news (external)


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

by Zoe Mutter, AV Magazine

The respondents predict that the future learning environment will break free from the classroom: 64% of respondents believe students in 2015 primarily engage with content in the classroom, but only 25% predict it will still be the leading way for learning in 2025. Alongside this, the use of remote learning technologies in teaching is expected to rise significantly: 53% of education professionals believe real-time video collaboration and mobile devices will be the primary way students engage with content by 2025. 58% of EMEA respondents expect to see greater collaboration between schools and corporations by 2025, and the majority of respondents believe there will be a more defined career pathway through the schooling process. The majority of EMEA respondents predict that the role a teacher plays in education will become less important in coming years, with the role of thought leaders and educational outreach programmes becoming increasingly important to education.

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Gates Foundation Refocuses Higher-Ed Priorities

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2016-10-02 02:02

by EdSurge HigherEd

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has released an updated list of priorities that it will double down on in higher education. Improving data infrastructure, simplifying federal financial aid and supporting student-centered pathways are among the foundation’s areas of focus for the upcoming year. Throughout September the foundation is running a campaign called “Today’s College Students” to highlight colleges and universities serving the “new majority” of students, including those who work full-time, are older than 25 years old and receive some kind of financial aid.

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The digital age has destroyed the concept of ownership, and companies are taking advantage of it

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2016-10-01 17:29

Christopher Groskopf, Quartz, Oct 01, 2016

The headline is probably not news to the people reading this article. But to people in the movie theatres watching the Cineplex advertising that they can "own this movie" with a superticket, many of the limitations may come as a surprise. The fact is we are being misled with the purchase of just about everything today - limitations on digital copying, restrictions on repairing our cars or our lawn mowers, constraints on resale or exchange - none of these would be acceptable at the prices we pay, and yet all of them constitute deliberately hidden limitations on our purchase rights. If I, an ordinary citizen, tried to do this, it would be fraud. But in the digital marketplace it's business as usual. Do people care? No. "Before anything like that can happen millions of users will have to, at a bare minimum, acknowledge that huge swaths of their lives are legally controlled by contracts they have never even read."

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Most Faculty Tackle Synchronous Online Instruction Ill-Prepared

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-10-01 02:10

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

If the outcome from online courses is uneven, it’s little wonder. Most instructors aren’t exactly up to speed on what to expect. When it comes to learning how to teach online, most faculty receive their training before they’ve even entered a virtual classroom for the first time. Half rely on self-learning to figure out what they need to do. And when they receive training, there’s more emphasis on learning how to use the technology involved than in how to adapt their pedagogy or content to the new online environment. Those results were shared in a new report from the Online Learning Consortium, a non-profit professional organization that aims to help educators integrate best practices into their online instruction. Half of the respondents were primarily self-taught; only 24 percent received formal training; and the remaining 26 percent did their learning through informal conversations with peers who teach synchronously.

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Free website for medical students a prescription for digital learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-10-01 02:05

by SHERYL UBELACKER, the Canadian Press

There’s no question medical students have to cram in a lot of information on their way to becoming full-fledged doctors, and a new Canadian teaching website aims to make that journey a little less onerous. Students now have access to a free online platform, called, which provides digital-based learning for today’s future physicians, many of whom have grown up on YouTube, says its developer. “The lessons are designed to be short, fun and engaging so the information sticks,” said Dr. Sanjay Sharma, a retina specialist and professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., explaining that the open-access website employs video lectures, whiteboard animations and summary notes to help students diagnose and plan treatment for a broad range of illnesses.

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California Community College District prepares for online course exchange

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2016-10-01 02:03

By Lorenzo Morotti, CCC Advocate

A statewide network of online courses for students is being developed by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office for the 2018 spring semester. The Online Education Initiative Program Director Steve Klein said the course exchange program is still in the 24-college pilot phase and the Steering Committee is currently identifying the required criteria a college would need to meet to join the network. “Students have always taken courses at multiple colleges,” Klein said. “That is not new. What is new is the opportunity for a college to be strategic about the courses they offer in light of the opportunity that the course exchange is providing — it just has never happened before in our education system.” OEI’s course exchange intends to reduce the time it takes for students to achieve their transfer goals by creating a platform that would allow students to enroll in a fully-online course offered at any college in the online network, statewide.

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Online Classes Get a Missing Piece: Teamwork

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-30 23:27

Marguerite McNeal, EdSurge, Sept 30, 2016

Audrey Watters gasps, "Can you believe no one has ever thought about adding 'social' to online education until now?!" It boggles the mind, to be sure. But Carolyn Rosé 's  project is a bit more interesting than that. The EdSurge article discussing Bazaar misrepresents the real story. Of course, everyone would like to see more social interaction in online learning and people have been working on this for decades. What's unique here is that students can "enter an online chat group where they discuss and apply what they learned [and a] computer agent— a chatbot— prompts them to discuss amongst each other." The chatbot is the focus of the Bazaar project mentioned in the article. Here's the GitHub. It's related to their wider DANCE project - Discussion Affordances for Natural Collaborative Exchange, which is an effort to promote similar interactivity inside EdX.

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The Open University of Brazil goes open

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-30 20:27

Tel Amiel, Universidade Aberta do Brasil, Sept 30, 2016

According to this article, the Open University of Brazil (UAB) "has just announced its open educational resources repository — eduCAPES, during the 9th meeting of UAB Coordinators in Brasí lia. The repository is part of a series of activities aimed at promoting OER within the UAB System."

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Create a Professional Learning Community in 3 Easy Steps with Office 365

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-30 20:27

Andrew Robertson, Microsoft UK Schools Blog, Sept 30, 2016

What I want to flag here is the use of the term "professional learning community" by Microsoft. According to this article, " Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide the support educators need to continue to grow new teaching skills with their peers. Groups of educators can work and learn together to improve student achievement through book study, action research, or learning a new best practice through PLCs." The term has been around for a while. Here's  a 2004 article describing PLCs: "People use this term to describe every imaginable combination of individuals with an interest in education." In 2009 Edutopia wrote about how to create a PLC. The province of Ontatio  used it as a model in 2007. This article from 2005  credits Coral Mitchell and Larry Sackney with a definition of the term. Reference  go back to 1997 and earlier.

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Introducing Google Cloud

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-30 17:27

Diane Greene, Google Cloud Official Blog, Sept 30, 2016

Google has rebranded and relaunched a number of services for enterprises, including education, under the heading of Google Cloud. "Google Cloud spans every layer of the business, including all of Google Cloud Platform; our user facing collaboration and productivity applications — now named G Suite; all of our machine learning tools and APIs, the enterprise maps APIs; and the Android phones, tablets and Chromebooks that access the cloud." G Suite mnight be a tough sell. "We believe that when organizations break down silos, connect people and empower them to work together, we get the speed, agility and impact needed to compete in today’ s market... With G Suite, information can flow freely between devices, apps, people and teams." My experience has been that enterprise wants tgo lock down its information, not let it flow freely. I would like that to change, of course, but as I say: tough sell.

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Markets and School Quality

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-09-30 14:27

Andrés Velasco, Project Syndicate, Sept 30, 2016

This article is much better in its articulation of the criticisms of private schools than it is in offering a resolution. Former Chilean presidential candidate André s Velasco explores three areas of criticism (quoted):

  • if everything – including education – is for sale, those who have more money will buy more of it.
  • education markets perform poorly... markets run into trouble when what is bought and sold cannot be observed or measured.
  • education can be degraded by being sold and bought... market incentives change behavior in socially damaging ways.

These are all good points and I would contend that the private sector has not addressed any of them adequtely. But Velasco suggests "it makes sense to consider how to combine the virtues of both systems, instead of simply choosing between them." He cites a recent paper that argues "for-profits appear to be at their best with well-defined programs of short duration that prepare students for a specific occupation." How does this address these three points? We don't know.

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New University of Chicago website connects alumni, provides access to online courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-09-30 02:10

By Carl Vogel, University of Chicago News

University of Chicago alumni have a new place to take online courses led by University faculty, connect and collaborate with other graduates, and find curated content from across UChicago. Billed as a site for intellectual inquiry, discussion and engagement, AlumniU launched Sept. 21 and is free and open exclusively to University alumni. “Our alumni are interested in content that is intellectually stimulating and of the highest quality,” said Mark Nemec, dean of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. “We’ve learned what people miss after graduating is opportunities for the rigorous engagement they had while at the University of Chicago.”

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Weaknesses of online and face-to-face learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-09-30 02:05

by Nigel Paine, Learning and Development

“People today like to access a smartphone which apparently we do 200 or 300 times a day. “The idea that online learning means you sit at a desk behind a desktop computer is nonsense.” The best online learning is a combination of various forms of learning, including engaging people on smartphones and tablets. “But it’s not good to take something which fits on a 21 inch desktop and squeeze it onto a phone-size screen so it’s totally illegible and absolutely useless,” said Paine. “I am talking about reconfiguring learning for a smartphone. Most of us don’t sit there for hours looking at our phone, we access it for 30 seconds or so. We don’t write essays on a phone, we send a two-line text.”

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Online Learning vs. Traditional Learning: What’s Better for Your IT Career?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-09-30 02:02

by Michelle White, B2C

No matter how you acquire it, an advanced degree or additional certifications can certainly be a strong step forward in your information technology career. In fact, detailed studies have discovered that online learning is just as effective as learning in the traditional classroom. For the future student, this indicates the choice between the two may simply come down to personal preference. While some may feel the need to see a professor physically in front of them, others may prefer the flexibility of completing coursework as their schedule allows from the comfort of their own home. What is important is not the way you choose to learn, but the choice to be a life-long learner and continuously add to your set of skills in whatever way works for you. The IT professionals most in demand are the ones who, in addition to previous achievements, strive to stay current on trends, programs, and emerging IT tools.

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Rosetta - Fri, 2016-09-30 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

#FUSION12 - Discussion about MOOCs with Stephen Downes

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-09-29 23:11
[Audio] D2L Fusion, (Interview) Jan 20, 2020 [Comment]

PEARSONalized Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-09-29 20:11

Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Sept 29, 2016

I want to cut this out and put it on the wall around here: "There is a recurring cultural fantasy that 'solving' the education 'problem' consists of creating a customized playlist of little content bits... Nobody who has taught believes that proper sequencing of content chunks is the hard part." Oh, but that's all so many people want to do. That's how 'learning analytics will solve education!' Argh! People (as Michael Feldstein vividly demonstrates (with examples)) should stop listening to ed tech vendor marketing when thinking about how to design and use educational technology.

[Link] [Comment]

Digital Readiness Gaps

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-09-29 17:11

John B. Horrigan, Pew Research Internet Project, Sept 29, 2016

How 'ready' are people to take online learning courses (especially those that, like MOOCs, require a fair degree of readiness)? According to this Pew report, which looks at Americans only, the degree of readiness varies across society. This really should be no surprise. The statistics range from 17% for 'fully prepared' (from higher income households and with more education) through to 33% who are 'reluctant' (tend to be men 50 and over with lower educational backgrounds and lower incomes) through to 14% who are 'unprepared' (who tend to be women and over with lower educational backgrounds and incomes). I would imagine you could find similar patterns in other countries, which skews toward more-or-less prepared depending on income. The interesting find would be the outliers - countries like Ecuador and Uruguay, maybe. But Pew doesn't look at that.

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A Master List of 1,200 Free Courses From Top Universities: 40,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-09-29 17:11

Dan Colman, Open Culture, Sept 29, 2016

From Open Culture: "Let’ s give you the quick overview: The list lets you download audio & video lectures from schools like  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Harvard. Generally, the courses can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or university web sites, and you can listen to the lectures  anytime, anywhere, on your computer or smart phone." Free an d open online learning is coming of age.

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Yes! #PhD written... looking for joyful bliss once more

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2016-09-29 17:11

Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, Sept 29, 2016

Inge de Waard has been working on this just about as long as I have known her. So it's nice to she she has shut down her word processor and shipped some product. "This research investigates the informal learning journeys of 56 experienced adult online learners engaging in individual and/or social self-directed learning using any device to follow a FutureLearn course." You can read it here.

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