news (external)

The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-05-11 04:21

Jonathan P. Tennant, François Waldner, Damien C. Jacque, et al., F1000Research, May 10, 2016

This is a solid and (as the title suggests) evidence-based argument from a variety of perspectives in favour of open access. To this point I think the case has been conclusively made and this article offers an excellent summary. Even more to the point, though, the article is offered via an open journal practicing open peer review. So I can see that five referees looked at the paper and offered their comments, including questions and suggestions for revisions. It also helps that I know  who the referees are, so I can see that, for example, Peter Suber gave his thumbs up. There are also some other nice features, such as the ability to download images as PowerPoint slides, direct links to references so I can read them on the spot, citation exporter, tracking feature, and more. This is the future of publishing.

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Lessons About Online Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-05-11 02:08

By Yoram Neumann and Edith Neumann, Inside Higher Ed

Several factors emerged as determinants of students’ academic performance and related outcomes, such as retention, graduation, satisfaction and commitment toward their college or university. The four major predictors of student learning outcomes were: student engagement and involvement in a variety of activities aimed at different cognitive domains of learning; student-faculty contact, including faculty members’ helpfulness and accessibility — as manifested through the immediacy of feedback and a concern for students and their problems; factors related to degree programs, including the integration and relevance of the various required and elective courses, as well as the quality of teaching focused on student learning and of academic advising; and learning opportunities beyond traditional courses, including opportunities to engage in self-directed learning and address critical issues in the course. Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_17431') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_17431') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_17431') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_17431'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_17431') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Good Outcomes for Transfers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-05-11 02:05

By Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

Study finds that students who start at community college earn bachelor’s degrees at much lower rates — but those who transfer fare as well as (or better than) “native” four-year-college students. Students who enrolled in community colleges were significantly less likely to earn bachelor’s degrees and had lower early-career earnings than peers who went directly to four-year institutions, but those who ultimately transferred to four-year colleges performed equally to those who went directly into four-year institutions, a new study has found. The research, published by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, examines terrain that has become increasingly important as more students (often encouraged by policy makers) consider enrolling in two-year institutions because they are less expensive.

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Study: Higher ed falling behind fast in digital transformation

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-05-11 02:02

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

A study of college and university digital content management practices found schools are doing little more than publishing content, missing opportunities to deliver experiences and better engage students. Campus Technology reports the study, commissioned by five companies interested in higher ed digital business opportunities, found many schools overwhelmed by basic demands of maintaining the institution’s web presence with little bandwidth to shift from content publishing to digital storytelling. Report authors expect many colleges and universities will not be motivated to improve their digital content until they see negative consequences in student enrollment, but researchers say that will leave them playing catch up.

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Substitutions 3 - Wed, 2016-05-11 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Cancellation of subscriptions to 2,116 Springer journals

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2016-05-11 01:21

Press Release, Université de Montréal, May 10, 2016

A press prelease from the Université de Montré al minces no words in explaining why itè s dropping the bulk of its subscriptions from Springer: "'We are trying to best meet the needs of our community despite budget cuts in the last few years, the greediness of commercial publishers, and the weak Canadian dollar,' said Sté phanie Gagnon, Collections Director." One of the major culprits is bundling, which forces the university to buy journals nobody reads. "On their own, Libraries are absolutely no match for these multinational publishers. However, UdeM professors and researchers that are concerned about these changes are well positioned to make a difference....  The greatest risk for publishers is that people start questioning their access to this free research output and volunteer workforce as well as their business model.

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The DAO is alive, now let the evolution begin

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 22:21

Julian Feder, Backfeed, May 10, 2016

I spent a good part of the day exploring this (and the rest of the day exploring the awesomeness of Windows 93). What we have here is really a two-part story, the first about Ethereum, and the second about Dao itself. To the first: according to the website, "Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference." Basically, it enables developers to create their own blockchain 'currencies' (which may or may not have financial value) which can be used in a variety of applications.

This leads us to the second part of the story, Dao, which is one of those applications. Basically it is a 'distributed corporation' that receives investments, chooses projects, and pays for their development; some of these projects return revenue to Dao and others don't. The key here is to prevent the corporation from being taken over and milked for value by large financial interests. As they say, "The idea of an organization without the need of headquarters, which exists almost outside of physical space, unseizable by force, which doesn’ t belong to any individual or group, and which has the ability to execute itself and self-regulate, would have sounded almost religious just a few decades ago." I wonder whether we could run science and education like that.

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World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) Explore Plans to Combine

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 22:21

Press Release, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), May 10, 2016

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is, of course, the body that defines major web standards. The most important standard managed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)  is the ePub standard for eBooks. According to the release, "The future evolution of EPUB technical standards would continue at W3C, along with broader work to improve publishing features across the entire Open Web Platform."

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The Inconvenient Truth About Personalized Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 19:21

Julia Freeland Fisher, Clayton Christensen Institute, May 10, 2016

I think this article captures the core problem not only with learning research but also with learning analytics: "simply asking what works stops short of the real question at the heart of a truly personalized system: what works, for which students, in what circumstances?" There is, notes the author, "mounting evidence that 'average' itself is a flawed construct."  At a certain point, you need to be able to say why something works, which includes having an explanation for when it doesn't work. Most education research doesn't come close to this point.

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Predictive Analytics for Publishing

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 19:21

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, May 10, 2016

A new entrant based in Toronto is offering competition for  Academia and ResearchGate. As this article says,  Meta helps researchers to follow topics of interest in biomedical sciences (it intends to expand) with individual feed lists and libraries. The interesting bit is that Meta has organized this work as a graph of topics, researchers, journals and other elements. Presumably individuals using the service would also be included in the graph. The idea is to be able to predict emerging trends using data analytics. This may be more difficult than it sounds. After all, as cofounder  Sam Molyneux says,  “ There’ s always going to be a fraction of information that doesn’ t get published in articles,” Molyneux said. “ There’ s also the unpublished leading edge of science." Yeah. And that's a very large fraction. I tried out the site - I really didn't like the way the wizard seized control and wouldn't just let you explore until you had set up feeds and topics, but overall it seemed relatively intuitive.

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Educational Technology Education Conferences 35 June to December 2016

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 16:21

Clayton R. Wright, Stephen's Web, May 10, 2016

Clayton R. Wright has published the latest iteration of his excellent conference list. He writes, "Attached is the 35th version of the educational technology and education conference list. Since the previous list was published, 89 events were added to June 2016. This version of the list contains basic information regarding 1, 511 confirmed professional development opportunities. Additional events are noted, but dates and/or locations could not be confirmed."

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Why is simpler better?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 04:20

Elliott Sober, Aeon, May 09, 2016

Elliott Sober is one of the more well-known and well-regarded philosophers today, and it is on the strength of work like this that he deserves his reputation. In a relatively short and crystal-clear essay he explains our historical preference for simplicity in science, and explains some of the theoretical underpinnings for that preference. In the end, as he says, "there is in the end no unconditional and presuppositionless justification for Ockham’ s Razor," is is still nonetheless relevant to making decisions about scientific theories. It would be interesting to see, by contrast, what a comparable essay for a 'middle ground' between simple and complex theories would look like. After all, science is at least in part an art, and in art, simplicity is not necessarily a virtue, as Gaudi so aptly demonstrates. Via Leiter.

[Link] [Comment]

I want my data

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 04:20

Mike Sharkey, Blackboard Blog, May 09, 2016

Interesting post from Blackboard talking about the different ways institutions can receive data from their LMS (no word on data for individual students). I like the way the different types of data provision are depicted, ranging from raw data to automatically generated predictions (as compared to fixing up your own car vs taking an Uber). I think that the author needs to get out more, though. He begins the article by saying "The nostalgic 80’ s kid in me reads the title of this blog in my best Sting accent… .” I want my D-A-T-A” … and then I jump into a  frenetic mix of air drums, air keyboards and air guitar riffs," and in so doing gets both the reference to the artist wrong and links to a video with  "content from UMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds." Although I guess we can hardly blame him for the latter.

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Options for Building Web Forms

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 04:20

Geoff Graham, CSS-Tricks, May 09, 2016

This may seem like a pretty basic thing, but if you don't know how to do it there's no obvious place to start. I've used a number of the form providers listed here (as well as using some server-side scripts, so I have a basis for comparison). If I had to pick from those listed right now, I'd probably go with TypeForm, because the interface (for the user) is beautiful and intuitive. Here's another list  from Zapier, which also provides a handy cost comparison. If you want to create tyour own (and have a backend that can accept input) you can try the JQuery form builder.

[Link] [Comment]

Distance learning universities ‘must prove their relevance’

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2016-05-10 02:06

By Ellie Bothwell, Time Higher Education

Open and distance learning (ODL) universities must determine their “competitive advantage” rather than “parroting” that their value lies in convenience and flexibility, the director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education has claimed. Richard Garrett said that the rise of online education and the trend of traditional institutions becoming more versatile means that “the tide is against” ODL universities and the “onus” is on them to clarify their relevance. “I don’t think right now it’s clear enough from those institutions what their competitive advantage is, but there is more and more pressure for them to sort that out,” he told Times Higher Education. He suggested that their distinctive characteristics could be their size, expertise, student support or student outcomes.

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MOOCs and higher education: evolution or revolution?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2016-05-10 02:04

by John Daniel, Oxford University Press Blog

Four years after the MOOCs craze began, where are we today? MOOCs provide a good example of our tendency to overestimate the significance of innovations in the short term whilst underestimating their long-term impact. The early predictions of a revolution in higher education proved false, and the idea that MOOCs could be the answer to the capacity problems of universities in the developing world was especially silly. Nevertheless, MOOCs are a significant phenomenon. Over 4,000 MOOCs are available worldwide and register 35 million learners at any given time. As they have multiplied they have diversified, so that, as this cartoon implies, the meaning of every word in the acronym MOOC is now negotiable. So MOOCs themselves are not a revolution in higher education but they are having multiple knock-on effects in the way that it is offered. They have sparked a steady increase in the offering of all types of academic programmes online, stimulated trends towards shorter courses, and an expanded range of credentials.

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Students say digital presence is key to enrollment decisions

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2016-05-10 02:03


Digital presence via campus websites and social media can all majorly impact college decisions this year, say students. According to a new report, student survey data reinforces that higher education institutions must place greater emphasis on their digital presence, engaging students with digital communications that are most in line with their preferences in order to boost enrollment. The report, titled “The Digital Search for Education,” was commissioned by G/O Digital and is based on the results of a 2016 survey of over 1,520 U.S. adults enrolled in either full or part-time classes. The research study was conducted to understand how learners interact with colleges and career schools prior to enrolling, and how those interactions influence their decision to communicate with, and enroll in, a particular institution.

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Docker as a Personal Application Runner

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-05-10 01:20

Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, May 09, 2016

Now that I have a lot more free time (during which I will not be writing program reports) I will have time to investigate what can be usefully done with technology like Docker. There's a lot here that accords with my own thinking about educational applications. Anyhow, this is a good post looking at Docker  not as a virtual machine but rather one which "views containers from a single user, desktop perspective, seeing Docker and its ilk as providing an environment that can support off-the-shelf, ready to run tools and applications, that can be run locally or in the cloud, individually or in concert with each other." The data, meanwhile, resides else, perhaps on a user's desktop or in the cloud. Maybe I'll even be able to do some rapid prototyping in this environment. We'll see.  Get started with Docker.

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Ausgewählte Informationen aus Anlass des Welt-Hypertonie-Tages am 17.05.2016

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Tue, 2016-05-10 00:00
Ausgewählte Informationen aus Anlass des Welt-Hypertonie-Tages am 17.05.2016
Categories: Science News

The People's Manifesto

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2016-05-09 22:19 (Stephen Downes), Half an Hour, May 09, 2016

Our society exists to provide the means and opportunity for each of us to fulfill our maximum potential and reach our highest aspirations, whatever we perceive them to be...

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