news (external)

Critical success factors for online education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-03-28 01:05

By Mario Matus, Navy Times

Active-duty service members and veterans tend to be nontraditional students — more likely to be married, have children, and to hold down a job while going to school. For these reasons, the flexibility and time-efficient environment of online programs is well-suited to military and veteran students. Compared to the traditional college environment, they adapt to the online environment well, given that the military culture instills discipline, commitment and planning behaviors — attributes essential to success in an online learning program. However, military students and veterans often need guidance to adapt from getting hands-on, in-the-moment training to completing reading assignments, written essays and final exams in an online environment.

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Coursera course inspires student to apply to Penn

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2014-03-28 01:02


College freshman Taha Tariq’s journey to Penn began with an online Coursera course. As a high school senior in Lahore, Pakistan, Tariq knew he wanted to come to the United States for college, but was never able to visit schools before applying. “As an international student, you don’t get the opportunity to fly around visiting all of these campuses. You really have to rely on what is available online,” he said. While researching Penn, Tariq discovered Modern Poetry, an online course taught by Professor Al Filreis on Coursera, a free platform for Massive Open Online Courses, commonly known as MOOCs.

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Before the Internet - Fri, 2014-03-28 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Ein Schlupfloch für Licht

ScienceTicker.Info - Thu, 2014-03-27 20:00
Einen Spiegel der besonderen Art haben amerikanische Physiker entwickelt. Aus dünnen Kristallschichten aufgebaut, reflektiert das Material auftreffendes Licht wie ein herkömmlicher Spiegel. Nur unter einem bestimmten Winkel einfallendes Licht lässt es passieren.
Categories: Science News

How the Web was Ghettoized for Teaching and Learning in Higher Ed?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-03-27 12:41

Jim Broom, bavatuesdays, March 27, 2014

Can't say I disagree with this: "For more than a decade the web has been systematically ghettoized as a dangerous space where people steal and victims are robbed (not entirely false, but not the whole story either).... The fear and loathing surrounding the internet, copyright, and downloading that enabled universities during the late 90s to shutoff the web for anything beyond basic business operations is best summed up for me in the :38 second GI Joe PSA 'Stop All the Downloading.'" I would add that the deeply disturbing aspect is that the materials available through the 'safe' portals are just as harmful, albeit in more long term and subtle ways, as students are guadually acclimatized to a learned helplessness and dependence on augthority and order.

[Link] [Comment]

European Commission launches network to foster web talent through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-03-27 12:36

Press Release, European Commission, March 27, 2014

Nick Kearney pointed me to the European Commission's ususual definition of MOOCs: "MOOCs are online university courses which enable people to access quality education without having to leave their homes." I wonder who it was who convinced them that the massive and open aspects of these courses are compleetely incidental. There's a network discussion group that can be found on the European Commission’ s portal Open Education Europa. "The initiative is coordinated by p.a.u. education and in partnership with Iversity." Oh - that's who think the massive and open aspects are incidental.

[Link] [Comment]

The Shifting Role of University Systems

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2014-03-27 11:32

Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2014

As the impact of online learning gradually becomes apparent, what becomes of the role of the traditional university system? One person's view: "My personal view is that there is great value in systemness... system can serve as innovation incubators, assisting campuses in building the data-driven strategic enrollment and student lifecycle management infrastructure needed to support education in the 21st century; in advancing next-generation online learning, which will play a critical role in enhancing access, affordability, student success, and institutional sustainability; and leading the way as institutions gradually develop outcomes-driven, competency-based, career-oriented educational pathways."

[Link] [Comment]

Understanding the Learning Personalities of Successful Online Students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-03-27 01:10

by Tena B. Crews, Sradha Narendra Sheth, and Tamlyn M. Horne; EDUCAUSE

Long studied as a way to help people better understand themselves and others, personality research and theory has evolved to include the use of assessment tools to identify various personality types and temperaments.

These tools have been used in education to identify learning styles, teaching strategies, and opportunities to increase success for both students and teachers.

Building on studies of traditional students, this study uses the True Colors model of personality characteristics to identify characteristics common to successful online students as well as strategies for improving how online courses are designed and taught to better meet the needs of all students.

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Catching a Cheater Online

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-03-27 01:05

by JESSICA LAHEY, the Atlantic

Universities are scrambling to keep up with the novel methods students have found to cheat on these courses. Given that online courses do not require face-to-face student-teacher interactions, colleges have had to resort to all sorts of other safeguards in order to prevent academic dishonesty. Schools are using signature-tracking services and software that identifies a student’s typing speed and style, thereby preventing someone else from typing on a students’ behalf. While these technological safeguards may help catch cheaters, Kimberly Williams, a teaching support specialist at Cornell and longtime professor of education, points out that the key to preventing cheating in the first place, lies in the teaching itself. “We need to make sure what we teach is meaningful to students so that they actually want to learn it or see value in their own learning of it,” she said. “If they don’t, then we’re sunk and they are wasting their time anyway. It is a wake-up call for higher education that we need to teach better and in more meaningful ways so that learners want to learn.”

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Flexible web-based classes are empowering for women

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-03-27 01:03

by Patricia Moore, Arizona Central

The landscape has changed significantly for women since the feminist movement of the 1970s. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, women now outpace men in educational attainment. Women are not only welcome, but sought after in skilled-career paths such as technology and health care, and they experience a much lower wage gap in those fields. While education is a recognized tool for those seeking equality, access to education can be difficult for women for a variety of reasons. Women often take on the role of caregiver for children or aging parents, and, according to a 2013 report from the Pew Research Center, women are increasingly taking on the responsibility of sole or primary wage-earner. Balancing family and work can make it difficult for women to find time for regularly scheduled classes.

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Ausgaben für Arbeitslosengeld II und Sozialgeld

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Wed, 2014-03-26 23:00

Die im Informationssystem eingespeicherte gestaltbare Tabelle aus der Statistik "Ausgaben für Arbeitslosengeld II und Sozialgeld" der Bundesagentur für Arbeit wurde um das Jahr 2013 ergänzt.

Categories: Science News

What All the Outrage Over the Oculus Deal Says About Facebook, the Brand

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 20:46

Simon Dumenco, Ad Age, March 27, 2014

People are really upset that Oculus Rift (a prototype virtual-reality headset) has been acquired by Facebook. Oculus VR, the parent company, got its start on KickStarter via the contributions of some 9,522 backers (who receive none of the $2 billion purchase price). Now they and other supporters feel betrayed. As Minecraft creator Markus Persson, wrote on his blog, "I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven't historically been a stable platform. There's nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me. And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition." (Emphasis his.) And as  Simon Dumenco writes, "it seems to me that various sentiments... that Facebook is creepy, untrustworthy, unethical, predatory and vaguely desperate... have gone mainstream." Language warning for numerous obscenities in this article.

[Link] [Comment]

Sanfter Riese im Urmeer

ScienceTicker.Info - Wed, 2014-03-26 19:00
Schon vor einer halben Jahrmilliarde schwamm ein Gegenstück zu modernen Riesenhaien durch die Weltmeere. Das Fossil eines kambrischen Meeresbewohners zeigt stachelbesetzte Gliedmaßen, die nicht zum Beutegreifen, sondern als Planktonsieb dienten.
Categories: Science News

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 14:32

Yong Zhao, Creative, Entrepreneurial, , Global: 21st Century Education, March 27, 2014

Three-part series on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA):

Part 1: Romanticizing Misery

Part 2: Glorifying Educational Authoritarianism

Part 3: Creating Illusory Models of Excellence

"While the dispute over PISA’ s technical flaws continues, some argue that even if PISA did everything right technically, it still could not possibly claim to be measuring the quality of entire education systems, let alone their students’ ability to live in the modern world."

[Link] [Comment]

Kenya: Working to break the poverty-education cycle.

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 14:00

Julie Lindsay, E-Learning Journeys, March 27, 2014

Related to the NVCER study is this post on the impact of poverty on early childhood education. From the he UNESCO Education For All Report: "Wealth affects whether primary school children learn the basics... poverty holds back learning in secondary school.... (the) poorest girls face the largest barriers to learning."  Why? "A child whose parents are working means the child is fed, they are literate, they are able to follow up on their child’ s education and learning." Even things like basic nutritional differences between rich and poor students impact learning outcomes.

[Link] [Comment]

Ethics in the Open

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 11:29

Rob Farrow, OER Research Hub, March 27, 2014

Ethics to me depends on epistemology - what counts as right and wrong depends in an important way on what we know and how we can know it. So I haven't said a lot about ethics and learning technology, because there is so little agreement yet as to what constitutes success and what we know about that. This post considers some of the differences in ethics in work carried out inside and outside institutions. For many thee insstitution provides the ethics frameowrk. But what about outside the institution, and what about he wider framework? I think there's room, as suggested here, for an approach based on 'ethics in the open'. "There is a real need for using one’ s own judgment and reflecting on the ethical dimensions of research for oneself.   When working in the open – potentially beyond institutional reach – an awareness of ethical principles and how they should be applied is essential."

[Link] [Comment]

Cloud, Services and the Transformation of Production

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 10:46

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, March 27, 2014

Good article that describes the rise of cloud computing not only as a change in the delivery of online resources, but also as a change in the organization of computing generally, and with it a gange in the organization and understanding of production and work generally. "IT-based tools are bringing major technology- and organizationally-driven productivity increases to services. A fundamental transformation in services in underway."

[Link] [Comment]

Strength in Numbers

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 10:36

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2014

It has been a long time since I've had occasion to  refer to XanEdu in thesse pages, but news comes today that "XanEdu and AcademicPub will merge as quickly as the two parties can sign the paperwork -- a response to a textbook market still clamoring for an all-of-the-above solution to course materials." XanEdu always had a good idea, but was eclipsed by self-publishing systems such as LuLu and while quietly building a respeectable market based for its educational publishing products is now looking toward greater access to learning materials directly. Hence the merger.

[Link] [Comment]

Intergenerational mobility: new evidence from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-03-26 06:44

Bruce Bradbury, Gerry Redmond, Ilan Katz, Melissa Wong, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), March 27, 2014

Interesting long-term study of the impaact of education on intergenerational mobility. What this study asks is whether increased access to education, and imporved educational outcomes, lead to changes in students' socio-economic standing: do they get better jobs? Do they assume more influential positions in society? Are they wealthier? The study's conclusion is negative: dispite improving educational outcomes since the 1970s, intergenerational mobility has not improved. Why? Because the reltion works the other way: "Socioeconomic status is a major influence on educational attainment. This was true in 1975 and is still true today... he findings in this report are consistent with the international evidence, which indicates remarkable stability in the level of intergenerational inequalities over time in different countries, despite changes in social and educational policies."

[Link] [Comment]

The Impending Disruption of Traditional Business Schools

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-03-26 01:12


Some think B-schools are headed online. Others don’t think B-schools can even teach entrepreneurship. “Half of the business schools in this country could be out of business in 10 years–or five,” is the prediction Richard Lyons, the dean of University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, made to Bloomberg Businessweek not long ago. Robert Lytl, an education consultant at the Parthenon Group, is advising directors at B-schools “to stop dallying and start building [online] programs,” according to the Bloomberg Businessweek article. “Once you get out of the top tier of schools, you’re either already online, on your way there, or dead in the water,” he observes.

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