news (external)

Students & The Cost of Higher Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-12-26 19:41

Tim Klapdor, Heart | Soul | Machine, Dec 26, 2017

Tim Klapdor writes about the reasons for "the end of demand driven education" in the UK. This is the idea that the system would be prepared to educate those students who wanted to learn. One reason, he writes, is government policy, which is intended to favour the rich, and is therefore opposed to the idea of education for all. Another reason is the cost, as universities made to attempt to leverage the economies of scale as their enrollments increased. Lost in the whole discussion, he says, are the students. "No one seems willing to discuss the fact that students are being forced to prop up the higher education system as the government slowly defunds it."

[Link] [Comment]

Build Pedagogy Before Technology

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-12-26 19:19

Rod Berger, edCircuit, Dec 26, 2017

This is a video discussion between education consultant Steven Anderson and interviewer Rod Berger, along with a summary article. A lot of the conversation revolves around Anderson's experiences at conferences, and how he thinks people should approach the conference experience. There's also an undertone of tech criticism. Anderson suggests that the motivation for the use of tech in schools is the money that was spent on the tech. And he suggests that people try to "cram" the pedagogy into the technology that they have. "Technology comes and goes," he says. "What we need to be focused on are pedagogy and processes." But focusing on these creates the risk of being blind to what new things can be done with the tech.

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How the 'Slow Ed Tech Movement' Is Bringing a Sense of Purpose to Academic Technology

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-12-26 18:39

David Raths, Campus Technology, Dec 26, 2017

I can understand why people would want to slow ed tech work, but my fear is that the phenomenon of 'slow ed tech' is based on a chimera. After all, how do you measure the speed of ed tech? Is it how fast you type or text? Is it the number of words you read in an hour? Is the the quantity or pace of operations you perform? I see no inherent benefit in slowing any of these (indeed, typing quickly actually reduces a lot of the stress of working with tech). Meanwhile, I slow the pace of my ed tech work all the time, but my managers call it "not working" and "watching YouTube videos". 

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New Media Consortium Suddenly Ceases Operations

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-12-26 01:10

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology
In an e-mail announcement, the New Media Consortium revealed that it will cease operations immediately. The e-mail stated: “The New Media Consortium (NMC) regrets to announce that because of apparent errors and omissions by its former Controller and Chief Financial Officer, the organization finds itself insolvent. Consequently, NMC must cease operations immediately. “NMC would like to sincerely thank our loyal and dedicated community for its many vital contributions since its inception in 1994. NMC is grateful to its current executive director and NMC staff for their tireless efforts to connect people at the intersection of innovation and technology.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/12/18/new-media-consortium-suddenly-ceases-operations.aspx

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Survey: 94% of Students Want to Use Their Cell Phones in Class

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-12-26 01:05

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

A whopping 94 percent of students in a recent survey said they want to use their cell phones in class for academic purposes.  The survey found that a large number of students — 75 percent — believe using personal devices in the classroom has improved their ability to learn and retain information. Fifty-eight percent of respondents use their phones to take pictures of lecture slides; 41 percent use them to Google answers to in-class questions; and 39 percent use them to access a digital textbook. On the other hand, 54 percent also use cell phones to text friends and 52 percent use them to browse social media during class.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/12/12/students-want-to-use-their-cell-phones-in-class.aspx

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Impatient with universities’ slow pace of change, employers go around them

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-12-26 01:03

by John Marcus, the Hechinger Report

“There’s just a giant gap there,” said Sean Gallagher, executive director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy at Northeastern University. Fewer graduates are emerging from the pipeline than are needed, he said. “I think that’s why the tech sector has been the place where these alternative models are being pioneered.” Tired of waiting, Microsoft, Linux and other employers have teamed up with edX, a collaboration started by Harvard and MIT to provide online education that is much easier than brick-and-mortar programs to keep up to date and to disseminate to vast numbers of students simultaneously. Microsoft, Linux and other employers have teamed up with edX, a collaboration started by Harvard and MIT to provide online courses, which are easier to keep updated than conventional university courses in fast-changing fields such as tech.

http://hechingerreport.org/impatient-universities-slow-pace-change-employers-go-around/

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Inequality in nature and society

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-12-25 17:18

Marten Scheffer, Bas van Bavel, Ingrid A. van de Leemput, Egbert H. van Nes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Dec 25, 2017

Something to think about for the holidays. The authors identify "striking similarities between patterns of inequality between species abundances in nature and wealth in society." Then, in a kicker, they "demonstrate that in the absence of equalizing forces, such large inequality will arise from chance alone." The only way to respond to this is through some sort of regulation; in the forest, this might occur through natural factors, but in society, unless there is some sort of regulation, the inevitable result is massive inequality. The authors note, "this does not imply that wealth inequality is 'natural.' Indeed, in nature, the amount of resources held by individuals (e.g., territory size) is typically quite equal within a species." It's just that as society grows it becomes more difficult to scale regulations. And lest you think there's no real problem, note that "Excessive concentration of wealth is widely thought to hamper economic growth, concentrate power in the hands of a small elite, and increase the chance of social unrest and political instability."

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Ruba Borno on Cisco's strategy in action

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-12-25 17:09

Ruba Borno, Cisco, Dec 25, 2017

This interesting look back on what Cisco was up to in 2017 is also a look forward for many of us. It's just a listicle, sadly; the short items just beg for links to longer articles. There's encrypted traffic analytics, whihc identifies malware in encrypted traffic without violating privacy, there's Cisco's cloud deal with Google, there's a hyperconvergence infrastructure, and more along the same lines.

[Link] [Comment]

Permits to teach not a long term solution

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-12-25 17:00

Grant Frost, frostededucation, Dec 25, 2017

In Nova Scotia an agreement has been reached that "would allow people without teaching degrees to work as substitute teachers in the region’s largest board." Obviously this is far from ideal, and it sounds like the measure was adopted very reluctantly. But it also points to the weakness of the traditional model of education in developing regions: it is expensive, and it requires qualified people. Sometimes, this is not possible. What then? Sadly, this column offers no real solution to the problem. But I can say that bitter contract disputes and legislated working conditions don't help. Not at all.

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Dynamicland

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-12-25 16:48

Dynamicland, Dec 25, 2017

This is not a product but a vision of a product. In a nutshell: it's paper, but where every scrap of paper has the capabilities of a computer. The idea is to allow us to create large surfaces (like the surface of a table) where we collaborate using these scraps. The system also uses clay and tokens and toy cars, all interacting with the paper. The creators are describing it as a 50-year project. Here's the research agenda. It's neat idea and I like the concept, though the videos still seem a bit opaque to me. I hope it's successful. Via Tom Woodward.

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Harmony and hope as pedagogies for 2018

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-12-25 16:17

Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, Dec 25, 2017

Jenny Mackness summarizes some of the recent discussion around the idea of a 'pedagogy of harmony'. She links to Kevin Hodgson's video of a 'found poem' from Laura Ritchie's post (definitely required viewing). Harmony doesn't seem to be enough, she suggests. "'Don’t we need dissonance to be able to recognise harmony?’ and in terms of pedagogy  ‘Don’t we need dissonance to maintain interest and attention?'" And she also asks, ‘Can one person’s harmony be another person’s dissonance?’ All true, of course. But all - in my view - part of the concept of harmony. In a separate Google Plus post I explain some of my thinking behind the concept (why Google Plus? Too shot for a blog post, too long for Twitter/Mastodon).

[Link] [Comment]

Secure mail for everybody!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-12-25 16:05

Tutanota, Dec 25, 2017

Tutanota is a fully encrypted email service. According to the website, "In the future Tutanota will be our replacement for Gmail with a calendar, notes, cloud storage - everything encrypted by default!" The service is free with one gigabyte of storage with plans for more. It's open source (GPL v3) and available on GitHub.

[Link] [Comment]

OER Adoptions on the Rise

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-12-25 01:06

by Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

The number of faculty members choosing open educational resources over traditional textbooks has nearly doubled in the last year, but awareness over all remains low. More and more instructors are choosing open educational resources over traditional textbooks, a survey of more than 2,700 faculty members reveals. The “Opening the Textbook” survey, published by the Babson Survey Research Group today, reports that the number of faculty members at two- and four-year institutions using OER as textbooks has nearly doubled in the last year — from 5 percent in 2015-16 to 9 percent in 2016-17.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/12/19/more-faculty-members-are-using-oer-survey-finds

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Professions that pay for college tuition

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-12-25 01:02

by Affordable Colleges Online
Per the Institute for College Access and Success, seven in 10 college graduates had student loan debt in 2014, averaging nearly $29,000 each. The number of students who have debt continues to increase, as does the actual average; in 2016 the Wall Street Journal reported the average amount of debt per college graduate had increased 28 percent, to just over $37,000. But students don’t have to follow this intimidating trend. In addition to common financial aid options like loans, grants and scholarships, there are many other ways to help minimize and even zero-out the cost.

https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/professions-that-pay-tuition/

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Leveraging tech for learning and college administration

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-12-25 01:01

by University Business

An increase in technology spending is the gift that about 4 in 10 campus technology administrators are unwrapping to start the new year. Sixteen percent of the 96 respondents to a UB survey, however, must deal with a decrease in spending. The top area getting significant investment in 2018 is academic technology. One respondent (from an institution with 10,000 to 15,000 students) noted that leveraging technology is certainly not just a tech leader’s domain but rather a must for all higher ed executives.

https://www.universitybusiness.com/article/leveraging-tech-learning-and-college-administration

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N.Y. Attorney General on Why He Refuses to Let Net Neutrality Die

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-12-24 01:10

by Kristin Houser, Futurism

The day before the vote, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released details of an analysis of the FCC’s public comment process that concluded that more than two million comments were made using stolen identities. The FCC refused Schneiderman’s request that the vote be delayed to allow for further investigation, and now, he’s suing to prevent what he calls the “illegal rollback of net neutrality.” Futurism got an exclusive interview with the attorney general in which he details why net neutrality matters, why the FCC’s repeal was illegal, and what he plans to do to stop the repeal from moving forward.

 

https://futurism.com/net-neutrality-ny-attorney-general/

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Report: Federal HED policy must undergo dramatic shift

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-12-24 01:05

BY LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

A new policy framework identifies a three-pronged plan to shift the focus of federal policy from higher education to higher learning by ensuring high-quality outcomes, focusing on today’s students and creating a more affordable and responsive system of education and training beyond high school. Most federal higher education policies were designed when the typical college student attended a four-year college directly after high school. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that 75 percent of students today are now either working adults, part-time students, parents with dependent children or student with some other non-traditional characteristic. In the framework, Higher Learning Advocates argues federal policy should adapt to meet the needs of those students.

Report: Federal HED policy must undergo dramatic shift

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How a seemingly basic technology is driving the university of the future

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-12-24 01:04

BY RICK GAUMER, eCampus News

Investment in Wi-Fi -enabled technologies has university reaping significant results in recruitment, enrollment and retention. At Emory & Henry (E&H), technology is not only transforming our campus into one of the most digitally-connected environments, it is also laying the groundwork for education of the future—thanks to Wi-Fi. With our recent technology initiatives—including triple-digit speed Wi-Fi—we have built a strong foundation for our vision of the campus of the future; including the ability to realize our strategic vision where “blended learning” is a reality, where learning is accessible, personal and affordable to diverse groups of students. This is learning that our students can fully leverage for bigger success pre- and post-graduation.

How a seemingly basic technology is driving the university of the future

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Making Connections with Multimedia Content

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-12-23 01:10

by Meg Lloyd, Campus Technology
Increasingly, instructors illustrate course content with visual images and rich media to engage students. But it can be cumbersome to try to show the relationships among disparate media elements, as well as challenging for faculty to work with available technologies to annotate and map them. Johns Hopkins University developed a web application to help learners explore and easily document relationships among visual materials. Users can annotate images with rich multimedia content and link to image, audio and video resources to put the materials in a visual context.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/12/13/making-connections-with-multimedia-content.aspx

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Woz U Has Made Some Big Promises. Can It Deliver?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-12-23 01:05

By Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

Earlier this fall, Steve Wozniak announced the launch of Woz U, an online program intended to provide education in tech at a cost that wont mire students in debt.  Students were initially able to sign up for two different massive open online courses (MOOCs): one in software development and the other in computer support. These MOOCs might be better described as full on programs—they last 33 weeks. But besides a certificate of completion at the end of each program, that is the current extent of Woz U’s offerings. Three new courses—in Data Science, Cybersecurity, and Mobile Application—are coming in 2018.

Woz U Has Made Some Big Promises. Can It Deliver?

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