news (external)


OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 21:19

RefMe, Jun 14, 2016

Do as I did and go directly to the RefMe site. It's a lovely little application that helps you manage references. It has the obligatory Chrome extension. It imports (only 100, though) and exports (in various formats) references. For a (reasonable) price, there's an Word plug-in. And you can use your mobile camera, scan book/journal barcodes, and even turn printed text into digital text with your smartphone camera. There's also an API  to encourage interoperability. And a suite of services for institutions. I like this a lot. A lot, I say.

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Should Your Online Course Sound Like 'Serial'?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 18:19

Amy Ahearn, EdSurge, Jun 14, 2016

I am an incurable listener of audio and radio - during the day I listen to CBC radio, on the road I'm a podcast addict, evenings will find me attentive to the Blue Jays  broadcasts, and at night I am up with Johnny Dollar, Phillip Marlowe, and the rest of the cast of old time radio. And of course I have contributed hundreds of hours  of my own voice to audio as well. What characterizes audio today more than ever is the diversity of voices you hear. So I  agree with Amy Ahearn that by contrast "online learning has a mansplaining problem." It's not so much the voice as the attitude. Consider  Krista Tippett: "Tippett’ s sentences were long, complex and contemplative. Her tone was one of inquiry rather than authority. She sounded different than typical instructors on platforms like Udemy, Udacity, Skillshare or Coursera who lecture in tones of confident authority.... her voice might be exactly what online learning needs." Well, OK, it's the voice too. We need more voices, and we need more diverse voices. Now I can't help being who I am, so my voice isn't going to change, But maybe I should be more like Bryan Alexander  and  talk to different people in the field. It's worth a thought.

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LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Higher Ed

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 18:19

Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, Jun 14, 2016

Disposable commentary, except for this: "I’ ve  long thought that Microsoft should buy Coursera  - and now this LinkedIn purchase may create a compelling reason to explore that deal." Coursera isn't necessarily the best deal; its client base (not to be confused with enrollements) is limited and data collection is sparse. And it's transitioning  to a new and essentially untested platform. But a company like Desire2Learn would fit neatly between the Microsoft technology stack and the LinkedIn employment and professional development stack - and Desire2Learn, already based on Microsoft technologies, has a built-in client base of hundreds of schools and colleges worldwide. Image: D2L, Brightspace integration  with Microsoft Office 365.

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Having a PLN

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 18:19

Doug Peterson, doug — off the record, Jun 14, 2016

I'm only doing two of the five things recommended  by Doug Peterson, but that's good enough for me. Peterson links to a drawing by  Sylvia Duckworth  on the reasons to have a personal (or professional) learning network (PLN). The concept is a spin-off from the original 'personal learning environment' that has caught on with the schools and teaching community. Related: why you need to connect with your peers  in the e-learning community.

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From Content Creation to Content Curation: The Importance of Curation

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 18:19

Marc Rosenberg, Learning Solutions, Jun 14, 2016

I don't consider what I do in this newsletter to be content curation, but other people do. Either way, I do consider it to be a form of online teaching and learning.  hence the relevance of this article. "Content curation focuses on the accuracy, relevance, usefulness, value, and other aspects of knowledge assets," writes Marc Rosenberg. "Curators are less focused on finding more content than they are on making sure what they have is the right content." Fair enough. But you can see the difference between what I do and what a curator does by looking at the list of ten things a curator should rule out (according to Rosenberg). I will include, while a curator will exclude: things that are wrong, things that are contradictory, things that expire, things that are incomplete, things from disreputable sources, and more. Why? because I am not creating a collection. I am chasing down and wrestling a set of  issues to the ground. It's as much an  investigation as a curation, and it takes me places no curator will go.

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The rise of speculative devices: Hooking up with the bots of Ashley Madison

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 15:17

Ben Light, First Monday, Jun 14, 2016

So if you have an online affair with a bot, is it cheating? What if you didn't know it was a bot? What if you could have known (by reading the terms of service) but didn't? These are not idle questions. This paper looks at the use of bots in the dating and hookup site Ashley Madison, which was hacked and 37 million accounts made public in 2015. The bots themselves were called 'Engagers' and the profiles they inhabited were called 'Angels'. Their purpose was to encourage users to sign up for paid services. For this reason they are a class of bots called 'speculative devices' - "those things that are set in place based on a conjecture of an outcome — bots and profiles are seemingly active in Ashley Madison in the hope they will engage users and generate business for example." What's significant about the Ashley Madison case is that "speculative devices are implicated in our ethics." And according to the author, "This raises the question of where morality is delegated to the non-human what do we do when we encounter the unexpected, or when we see harms being caused." Good questions. Part of a special issue of First Monday on Web 2.0.

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Digital Technology Innovations in Education in Remote First Nations

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 15:17

Brian Beaton, Penny Carpenter, in education, Jun 14, 2016

This paper highlights the use of technology to support education in "five remote First Nations in Northwestern Ontario conducted in early 2014 in collaboration with the communities and their tribal council, Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO)." These communities are faced with a double challenge: first, isolation, as their communities are accessible by ice road only five weeks of the year; and second, decolonization, as their heritage  and culture are under threat of assimilation by southern society.   Decolonization means the protection and use of their own language. It also involves being on the land in an informed and meaningful manner. It's not an either-or thing: "the people living in these remote communities continually supported and wrote about their involvement with learning, education, and other activities that demonstrate their strong relationship with the land and all its resources." This is one article in a special issue of In Education  on indigenous education.

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Canon unveils seven new online video classes for photographers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2016-06-14 02:09

by Hillary Grigoni, Yahoo

Learning photography using Canon gear may have just gotten a bit simpler with the launch of the company’s new online learning platform. On Wednesday, the camera manufacturer announced Canon Online Learning, a platform for online classes and print materials suitable for several different skill levels. The new paid platform joins free resources like the Canon Community and blog that teach photographers both basic camera techniques and photography concepts. According to Canon, the new classes are designed for photographers from several different backgrounds and skill levels, from hobbyists and professionals to travelers and parents. While plans for additional materials are in the works, the online learning platform has launched with seven initial classes.

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CNBC: Top 50 Companies as Disruptors – Coursera #10

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2016-06-14 02:08


Few would argue that higher education has long been an industry in need of some fresh thinking. Which is why, in 2012, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, both former computer science professors at Stanford University, decided to launch Coursera. The company is a free online education platform that lets anyone, anywhere access courses from some of the best teachers and universities in the world, including Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Edinburgh, to name a few. Courses cover the spectrum—from global health issues to data science, and most everything in between. Some of the 17.5 million learners around the world who have accessed any of the company’s 1,800 course offerings are there because they have a deep interest in a given subject.

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Should Your Online Course Sound Like “Serial”?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2016-06-14 02:05

by Amy Ahearn, EdSurge

Radio and podcast hosts like Tippett have much to teach the education community about how to build engaging digital content. If 2012 was the year of the MOOC, 2016 is the year of the podcast. According to Pew Research Center studies, a third of American adults have listened to a podcast while only 18 percent arefamiliar with MOOCs. This is partly because the voices on podcasts have started to sound different. Women—including women of color—have taken the medium by storm. Online learning has a mansplaining problem. The online course space, on the other hand, has remained dominated by the voices of white men. Online learning has a mansplaining problem. Take the homepages of five of the most popular online learning providers: Coursera, EdX, FutureLearn, Lynda and Udemy. Collectively their lists of “Popular Courses,” “Popular Courses Starting Soon,” “Online Courses,” “Top Courses” and “Courses” feature 83 classes taught by a total of 163 listed instructors. As of June 2016, 72 percent of these instructors were men.

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Plans vs. Planning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 00:14

Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Jun 13, 2016

Good post on an essential difference. Quoting none other than Richard Nixon: "It was obvious that no plans could have possibly been devised to cope with such unpredictable conduct. Yet without months of planning … I might have been completely dismayed and routed by his unexpected assaults."

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Student visa fraud: universities and governments ‘must be proactive’

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 00:14

Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, Jun 13, 2016

I don't think Canada needs any lessons on supposed 'visa fraud' from the Times of London, participarly when the only evidence offered seems to be the way we run our decentralized education system: "the process for granting degree-awarding powers is determined by each provincial government, which she said 'can allow more room for corruption'." If there is any evidence that fraud actually has been committed by Canadian institutions, THE ought to come out and say so instead of making insinuations.  By contrast, I guess, British institutions, which can charge  $18K in tuition, aren't likely to defraud their students at all! Crumpets!

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Keeping MOOCs open—platforms vs. protocols

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 00:14

Dave Weinberger, Joho the Blog, Jun 13, 2016

It appears to be a fuss about nothing - or maybe it was a trial balloon - but though there are reports  that Coursera is clamping down on free access to courses, there's no real evidence to back that up. Nonetheless, Dave Weinberger is sounding a caution. "MOOCs are here to stay," he writes, "But we once again need to learn the danger of centralized platforms. Protocols are safer — more generative, more resistant to capture — than platforms. Distributed archives are safer than centralized archives." But of course the platform created at Stanford and catering to exclusive universities was always going to be centralized. The question is why we pay so much attention to Coursera than to the dozens of other MOOC platforms.

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The Second Power of Open

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 00:14

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jun 13, 2016

The second power of open, says David Wiley, is the use of open materials to support a better pedagogy. "Perhaps we should start talking about open pedagogy as the 'second power of open,'" he writes. "Perhaps that language, which has a clear and specific referent, would help a broader group of people understand that there’ s even more to open than they realized." I'd like to think so, but that's what we did with MOOCs, using open resurces to create a new pedagogy, but there wasn't  really a great opening of the eyes as a result.

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Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 00:14

Aimee Groth, Quartz, Jun 13, 2016

This is not universally true, of course. Sometimes they have other less legal means. What they don't have is a special 'character' that makes them entrepreneurs (much less better than you or me).  “ Many other researchers have replicated the finding that entrepreneurship is more about cash than dash,” University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald tells Quartz. “ Genes probably matter, as in most things in life, but not much.”

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Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-06-14 00:14

Jay Greene, Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal, Jun 13, 2016

Last week, I got an email telling me to change my password because the LinkedIn database had been hacked. Today, Microsoft is buying the company. No, I'm not saying the events are linked. It's just surprising that a company with 500K members could leave passwords exposed. Anyhow, I'm now waiting for another email about my LinkedIn account, since apparently now Microsoft will be able to read all my personal data. Remember: in our field, companies buy  customers, not technology.

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Deutschen Lebensmittel-Allergietag am 21.06.2016

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Mon, 2016-06-13 09:13
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Deutschen Lebensmittel-Allergietag am 21.06.2016
Categories: Science News

Online Learning for HR

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2016-06-13 02:10

By Tamara Lytle, SHRM

When massive open online courses—better known as MOOCs—first came on the educational scene, nobody knew whether they would be the next big thing in learning or just another quirky acronym. MOOCs are Web-based classes that are available to all, and they’re often free. Today, along with MOOCs, other online learning programs have become common, and HR professionals are using all of them to develop new skills and advance their careers. The growth of online learning has been rapid. For instance, since MOOCs became popular around 2011, 35 million students have given them a try, says Dhawal Shah, head of Class Central, a San Francisco-area organization that tracks MOOCs and curates reviews of them

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Does IT Matter Now?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2016-06-13 02:04

By Frank DiMaria, Campus Technology

Writing for the Harvard Business Review in 2003, Nicholas Carr sparked a firestorm when he proclaimed: “IT is best seen as the latest in a series of broadly adopted technologies that have reshaped industry over the past two centuries — from the steam engine and the railroad … to the electric generator and the internal combustion engine.” Thirteen years later, it’s time to revisit Carr’s argument. Today IT directors and CIOs are more likely to debate the virtues of the cloud, when to use it and when to offer services locally. Regardless, said Keith Boswell, director of technology at North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering, IT needs to do a better job of justifying its existence as a strategic asset. “I’d like to see us proposing more projects designed to enable and multiply the efforts of our faculty and our students, rather than having to sit back and defend the resources that we already have — which is what happens.”

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4 Tech Trends Can Help You Design More Effective E-Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2016-06-13 02:02

by Joel Duncan, ATD

Corporations, schools, governments, hospitals, and a host of other institutions are now developing custom e-learning courses. They are substituting physical classrooms for connected virtual environments, which require learners to have only a mobile device and an Internet connection. Although they still exist, fixed schedules, intimidating textbooks, and mind-numbing lectures are gradually being replaced or complemented by technology-driven e-learning courses. When technology is used correctly in e-learning course design, the result is more learner engagement, accelerated learning, significant time and cost savings, and higher levels of knowledge retention. However, although there is an abundance of technology at their disposal, some course developers still can’t seem to create the engaging learning experiences that students desire.

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