news (external)

CAPS goes digital with new online tutoring

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-08-28 02:04

By Matt Reisen, New Mexico Daily Lobo

This semester a new program will help students bring tutors into the comfort of their own home — electronically. Anne Compton, associate director of the Center for Academic Program Support, said CAPS will debut its new Online Learning Center on Monday, which allows students to receive tutoring from their own computer. The Online Learning Center, a combined effort of CAPS, Extended University and New Media and Extended Learning, will give tutoring to students who may be too busy, or too far removed, to physically go to the CAPS office, but still need assistance, she said.

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Study examines online, face-to-face courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2014-08-28 02:02


“The study reveals students actually see online classes as more challenging,” Professor Platt said. “Part of that is the students have to do more to manage their own time and schedule because online courses do not meet at a set point each week and some self-paced courses don’t have regular deadlines.” Students also perceived online classes as having less interaction than face-to-face classes, which Platt said could make the course more challenging for students who rely on extra help from their instructor or their peers. “The main reason the students took online courses was the flexibility of scheduling,” Platt said, noting online courses don’t conflict with scheduled courses in the classroom. “Online courses also can fit in if a student has a part-time job.”

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Awarding Badges in Moodle

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-08-27 02:09

By Tim States, Emmett Dulaney, Campus Technology

Organizations like Boys and Girl Scouts have long modeled the significance of having a common language to describe an accomplishment through earning physical badges for completion of preset tasks. The idea of creating a common language for noting student achievement has been embraced by the educational community through the next generation of badging known as digital badges. Moodle offers a central repository to manage and distribute digital badges for an institution. Badges can be awarded at the site level or course level. Site-level badges allow for institutional collaboration on a set of common standards for awarding badges, while course level badges can allow individual instructors to set their own standards for acknowledgment. In this article, we’ll first take a look at why you might want to do this and outline the user experience as an instructor and student.

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This Flipped Class Is Studying Biology with a $10 Microscope and a Smart Phone

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-08-27 02:05

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Take a smartphone, add $10 worth of plywood and Plexiglas, a bit of hardware, laser pointer lenses and LED click lights from a keychain flashlight and you have a DIY microscope worthy of use in college classes. At least, that’s the idea of an instructor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology who is adding the do-it-yourself technology in her biology lab courses. The project is part of a larger research endeavor at the university to explore the design of instructional labs for science and engineering courses that can be delivered in a blended or online format. The goal of a research is to develop e-learning models to redesign traditional lab courses to work in a hybrid format and to create a handbook for use by instructors that explains how to apply the new models.$10-microscope-and-a-smart-phone.aspx

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Why you should care about gamification in higher education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2014-08-27 02:02

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

gGaming in education has, for the most part, been a K-12 trend, with its popularity relegated to supplemental learning for elementary school students. But gamification, from its implementation at MIT to its praise from the job industry, has much more serious implications for college students—and perhaps it’s time higher education got serious about incorporating game design. Today’s course design is under incredible pressure from popular practices favored by students—practices like the inclusion of interactive mobile technology, blended learning, Flipped Learning, and the integration of peer community forums—and according to experts, understanding the reasons why students prefer these methods of instruction can be gleaned from taking part in gaming.

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Suddenly Popular - Wed, 2014-08-27 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Common sense for some and new and inspiring for others

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2014-08-27 00:09

Barb Brown, Weblog, Aug 26, 2014

Barb Brown responds to a post  I wrote back in 2013. I complained: "Course instructors discuss their approaches to backward instructional design and describe the digital tools used to support collaboration.... Well, this too could have been written in the 1990s, I guess...." She replies, "The topic may not be as timely or important to some audiences, especially those who are expert in teaching online... however, the topic of post secondary instructors collaborating on the design of online courses is relevant to a broad audience." Well maybe - but is content "relevant to a broad audience" really what belongs in an academic journal? More and more, what we are seeing is journal authors writing to an audience consisting of each other - and not keeping up with developments in the field. They applaud each other for having 'discovered' things that have been in practice for years, and even naming them after each other (hence, e.g., "Hai-Jew’ s (2010) fourfold approach" for updating an online curriculum (ie., legal, new tech, new pedagogy, changes in the field - oh, oh, oh, I never would have guessed it would be those four!)).

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Returning to optimism

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-08-26 21:08

Bryan Alexander, Aug 26, 2014

This is a common failing in education writing: "I’ ve been spending too much time with macroeconomics, getting bogged down in the grim news about America’ s employment and income data....   But following these inquiries in depth, I lost sight of human capacity and agency." Here's the solution: "say more about what could happen if we make the right decisions." And more to the point: the moment you think education is more about money than it is about people, you're sunk.

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Employers Aren’t Just Whining – the “Skills Gap” Is Real

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-08-26 21:08

James Bessen, Harvard Business Review Blogs, Aug 26, 2014

"The idea of a 'skills gap' as identified in this and other surveys has been widely criticized," writes James Bessen, citing criticism from Peter Cappelli, Paul Krugman and the New York Times. "A worldwide scheme by thousands of business managers to manipulate public opinion seems far-fetched.," he says (naively). But the evidence for a skills gap can be found in wages. " We see it in the high pay that software developers in Silicon Valley receive for their specialized skills. And we see it throughout the workforce. Research shows that since the 1980s, the wages of the top 10% of workers has risen sharply relative to the median wage."

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Readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper, study finds

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-08-26 21:08

Alison Flood, The Guardian, Aug 26, 2014

So the premise here is that context has an impact on memory, and that eBooks read on the Kindle lack the appropriate context for remembering. "In this study, we found that paper readers did report higher on measures having to do with empathy and transportation and immersion, and narrative coherence, than iPad readers," said Mangen. But, you know, it's one study, with one set of readers. I've been reading online for the last 30 years. I expect my sense of context may well be different.

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Crowd-Sourced Peer Review: Substitute or supplement for the current outdated system?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2014-08-26 21:08

Peter Suber, London School of Economics, Aug 26, 2014

Many authors, writes Peter Suber, prefer to have their work reviewed in private. But this may be about to change. He writes, "The problem with classical peer review today is that there is so much research being produced that there are not enough experts with enough time to peer-review it all. So there are huge publication lags because of delays in finding qualified, willing referees."

[Link] [Comment]

Studying in 2014: could online courses become the new norm?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-08-26 02:08

By Marni Williams, Career FAQs

Come in. Sit down. Eyes to the front and no talking in the back please. Just kidding, this is online learning! No one cares where you are and you can talk all you like. It’s your course and you can study it however you want to. Chances are that by now you might know at least one person who has studied online (I’m finishing off a Certificate IV in Fitness this weekend). Or maybe you’re in the middle of a bit of online upskilling yourself. Over the past five years, the online learning sector has gone from being a possible disruptor of traditional learning to a serious challenger. It’s found itself on top of industry watchlists, and with more providers and more government-funded courses on offer every other month, it’s clear that it’s here to stay. So why is online education so hot right now?

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Measuring the impact of a MOOC course can be complicated

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-08-26 02:05

by Eric Schulzke, Deseret News

Brandon Alcorn, Gayle Christensen and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, all from the University of Pennsylvannia, argue in The Atlantic that critiques based on completion rate miss the point, and that MOOCs serve a valuable function even when the course is not completed. Using data from 1.8 million students enrolled in MOOCs offered by U. Penn, the authors conclude that “that students treat MOOCs like a buffet, sampling the material according to their interests and goals.” Some students, they find, are merely sampling out of curiosity, while others are primarily interested in discussion forums that link them to others with similar interests.

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Tulane’s ‘Trauma!’ course offers new approach to online learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2014-08-26 02:02

By Jed Lipinski, The Times-Picayune

The mini-course is part of a MOOC called Trauma! that will be offered this fall through Tulane. Charles Figley, director of the Traumatology Institute, said the Trauma! MOOC is structured differently than most MOOCs, which have drawn criticism for their high drop-out rates. While most MOOCs are simply online versions of classroom-style classes, Trauma! consists of 10 one-week mini-courses, or what Figley terms “knowledge blocks.” Four of the courses are required, but students are allowed to choose the remaining six. “We’re taking a Netflix approach,” he said. “All the knowledge blocks will be listed online with information about each one. Popular courses may be listed as ‘Trending,’ others as ‘Recommended for You.’” In another deviation from the typical MOOC format, students at Tulane are allowed to take the course for credit. Every week for 75 minutes, the students will meet in a classroom on campus to discuss the course material, Figley said.

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How to measure the success of learning in rhizo14?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-08-25 21:05

Heli Nurmi, Heli Connecting Ideas, Aug 25, 2014

Heli Nurmi offers an insightful look at what constitutes success in dave Cormier's Rhizo-MOOC: "It may be an illusion of enthusiasm that I’ ve 'learned' these things but it feels like I have a better grasp on how to know them or reconstruct a more viable approach. I’ ve gained a tool of understanding that clarifies things that I didn’ t have before. Success = People having a serious conversation or, very often, people having fun together. That’ s enough."

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Known and education: a love story

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-08-25 18:04

Ben Werdmuller, Benwerd, Aug 25, 2014

Interesting. Compelling. Important. Known and Reclaim your Domain get together. Here's Ben Werdmuller: "I think Known is very clearly both a PLE and an eportfolio:

  • Known profiles allow you to post to a space that represents you, using a variety of media, from any device
  • Known's syndication feature lets you post to your own profile, while syndicating to external sites and applications - like your campus's Learning Management System.

Educators agree. The Reclaim Your Domain project is a particular evolution of eportfolio thinking. where members of a campus's community own the domains that represent them (just like indieweb!)." And here's Jim Groom, on  pushing the Known syndication hub beyond RSS. He writes, "I’ ve already referred to Known as an open, distributed Tumblr, and that’ s pretty apt. The minimalism and focus on  publishing content quickly and easily makes it very compelling."

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At OTF Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference – Hopscotch, Sphero, Social Reading

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-08-25 18:04

Doug Peterson, doug - off the record, Aug 25, 2014

What Doug Peterson describes here is very similar to my own workflow, readingflow, whateverflow. It's a restatement of the "aggregate-remix-repurpose-feed forward" methodology, identifying specific tools that can be used to accomplish it. Does it work? I offer my own career as evidence. Moreover, some of the tools he points to - Hopscotch, Sphero, and - are new to me. I won't use the iPad-only apps, of course, but some others look interesting.

[Link] [Comment]

Hackers Target Video Games for Fun, Profit and Better Scores

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-08-25 18:04

Nicole Perlroth, New York Times, Aug 25, 2014

I lost interest in commercial online multiplayer games when I discovered people cheating (a game crash was followed by a massive attack on my empire that somehow pinpointed every weakness; the other player admitted seeing my troop disposition). It's the same experience I had in Reno - playing poker in the poker room was fun until the hustler came in and started betting the maximum on every hand. At this point - where people are exploiting the system for profit - the games are no longer fun. And, of course, "the industry has done little to share cyber threat information" - probably because they make more money from the people gaming the results than the people just in it for fun (it's the same relationship Google has with advertisers and spammers).

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Learning Vs. Performance -- The Dichotomy

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-08-25 18:04

Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID, Other Reflections, Aug 25, 2014

This article gets at the difference between learning and performance, identifying aspects distinguishing a focus on one as opposed to the other:

  • Growth mindset - Carol Dweck, in her research, differentiated between Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset.
  • Limiting beliefs – Related to fixed mindset, limiting beliefs constrain us in many ways.
  • Fear of failures – This could directly stem from the organizational culture and environment.

In a follow-up article, Sahana Chattopadhyay makes it clear that training is only one aspect of performance. "Organizational challenges today are multi-pronged and taking a single approach doesn’ t work. It is entirely possible that while training may be a requirement, other concerns also need to be simultaneously addressed."

[Link] [Comment]

Self-Regulation: The Other 21st Century Skills

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2014-08-25 18:04

Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, Aug 25, 2014

The whole character-building thing has been in vogue recently, what with people writing about "grit" and other aspects of successful learners (and people). There is some point to this - you will not become successful at anything (whether work, hobbies or even lifestyle) without putting the effort, which takes motivation and perseverence. But there's also an aspect of this movement whereby these are externally defined. Take this: "Self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’ s learning in order to maximize it." It depicts the self as naturally something (someone?) you have to battle in order to succeed. Well - I have never thought that way about my own work. Yes, I work very hard, struggle with means and motivation, and even measure progress sometimes (but not nearly as often as you might thing). But it's not a battle - for me, it's a process of immersing myself completely into my own life. My 'other 21st century skills' are these skills. It's worth noting the difference.

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