news (external)

Professor Says Facebook Can Help Informal Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-07-07 13:51


Meg Bernhard, Chronicle of Higher Education | Wired Campus, Jul 07, 2015

From the "welcome to the 21st century" department: "A new study suggests that if engaged in online debate, college students can use the popular social network to learn and develop a variety of skills."

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University of Adelaide is phasing out lectures

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2015-07-07 02:09

by Tim Dodd, AFR

Lectures are obsolete, says University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Warren Bebbington. “My view is they’re gone; they’re never coming back,” he said as he described his university’s experience in replacing lectures with online learning. If students can get the material online, they are not going to come to lectures, he said. Last year Adelaide began a major shift in its teaching program, beginning to phase out traditional lectures and replacing them with online learning integrated with small-group work.

http://www.afr.com/technology/apps/education/university-of-adelaide-is-phasing-out-lectures-20150629-ghxgoz

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21st century learning: How online videos enhance education at home and in the classroom

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2015-07-07 02:05

By Mandy Morgan, Deseret News

Jaxson Goeckeritz was just 10 years old when he decided to be a computer programmer. Neither of his parents had much knowledge on the topic, so they enrolled him in a computer programming class at a nearby university, but it was too boring. Turns out, he had already learned all of the course material from YouTube. Jaxson’s parents had also let their son watch videos from The New Boston, teaching him different aspects and techniques in computer programming with everything from Java to iOS development. The Goeckeritz’s are representative of millions of people who don’t just turn to the Internet as a resource for answers to questions, but prefer video streaming sources like YouTube, Vimeo and others to see with their own eyes people sharing their knowledge and skills through demonstrations or just talking.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631523/21st-century-learning-How-online-videos-enhance-education-at-home-and-in-the-classroom.html?pg=all

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Enhanced e-learning for cyber Airmen

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2015-07-07 02:03

By Tech. Sgt. Luke Thornton, Air Force Space Command

Air Force cyber Airman training takes a giant leap forward with the latest enhancement to AF e-Learning. The upgrade allows Air Force supervisors and trainers to facilitate better skill-level upgrade and on-the-job training with customizable learning programs that can be updated on the fly to remain current as technology changes. Computer-based training courses typically cover few training tasks and take hours to complete. Now, supervisors, training managers and the Air Force cyber training team at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, can drill down using modules, chapters and videos to focus cyber Airmen on particular tasks. This will shorten the amount of time Airmen spend on task training while allowing them to learn in a way that works best for their learning style.

http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/602024/enhanced-e-learning-for-cyber-airmen.aspx

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Dropbox Delivers FTP-like Uploading Anyone Can Use

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 22:50
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Steve Borsch, Connecting the Dots, Jul 06, 2015

I've always liked haaving my own FTP server because it means I can handle large files without really thinking about it. As well, it's easy to update scripts and web pages. But the downside of having my own FTP server is managing my own FTP server. But as this post notes, DropBox's new service will make FTP-like servers available to everyone. And then anyone will be able to fling around 1 gigabyte files with ease.

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Stabilizing AWS Costs on UMW Blogs

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 22:50
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Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, Jul 06, 2015

Amazon Web Services (AWS) isn't the only cloud hosting service out there, but it's one of the largest and most sophisticated. But as Jim Groom writes, people still get nervous about using cloud technology. " One of the reasons folks were scared of AWS is the fact that you pay monthly based on usage and resources rather than a fixed cost for a dedicated server." And it's not just web services - I get nervous about having my music on Google and my Photoshop on Adobe Cloud. Anyhow, you can keep costs under control, but you have to manage your configuration, otherwise "you could keep throwing EC2 instances at the problem," says Groom. An EC2 instance (I looked it up) is an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, "a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud."

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Real training, real-time, real environments

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 22:50


Amazon, Jul 06, 2015

If you haven't explored these, you may want to take a quick look through the Amazon Web Services (AWS) online courses. Here's their pitch: "Get hands-on practice working with cloud technologies and software. Train on-demand and learn at your own pace. Choose from a variety of Learning Quests to guide you." The 'quests' are courses, more or less, composed on a dozen or so small tasks priced at between $8 and $15 each. Learners (players?) get badges for completing the courses, and can prepare for an AWS certification exam. Amazon is also making the most of its cloud environment to help others offer courses: "Partners can create, manage and run labs anytime. Labs are delivered via the public cloud to classrooms, events or online; anywhere there is access to the Internet." See also: The Cloud Academy Blog.

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Body cameras making their way into Iowa schools

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 22:50
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Mackenzie Ryan, Des Moines Register, Jul 06, 2015

According to this article, a Iowa school district is "outfitting its principals and assistant principals with small, clip-on video camera." Why? "It's personal accountability," Superintendent Pat Coen told The Des Moines Register. "Did we treat this person with dignity, honor and respect? And if we didn't, why didn't we?" He can say that, but I imagine it's just as much to protect the educators from the accusations of parents. For example: "A parent had complained about the Burlington school leader's behavior after he used de-escalation strategies to try to calm down a student. The incident was caught on a school camera, which Yeoman said he reviewed and later showed to the parent."

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What happens when Facebook says you don't exist

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 22:50
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Graham Starr, Christian Science Monitor, Jul 06, 2015

I can only imagine how violated someone may feel when they log on to Facebook and are asked to "verify" their identity by sending documents and photos. I would certainly not send any such information to Facebook. Yet, based simply on the say-so of an anonymous tipster, this is what happens to many Facebook users. It should be a sobering lesson. "The intent, according to the company, is that users know at all times who they’ re talking to.... (But) Identity is such a complex issue, says Drake (Nadia Drake, who doesn't exist). 'Where does Facebook get the power to decide what 'authentic' is?'" Facebook says it needs real names to be able to combat harassment. But there's  no evidence that real names reduces harassment - if anything, it seems to  increase it!

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Philae comet could be home to alien life, say scientists

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 22:50
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Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian, Jul 06, 2015

I couldn't let the potential discovery of alien life go uncommented in this newsletter. "One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the microbes will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new miccrobial overlords. I’ d like to remind them that as a trusted internet personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground hydrocarbon caves." Know your meme. :)

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I'm Sorry, But Agile Won't Fix Your Products

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 19:49
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Adam Pisoni, The Review, Jul 06, 2015

The point here isn't that Agile is the wrong direction to take, but rather, that it doesn't go far enough toward ensuring that projects are responsive and adaptive. "While Agile did educate a generation of software developers on the importance of experimentation and customer feedback, it failed to change the old, centralized, command-and-control system of management which remains a large part of the problem. Even with Agile, disempowered engineers working with too little context still ended up taking too long to create products customers don’ t even want." the challenge thus becomes one of managing projects in an agile manner, which sounds great until attempted against a funder's requirement for specific deliverables and milestones (which is my life these days).

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U.S. Digital Services Playbook

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 19:49


U.S. Digital Services, Jul 06, 2015

Interesting and useful resource. "Today, too many of our digital services projects do not work well, are delivered late, or are over budget. To increase the success rate of these projects, the U.S. Government needs a new approach. We created a playbook of 13 key 'plays' drawn from successful practices from the private sector and government that, if followed together, will help government build effective digital services."

[Link] [Comment]

The Need to Foster Creativity and Digital Inclusion among Women Users in Developing Context – Addressing Second Order Digital Divide in Online Skills

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:10

by Chunfang Zhou, Aparna Purushothaman, iJet

This paper provides a literature review aiming to discuss the need for fostering creativity and digital inclusion among women students in developing contexts by addressing the second order digital divide in online skills. As the literature review indicates, we are in the change towards creative society and creativity is the core competency of students to be mastered in the digital age. The digital technologies also provide conditions of developing creativity, for example, YouTube can be regarded as a creative platform. This paper also discusses the links between creativity, learning and knowledge, digital divide in developing contexts especially the second order digital divide as the main barrier to women students’ learning. This further implies how to teach creativity more effectively in the future.

http://online-journals.org/index.php/i-jet/article/view/4248

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Gaining Hands-on Experience via Collaborative Learning: Interactive Computer Science Courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:06

by Anna Danielewicz-Betz, Tatsuki Kawaguchi; iJet

In this paper we report on the practical outcomes of Software Studio (SS) undergraduate course, but also on a graduate Software Engineering for Internet Applications (SEIA) course, both of which are taught collaboratively by IT and non-IT faculty members. In the latter, students are assigned to projects proposed by actual customers and work together in teams to deliver quality results under time and resource constraints. Students have to understand the key ideas of web application development in order to be able not only to apply technical knowledge, but also to successfully interact with all the stakeholders involved. In the process, we look for the added value of collaborative teaching, aiming at equipping the participants with both technical and non-technical skills required for their prospective jobs.

http://online-journals.org/index.php/i-jet/article/view/4510

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Augmented Reality Internet Labs versus its Traditional and Virtual Equivalence

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:03

by Salaheddin Odeh, et al; iJet

Engineering is an applied science; it makes science come alive through experiments and labs. Students can only gain practical knowledge that goes beyond mere scientific theory in the educational labs. This can be done using three different types of educational labs: Augmented reality labs, Virtual labs and Traditional labs. It is crucial to pre-specify the learning objectives associated with each experiment in order to be able to meet them no matter what the method of delivery is. This paper focuses on an empirical study that compares the three types of labs after specifying the associated learning objectives.

http://online-journals.org/index.php/i-jet/article/view/4354

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Solar System Questions

xkcd.com - Mon, 2015-07-06 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Writing an online, open textbook: is it worth it?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 01:48
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Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jul 05, 2015

The answer, unsurprisingly, was "yes" (though you have to read a fair way into the article to see this). The interesting bits, though, concern the function of PressBooks as a way to write an open textbook (the good: it was relatively easy to use; the bad: persistent hacking attacks, and exporting images into the various formats. Also, despite Tony Bates's credentials, professors still didn't want their students citing it because it wasn't peer reviewed (I have this issue as well, made all the more difficult because I don't write typical journal articles that peer reviewers like). But still, as Bates writes, "I was able to go from initial idea to final publication of the book in 15 months. I have had a publisher take that long from handover of the final draft to publishing. For a book of this kind, quick publishing is important otherwise it starts to look  out of date, even if the main foundations do not change." Also worth noting:  the cost of producing the book was $80 - $130K.

[Link] [Comment]

Working in Blackboard

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 01:48
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Jenny Mackness, Jul 05, 2015

Once many years ago I authored a course on introductory ethics in Blackboard. It was a good course; sadly I've lost all the content. Anyhow, what I remember was that I had to insert my own links from page to page, writing the code myself, to give students an intuitive flow from one page to the next in the environment. It is this sort of attitude I think that characterizes Jenny Mackness's post on working in Blackboard today. Sure, she writes, there are a lot of restrictions. But what do you tell people who have to work in the system? "We have to recognise what the positives of working within an LMS might be," she argues, "acknowledge the constraints, keep an open mind, be willing to experiment (and fail sometimes) and look for ways to overcome the constraints."

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Why character development in education might not be such a good idea

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 01:48
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Nick Hassey, Think Tank Review, Jul 05, 2015

"This is something I often ponder," writes Doug Belshaw in his newsletter. "I've been discussing it recently with friends and family recently, too. 'Character education' or 'grit', however, is a very right-wing concept taken down pretty well in this response to a recent Demos report." The report essentially asserts that there is no scientific basis for promoting character or 'grit' - either is is an inherent personal trait resistant to enhancement by education, or it is irrelevant in educational outcomes. We don't know. But more, to my mind, appeals to 'grit' are code for saying someone's culture (or race, or religion) makes them constitutionally resistant to education, which is a pernicious position at best (and flat out false at worst).

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Prior Learning Assessments Done Right

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2015-07-06 01:48
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Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Jul 05, 2015

Longish article about prior learning assessment (PLA) at Empire State College, "everything to do with the kind of humane and truly personal education that we should be talking about when we throw around phrases like 'personalized education.'" The focus is on PLA for women of colour; according to Feldstein "PLA (is) more impactful than average for women and people of color... By recognizing that they have, in fact, already acquired college-level skills and knowledge, PLA helps them get past the insults to their self-image and dignity and helps them to envision themselves as successful college graduates."

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