news (external)

Rethinking Low Completion Rates in MOOCs

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-01-13 15:36


Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 13, 2015

So he got a whole article out of this. And Chronicle coverage. "It’ s hardly a surprise that people who are trying complete MOOCs do so at a significantly higher rate than do those who aren’ t trying to complete them."

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Online courses are here to stay

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2015-01-13 01:10

By: Lauren Coffey, University of Iowa

College officials are discussing how far online courses can go after a few football players at Mt. San Antonio community college were found to be taking an online math course that was known to be an easy way to boost their GPAs. “I love online classes, I don’t think there’s any problem with them when they’re done correctly,” Matthew Judd says, dean of natural sciences at San Antonio College. “…the biggest issue students have is the perception that these classes are easier. There’s the issue of student preparedness. When students aren’t studying there becomes a potential issue of academic fraud.”

http://college.usatoday.com/2015/01/08/online-courses-are-here-to-stay/

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Decide Between Live, Self-Paced Online Classes

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2015-01-13 01:05

by Devon Haynie, US News

Asynchronous learning, or self-paced learning, can also be great for students who may feel more comfortable using the written word than speaking in class, says Vickie S. Cook, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois—Springfield. “It gives you a more level playing field – even the thoughtful, introverted student can really take time to think about a response,” she says. In addition, she says, asynchronous learning gives struggling students the chance to review information or move at a slower pace, while also allowing advanced students to zip through the material. While asynchronous learning has its benefits, some believe live, online sessions provide the best education.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/01/09/decide-between-live-self-paced-online-classes

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2015: The Year of On Demand

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2015-01-13 01:02

by Shelly Palmer

Technological advancements always empower people to behave differently – what makes today different is that the rate of technological advancement is accelerating beyond our capacity, perhaps even our ability, to react – and this… is new. On demand is not new… ask anyone who has ever cared for an infant. What is new is the speed with which the technological infrastructure to deliver almost everything you could ask for on demand is evolving – albeit heterogeneously. The white space is obvious and the trend is clear: What’s next?….. (ed note: “on demand learning!)

http://www.shellypalmer.com/spb/2015/1/1/2015-the-year-of-on-demand

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A breadth of learning: Online gateway offers Harvard teaching on the Web

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-01-12 01:09

by Harvard Gazette

If your New Year’s resolution involves learning more about Einstein or the history of the blues, you’re in luck! Harvard’s Online Learning gateway houses all of the University’s open online learning opportunities under one roof for the first time, and anyone can access the breadth and depth of Harvard’s learning content. Featuring both free courses and courses for credit, the platform also offers museum collections, lectures, podcasts, and popular programs such as “CopyrightX” and Michael Sandel’s “Justice.”  “With the site, we have created a path for Harvard faculty to showcase their incredible teaching, for schools to highlight a single course or a full degree program, and for learners, in particular alumni, to dive deep into any subject imaginable,” said Peter Bol, vice provost for advances in learning and Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/01/a-breadth-of-learning/

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Using Online Learning To Support At-Risk Students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-01-12 01:05

By Leila Meyer, THE Journal

The school implemented computer-assisted learning for the Learning Lab several years ago, and last year the school’s graduation rate increased 11 percentage points. “The reason for the increase is because this class from last year was the first year that we had the Learning Lab all four years,” said Sills. But despite the success of the Learning Lab, Sills and Lavallee were no longer satisfied with the software they were using for computer-assisted learning. “At the time they were good, four or five years ago, but as anything evolves, they did not evolve in the way that we needed it to,” said Lavallee. In particular, the school’s curriculum supervisors said they weren’t satisfied with the academic rigor of the program.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/01/07/using-online-learning-to-support-at-risk-students.aspx

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Stanford Launches Literature and Social Online Learning Class

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-01-12 01:02

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Stanford University has wrapped its inaugural session of Literature and Social Online Learning, a new, interdisciplinary class that brings together students from computer science and the humanities to collaborate on literature technology projects. Students in the course work individually and in interdisciplinary teams to “study, develop and test new digital methods, games, apps, interactive social media uses to innovate how the humanities can engage and educate students and the public today,” according to the course description on Stanford’s site. The course aims to help students learn to communicate across disciplines, rethink literature education and develop new ideas for using technology in the classroom. The course also introduces project-based learning — where students work to solve a problem or build a product — to the humanities. While project-based learning is common in computer science classes, it’s unusual in the humanities, but “students found the model motivating and exciting,” according to a news release from Stanford.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/01/07/stanford-launches-literature-and-social-online-learning-class.aspx

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Geography

xkcd.com - Mon, 2015-01-12 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2014

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-01-11 21:32


Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Jan 11, 2015

In case you missed it, Audrey Watters top education trends of 2014. Here they are:

  1. Buzzwords
  2. The Business of Ed-tech
  3. School and "Skills"
  4. MOOCS, Outsourcing, and Online Education
  5. Competencies and Certificates
  6. The Common Core State Standards
  7. Data and Privacy
  8. The Indie Web
  9. Social Justice
  10. #Fail

There's a certain cynicism informing this list, which I think is unavoidable if you stary in the business of covering the field long enough. This, I think, is where my role is different: I not only cover the field, but I'm deeply engaged in building as well, which allows me to take hope in something, even if it's only my own efforts.

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The Hype is Dead, but MOOCs Are Marching On

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-01-11 21:32
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Don Huesman, Knowledge@Wharton, Jan 11, 2015

MOOCs are emerging from the "trough of disillusionment," says Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller in this Wharton interview. The discussion focuses on the value of MOOCs, especially for things link continuing professional development, and Coursera's "verified certificates," which she says are the company's primary source of revenue. There's also discussion of the "cohort model," which sounds a bit like the  serialized feeds discussed here years back. As for growth: "we are hosting nearly 900 courses and I expect to have 1,000 courses on our platform by early 2015. In three years, we’ ll have 5,000 courses, which is about the curriculum of your average medium to large university," she says.

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The Drivers of a Successful BYOD Initiative

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-01-11 18:32


Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, Jan 11, 2015

"The overall goal of any BYOD (Bring Your Own Device - see more) initiative should be to support and enhance student learning," writes Eric Sheninger.  "It should not be implemented as a way to just pacify students by allowing them to use their devices only during non-instructional time or to eliminate discipline issues." The post then highlights a number of policy considerations, including planning, student and teacher professional development, and infrastructure.

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180 Best Photoshop Tutorials of Year 2014

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-01-11 18:32
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Yogesh Mankani, The Neo Design, Jan 11, 2015

Doug Peterson  offers this link to the 180 best Photoshop tutorials of the year. Photoshop is a powerful but difficult piece of software. It's also very popular. I looked at a number of the tutorials; they're free and open, and do the job, effectively showing me how to do this or that. But the main thing I want to highlight here is this: one hundred and eighty. This. Year. This is the scale of open education that is possible, and if we figure out how to do it right we can make this range of learning available to everyone, all the time. This, by the way, does not reduce the need for advanced photoshop instruction. It increases it.

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Look what they've done to the GED. Aligned with Common Core and handed over to Pearson

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-01-11 18:32
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Mike Klonsky, Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog, Jan 11, 2015

Mike Klonsky highlights the dangers of the corporatization of education. "The GED exam has been overhauled, aligned with the Common Core and handed over to Pearson, the giant British testing and textbook corporation in order to supposedly prepare students for 21st-Century jobs. The new test is now much harder. The test prep classes are given on-line. No more personalization." The result? "In 2012, a total of 401,388 people passed the GED test. In 2014, only  58,524." Now I understand that the GED standards have to be rigorous. But the other part of the responsibility is getting people up to that standard. That is why the commercialization is a failure.

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Campaign for America’s Future: An Education New Year’s Resolution We Can All Believe In

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2015-01-11 18:32
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Jeff Bryant, National Education Policy Centre, Jan 11, 2015

Ostensibly about the "dreary" predictions about education for 2015, this article is in fact about getting to the core of the problem, at least in the United States: "It’ s The Inequity, Stupid." I've listed on this site a wealth of evidence showing the best predictor of outcomes is socio-economic status. Poor people do poorly in education. That's a problem when the mantra is that "good education is the only route out of poverty." It's hard to be more self-defeating (unless, of course, your objective is to keep poor people poor). There are signs this may be changing. This week, a New York Times editorial called for "confronting and proposing remedies for the racial and economic segregation that has gripped the state’ s schools, as well as the inequality in school funding that prevents many poor districts from lifting their children up to state standards." It would be good for everybody were the United States able to reverse course on inequity. Its policies are exported, especially to the developing world, precisely where they currently do the most harm. Photo: me.

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New Stanford course brings Silicon Valley to the humanities classroom

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-01-11 01:10

BY IAN P. BEACOCK, Stanford

Students from computer science and the humanities join forces to create literary websites and mobile apps, combining their strengths to launch literature into the 21st century. Although inspired by Stanford’s new CS+X initiative – which allows students to study computer science in parallel with the humanities for a joint major degree – this course goes one step further, asking students from the two disciplines to collaborate on projects that unite technology and literature. The class looks and feels a lot like a start-up incubator in overdrive. In the space of only 10 weeks, students have gone from brainstorming to beta testing and publicly releasing their creations.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/january/humanities-cs-class-010515.html

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Outsourced Online Learning Trial Period

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-01-11 01:05

By Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Like most colleges, online institutions are under pressure to improve their graduation rates. Some are getting more selective about which students they admit, turning away those who appear less likely to complete. But rather than just shutting its virtual doors to applicants, Western Governors University has begun referring underprepared students to StraighterLine, an unaccredited online course provider that does not offer degrees. “We can hand those students off,” said Daren Upham, vice president for enrollment at Western Governors, “to help them gain those skills at a much lower cost than we can provide.”

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/06/western-governors-deepening-partnership-straighterline-creates-new-path-completion

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The Hype is Dead, but MOOCs Are Marching On

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2015-01-11 01:03

by Knowledge@Wharton

Just two years ago, massive open online courses (MOOCs) were all the rage. They were garnering lots of media attention and The New York Times called 2012 “the year of the MOOC.” Today, though the hype has died down, the world’s largest provider of MOOCs – Coursera – keeps on innovating and developing its online platform to serve millions of learners. Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, whom Knowledge@Wharton interviewed in November 2012, returned to campus recently to speak about her progress since launching her company 2.5 years ago, and she gives her predictions for what the MOOC landscape will look like in the future. In her interview, Koller also provides an update on how Coursera is staying afloat even though the vast majority of students don’t pay a penny for their education.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/moocs-making-progress-hype-died/

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A simple proposal to fix the Internet

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-01-10 21:31
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Arthur Fontaine, Arthur Fontaine's Blog, Jan 10, 2015

The "simple proposal" is not so simple, but it's one I endorse and am working toward with LPSS. Arthur Fontain explains, "the Internet is designed so that user identity is owned by the service provider... My theory is that's all you need to fix.  Below I will propose a free and open cloud service that lets you manage your own identity, and keep all your stuff private." The first attempt to do this was OpenID, but the idea of federated identity was simply swallowed up by the service providers. That's why the solution has to be more robust than simple identity provision. See also: Identity 2.0.

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New Clues

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-01-10 18:31
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Doc Searles, David Weinberger, Jan 10, 2015

I can't say I found a depth of insight and wisdom in the New Clues document, especially as it closes with the same message the Beatles sang to us all those years ago: All you need is love. The new document is far more flippant than the old, refers far more to Silicon Valley tropes ("Kumbiyah sounds surprisingly good in an echo chamber", "Google your topic. Take your pick", "Anger is a license to be stupid".  But it's there, and you may as well enjoy it.

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New modes of integration: Individuality and sociality in digital networks

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2015-01-10 18:31
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Marian Adolf, Dennis Deicke, First Monday, Jan 10, 2015

This paper looks at the impact of the decline of mass media on community. It suggests that a two-part process takes place: first, the removal of individuals from traditional social structures and supports, and second, their reintegration into a new type of community defined by networked sociality. "The latter kind, typical for modernity, is based not on resemblance (or even kinship) but rooted in complex society’ s ever increasing interdependency." Rather than being part of a traditional cultural group, in other words, we get personalized networks. This gives us "new modalities of social integration: a permanent process of addressing and referencing information is set in motion. Every link, every hashtag, every meme that is shared — representing media-borne information — embodies this notion." It's a good paper, though written in dense and heavy prose, but worth the effort to decipher. See also Colombo and Landri, Schools and Networked Sociality. Image, Galley et. al., from Conole.

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