news (external)

Bring-Your-Own-Device Transforms Physics Lab

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-10-31 01:05

By David Raths, Campus Technology

North Carolina State University created a free app that turns students’ smartphones into lab instruments, saving money in lab setup and maintenance and giving learners the tools to explore physics anywhere. “I thought there had to be some way to capitalize on students’ familiarity with personal technologies,” she said. “Then they could focus their attention on the concepts that mattered rather than on figuring out how to use the hardware and software.”

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Adjuncts help colleges expand their online programs

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-10-31 01:03

By Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe

This is the life of a virtual adjunct professor: Teaching is done online, students and instructors are connected by e-mail, and a laptop with a camera is as essential as a textbook. “My office door is always open,” said Bloom, who is currently teaching for George Washington University and preparing to start a course for Ohio University in the coming weeks. In the past, she has also worked for Salem State University. “I’m only an e-mail away,” she said. The portion of online courses taught by adjunct faculty — part-time professors who don’t receive benefits and aren’t on the tenure track — is increasingly significant, said Andrew Magda, manager for market research at Learning House Inc., an education technology company.

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Faculty Buy-in Builds, Bit by Bit: Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-10-30 01:11

by Doug Lederman and Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

Professors are slowly gaining confidence in the effectiveness of online learning as more of them teach online, Inside Higher Ed’s 2017 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology reveals. While faculty members remain slightly more likely to disagree than to agree that online courses can achieve student outcomes that are as good as those of in-person courses, the proportion agreeing rose sharply this year, and the proportion strongly disagreeing dropped precipitously.

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College students want more technology, ECAR survey says

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-10-30 01:10

by Richard W. Walker, EdScoop

College students increasingly want more online technology in their learning environments, but many faculty members are wary of incorporating blended learning into their courses, according to the Educause Center for Analysis and Research’s (ECAR) 2017 separately published companion surveys of student and faculty trends in the use of information technology. “The best things in life are free, but students want technology. And they want their instructors to use more of it in their courses,” the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2017 reported. “Resistance is futile. Students’ preferences for courses that assimilate both face-to-face instructional components with technological features of the online environment continue to gain momentum across higher education.”

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A Proposal to Put the ‘M’ Back in MOOCs

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-10-30 01:05

By Dhawal Shah, edSurge

If providers of these online courses want to make MOOCs massive again, they will need to go back to the characteristics that made them popular in the first place: semi-synchronous, instructor led and sufficiently hyped. Imagine that once or twice a year MOOC providers published a limited catalog of courses that are instructor-led (meaning that professors play an active role in running the courses). These courses would have a fixed schedule, and have a start date and end date with some soft-deadlines through the course. The goal would be to get everybody moving at a similar pace.

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The Future of AI Is All About Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-10-30 01:02

By Joel Hans, RT Insights
Businesses face two major AI staffing issues: Many engineers graduated before AI became a subject of study and younger AI enthusiasts don’t yet have needed experience. Robert Munro, the vice president of machine learning (ML) at CrowdFlower, explains the situation clearly: “The potential for AI to change the way business works is limitless. But what will stall adoption is the lack of skilled engineers who understand how to put machine learning platforms to use.”

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My part in the battle for Open (universities)

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 19:10

Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, Oct 29, 2017

I didn't get a chance to see Martin Weller at ICDE last week but I'm still able to enjoy his throughts from the cconference in this post. It's a nice rethinking of his role in the promotion of open, and of large institutions like the Open University in the open learning ecosystem. Some of the thingss he sees as important: reclaiming the history of 'open' (it has, indeed, been appropriated and commodified); redefining what is meant by an 'open university'; advocating for use (as oppozsed to production) of OER; and examining hypotheses around OU course production. 

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The 3 foundations of Lean UX

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 19:02

Josh Seiden, Jeff Gothelf, O'Reilly, Oct 29, 2017

Reading this post made me wonder what the foundations of 'lean learning' would be (no doubt soome will 'invent' it; it's easy enough to follow the template set out in this article). The three foundations are; user experience design; design thinking; and agile software development. It reflects a focus on outcomes, not preroduct, and a development method based on conversation and collaboration rather than planning and documentation. "Lean UX values making over analysis. There is more value in creating the first version of an idea than spending half a day debating its merits in a conference room."

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Fact checkers use this method to spot sketchy info

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 18:40

Carrie Spector, Futurity, Oct 29, 2017

This post summarizes a Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) report suggesting that fact-checkers more reliably assess article than professional hostorians and Stanford students. The assumptions going in were absurd: "“Historians sleuth for a living... Evaluating sources is absolutely essential to their professional practice. And Stanford students are our digital future. We expected them to be experts.” Anyhow, the fact-checkers used this one weird trick: checking other sources. "The fact checkers read laterally, meaning they would quickly scan a website in question but then open a series of additional browser tabs, seeking context and perspective from other sites. In contrast, the authors write, historians and students read vertically, meaning they would stay within the original website in question to evaluate its reliability." 

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IMS Global Learning Consortium Introduces LTI Advantage

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 16:59

Press Release, IMS Global, Oct 29, 2017

The press release doesn't really tell you what it is, but Blackboard Blog summarizes it as follows: "LTI Advantage is essentially a package of extensions that includes, at a minimum, LTI 1.1 link launching, Names and Role Provisioning Services, Deep Linking, and the soon-to-be released Assignments and Grades Services that build on the core LTI standard (LTI 1.1 and higher)." So: neat. Here's the overview page at IMS.

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CC and ME

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 14:44

Helen DeWaard, Five Flames 4 Learning, Oct 29, 2017

Helen DeWaard writes, "After viewing the conversations between David Wiley and George Siemens for the #OpenEdMOOC (Week 2 Part 1Part 2 and Part 3) it becomes clear as mud that copyright and Creative Commons licensing has an impact on my work as an educator." I don't think that was the intend of the course (though I confess that the result of my own conversations withDavid Wiley has also been to leave things clear as mud). DeWaard writes, "I’ve crafted a video (AKGTC and CC) to encourage teachers and students to use and apply CC attribution and licensing to their creative works." Fair enough, though I'm not a fan of littering my work with advertisements for Creative Commons. Doug Peterson responds with thoughts about his own approach to licensing. He also points to a case of overzealous enforcement.

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The Three Fundamental Moments of Podcast's Crazy Rise

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 14:32

Nicholas Quah, Wired, Oct 29, 2017

Doc Searls is quite right to complain about this article in Wired ostensibly about the history of podcasting. It fails, as he notes, to mention Adam Curry aand Dave Winer, and seems to get the relation between "podcast" and "RSS feed" backwards  - a podcast is an RSS feed (one that contains references to MP3s as enclosurfes), so it doesn't make sense to talk about "the first mainstream podcast to have an RSS feed". My own contribution, 2003's Ed Radio, has even been excised from the Wikipedia page, but I've long since gotten used to that. I am enjoying the renaissance of podcasting, but wish professional magazine writers would preserve some semblance of accuracy in reporting.

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The importance of compression when learning maths

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 12:23

Maggie Hos-McGrane, Tech Transformation, Oct 29, 2017

This reads to me like pseudoscience. "The process of compression happens because the brain is a highly complex organ with many things to control, and it can focus on only a few uncompressed ideas at one time." Yet it comes, apparently, from Jo Boaler, a Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University. Maggie Hos-McGrane expands on the thoeory: "The brain can only compress concepts and not rules - hence students who learn the rules have to struggle to hold onto them - they are unable to be compressed, organized and filed away for later use." This doesn't make sense to me. The brain is not a computer. I'm open to the possibility that I'm wrong here, but I really doubt it.

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Governments need to ensure rules are followed in education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 12:17

Manos Antoninis, World Education Blog, Oct 29, 2017

The varying systems of education around the world place more or less stress on goovernments. The private sector is often touted as a viable approach when governments cannot afford to provide services, but "when governments relinquish control of education to private providers, it is equally if not more important that standards be in place to regulate their work." These expenditures, and this overhead, is often not calculated into the cost of the private system to governments and families. And often, it doesn't work. "The very first step of accrediting schools in the first place is often cumbersome, prone to corruption, and therefore slow, leaving many operating without meeting even minimum safety and infrastructure standards."

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What Is Success and Failure in Schooling?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 12:02

Larry Cuban, Oct 29, 2017

Three part series (part one, part two, part three) that ought to be called "What are success and failure in learning?" The first part looks at different definitoons of success and failure in business and the military. You can skip this part. The second part talks about "success" in hospitals (about which I don't think Americans are in a position to judge) and begins the discussion of schools. It comes together in the third part. "If only policymakers, practitioners, and parents agreed upon what 'success' and 'failure' mean for schooling," he writes. This is in my view the single reason why most education reserach is futile. There are different points of division: what counts as success accordubg to left or right; measures of success applied to all or some (usually lower-class) schools; and the changing mission of tax-supported schools. 

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Reasons to be blogging ... 1 2 3....

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-10-29 09:21

Steve Wheeler, Learning With es, Oct 29, 2017

This is a short set of five reasons why regular blogging is a good professional practice. I can attest to them. When I'm blogging I'm at my best - it forces me to keep current and focus my thoughts. I'm less concerned about cultivating community than Wheeler mostly because I want people to create and join their own communities. 

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UMD launches immersive media innovation ecosystem

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-10-29 02:08

University to develop MAVRIC, a regional hub for immersive media technology. From catching Pokémon in the real world to donning a virtual reality headset to see and feel what it was like to scale the Berlin Wall before its fall, advancements in immersive media have set the stage for the next digital revolution. The University of Maryland will take part in this revolution with the launch of the Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Center, called MAVRIC, which has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). “The project promises to make our entire region a national hot spot for immersive media development,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It will become an economic and technological boon to Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.”

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Institutions embracing social media’s potential

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-10-29 02:05

by Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

Communications and outreach offices are beginning to see the value of “paying to play” in the digital landscape, a recent analysis by University Business says. Many offices have been embracing paid search optimization for awhile, but now officials are realizing there’s value in paying for social media ads as well; a recent survey found 47% of high school seniors, 55% of juniors and 61% of sophomores and 33% of parents of high schoolers clicked on a search, display or social media ad for a college. The best investment, the article says, is to re-target those who have already self-identified as prospective students, since they are most likely to click the ads.

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Digital Learning: Education and Skills in the Digital Age

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-10-29 02:01

by the Rand Corporation

The report gives an overview of an expert consultation on the role and future of education and skills in the digital world. It looks at which skills are important and necessary to undertake the different types of jobs available, and what skills we need to be thinking of developing now and in the future. It explores how we ensure that people are not left out of the digital age and have access to education on digital skills. It looks at how we think about formal education and how our thinking needs to evolve with the increasing adoption of digital tools and technologies, particularly among the younger generation. The report proposes a preliminary framework to ensure an inclusive education in an increasingly digital world and suggests roles for different stakeholders to ensure that this becomes a reality.

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Democracy, data, and intelligence

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-10-28 22:37

Harold Jarche, Oct 29, 2017

There are two parts to this post. The first is the statement of the problem: "Social media platforms may extend global participation and can be a force for better understanding but often emotions trump reason in an online world of constant outrage..., as these tribal forces are extended by the internet, we see a reversal of democracy into tyranny under populist demagogues." The second is the proposed solution: "open democratic structures enable transparent design which yields humanity-centred progress which continues to serve democracy." I see something like this as possibly necessary, but certainly not sufficient. Openness is only one attribute of a successful society. When we describe "democratic structures" we need to be clear that we mean more than just voting.

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