news (external)

Reaching to parts where others cannot teach

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2015-08-07 02:03

By Sean Coughlan, BBC

It’s easy to take online learning for granted, whether it’s finding how to do something on YouTube or following a free online course from a university. But Cheril Demasuhid is working as a maid in Hong Kong so that she can send back money to her family in the Philippines. In her spare hours, she goes on to the internet to study subjects such as IT and business.  A course from the Commonwealth Education Trust, on the Coursera online learning platform, is being used in the Dadaab refugee camp, near the border of Kenya and Somalia. It is aimed at providing teacher training lessons for students without any formal teacher education. But the idea of online courses providing a way out isn’t only about geography or poverty. It’s also about people wanting a second chance.

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Water Phase Diagram - Fri, 2015-08-07 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

The Language of Learning Analytics

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-08-06 18:13

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Aug 06, 2015

To support learning analytocs across platforms, a common analytics language is needed. An IMS specification for this language is nearing completion. "Their work is finally nearing its version 1.0 release. Known as Caliper, the vocabulary -- called metric profiles -- and the mechanisms to detect the words in it -- sensors -- will serve as a framework for tracking and reporting learning analytics." I'm sure the widespread sharing of student personal, financial and academic information will be used only for good.

[Link] [Comment]

Tech experts rake in the cash by teaching online

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-08-06 02:05

by Mary K. Pratt, Computer World

Rick Walter was facing a robust job market when he graduated from Brigham Young University in April of 2014 with an IS degree. But Walter wasn’t interested in a conventional career path. So early in June 2014, when Apple came out with Swift, its new programming language for coding Mac OS X and iOS applications, Walter dove into Apple’s hefty e-manual, then the only way to learn the new language. He’d teach Swift the way he would have preferred to learn it. He recorded himself explaining the language as he worked his way chapter by chapter through the manual. In just four days he made about 50 videos, each just several minutes long. He teamed up with Udemy, an online learning marketplace, to offer the video series as a single course. Walter offered it free on day one, when 1,600 people signed up. Interest soared from there, even after he set the price at $199, and Walter earned about $40,000 over the next several days. All told, he has made about $180,000 from that course and others, even after factoring in Udemy’s cut.

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Number of LSU Online programs triples since inception

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-08-06 02:04

by Riley Katz, the Daily Reveille

The online program started in March of 2013 with three different programs available to students, but since its inception, the program has tripled in size to nine programs, said Amanda Major, interim director of LSU Online.  “LSU wanted to stay competitive in online programs, so we have progressed lightning quickly in the past two years to keep in competition with other universities across the country,” Major said. Looking to the future, Major said LSU Online is hoping to expand programs for in-demand and niche degrees in the future, like the new Master of Arts in education with specialization in educational technology program, slated to start next year on March 7, 2016.

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From Free to Degree: How MOOCs Open the Door for Future Online Students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-08-06 02:03

by Michael Moyes and Pat Raymond, Evolllution

Massive Open Online Courses can be a highly successful mechanism to bring students into credit-bearing offerings, but institutions must be strategic about their programming and marketing. When Massive Open Online Courses burst onto the scene in 2012, there was a great deal of excitement around the capacity for these offerings to transform the higher education space. While they have been successful in creating access to higher education for underserved populations, many administrators saw an opportunity to both deliver high-quality programming to students they may never have reached and to encourage these students to also enroll in online credit-bearing programs offered by the institution. While some institutions have not seen the return they were hoping for from these courses, others, like Berklee Online—the continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, which offers a range of for-credit and non-credit online music education options—have enjoyed great success.

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Santiago de Compostela

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-08-06 00:12

Stephen Downes, Flickr, Aug 05, 2015

It took a while to get them all cleaned and uploaded, but I hope you enjoy this beautiful set of photos from Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

[Link] [Comment]

Collateral damage

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-08-05 21:11

Ryan Tracey, E-Learning Provocateur, Aug 05, 2015

This pretty much sums up my views on the whole learning styles debate: first, "The argument is that in the absence of such evidence, don’ t waste time and money trying to match your teaching style to everyone’ s learning styles," which is fair enough, but second, " regardless of the existence or impact of learning styles, a phenomenon that enjoys universal recognition is that of learner preferences." Once you're outside a strict instructivist mode, learner preferences matter, because the learner has more control over the learning process. "Indeed in a controlled environment, learner preferences don’ t really matter. The participants are forced to do it whether they like it or not, or they somehow feel obliged to comply," writes Ryan Tracey. "Outside of the controlled environment, however, learner preferences do matter."

[Link] [Comment]

5 Strategies To Trend On Twitter at Your Next Event

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-08-05 21:11

Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator, Aug 05, 2015

It's an interesting question: how should we measure the success of an event? This question is motivated by these considerations: "This year we wanted to focus on getting the buzz going in social media. One measure success was if we could trend on Twitter that day and we did." The article lists five ways to trend on Twitter - it includes the use of generic hashtag, involving awards, and using an application that autoposts to Twitter. But, first, isn't this just gaming the system? And second, why should conference attendees (who actually paid for the event) care about the event trending on Twitter? There's a push-and-pull in all learning these days, it seems: between the needs of the learner, and the needs of the institution providing the learning. More often than not, the latter wins.

[Link] [Comment]

A few random thoughts on Cecil, @bittman, and chickens

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-08-05 21:11

Steve Krause, Aug 05, 2015

According to  Mark Bittman in Vox, eating a factory-farmed chicken is morally worse than the  killing of Cecil the Lion. As Steve Krause points out, there's a difference between killing for food and fillingfor sport, and a difference between killing an animal on the verge of extinction and one which numbers in the gazillions. But still - I think we should take this argument further. If the killing of Cecil the Lion morally worse than spending $3,000 on a  prosthetic limb for a chicken? I think this is a much harder question. But also: was it morally worse than the  wanton destruction of a hitch-hiking robot? Alan Levine makes a joke of it, but one wonders what it says when a robot that safely hitched across Canada did not even make it off the east coast in the U.S. To my mind, I think it was the tone he took - sympathizing more with the hunter than with the hunted.

[Link] [Comment]

Blackboard’s Complexity Problems

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-08-05 15:11

George Kroner, edutechnica, Aug 05, 2015

This is a fascinating look at some of the complexity behind the scenes in Backboard's code base. It's a mixture of old code and new, of original Blackboard and acquired products, and support for various types of database. It has multiple ways of representing basic entities (like 'person' or 'course'). And I found this dangerous-sounding tidbit: "The software runs on a version of Java which reached its end-of-life several months ago (and will no longer receive  any updates, security or otherwise, else the Java version would be still another variable)." All I can say is: eek. Via EdSurge.

[Link] [Comment]

China’s Startup Boom in Online Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2015-08-05 02:10

By David Talbot, Technology Review

China knows a thing or two about distance learning. For two decades, the country’s education ministry has used the television airwaves to broadcast agricultural lessons to more than 100 million rural students—making it the largest such program in the world. And in the early 2000s, the charitable Li Ka Shing Foundation installed satellite dishes and computers to broadcast lectures to 10,000 rural schools. Now this top-down model of online learning is being joined by a surge in new commercial and university offerings. And it’s no longer just about reaching rural provinces. In China a rapidly rising middle class—part of a population that now totals 1.4 billion—is creating a demand for education far outpacing what traditional teachers and schools can supply. In response, Chinese startups are identifying market niches and developing entirely new products, while universities are emulating online platforms first developed in the United States.

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Lessons from the Digital Classroom

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2015-08-05 02:05

By Nanette Byrnes, Technology Review

Founded two years ago by Max ­Ventilla, a data expert and former head of personalization at Google, AltSchool runs schools filled with data-gathering technology. Information is captured from the moment each student arrives at school and checks in on an attendance app. For part of the day, students work independently, using iPads and Chromebooks, on “playlists” of activities that teachers have selected to match their personal goals. Data about each student’s progress is captured for teachers’ later review. Classrooms are recorded, and teachers can flag important moments by pressing a button, as you might TiVo your favorite television show. The idea is that all the data from this network of schools will be woven into a smart centralized operating system that teachers will be able to use to design effective and personalized instruction. There is even a recommendation engine built in.

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The Believer: Duke’s Sally Kornbluth

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2015-08-05 02:02

By George Anders, Technology Review

Of all the U.S. universities offering free online courses to the world, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is among the most active. Its professors have filled Coursera’s distance-learning platform with 30 courses, in subjects ranging from astronomy to dog emotions. Since 2013, the university has assigned one administrator exclusively to digital and online education initiatives. There’s even a collection of sunny haikus about online education on Duke’s website. “A few years ago, the question was ‘Should we be teaching online or shouldn’t we?’ says Duke provost Sally Kornbluth, a geneticist by training. “That conversation has passed. Now it’s a conversation about what kinds of innovative things we can do.” In a discussion with MIT Technology Review contributing editor George Anders, Kornbluth explained why Duke is bullish about online education—and what new opportunities lie ahead.

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Bubblegum - Wed, 2015-08-05 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Letter on Open Access

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-08-04 21:08

Various authors, Google Docs, Aug 04, 2015

Cable Green writes: "Today,  a broad coalition of more than 90 organizations representing the education, library, technology, public interest and legal  communities  released a letter  calling on President Obama to open up educational materials created with federal taxpayer  funds." This is that letter on Google Docs. Here's the 11 page PDF. I wish people in Canada would send a similar sort of letter to our elected leaders.

[Link] [Comment]

An experiment with the oerpub editor

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-08-04 21:08

David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, Aug 04, 2015

The  OERPub editor is an interface where you can create your open source textbook on GitHub using a relatively intuitive text editor with various tools. It is in this way a lot like the  old Connexions project (now repurposed and called OpenStax), but without the institutional overhead. This post from David Jones recounts some work with the OERPub Editor. Keep in mind that the editor is still in alpha, so a lot of features aren't working yet.

[Link] [Comment]

Here’s a $5M Seed Fund to Support Higher-Ed Innovations Besides MOOCs

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-08-04 21:08

Tony Wan, EdSurge, Aug 04, 2015

So what's being funded in learning these days? "University Ventures said it’ s already invested in four companies:

  • CampusLogic, which helps colleges manage the financial aid process;
  • Entangled Ventures, a “ studio” founded by Paul Freedman that connects universities with startups (one of which recently merged with ApprenNet);
  • ProSky, a training platform for specific skills in demand from employers;
  • Portfolium, which allows students to showcase digital portfolios to potential employers.

But Mark Smithers counters: "we need more investment in mainstreaming innovations, not generating new ones."

[Link] [Comment]

White House: Innovation in Higher Education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-08-04 21:08

George Siemens, elearnspace, Aug 04, 2015

I can't resist sharing this post describing George Siemenss'ss invitation and visit to the White House (meanwhile people pay very good money to keep people like me far away from such places!). This seems to be true: "Higher education generally has no clue about what’ s brewing in the marketplace as a whole. The change pressures that exist now are not ones that the existing higher education model can ignore. The trends – competency-based learning, unbundling, startups & capital inflow, new pedagogical models, technology, etc – will change higher education dramatically."

Also, this: "I was struck by how antagonistic some for-profits are toward public higher education. I sat in one session where a startup spent much of the time expressing intense dislike for higher education in today’ s form 'my tax dollars are going to bad actors', ironically to be followed up with 'I loved my time in university. It shaped me and made me'. It reminds me of Peter Thiel’ s drop out of school and start a company. But what does Thiel expect when his money and his life is at stake? He expects, for his hedge fund: 'High GPA from top-tier university; preferably in computer science, mathematics, statistics, econometrics, physics, engineering or other highly quantitative.'"

[Link] [Comment]

Coursera Update: A New Name for Verified Certificates

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2015-08-04 21:08

Corsera Blog, Aug 04, 2015

They will be called 'Course Certificates'. That is all.

[Link] [Comment]


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