news (external)

The Future of Education is the Microdegree

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-09-04 02:05

By Cait Etherington, Elearning Inside

Microdegrees, such as Udacity’s nanodegrees, appear to be here to stay. The reason is simple. Increasingly, what people learn during college holds little or no relevance to what they end up doing on the job. This isn’t because what they are learning is necessarily irrelevant at the time but rather because job roles and workplaces continue to change at a rapid pace and retraining is now a lifelong process regardless of one’s profession. But microdegrees may also solve another major educational problem. Across generations, some people have been unable to attend college due to cost. After all, for some people, taking four years out of the workforce to pursue a degree that may or may not offer a strong return on investment over time is simply too expensive and risky. Microdegrees offer a way for people, even those who can’t afford to attend college on a full-time basis, with the means to train for high-paying positions in in-demand industries.

https://news.elearninginside.com/future-education-microdegree/

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The future of higher ed in the region

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-09-04 02:02

 By ADELE UPHAUS–CONNER, Fredericksburg.com

Twenty years in the future, college students will major in nursing, business, engineering and informational technology. Thanks to virtual reality, their learning will extend beyond the boundaries of the classroom. When they come to class, they’ll spend less time listening to lectures and more time in small groups working as teams to solve problems. Higher education will cost less and greater segments of the population will be able to access it. These are some of the predictions for the future of higher education made by officials at Germanna Community College and the University of Mary Washington

http://www.fredericksburg.com/discover/the-future-of-higher-ed-in-the-region/article_616fcd27-5eb0-5435-9d83-d87bdbf17999.html

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Ensemble Model

xkcd.com - Mon, 2017-09-04 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Welt-Suizid-Präventionstag am 10.09.2017

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Mon, 2017-09-04 00:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Welt-Suizid-Präventionstag am 10.09.2017
Categories: Science News

We need to nationalise Google, Facebook and Amazon. Here’s why

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sun, 2017-09-03 17:43

Nick Srnicek, The Guardian, Sept 03, 2017

This post has been making the rounds recently, and it was no doubt calculated to generate the negative response it's receiving. And let me jump on board and agree that nationalizing social media is a dumb idea. We would never generate the value for the money we'd spend. But. There is an argument for noncommercial alternatives to Facebook and Twitter, an analogue to public mail delivery or public broadcasting. The sort of model I would envision would be a public service providing each person with web server space and a distributed social media app (along the lines of Mastodon, but where each person could have their own individual instance). The trick is doing it on a cost-effective basis (though note that the government spends upward of $1 billion on the CBC (about $27 per Canadian (money well spent))). 

[Link] [Comment]

Coursera’s Andrew Ng talks about AI

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-09-03 02:05

by Vinod Mahanta, EdTech

In an experiment recently, Facebook chatbots created their own language and had to be shut down. Isn’t that a dangerous sign that we are dealing with something we don’t fully understand yet? Andrew Ng responds:  “In the early days, electricity was seen as dangerous. People did PR stunts to show electricity could electrocute an elephant.This kind of fear mongering is completely unnecessary. Ultimately, like electricity, AI will be beneficial to the human society. And electrocution of an elephant hardly ever happens today. One thing that AI can do is that a small team of AI engineers can do such work today which earlier even thousand engineers could not have done.The thing I worry about is that AI software will be in direct competition with a lot of people for jobs.”

http://tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/people/ai-can-make-an-impact-like-electricity-courseras-co-founder-andrew-ng/60229635

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How to Involve Students in Your College’s IT Strategy #edtech #elearning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-09-03 02:03

by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

In the 21st century, it is important for colleges not only to have computers and the Internet that students can access; colleges should implement up-to-date and popular technology for students to use in their everyday lives. The place to begin this goal is in the Instructional Technology Department. IT Departments should help colleges create their IT strategies. But, it is of utmost importance to include students in a college’s IT strategy to make it the most effective.

How to involve students in your college’s IT strategy

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4 Reasons Online Courses Might Be For You #elearning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-09-03 02:01

By Alyssa Laffitte, ULoop
College is very different now than it was 10 years ago. Nowadays, we have options that can help us get our degrees faster, like online courses. Most universities give you the option to complete some classes online. If you are still unsure about whether or not you should take an online class, here are some reasons why an online course might be for you!  Clearly, there are many reasons you should take an online class. Of course, you know yourself best, so take a good look at your educational situation and decide whether or not taking an online class would work for you.

https://www.uloop.com/news/view.php/245379/4-Reasons-Online-Courses-Might-Be-For-You

 

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Neural Nets for Generating Music

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-09-02 15:29

Kyle McDonald, Medium, Artists and Machine Intelligence, Sept 02, 2017

This is an interesting and very detailed examination of attempts to create music using artificial intelligence. It tracks what are (to my mind) two major stages in the evolution of this work: first, the shift from symbolic representations of music to actual samples of music; and second, the shift to convolutional neural networks: "Convolutional networks learn combinations of filters. They’re normally used for processing images, but WaveNet treats time like a spatial dimension." There's the obligatory question of whether these will replace humans, posed at the very end of the article (to no effect whatsoever) and a look at the use of these techniques to generate spoken word audio.

[Link] [Comment]

3 reasons why cybersecurity is such a problem for higher ed

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-09-02 02:08

BY TOM RUFF, eCampus News

Many higher education institutions have already invested heavily in security solutions, but the bad actors continue to bypass many of the current security controls. Other institutions have underinvested and only have basic protections in place, but now realize that it is simply a matter of time before this approach fails.  The key driver for breaking into a college or university – or any organization, for that matter – is typically financial, which means that there is a game of cat and mouse played between the bad actors and institutions.

https://www.ecampusnews.com/eschool-media/cybersecurity-problem-higher-ed/

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13 strategic technologies to keep on your fall semester radar

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-09-02 02:04

BY LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News
Institutions are focused on strategic technologies that help support student success and other initiatives.  Technologies for planning and mapping students’ educational plans, along with mobile app development, are among the top strategic technologies covered in EDUCAUSE’s 2017 Integrated Planning for Advising and Student Success (iPASS) trends and technologies report. The report examines higher ed’s top strategic technology priorities. Strategic technologies are newer compared to mature and commonly-deployed technologies such as financial information systems, and these newer technologies are the technologies on which institutions will likely spend most of their time implementing, planning, and tracking this year.

https://www.ecampusnews.com/it-newsletter/technologies-fall-higher-ed/

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Most Faculty Say Technology Has Made Their Jobs Easier

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-09-02 02:03

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology
Our 2017 Teaching with Technology Survey found that faculty have a positive outlook about technology’s impact on their work, teaching effectiveness, student learning and more. In a survey of faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States, 73 percent of respondents said technology has made their jobs “easier” or “much easier.” And nary a one considered their job “much harder” thanks to tech. Those findings came out of Campus Technology’s second annual Teaching with Technology Survey, in which we asked faculty to dish on their use of technology, likes and dislikes, views of the future and more. Their responses revealed a lot about the business of teaching and learning with technology today — and how it has changed over the last year.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/08/23/most-faculty-say-technology-has-made-their-jobs-easier.aspx

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Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: An Overview

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-01 18:07

Barry Zimmerman, Educational Psychologist, Sept 01, 2017

In her presentation (video streaming) this morning on self-regulation for novice adult musicians, Laura Ritchie referenced Barry Zimmerman's definition of self-regulated learning. The primary citation is Zimmerman's 1990 overview paper referenced here (15 page PDF). Zimmerman distinguishes between self-regulation processes and strategies designed to optimize those processes, identifies a "self-oriented feedback loop", and examines the reasons student shave for pursuing one strategy or another. The definition is also stated in his 1989 paper 'A Social Cognitive View of Self-Regulated Academic Learning' (probably paywalled where you are, though there's a copy on ResearchGate). This paper also has a detailed table of self-regulated learning strategies. The triadic analysis (pictured) makes me thing of Archer-Anderson-Garrison's account of teaching and learning presence, which shows how teachers and instructors can have a non-regulatory influence through a person's awareness of self, environment and behaviour. For a lighter introduction readers may want to look at Janice Jansol's slide presentation on Zimmerman.

[Link] [Comment]

Google’s Fighting Hate And Trolls With A Dangerously Mindless AI

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-01 16:37

Robert Epstein, Fast Company, Sept 01, 2017

I think there's a difference between 'getting things wrong' and 'mindless', and while the former is certainly a problem with Google's AI, and others, as argued in this post, I don't think that the latter is an issue at all. The article focuses on Google's Perspective software, which you can try for yourself. It has some easily verified flaws; one is that negative statements, however accurate, are viewed as "toxic", while nice statements, however abhorrent, are viewed as non-toxic. "The problem is that the algorithm doesn’t know any human history. It’s mainly looking for hot-button terms like 'evil' and 'scumbag.'" Quite so. It's too simplistic to be useful. But that is very different from "mindless". As the author admits, "smart algorithms are indeed helping medical doctors diagnose, they report, and they are also trouncing humans at the most challenging games humans have ever devised." They are literally 'mindless' but they are better at some things. If the anti-troll software starts working properly, it won't matter one whit that it's mindless. 

[Link] [Comment]

Google unveils ARCore, its answer to Apple’s ARKit

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-01 14:26

Nicole Lee, Engadget, Sept 01, 2017

This article reports on a Google press release describing ARCore, an augmented reality development kit. Basically it delivers three features: motion tracking, environmental awareness (to detect flat surfaces), and light estimation, to get shadows right. Here's the developer preview, with kits for the Android Studio, Unity and Unreal development environment. "You can see some examples already on Google's AR Experiments showcase, and it looks like Epic Games, Niantic (the maker of Pokemon Go) and Wayfair are already on board."

[Link] [Comment]

Information in the ecosystem: Against the “information ecosystem”

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-01 14:01

Timothy B. Norris, Todd Suomela, First Monday, Sept 01, 2017

This is a detailed analysis and c riticism of the 'information ecosystem' metaphor. The authors argue that human societies are not ecosystems and that the use of the metaphor obscures important elements of communities and human interaction. For one thiing, quoting Richard Stallman, "“It is inadvisable to describe the free software community, or any human community, as an ‘ecosystem,’ because that word implies the absence of ethical judgment.” Additionally, the use of the 'ecosystem' metaphore does not capture the idea that data and markets are human constructions and are based in judgements and theories. "An ecosystem is not purposefully made by organisms for material exchange." Moreover, "To reduce an ecosystem to the human-made, such as an information ecosystem, denies possibilities of spiritualism and non-quantifiable relationships that are found in nature." Good article. Set aside some significant time for it.

[Link] [Comment]

Why the cost of education may end up far higher than many students expect

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-01 13:27

Brenda Bouw, Globe and Mail, Sept 01, 2017

The answer to the question in the headline is 'because you're going to have to continue to upgrade your skills and development after graduation.' As the article says, "It's not just the fact that you need the extra training after school, but the shelf life of your knowledge is also significantly shorter" (this is the same poll as reported here yesterday, but with a newer press release (5 page PDF) and as usual the newspaper does not link to the original source). But rather than question the need for such high fees, the article is essentially an advertisement for Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP). "Two in five Canadian students entering PSE say that they have no savings and two-thirds do not have an RESP." The reason for that isn't that they're careless, despite what the article suggests. The reason is that you can't save tens of thousands on minimum wage employment. You cannot save your way to prosperity if you're poor.

[Link] [Comment]

An Educator Makes the Case That Higher Learning Needs to Grow Up

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2017-09-01 02:05

By CRAIG CALHOUN, NY Times

Davidson argues persuasively that student-centered, active learning can transform classrooms and even online courses. Technology itself is neither the enemy nor the solution (recent fantasies about massive open online courses, or MOOCs, notwithstanding). She rightly rails against both rising costs and a public defunding of higher education that together mean students graduate with huge debt burdens and accordingly make educational choices based on guesses at how they can best pay them off rather than what they want to learn or how they can best contribute to the world. She criticizes disciplinary departments as too dominant and points out that neither the world’s problems nor its jobs are organized entirely by academic disciplines. She complains that ubiquitous grading and ranking of both students and schools have produced not only an obsession with hierarchical standing but also an approach focused more on exclusivity and weeding out than on helping everyone learn.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/books/review/cathy-davidson-new-education.html

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George Siemens and David Wiley Join Forces for a MOOC About Open Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2017-09-01 02:03

By Manuela Ekowo, EdSurge

This October, two open education pioneers are teaming up to pilot a new edX course titled “Introduction to Open Education” with hopes to amplify and answer some of these questions. George Siemens, professor and education technology researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington, and David Wiley, co-founder and chief academic officer at OER company Lumen Learning, will lead the free course that aims to introduce graduate students (though anyone with internet access can take the classes) to open education, and how the field has evolved. The six-week long MOOC will touch on topics including open educational resources (OER), open pedagogy and practice, open knowledge and open research.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-08-23-george-siemens-and-david-wiley-join-forces-for-a-mooc-about-open-education

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‘Smart’ Campuses Invest in the Internet of Things

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2017-09-01 02:01

by David Raths, Campus Technology

As campus executives start to develop their IoT strategies, it is not just CIOs who have to be involved. Sometimes, facilities groups have their own IT executives working on data pipelines from IoT devices. Chuck Benson, assistant director for IT in Facilities Services at the University of Washington, chairs a campuswide IoT risk mitigation task force.  Energy management is a great example of where IoT is having an impact, Benson said. With help from a federal grant, UW has made an effort to meter much of the campus. There are about 2,000 data points where power and building controls are sampled. “I work with our energy conservation managers making sure all the samples are coming through,” he said. Data flows into an aggregation point and from there to consumption for reports, dashboards or ongoing research. “We do a lot of work in building that data pipeline, and there are challenges all along the way that involve different groups on campus,” Benson explained. If a meter goes offline, initially you don’t know why — or who is responsible.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/08/24/smart-campuses-invest-in-the-internet-of-things.aspx

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