news (external)

Lawrence, 5 other colleges to develop courses including online instruction

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-04-03 02:05
By FOX 11 News Lawrence University is one of six colleges to receive grant money to develop course involving online instruction. University leaders say they will work with Albion College, DePauw University, Grinnell College, Hope College and Wabash College to develop what they call hybrid courses. Teams of faculty from several disciplines are tasked with developing the courses during the rest of this year, with the first courses begin offered in spring of 2016. “This project will allow faculty to explore new instructional methods such as the flipped classroom to deliver content online and enrich the face-to-face experience with new forms of team-based learning,” David Berk, director of instructional technology at Lawrence, said in a news release.

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New legislation increases access to online classes at Cal State

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-04-03 02:03

by California State University Orion

Students attending any California State University will now have the opportunity to enroll in online classes at other campuses in the system. Assembly Bill 386 requires that every fully online course offered by the CSU system be made available to all eligible students at no extra cost beginning in the fall. The new bill relies on students to self-certify themselves and choose the right online class that is offered at any CSU.

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Metaball - Fri, 2015-04-03 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Life in the freezer

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-04-02 16:35

Steve Wheeler, Learning With Es, Apr 02, 2015

Steve Wheeler reports on his visit to Antarctica to give a talk on distance learning. And he reports, "The college has already invested heavily in correspondence courses, and is also gearing up to deliver its first MOOC later this year once they get their internet connection. The subject? - Antarctic Studies, of course." I don't know whether anybody in Antarctica reads OLDaily but, um, you know, I'd be available. *sheepish grin* MOOCs, anyone?

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Micro-Learning as a Workplace Learning Strategy

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-04-02 16:35

Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID & Other Reflections, Apr 02, 2015

The focus of discussion on micro-learning is the short duration of learning events - 5 or 10 minutes - implied in the name. But more significant, I think, is the means of production. "Working out loud on the enterprise collaboration platform is not only narration of work but also entails the use of principles of micro-learning (sharing byte-sized processes to help others learn from their experiences). In short, our days are filled with moments of learning – whether by design or by happenstance."

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Apple and Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-04-02 16:35

Website, Apple, Apr 02, 2015

EdSurge  reports that "Apple just released a fresh For Educators page, that scoops up apps, books, courses and collections all relating to education from iTunes U, the App Store and iBooks Store." There's a lot there, and Apple no doubt is a storehouse of resources, but the problem is as it always was: you have to use Apple's proprietary iTunes software to access most of the resources. Stuff that's important: AppleID, their student identification system; mobile  device management (MDM).

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Peering Deep into Future of Educational Credentialing

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-04-02 16:35

Doug Belshaw, DMLcentral, Apr 02, 2015

Is an educational credential like a type of money? That's the core thought behind Doug Belshaws post that challenges traditional thinking on things like badges. Because, he argues, if they are like money, then they could be like something like bitcoins, generated through a cryptological algorithm called a blockchain, and hence able to be dispensed without being duplicated. "If we used the blockchain for Open Badges," he writes, "then we could prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person receiving badge Y is the same person who created evidence X. This would use a proof of work system." It's an interesting thought and one worth pursuing, I think.

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Five Secrets of Effective and Enjoyable Leadership

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-04-02 16:35

Mark Federman, What is the (Next) Message?, Apr 02, 2015

In my recent role of program leader I've been thinking a lot about these elements. A lot of what happens in the program is out of my control, but I'm OK with that, because that also means I get to keep on being me. Here's the list (all items quoted directly form the article) and, yes, they generally reflect my experience:

  1. leadership is about enabling a conducive environment for people to come together and create a shared experience
  2. leaders don’ t drive for goals. They navigate for intended effects
  3. leaders base their organizational culture on individual autonomy and agency, collective responsibility, and mutual accountability
  4. one’ s work integrates with, rather than balancing in opposition against, one’ s lifecontemporary leadership employs strengths-based, appreciative practices

Is this listicle Thursday? I don't know. I don't really like linking to them. But when I do, I like to list the list, and take the surprise out of them. That way, when you go read the article, it's not because you're responding to clickbait.

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Can blogging be academically valuable? Seven reasons for thinking it might be

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-04-02 16:35

John Danaher, Philosophical Disquisitions, Apr 02, 2015

My academic career basically exists because of blogging, so I think there may be a point to this article. Here are the seven reasons (my thoughts in parentheses):

  • It helps to build the habit of writing (this is key for me - for me, doing this newsletter is like gettiung some exercise each day)
  • It helps to generate writing flow states (also true - most essays that I write, even the ones I publish, I basically write in one sitting)
  • It helps you to really understand your area of research (because I read so much I get a sense of the flow and development of the field)
  • It allows you to systematically develop the elements of a research article (meh)
  • It enables you to acquire serendipitous research interests (this is true for me as well, and my work is a cross of numerous fields)
  • It helps with networking and developing contacts (I'm not so good at meeting people in person so this has been crucial for me)
  • And yes, it also helps with teaching (indeed, that's how I started with blogging)

I know that  gushing about blogging is out of vogue these days, as people attach themselves to the virtues of Twitter and Facebook, but for me the daily ritual has been the cornerstone of my intellectual development.

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Online learning could disrupt higher education, but many universities are resisting it

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-04-02 02:10

by the Economist

One reason is that universities are wary of undermining the value of their degrees. Resistance by faculty also slows down the adoption of new technology. When academics at San Jose State University were asked to teach a course on social justice created for EdX, a MOOC, by Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor, they refused, telling Mr Sandel that such developments threatened to “replace professors, dismantle departments and provide a diminished education for students in public universities”. Similar protests have been echoing around the country. For now, the interests of academics generally prevail over those of students.

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Somerset County Jail Offers Online College Courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-04-02 02:05

by Joy Hollowell, WABI

It’s not uncommon for inmates at Maine’s county jails to complete their GEDs.  But a new program in Madison is taking that one step further. After attending two years of college in the 1990’s, Travis Carrigan decided to return to school.  “Just something that I always put off, put off, put off,” says Carrigan.  This past fall, he took three online courses through Kennebec Valley Community College. The school provided scholarships that paid for two-thirds of Carrigan’s tuition. He ended up acing all three classes, earning a 4.0.

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U of A hopes to boost enrollment with online classes

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

By Cynthia Washington, Tucson News

The University of Arizona is exploring new ways to make up for nearly $30 million in state funding cuts. One way may be boosting the number of people taking university classes online. Starting Fall 2015, the U of A will be offering 21 undergraduate programs that are all completely online. These online classes are geared to 25 to 34 year olds. Administrators say the online classes are for anyone that doesn’t have the time to physically go to class. This is a plus for the university. The school will be able to admit more students, which means more money, all while current students don’t have to worry about overcrowding in classrooms.

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Learning the Netflix way

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-04-01 22:33

David Hopkins, Technology Enhanced Learning Blog, Apr 01, 2015

I came back from my trip last night to find my Netflix payments had expired. This puts me into the mode of questioning whether I want to renew. I'm not so sure I do. I'm learning that access to programming on Netflix is ephemeral - I discovered this at the end of the first year when a number of old westerns disappeared, then more recently when I discovered I could no longer access Xena. Dozens of other shows are also gone. And I still can't watch Battlestar or the last few seasons of Weeds via the Canadian service. And that's not the sort of model I'm interested in promoting for learning. You never know when you'll need those old trigonometry lessons again, or how to build a Stirling engine.

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3 Important Shifts in Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-04-01 22:33

George Couros, Connected Principals, Apr 01, 2015

I honestly don't think any of these three shifts is a real thing. I could be wrong of course. But they have the air and feel of representing things that (some) people would like to happen, rather than what's actually happening. Here are the shifts:

  • from 'digital citizenship' to 'digital empathy'
  • from 'student voice' to 'student leadership'
  • from 'growth mindset' to 'innovator mindset'

It's not that I actually oppose any of these. But I'd really want to reframe them, because they feel like a marketing campaign looking for a product. I just don't think they address core issues. Indeed, they seem to me like ways to avoiding core issues.

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Techno Fantasies

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-04-01 22:33

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Apr 01, 2015

Audrey Watters takes on Kevin Carey's book The End of College and does so with what is, I think, exactly the right tone, which is to say, distrust, scepticism and outright hostility. "The University of Everywhere is the response, led by venture capitalists and ed-tech entrepreneurs, to 'ancient institutions in their last days of decadence,' Carey argues. And we are to believe that an end will come soon for the oppressive regime created by colleges and universities, as he personally has numbered the days until they either 'adapt' or become extinct." Universities are lots of things, but they are not oppressive; they are indeed liberators, which is why admission to them is so valued, and why the forces of oppression target them for control and dismantling. Yes we need to fix education, but we need to be very careful to preserve what we value in education. Carey's vision does not do that, and indeed, undermines it.

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OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-04-01 19:32

Unattributed, Twitter, Apr 01, 2015

Twitter is accepting applications to use Curator. "Curator enables media publishers to discover, curate and display the best Twitter content on any screen." I put my name in but I probably don't qualify. Via Robin Good. Some related items from his list: EpicBeat, a relevant content finding service. A curation tool for apps: Stacks. Create your favourite topic: Hubub. Here Robin Good's Facebook Page.

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Career ready: Towards a national strategy for the mobilization of Canadian potential

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-04-01 16:32

Ken Coates, Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), Apr 01, 2015

The core of the message is in the headlines: cut university enrolment and expand colleges. It is a shot across the bow. "Canada needs to become more effective in matching skills, training and education with workforce requirements," writes Ken Coates for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). "Canada needs to shift away from this open-access approach —   based on the idea that everyone 'deserves'  a degree, or at least the chance to try to earn one —   to one that is based on achievement, motivation and compatibility with national needs." How should the education system respond? Canadian companies do not invest a lot in learning; they "look to public institutions and government programs to prepare the workforce," and then complain about the result. In my view, educators should demand corporations vote with their dollars. The less corporations pay toward sustaining the system of education, the less say they should have in the outcome. See also: CBC Coverage. Also, see the CCCE skills website.

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Studies: Online Ed Not Better or Worse Than Traditional Classes

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2015-04-01 02:09

By The Hechinger Report

Does online learning work? Do college students learn better, or at least as well, from computer instruction as they do from a human teacher? That’s a question asked over and over by not only students, parents and professors, but also by academic researchers. It’s especially important because universities are offering more and more of their courses online. A new paper sheds some light on this question. The author sorted through the best studies on online university courses published in the past couple years, and concluded that online education, or partial online instruction, is neither worse nor better than traditional face-to-face instruction.

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Crowdsourcing Drives Latest Disruptive Tech in Online Language Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2015-04-01 02:05

by Ava Seaves, Forbes

“I’ve logged over 2 million miles. I have developed a very deep appreciation for not only languages but the culture that is behind the language and what it takes to be successful,” said Mike Elchik, co-founder of free online language learning platform WeSpeke, in a recent interview. Elchik formed a business by generalizing from his own experience. “As I was traveling the world, I saw that there was a way to take what I had experienced every day, whether I was on the street of Paris, Tokyo or Shanghai. I was envisioning that you could move the exchange that might happen on the street on line. And have two highly compatible people help each other to learn a language.”

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Massive open online courses better depict student potential

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2015-04-01 02:02

by The Pitt News Editorial Board

Students should be aware of the alternative resources available to them for free — such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) — because standardized tests just don’t tell the whole story. Open source textbooks have gained popularity in the growing market for free higher education materials, but MOOCs aim to boost students’ access to college in an even more pivotal way. One nonprofit consortium called EdX offers students video lectures and discussion forums to engage with one another. EdX’s MOOCs are a gateway for students of all income levels to prove their ability to excel in a college environment. Universities such as Harvard, MIT, the University of Texas and Caltech offer complete online versions of their prestigious classes — for free. Universities sometimes directly accept a student that excels in one of their MOOCs. “Given that we know how rigorous MITx classes are, seeing a student’s performance in that class can help calibrate us to their readiness for an MIT education,” says Stuart Schmill, MIT’s Dean of Admissions.

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