news (external)

Furthering your education: in class and online

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-10-09 02:02

By: Vawn Himmelsback, Toronto Star

More and more professionals are upgrading their skills, and their careers, through a mix of classroom and web-based curriculum. Many adult students are choosing a hybrid education – both online and in the classroom – to accommodate their busy, working lives, and a desire to upgrade or diversify skills. These days, professionals are often required to upgrade their skills to stay relevant or advance their career, but for many adults going back to school full-time isn’t an option. While continuing education has always been an alternative for adult learners, post-secondary institutions are starting to explore hybrid or blended learning options they say offer the best of two worlds: online and in-class learning.

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Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Thu, 2014-10-09 00:00

Die im Informationssystem eingespeicherten gestaltbaren Tabellen aus der "Statistik der Straßenverkehrsunfälle" des Statistischen Bundesamtes wurden um das Jahr 2013 ergänzt.

Categories: Science News

Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-10-08 04:51

Natasha Singer, New York Times, Oct 07, 2014

It may be too early to say that vendors have gone into panic mode, but the idea of large-scale learning analytics is taking a (well-deserved) hit this week as the idea founders on the rocks of individual privacy. The California student privacy statute was signed into law last week by Governor Jerry Brown. And now, Microsoft and several other companies are swearing they won't invade student privacy. "The participating companies are publicly committing themselves not to sell information on kindergartners through 12th graders. They have also pledged not to use students’ data to target them with advertisements, and not to compile personal profiles of students unless authorized by schools or parents." So... do we believe them? Not me.

[Link] [Comment]

A special issue of First Monday on the 15–year anniversary of Napster — Digital music as boundary object

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-10-08 04:51

Raphaël Nowak, Andrew Whelan, First Monday, Oct 07, 2014

It has been fifteen years since Napster - it seems like yesterday to me, it was such a defining moment, yet now it's history. First Monday has published a special issue on Napster, and has done so in fine form, taking MP3 files and interpreting them as 'boundary objects' - "the phrase 'boundary object' can be used to refer to nodal events or entities, situated at the junctures of distinct discourses and distinct local cultures and social realities." I like that notion a lot, and it places MP3s into the same genre as, say, LOLcats.

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Researchers using data mining to improve the online learning experience

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-10-08 02:07

by Byrne Reilly, Venture Beat

Computer scientists are hoping data mining technology will improve online education. A $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University to begin construction of a database called LearnSphere that will act as a repository for data for researchers studying the effects on students taking online courses. LabSphere researchers are culling information from 550 datasets on subjects like interactive tutoring methodologies, games, and open online courses, called MOOCS. The data points will provide computer engineers with a decent tally of what’s working and what’s not. The objective of LearnSphere is to make online education more effective and immersive. Specialists in human-computer interaction from MIT, Stanford, and the University of Memphis are also involved in the project.

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Become A Web Developer With Udacity

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-10-08 02:05

by Sue Gee, i-Programmer

Last week Udacity opened its classroom doors on Front-End Web Developer, its first nanodegree. This credential, which is estimated to take six to nine months to complete at a cost of $200 per month, is designed with “job-readiness” in mind. As we reported Udacity Offers Nanodegrees when Udacity first announced nanodegrees they are designed to prepare you for a specific job and are being built with industry partners including hiring managers. Now that the first nanodegree is underway there’s more information about how this new type of credential is different. The obvious distinction is that it is project-based. To gain the Front-End Web Developer nanodegree, which is co-developed with AT&T, a student will complete the following five projects, each of which is associated with a Udacity course that provides the necessary preparation to complete it.

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Corporate Training Gets an Online Refresh from MOOC Providers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-10-08 02:02

by Melissa Korn, Wall Street Journal

MOOC operators like edX, Udemy Inc. and Coursera are finding steadier, and possibly more substantial, earnings opportunities in a well-established market: corporate training. For a fee, companies can access existing online courses or create their own, with perks like user analytics and separate study groups for employees. The move marks a new chapter in the groups’ continued search for a business model, as the corporate offerings may subsidize their less lucrative courses for the masses. EdX, an outfit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announced on Wednesday that it is opening up registration for its first suite of professional education classes on topics including energy, entrepreneurship and cybersecurity, priced at up to $1,249 a person, with volume discounts available for some employers. A March edX pilot on big data enrolled about 3,500 people from more than 2,000 organizations, including Microsoft Corp. and Thomson Reuters Corp. The class grossed nearly $1.75 million.

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Marriage - Wed, 2014-10-08 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Creating a Learning Network

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-10-08 01:51

In this presentation I describe in detail how I created Ed Radio, OLDaily, the first MOOCs, and how I am taking the same distributed and networked approach to develop a personal learning network known as LPSS.

ABED (Brazilian Association of Distance educationP), Curitiba, Brazil (Keynote) Oct 07, 2014 [Comment]

Open Definition 2.0 released

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-10-08 01:51

Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Oct 07, 2014

I think that the 'Open Definition' people are doing a lot of harm to the open content movement by defining 'open' in such a way as to exclude non-commercial license (and hence, most of the open content in the world).

The new revised open definition is: "Any content released under an Open Definition-conformant license means that anyone can 'freely access, use, modify, and share that content, for any purpose, subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.'" When I actually look at the definition, though, I see it still needs work. It's the usual problem. Consider these terms:

  • 2.1.2 Redistribution - The license must allow redistribution of the licensed work, including sale, whether on its own or as part of a collection made from works from different sources.
  • 2.1.9 No Charge - The license must not impose any fee arrangement, royalty, or other compensation or monetary remuneration as part of its conditions.

It's hard for me to imagine any scenario in which both those conditions can be true at the same time. The sale of a work is the imposition of a restriction which prevents access unless money is paid.

Now in his introduction Timothy Vollmer says "it’ s helpful to be able to point policymakers and data publishers to a neutral, community-supported definition with a list of approved licenses for sharing content and data." But he gets it exactly wrong. The community does not support this definition; only the commercial publishers do. And slapping a price tag on content is the exact opposite of 'open'.

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[A new vision of nursing: the evolution and development of nursing informatics].

NLM - Nursing Informatics - Tue, 2014-10-07 13:50
Related Articles

[A new vision of nursing: the evolution and development of nursing informatics].

Hu Li Za Zhi. 2014 Aug;61(4 Suppl):78-84

Authors: Feng RC, Yeh YT

Technology development trends in the 21st century are increasingly focused on the development of interdisciplinary applications. Advanced information technology may be applied to integrate nursing care information, simplify nursing processes, and reduce the time spent on work tasks, thereby increasing the amount of time that clinical personnel are available to care for patients and ensuring that patients are provided with high-quality and personalized care services. The development of nursing information began in Taiwan in 2003 and has since expanded and thrived. The ability of nursing information to connect formerly insular national nursing communities promotes the international visibility of Taiwan. The rapid development of nursing information in Taiwan, resulting in the production of informative and outstanding results, has received worldwide attention. The Taiwan Nursing Informatics Association was established in 2006 to nurture nursing information professionals, develop and apply information technology in the health care domain, and facilitate international nursing information exchanges. The association actively promotes nursing information in the areas of administration, education, research, and clinical practice, thereby integrating nursing with empirical applications to enhance the service quality and management of nursing and increase the benefits of nursing teaching and research. To convert information into knowledge, the association develops individualized strategies for managing mobile care and employs an interagency network to exchange and reintegrate resources, establishing active, intelligent nursing based on network characteristics and an empirical foundation. The mid- and long-term objectives of the association involve introducing cloud computing and facilitating the meaningful use of nursing information in both public and government settings, thereby creating a milestone of developing and expanding nursing information unique to Taiwan.

PMID: 25125162 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Categories: nursing informatics

edX Now Offers Professional Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-10-07 13:50

Anant Agarwal, EdX, Oct 07, 2014

While  promising that "delivering free education to everyone, everywhere will always be our focus," EdX has launched a series of 'professional' MOOCs for which fees will be charged. And they're not cheap.  This course at Rice, for example, costs $495 for a four week course. It's hard to see how "free" will remain the focus.  Other courses are equally pricey. According to EdX CEO  Anant Agarwal, "Corporations have approached edX and our partners looking for specialized courses to arm their employees with knowledge necessary to stay at the forefront of their industries." Yeah. Their arms were twisted. Via Financial Review.

[Link] [Comment]

Innovation in open online courses

elearnspace by George Siemens - Tue, 2014-10-07 11:03

In a few weeks, our edX course Data, Analytics, and Learning (#DALMOOC will start. We (Carolyn Rose, Dragan Gasevic, Ryan Baker, and I) have spent the last several months thinking through the course structure and format. This is a short overview of the innovations that we want to explore during the course. The innovations build heavily on community and network approaches that I and others (Stephen Downes, David Wiley, Alan Levine, Jim Groom, Dave Cormier) have used in previous open courses.

Since MOOCs gained popularity with top tier universities, significant effort has been put into finding new ways to present learning content. Videos, simulations, and graphics now contribute to formal MOOCs often costing several hundred thousand dollars to develop. In terms of content presentation, DALMOOC will pale in comparison to existing well-funded courses. Our focus has been on improving the social experience of learners. In particular, we are looking to solve the following problems with MOOCs:

  1. Students often flounder in MOOCs as there is limited social contact between learners and limited timely support.
  2. Learners have limited engagement in developing knowledge together. Many MOOCs reflect a structured and linear process of content presentation. There is little alignment with the architecture of knowledge in a participative age.
  3. Learners have a difficult time getting to know each other or finding like others as major platforms do not focus on developing learner profiles
  4. The connection between learning and application is hampered as MOOC resources do not always persist after a course has ended and there is limited search functionality in MOOCs.
  5. Courses are not adaptive and serve the same content to all learners, regardless of prior knowledge

To address these challenges, we have adopted/developed the following approaches.

Timely help resources: Through the use of a tool developed by Carolyn Rose’s team called the Quick Helper, course participants will have access to timely help resources. When a student would like to ensure their request for help is seen, they may click on the Quick Helper button, which will guide them to formulate a help request. A social recommendation algorithm will then match the help request to three potential helpers from the community. They will be presented with these three choices, and will have the option to select who will be invited to their help request thread. The Quick Helper will then send an email to each selected helper with a link to the help request thread and an invitation to participate. The intent with this approach is to provide timely help to students and to engage other learners in helping answer questions asked by peers.

Social embeddedness Social has become an abused term. Everything now has social attached. Aside from this hype, the value of social learning is clear in academic literature. In order to improve connections, we will also be using a social competency based software (ProSolo) that will give learners the opportunity to identify learning goals, connect with others around shared goals, and create a pathway for recognition of learning. A second aspect of ProSolo is the creation of learner profiles so students can find others with shared interests. DALMOOC has been designed to model a distributed information structure. As such, learners will be encouraged to participate in roughly any space they would like: blogs, facebook, twitter, edX discussion forums, etc. I have a bias for the value of learners owning their own learning spaces. A key challenge that arises as learners engage in different spaces is one of fragmentation. Learning is a coherence forming process and knowledge is a state of connecting information pieces. As such, we will be adopting an aggregation approach similar to what Stephen Downes pioneered with early MOOCs: gRSShopper. Content will be aggregated and shared in a daily email to learners. By aggregating learner content and providing persistent profiles, we anticipate higher levels of learner engagement.

Another social layer is the inclusion of group work using synchronous chat activities supported by intelligent conversational agents. This intervention builds on the work by Carolyn Rose’s group on dynamic support for collaborative learning using an architecture called Bazaar also developed by her team. Group work is difficult in MOOCs because of high drop out rates. To address this challenge, we are using a lobby tool developed by Rose’s lab that enables groups to form on the fly, on an as needed basis. When students reach a point in their trajectory through the course when they are ready to engage in discussion, they will click on a live link to enter the lobby program, which will match them with other learners who are also ready to engage in that activity. This is a benefit of MOOCs – with many learners online simultaneously, scale works for quick, weak tie, group formation.

Persistence. The content of the course will remain available for students to access post-course, particularly the summary emails and learner profiles in ProSolo. Learners will have the option to search context relevant resources in ProSolo. We hope that this will assist in creating a persistent practitioner community where learners will access resources post-course and continue to engage with each other on social media and in ProSolo.

Adaptivity. While adaptive learning is a rapidly growing area of research interest, it isn’t being done well yet. Early projects like CMU’s OLI focus on content focused courses with an emphasis on supported mutli-step problem solving. Adapting a course on learning analytics is more challenging as the problems are much less well-formed. “Right answers” are not always clear, and more importantly, ideal learning trajectories are more individualize. To compensate for this weakness, we’ve taken an idea from DS106: the assignment bank. The assignment bank focuses on adaptivity at the level of application. All learners experience the same instructional content. Each learner is able to challenge herself by selecting assignments with various gradients of complexity.

Matt Crosslin – lead designer on DALMOOC – has been blogging on the design decisions we have made throughout the course. His blog is a great resource.

There are numerous other research opportunities with MOOCs, including adaptive pathways during the course, personalized learning, self-regulated learning, alternative credentialing approaches, automated assessment, evaluating the impact of socially created artifacts on learning, alternative approaches to lectures and content presentation, and so on. Those are topics for future exploration. For DALMOOC, our focus is on timely help, social learning, persistence, and adaptivity through assignments. Even this seems like a slightly heaving set of alterations to the traditional MOOC. As with previous MOOCs that I’ve taught, the intent is to provide learners with a range of tools, technologies, and approaches and provide learners with the opportunity to sensemake and wayfind through complex information spaces. All the fun (and deep learning) happens in that process.

EdX Joins Professional Education Market

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-10-07 02:10

by MEG P. BERNHARD, Harvard Crimson

EdX will now offer courses geared toward employers and employees in the professional sphere, marking the second move by the platform this fall to target a new audience for its MOOCs. Anant Agarwal, the platform’s CEO, announced the launch of the new courses on the edX blog Tuesday, writing that the courses “will be offered in a convenient manner, tailored to busy schedules, and will reduce costly travel time and expenses for both.” Rice University, MIT, and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands will begin offering these professional education courses in 2015. The first of the five courses listed on edX’s website is slotted to begin in Jan. 2015.

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Active courses may be more beneficial to students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-10-07 02:05

by Ave Rio, Daily Vidette

A recent study found that college courses with higher student involvement and participation improved academic achievement in science courses, especially among African-American and first-generation college students. In addition, students are asked to complete LearnSmart activities online that go along with the book material. The researchers think that the LearnSmart activities help students significantly, especially in regard to their grade. For example, if someone failed the first exam, but they did all the online activities, they still have a C in the class, rather than an F.

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EDUCAUSE 2014: Online Learning Could Fundamentally Change Role of Universities

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-10-07 02:02

by D. Frank Smith, EdTech

Higher education institutions are poised for a massive shake-up, not unlike what tech companies experienced in the 1980s during the rise of the PC, said EDUCAUSE’s first general session speaker Clayton Christensen. “Disruption is always a great opportunity before it becomes a threat,” he said. “In the future, I don’t think universities themselves will be nearly as prominent as they have been in the past,” he said. Instead of merely conferring degrees, universities are increasingly offering alternative certifications and accreditations for students seeking a more narrowly focused education. The growth of online learning options plays directly into that, Christensen said. Online higher education institutions are growing, offering a modular educational experience with an open architecture, he said — and “when it becomes modular, then anybody can declare themselves a university.”

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Jason Kenney tells private sector: stop 'freeloading', invest in training

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-10-06 13:46

Jason Fekete, Ottawa Citizen, Oct 06, 2014

The federal government is coming around to my way of thinking. :) Here's Employment Minister Jason Kenney speaking to a conference in Ottawa: "At the end of the day, yes, I’ m a Conservative and I stand up in front of business audiences and say, ‘ You guys have been, to some extent, freeloading on the public training system.’ We need to see businesses put more resources into skills development.” He's quite right, and one of the major objectives of  LPSS is to develop a way for business and industry to make this investment in a way that both servers their own interests and also benefits students.

[Link] [Comment]

A few comments on MOOCs

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-10-06 13:46

Linda Harasim, online learning and distance eductaion resources, Oct 06, 2014

A long-time proponent of online learning (and co-editor of the 1995 book Learning Networks) Linda Harasim is openly critical of MOOCs, and notably, in this comment on a Tony Bates post, argues that cMOOCs are no better than xMOOCs. "One of the things that baffles me about the whole MOOC phenomenon," she writes, "is the 'magical thinking' that surrounds this concept and its various articulations... Siemens and Downes propound a disturbing quality to technology, one in which technology becomes an active participant in the learning process. And not merely an active participant but inevitably superior agent." The whole comment is worth a read. I respond here.

[Link] [Comment]

MOOC U: The Revolution Isn't Over

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-10-06 13:46

Jeffrey Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 06, 2014

I generally agree with Jeffrey Selingo in this post, especially on the main point, and that's because the big push for MOOCs isn't coming from the supply side, it's coming from the demand side. People want (in massive numbers) open online learning. The challenges ahead relate to how traditional educational institutions will handle this demand. How, for example, says Selingo, will they define 'open'? "MOOCs are not really open in a way that allows anyone to adapt and redistribute courses or that allows open collaboration among users... Andrew Ng of Coursera told me he wants to run courses more frequently and to allow the content to always be available. But that means colleges and faculty members would need to allow intellectual property to live online indefinitely."

[Link] [Comment]

Crouching Tiger, Mobile University

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2014-10-06 02:10

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Education, at least the sort of education that is worth paying for, is not about consumption. Education is about relationships. Education is about a skilled and experienced educator getting to know individual each learner as an individual. The future will belong to the small seminar and the competency based credential (consumed on a mobile device no doubt). The place-based but impersonal model of teaching (think big lecture classes) will go away. This form of teaching will be replaced by adaptive mobile learning. Good riddance. The future will belong to those institutions wise enough to invest today in quality, in faculty, in small-classes and infrastructure that supports student / educator relationships.

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