

By Vanessa Denice, US News

The growing rates of enrolling in online courses signal that many institutions in higher education are embracing new technology, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service titled “Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook: U.S. Public Finance Edition.” Research noted that many colleges were responding to the needs and preferences of students by expanding online offerings, and this is a positive move for the world of academia. By offering flexible online courses, schools have ultimately improved retention, attracted nontraditional students, loosened classroom capacity limits and made a postsecondary degree more accessible to a wide range of individuals.

http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/students-colleges-are-embracing-online-learning_14084.aspx#.U6qznJRdVp0

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Google Will Finance Carnegie Mellon’s MOOC Research

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2014-07-06 02:02

by Avi Wolfman-Arent, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Google will give Carnegie Mellon $300,000 in each of the next two years through the Google Focused Research Award program. The university’s research will focus on “data driven” approaches to research on massive open online courses, including “techniques for automatically analyzing and providing feedback on student work,” according to a news release. The goal, it said, is to develop platforms intelligent enough to mimic the traditional classroom experience. “Unless the MOOCs pay attention to how people actually learn, they will not be able to improve effectiveness, and will end up as just a passing fad,” said Justine Cassell, associate vice provost for technology strategy and impact.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/google-will-finance-carnegie-mellons-mooc-research/53521

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Activating Latent Knowledge Capacity

elearnspace by George Siemens - Sat, 2014-07-05 20:53

Last week, we wrapped up another successful Learning Analytics Summer Institute at Harvard. The recordings of most of the talks and panels can be found here. Since we were already in town, Dragan Gasevic and I were invited by edX to give a talk to their staff and member institutions (we are running a course on edX in fall on Data, Analytics, & Learning).

The focus for the talk at edX, slides below, was to try and get at what is wrong with MOOCs and education in general. To answer the challenge of “what is wrong with education” it’s helpful to step back a bit and consider two challenges.

1. We aren’t connecting

Historically, society has created knowledge institutions that mirror what is done with information in a particular era – see McNeely & Wolverton. In this line of reasoning, we can best understand the future of education by understanding what is being done with information today. After about a decade of experience with web 2.0, social media, participative technologies, it’s not unreasonable to state that at least a segment of society today recognizes information as multi-authored, participative, distributed, and networked.

In education, many of us have been advocating for networked learning (or as Stephen Downes and I have been articulating it, connectivism). Academic conferences and even the K-12 space has turned to networks as a way to describe what learning is and how it happens. The one draw back to networked learning is that while we have managed to advance conversation on the fragmentation of learning so that it is not a cohesive whole created solely by the instructor, we have not yet advanced the process of centring or stitching together fragmented parts into cohesive wholes for individuals. Some rudimentary progress includes the use of #hashtags to stitch together distributed conversations but this only provides a one medium aggregation. The best implemented model for pulling together multi-platform conversations that I’ve seen to date is Downes’ gRSShopper. That leaves us at a difficult point educationally. Progress has been made on pulling centralized information elements apart (this is particularly evident in media with newspapers or TV news programs – I get the majority of my news in bits and pieces through a mess of different tools and sites), but we haven’t yet developed the technologies that will allow pulling things back together into coherent, personally owned, wholes.

This is no small challenge. In many ways, this is where computing was in two separate phases: pre-Microsoft Office and pre-Facebook. I remember when I used to work with distinct software tools like Quattro and WordPerfect (before they were owned by one company). Moving data between different software was a pain. MS came along and blessed society with Office – an integrated suite. It pulled together what I used to do in several different tools. Facebook plays a similar integrative role for participative technologies. For people who had been blogging since late 1990′s or early 2000′s, Facebook wasn’t of much value. Between flickr, del.icio.us, blogs, RSS readers, and wikis, we were living the distributed, networked, learning dream. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of society wants to deal with a range of 10 different tools. Ease of use and low-barrier to entry rules the day. Facebook allowed anyone to start sharing images, ideas, and form social networks and to do so in a single tool with similar functionality across different activities. My social network used to consist of the people in my RSS reader. Facebook made connecting easy and they were rewarded as a billion+ people joined. The key lesson here is that integrative technologies, in spite of the current app trend, draw greater numbers of users than single functionality tools.

The importance of integrative toolsets for learners cannot be overlooked. It is unreasonable to expect a learner to care about the same issues that an instructor of a participatory course cares about. While concerns of access, participation, and equity might be important to me, a learner may well enter a course with the primary goal of learning a skill or concept. My values may not be her values.

2. Latent Capacity

Technology cannot be reduced to a single narrative or outcome. While “web 2.0″, as a term, symbolized participation and collaboration, it is really a multi-narrative strand where some people were enabled and others were shut out, some were given a platform and others lost a platform, some connected with their readers/fans and others were exposed as [insert label] to their fans/readers. There are many narratives to describe the tools that today define how people interact. I have been grappling with understanding the prominent or even dominant impact of technology – i.e. what is one aspect of technology that is most pronounced and most misunderstood? Keeping in mind that a single narrative has shortcomings, I’ll argue that activation of latent capacity is the driving element of every successful technology of the past 15 years. Uber uses latent car capacity. Airbnb, latent physical space capacity. Twitter/Facebook, activate multiple latent capacities: sharing, social connections, and images. The Arab Spring, now sadly turned into a rather harsh winter, and Occupy Wall Street activate the latent power capacity of individuals. A system of control and oppression can be challenged when people take up their power, their voice.

In education exists the most substantive latent capacity in society. A classroom consists of 30 (or sometimes 300) people listening to a teacher teach. The knowledge and creative capacity of any class is stunning. Unfortunately, this knowledge is latent as the system has been architected, much like a dictatorship, to give control to one person. In many cases, students have become so accustomed to being “taught” that they are often unable, at first, to share their knowledge capacity. This is an experience that I have had in every MOOC that I’ve taught. The emphasis in MOOCs that I’ve been involved with is always on learners taking control, learners joining a network, or learners becoming creators. In a Pavolovian sense, many learners find this process disorienting and uninviting. We have been taught, after a decade+ of formal schooling, to behave and act a certain way. When someone encourages a departure from those methods, the first response is confusion, distrust or reluctance.

I’ll call my theory of knowledge and learning “100 people in a room”. If we put 100 people in a room, the latent knowledge capacity of that room in enormous. Everyone in this room has different life experiences, hobbies, interests, and knowledge. We could teach each other math, physics, calculus. We could teach poetry, different languages, and political theory. The knowledge is there, but it is disconnected and latent. Much of that knowledge is latent for two reasons: 1) We don’t know what others know, 2) connections aren’t made because we are not able with our current technologies to enable everyone to speak and be heard.

Personal Knowledge Graph

To address these shortcomings, I’ve been arguing for the development of something like a Personal Knowledge Graph (PKG). The main idea is that learners need a way to express and articulate what they know. This can be done through someone explicitly stating “I know this” or it could be mined or inferred. Learners need to own their PKG but it should be shareable with schools, companies, and peers.

Once we know what people know, we have a chance to activate latent knowledge through social and technological approaches. The work that Dragan Gasevic has done with his doctoral students indicates that learners begin to use hashtags as a cognitive agent. In some cases, a hashtag becomes a more important agent than a faculty member. In other instances, recommender systems could connect individuals who have complimentary and/or opposing knowledge graphs. This leads to new pedagogical models and changing roles for universities, notably a transition from spraying the same content to all learners to a more nuanced (knowledge gap filling?) approach.

Education is approaching where the web was in mid-2000′s – a growing range of technologies providing certain opportunities for learning and interaction, but largely fragmented. Education is waiting for it’s latent capacity activating tool, or at minimum, a means of giving each learner the ability to stitch together a coherent interpretation of a knowledge domain. Of course we need feedback loops and systems of recognition. It is not enough that I state I know something. Peers, faculty, and employers should be able to comment on my claims and I should be able to provide evidence. When I do not understand a concept correctly, there should be processes for correction.

If, when, education begins to focus on activating the knowledge of individuals rather than primarily focusing on single point knowledge pontification, new concerns will arise. For example, how can creativity be encouraged when learners receive personalized content addressing knowledge gaps? What happens to formal assessment? What role does expertise play in a room of 100 knowledgeable people? The transitions underway in society, in knowledge, and in universities, are long term and won’t be played out in the next few years. It’s a decades long transition. But it is important to begin challenging legacy assumptions and start considering, however imperfect our ability to see it today, what an education system looks like when we activate latent capacities of all participants.

Harvardx talk from gsiemens

Interview: Andrew Ng, chairman and co-founder of Coursera

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2014-07-05 02:10

by Stephen Ibaraki, IT World Canada

There is an impending digital tsunami — or D-Quake — that can drive enterprises to destruction if they don’t continually update their business model canvas for competitive advantage. Massive open online classes (MOOCs) will reduce training costs by over 80 per cent. Robots and off-shoring are changing labour roles, Google is testing self-driving cars and Amazon is testing drones for package delivery. There are the new wearable / embedded devices with more than 10 sensors and the ubiquitous Internet of Things forming a planetary nervous system. Virtual reality systems (Oculus Rift/Facebook, Sony, Microsoft), glasses (Google), Amazon’s dynamic perspective providing 3-D-like capabilities in their new smart phones are already here. Big data will be smart data with machine learning, deep learning where computers grow brain-like capabilities. At the root of much of this is Andrew Ng, whose efforts are recognized by magazines, fellowships and awards.

http://www.itworldcanada.com/blog/interview-andrew-ng-chairman-and-co-founder-of-coursera/94863

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Study finds MOOC engagement varies from offline courses

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

by Stefanie Botelho, University Business

The paper is based on quantitative investigations of more than 300,000 students’ behavior in several large Stanford University courses offered on Coursera, one of the major MOOC platforms. It identifies five distinct types of engagement with MOOCs:

Viewers, who primarily watch lectures but don’t hand in many assignments

Solvers, who hand in assignments for a grade but view few if any lectures

All-rounders, who watch most lectures and hand in most assignments, behaving more like a student in a traditional course

Collectors, who primarily download lectures and may or may not be watching them immediately or in the future

Bystanders, who register for a course but whose total activity is below a very low threshold

http://www.universitybusiness.com/news/study-finds-mooc-engagement-varies-offline-courses

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A National Study of Theories and Their Importance for Faculty Development for Online Teaching

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

by Katrina A. Meyer, Vicki S. Murrell, OJDLA

This article presents the results of a national study of 39 higher education institutions that collected information about their practices for faculty development for online teaching and particularly the content and training activities used during 2011-2012. An instrument of 26 items was developed based on a review of literature on faculty development for online teaching and analyzed in Meyer (in press). The study found that 72% (n=29) organizations used learning style theory as a basis for their training activities, followed by 69% that used adult learning (Merriam, 2001) and self-directed learning (Knowles, 1975), 64% that used Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning model, 59% that used Knowles’ (1975) andragogy theories, and 54% that used various instructional design models. Models of good practice were strongly favored (79%) over research on online learning (31%) or theories of learning (23%) in faculty training. Pedagogies of online learning were most important to 92% of the respondents, while research about online learning was most important to only 23% of those who completed the survey. Differences based on Carnegie classification were also found.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer172/Meyer_Murrell172.html

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How to Create Your Own Illustrated Characters in PowerPoint

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-07-04 15:42
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Tom, The Rapid eLearning Blog, Jul 04, 2014

I wonder what the 'completion rate' is for this bit of learning. Does it even matter? It help my attention right to the end, and I think I might try creating animated characters using PowerPoint some time in the future. The video is by Daniel Albarrá n.

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Microsoft joins key industry groups to deliver on promise of the Internet of Things

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-07-04 15:42
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Kevin Dallas, The Official Microsoft Blog, Jul 04, 2014

If you're not watching developments in this arena, you should be. How do we "get the benefit out of the more than 212 billion 'connected things' IDC predicted  we’ ll see by the end of 2020?" The time is now to think about (say) how things will help us learn and how we'll interact with them. Microsoft is joining the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the AllSeen Alliance to create this infrastructure. Maybe these will have education working groups, or maybe it makes sense to form an 'Education of Things' alliance. More.

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PersonalizED :: A Guide to Personalizing Learning in the Classroom

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2014-07-04 15:42
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Mary Ellen Beaty O’Ferrall, Sara Henschell, Margaret Roth, Fieldmarks Blog, Jul 04, 2014

According to the authors, "Personalized learning is an instructional philosophy intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, and cultural backgrounds of individual students to create an environment and experience that best facilitates their learning." This post is a fairly good overview of personalized education. It's worth asking, though, as you read through, how this account is distinct from personal learning, where people create learning according to their own needs and interests, rather than having something created for them.

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