news (external)

The 50 Most Popular MOOCs of All Time

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2017-03-08 01:02

by Online Course Report

MOOCs – or Massive Open Online Courses – are picking up momentum in popularity – at least in terms of initial enrollment. There are now thousands of MOOCs available worldwide from several hundred colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of 50 of the most popular MOOCs, based on enrollment figures for all sessions of a course. The ranking is based on filtering enrollment data for 185 free MOOCs on various elearning platforms.

https://www.onlinecoursereport.com/the-50-most-popular-moocs-of-all-time/

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Hacking

xkcd.com - Wed, 2017-03-08 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Open Education Sweden

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-03-07 19:29


Ebba Ossiannilsson, OER World Map, Mar 07, 2017

This is a very comprehensive look at open education in Sweden, beginning with the country's open access policies in general and proceeding through a detailed list of specific open education and OER initiatives in the country. "Because of its emphasis on independent studies, Sweden is ranked among the world leaders in higher education. The teaching model applied at Swedish universities and university colleges is expressed in the motto 'freedom with responsibility.' Students have somewhat less teacher-led time than in other systems of higher education, mainly pursuing their studies on their own or in groups. Sweden also aims to have one of the most research-intensive university systems in the world. The uptake in higher education among Swedes has risen sharply over the last few years. In the autumn term of 2012, there was a record 126,000 first-time applicants to higher education in Sweden."

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We Don’t Need More Mousetraps!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-03-07 19:29


Tim Kastelle, The Discipline of Innovation, Mar 07, 2017

In the spirit of Who Moved My Cheese, Tim Kastelle makes the case that innovation should not be measured in terms of new discoveries, patents and publications, and instead focuses on "something that solves actual problems for real people." This, he argues, is a circular process. "We talk to people a bit to understand what problems they’ re struggling with, then build something that might help with that to see if it works. And we do this repeatedly." Fair enough, but my experience is that when you ask people what they want, they ask for a better mousetrap, and they won't buy it from you until you have patents and publications to prove it works. Real innovation goes beyond what people say they want, and addresses challenges they never imagined could be solved.

[Link] [Comment]

Bold ideas for a better world

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-03-07 19:29


Sam Sebastian, Official Google Canada Blog, Mar 07, 2017

This is a list of finalists from "the first Google.org Impact Challenge in Canada - a nationwide competition to find and fund the most innovative nonprofits that are using technology to tackle tough social problems." There are two education-related finalists: The LearnCloud Portal, an offline, tablet-based curriculum to help indigenous high school students, and Services Advisor "an application aimed at welcoming new Canadians to our shores, making it easier for newcomers to access immigrant services like mentorship and employment skills."

[Link] [Comment]

Bots go bust

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-03-07 19:29


Baptiste Parravicini, ReadWrite, Mar 07, 2017

I like predictions that go against the grain, especially when I am fundamentally in agreement with them. Here are the predictions:

  • Bots go bust
  • Deep learning goes commodity
  • AI is cleantech 2.0 for VCs
  • MLaaS dies a second death
  • Full stack vertical AI startups actually work

One explanatin summarizes a lot of this: "The bottom line on why it doesn’ t work: the people that know what they’ re doing just use open source, and the people that don’ t will not get anything to work, ever, even with APIs." Heh. Read the rest for some better insights than the vendor-based predictions will offer.

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Why students in Moldova are performing better

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-03-07 16:29


Lucia Casap, World Bank, Mar 07, 2017

Between 2009 and 2015 Moldova significantly increased its PISA scores. This article looks for possible explanations and finds three: schools adopted a reporting process, per-capita financing was introduced, and baccalaureate exam security was enhanced. These explanations are unsatisfying, and there isn't any actual evidence that they were the cause of attainment increases in that time. Alternatives, such as greater mobility, enhanced internet access, and increased cooperation with European nations, also suggest themselves.

[Link] [Comment]

What does it really take to build a flourishing online learning program?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-03-07 01:10

BY LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

The number of institutions offering no online or hybrid courses or programs is declining. The report predicts soon will be in the single digits as a proportion of all institutions. More institutions now offer online programs, and the number of programs offered also is increasing. Comparing data from the 2013 and 2016 surveys, the proportion of institutions that offered five or more fully online programs increased from 15 percent to 25 percent. “No matter the modality, students are starting to expect flexibility to not just be an option but the norm in their educational experience,” according to the report. “Online or on ground, technology is pervading the classroom.” The report offers a number of recommendations to help CIC member institutions develop and deliver online programs. The recommendations are not one-size-fits-all, but are intended to act as guideposts to build a more robust online presence.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/online-learning/flourishing-online-program/

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Google Debuts Troll-Fighting AI Tool to Moderate Online Comments

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-03-07 01:05

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

Trolls are commonplace online, with close to a third of American internet users witnessing harassment online and nearly half personally experiencing it. To help combat internet trolls, Google’s technology incubator Jigsaw and Counter Abuse Technology Team last Friday launched Perspective, “an early-stage technology that uses machine learning to help identify toxic comments,” according to the blog post announcement. Perspective works by reviewing comments and scoring them based on how similar they are to comments that are typically considered negative or “toxic,” the blog post explained. “To learn how to spot potentially toxic language, Perspective examined hundreds of thousands of comments that had been labeled by human reviewers. Each time Perspective finds new examples of potentially toxic comments, or is provided with corrections from users, it can get better at scoring future comments.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/02/27/google-debuts-troll-fighting-ai-tool-to-moderate-online-comments.aspx

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Immersive Education: VR Comes of Age

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-03-07 01:03

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

For virtual reality to succeed in education, there’s more required than just cool experiences. Anybody who has watched the education segment for any length of time also knows that the initial “cool” factor isn’t enough to sustain the market. Last year’s NMC/CoSN Horizon Report on K-12 education gave VR two to three years to hit the tipping point. As a recent FutureSource report noted, a big question is whether this new technology can be integrated deeply enough into the curriculum and help achieve specific learning outcomes in order to drive mainstream adoption.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/02/27/immersive-education-vr-comes-of-age.aspx

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How “News Literacy” Gets the Web Wrong

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-03-06 22:28


Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Mar 06, 2017

Michael Caulfield astutely diagnoses what is wrong with a lot of the 'new literacy' guidelines for evaluating news reports on the web. These guidelines spend a lot of time urging students to assess the trustworthiness of the website, instead of getting to the source of the report being passed along. It's as though these guideline authors are still rooted in the world of newspapers where you have no way to check additional references or original sources, both of which are often available on the web. Who cares whether you read something on Kos or Facebook? What matters is where the story came from originally, and the web provides abundant resources to help you find that. And - notably - exactly the same is true for online research generally. We trace the work back to the original publication, then we assess the method.

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Berkeley Will Delete Online Content

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-03-06 19:28


Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 06, 2017

The University of California, Berkeley, is responding to a U.S. Justice Department order to make it educational content accessible to people with disabilities by removing the content from the internet. According to  a letter distributed by the university, the removal also serves to "better protect instructor intellectual property from 'pirates' who have reused content for personal profit without consent." This is an example of what  I once called the 'high bar' attack on open content, whereby  commercial interests make offering open content too expensive by imposing stringent legal requirements against it.

[Link] [Comment]

Berkeley Will Delete Online Content

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-03-06 11:08

by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

The University of California, Berkeley, will cut off public access to tens of thousands of video lectures and podcasts in response to a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the educational content accessible to people with disabilities. Today, the content is available to the public on YouTube, iTunes U and the university’s site. On March 15, the university will begin removing the more than 20,000 audio and video files from those platforms and require users sign in with University of California credentials to view or listen to them. Cathy Koshland, vice chancellor for undergraduate education, says “This move will also partially address recent findings by the Department of Justice, which suggests that the YouTube and iTunes U content meet higher accessibility standards as a condition of remaining publicly available.”

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/06/u-california-berkeley-delete-publicly-available-educational-content

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Virtual-world technology supports collaboration in online Abington-based course

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-03-06 01:05

by Penn State

A study by a Penn State Abington faculty member evaluated the use of a virtual-world technology to support student collaboration in two online computer courses. The abstract of the study by Robert Avanzato, associate professor of engineering, was accepted by the American Society of Engineering Education for its national conference in June. Although the academic performance was comparable to online offerings of the same course without the use of the technology, it expanded the scope of the course by improving engagement and facilitating student team collaboration.

http://news.psu.edu/story/452392/2017/02/24/academics/virtual-world-technology-supports-collaboration-online-abington

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Decision to pay hackers for hijacked systems more complex than meets the eye

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-03-06 01:03

by Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Los Angeles Valley College and the University of Calgary share the dubious distinction of having paid hackers to free their systems and files from ransomware, malicious technology that is becoming more of a persistent problem in higher education for presidents and CIOs. Campus Technology analyzes the decision-making associated with paying ransoms for hacked systems, which frequently does not restore captured data and networks but allows officials to regain access to their own systems in order to begin restoration processes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says that the total amount of payments made in the United States to hackers has increased by more than $180 million in the last two years, and on campuses, ransomware is prevalent due to the number of users and devices with the opportunity to click on suspicious emails and links.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/decision-to-pay-hackers-for-hijacked-systems-more-complex-than-meets-the-ey/436846/

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Finding the Time to Take an Online Course

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-03-06 01:01

by Heather Crockett, Art of Education

Investing in professional development is a big decision. There are many factors to consider and many options from which to choose. If you are considering online learning, you may be drawn to the easy access and lack of commute time (PD in your PJs!). While it’s true online learning makes it possible for you to access course information and materials 24/7, it’s important to understand exactly how much time you should plan to spend online, and whether or not you can balance the commitment with all the other parts that make up your busy life. Today I am going to dissect AOE’s online courses and give you a behind-the-scenes look at course design, structure, and workload requirements. I will also provide a Course Planning Tool download to help you find the time to take an online course.

https://www.theartofed.com/2017/02/24/finding-time-take-online-course/

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Listening

xkcd.com - Mon, 2017-03-06 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

How to make your kid good at anything, according to a world expert on peak performance

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-03-05 19:27


Jenny Anderson, Quartz, Mar 05, 2017

I once wrote a paper called 'Could Hume Play Billiards?' to which the answer was "Yes, but he would have to practice." So I am predisposed to endorse the approach championed by K. Anders Ericsson as described in this article whereby he argues that the difference between exceptional achievement and the rest of us is focused and deliberate practice. It makes sense to me because I was the same height and weight as Wayne Gretzky, I am the same age, I am as smart as Wayne Gretzky, but one of us was the world's best hockey player and one of us wasn't. The difference was practice. Anyhow, this article is an extended defense of the thesis, and as I said, I am sympathetic.

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Connected Learning: a personal epiphany

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-03-05 19:27


Gardner Campbell, Gardner Writes, Mar 05, 2017

I'll begin by referencing Samuel Delaney's classic Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, the connectedness metaphor that predates this particular discussion and whose themes echo through  Jon Udell's post and (no doubt) many of my own. I've had the same experience when I hear my own work quoted back to me as an interesting idea I might want to consider. You cast your ideas out in the the great and increasingly unresponsive deep galaxy of the internet and hope they bear fruit. And these ideas are rediscovered over and over again, often by astute meme-riders like Jon (hey now) Udell. I wouldn't call this the core of digital literacy, but its a strand, a thread, a string in time. (p.s. the first line of Campbell's post is unadulterated formulaic clickbait, and he should be ashamed. Reeling? Really?)

[Link] [Comment]

Failing to See, Fueling Hatred.

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-03-05 19:27


danah boyd, Apophenia, Mar 05, 2017

I am partially in agreement with danah boyd and partially in disagreement. Let me begin with the latter: the piece reads to me that we should sympathize with the plight of the rich or privileged because perception is more important than statistical reality. The important thing is that people feel hard done by, she says, not whether they are actually hard done by. On the other hand, my disagreeable experience at the panel on the ethics of care on Saturday reminds me that simply shutting out dissenting voices from the conversation does more harm than good, especially when it is done by a moderator and panel stressing the virtue of attentiveness. In sum, my view is: being rich or privileged doesn't automatically make you right, and being poor or oppressed doesn't automatically make you right. This applies especially to social, political and ethical discourse.

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