news (external)

Building on Open Educational Resources – What’s Next?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 22:25, May 03, 2017

The focus of this article is on "three particular developments to shape the future of OER (quoted):

  • Developing replicable, scalable models for institutions and faculty members to adopt.
  • Adopting and Adapting New Approaches to Assessment and Flexible Degrees
  • Sharing The Tools for Generating Simulations and Games

As the authors say, "he key is not so much making new OER products, services and processes available but stimulating their adoption and use. What is needed are powerful examples of the adoption of OER models, practices, assessments and new approaches to credentials making a real difference to outcomes, performance and costs." The question I have is whether depending on a system that has depended for the last eight centuries on  closed access is the best course of action to promote  open access. See also: Making the Most of OERs.

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The Knowledge and Learning Transfer Problem

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 19:36

Charles Jennings, Workplace Performance, May 03, 2017

Charles Jennings is right at the outset of this post. "Learning takes place in our heads. We alone make it happen...  The same could be said of the phrase ‘ knowledge transfer’ . We can’ t and don’ t transfer knowledge between people." Quite so. But then he says, "We transfer information....  We can share information in the form of data and our own insights." But if the idea of the transfer of knowledge is a fiction, so is the idea of the transfer of information. How do we know this? Because  what counts as information depends on the receiver. Any  artifact - a printed page, a thermometer, an old woman  saying "Beware the Ides of March" - any artifact becomes information only if it is  recognized  as such by the receiver. And recognition is a property of the person, not the artifact. This, of course, changes the nature of what we are doing when we design learning. We don't ask, "how can I transfer information to people?" We ask, "what would count as information to this person?" and then arrange our artifacts accordingly.

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Using Fetch

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 18:12

Zell Liew, CSS-Tricks, May 03, 2017

The idea of web pages that send and receive data without reloading has been around for a while now, but the ability to do this easily has always depended on JavaScript libraries like JQuery. This article describes a new method called 'Fetch', which is supported  by recent browsers (though not, of course, by Internet Explorer). The article is rich with code examples showing data retrieval and uploading with error checking. It won't be useful to you if you don't write JavaScript code, but all readers should at least be aware that  this functionality exists.

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Shared Agency

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 17:09

Abraham Sesshu Roth, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, May 03, 2017

This excellent revision of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's (SEP) article on shared agency  is a must-read for anyone working on theories of applications of collaboration in learning. "Shared activity is distinguished from a mere aggregation of individual acts by a structure of appropriately related participatory intentions across different individuals. It is a structure that has a distinctive normative significance for those individuals, with an impact most immediately on each individual’ s intention-based practical reasoning." The article discusses different accounts of shared action, mechanisms for structuring interrelated intentions, mutual obligations, and the group-mind hypothesis. See also: collective intentionality. Image: Idle no More, APTN News.

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The death of the smartphone is closer than you think. Here's what comes next

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 16:55

Steve Ranger, ZD Net, May 03, 2017

The word 'death' in this post is about as exaggerated as you can get. After all, many people still own and use traditional hand-set phones  that are now several generations obsolete. Not everything that rises must fall; we still use the wheel, fire and shoes. But sure, Silicon Valley must invent something new in order to survive. Is it, as the author suggests, virtual and augmented reality glasses? "Smartglasses will in turn be a stepping stone to smart contact lenses or even the  mind-reading  tech that Facebook announced last week" Sure. But these are a decade away.

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OpenAIRE survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 15:56

Tony Ross-Hellauer, Arvid Deppe, Birgit Schmidt, Zenodo, May 03, 2017

I think people interested in open pedagogy  could draw some insight from this discussion of open peer review. There's not one single dimension to open publishing (or open science generally) but multiple dimensions, including open identity, open participation, and open reports. The idea isn't just to license openly, but to draw what is currently hidden into open view. Note that while open peer review may require open access, this isn't its defining characteristic. 'Open' isn't just about sharing resources (though this is a bit part of it) it's about making processes accessible and participatory. Read this document (39 page PDF) as a PDF rather than in the user-hostile viewing port on the web page.

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Indonesia needs to revive interest in reading books

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2017-05-03 15:25

Zita Meirina, A. Saragih, Antara News, May 03, 2017

It's easy to forget that Indonesia is the  sixth largest in the world in number of internet users, and the fouth largest in terms of Facebook users. This isn't a country known for its literacy rates, coming in second-last among  ASEAN member countries, with a low demand for books and newpapers. The result is that people believe what they read on the internet. "A survey showed that Indonesian people believe in 65 percent of internet information. This is bad. The percentage is quite high in comparison with people in many other countries," says  Informatics Ministry official Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan. The problem is, the needed  investment in traditional media would cost billions. Indonesians need to make their internet better - because at least it is reaching the people - instead of trying to replace it.

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The death of the smartphone is closer than you think

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

By Steve Ranger, ZD Net

And now, after almost a decade of furious change, the smartphone is at the height of its powers. It is our constant digital companion, having absorbed the capabilities of the PC, camera, TV, sat-nav, and more along the way. But — to misquote — the screen that shines twice as bright, shines half as long. And the smartphone has shone so very, very brightly.For a while it looked like wearables would be the next big thing, but it is proving just too hard to fit enough processing power and battery life into something like a smartwatch to make it a viable alternative to a phone. And, even if those two problems can be overcome, the screen is never going to be big enough on any wearable for it to be our primary connection to the digital world. That leaves augmented and virtual reality as the prime candidate. However, as smartglasses or mind-reading technology make our relationship with technology even more intimate and difficult to navigate, we may look back on the complications of the smartphone era with something resembling nostalgia.

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National Universities With Online Bachelor’s Programs

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

By Jordan Friedman, US News

Among the 298 National Universities ranked in U.S. News’ 2017 Best Colleges, 96 were also ranked in the 2017 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.No National University ranked higher than No. 50 has a ranked online bachelor’s program. The map linked below shows which National Universities ranked by U.S. News also have a ranked online bachelor’s program. Schools that did not participate in both rankings and unranked programs were not considered for this report. Rank Not Published, or RNP, denotes an institution ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

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Does Microsoft have what it takes to take on the Chromebook and the iPad?

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

By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZD Net

Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 10 Cloud next month, and leaked specs suggest that it is being positioned as a competitor to Google’s Chromebook platform. The performance comparisons suggest that Windows 10 Cloud systems would have battery performance figures identical to that of a generic Chromebook, and boot and login times in the same ballpark. The wording also makes it clear that these devices are aimed at the education market, and perhaps are designed to pave the way for more affordable versions of the Surface Book. On paper at least, the spec is impressive. Doubly so because we’re talking about Windows here, and not Google’s Chromebook platform, which was designed from the ground-up to be fast and lightweight.

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Photo Library Management - Wed, 2017-05-03 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Microsoft unveils next wave of collaborative products for educators

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-05-02 21:59

Wyatt Kash, EdScoop, May 02, 2017

Just in time for the education buying season, Microsoft has launched a new education suite, "introducing $189 laptops, 3-D and collaborative apps, new Windows 10 S and tools for managing devices." Here's the Microsoft page  with the news. The 'S' stands for 'security' (not 'server', as I had hoped (Windows servers are here)). More (as Richard Byrne says) "Windows 10 S will restrict users to installing only apps that are approved through the Windows Store."   We read "Windows  10  S integrates with OneDrive so files are saved to the cloud, in sync and accessible from your devices." Sadly, I find it hard to share OneDrive files - I wanted to embed my PowerPoint slides on OneDrive in web pages, but OneDrive offers no way of doing that (even though Microsoft owns LinkedIn, which owns SlideShare).

I'm sure this will be popular too: "an app called Set Up School PC  in the Windows Store that enables educators to set up of entire classrooms of devices with customized experiences using a USB stick, in as little as 30 seconds per device." Though what we need is something like XAMPP on a USB  to allow students to have their own server and share resources  directly with each other. (p.s. EdScoop blacks out the screen for ten seconds when you access the site so click on the link and then go read some email). See also: eSchool News, Richard Byrne, How-to-Geek.

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This Week In Webo-plasmosis

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-05-02 21:38

Michael Caulfield, Traces, May 02, 2017

In what might be the worst-but-most-compelling analogy ever, Mike Caulfield draws a parallel between a parasite that spreads from cat to cat by infecting mice and making them less fearful of cats, and social media that spreads from site to site by infecting people and making them less fearful of advertising. How can you tell if you have  webo-plasmosis? "Do you retweet headlines you agree with to help Facebook build a profile of you, while not reading the articles?" asks Caulfield. "Do you join Facebook groups that best express who you are?" These and eight other symptoms may be signs that you are infected by web-parasites. P.S. this is the third issue of Caulfield's new newsletter, to which you can subscribe here.

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How do Saudi youth engage with social media?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-05-02 21:29

igel Stanger, Noorah Alnaghaimshi, Erika Pearson, First Monday, May 02, 2017

Interesting paper that reminds us (not that we should need reminding) that online behaviour can vary widely from culture. This report, which strikes me as fair-minded and relevant, makes the case by showing how Saudi Arabian youth use social media. "Saudis tend to respond better to social and online media messages addressed to the group, or to group leaders in the hierarchy, rather than to individuals. Saudis, including social media users, will also be strongly swayed by the opinions and instructions of those higher in the social power structure. Furthermore, online messages and content targeted at Saudi culture should refrain from imagery and content, such as photographs of women, that may be at odds with both cultural norms and personal interpretations of  haya  or 'shyness'."

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Who Are You? The Importance of Identity in Higher Ed Research

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-05-02 21:05

Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, May 02, 2017

This article doesn't discuss identity in the theoretical sense, but rather, identity in the technical sense, with respect to system security. How do you manage access, for example, for Jenny, a person who changes campus but who needs to continue collaboration with the same team for her PhD research? The article describes a five-level maturity model presented by identity expert Ian Glazer from Salesforce at the recent Internet2  conference, beginning with the idea of basic identity management, then protection from internal users, then bulk attacks, focused 'single-row' attacks, and finally, transparency of data access.In the case of Jenny, above,  Internet2's InCommon  identity management federation links 600 universities together, and last year, InCommon joined  eduGAIN, a collection of some 40 identity networks worldwide. Meanwhile, Glazer and colleagues are forming an association for identity professionals called  IDPro, which will deal with these and related issues.

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Online Educator Udacity Adapts Courses to Changing Labor Market

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-05-02 15:30

By Christopher Beach, Real Clear Education

In the fall of 2016, online educator Udacity announced the launch of a “nanodegree” program for self-driving car engineering. For $2,400, a student proficient in coding could enroll and learn the skills. The one-of-a-kind program and curriculum were designed in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia and Uber ATG. The first class has yet to conclude but already some impressive results are coming in. Chrysler has indicated that it wants to hire 40 graduates, according to Sebastian Thrun, founder and president of Udacity. “There are more than 1 million people dying every year in traffic accidents — largely due to human error and distracted or impaired driving. Employers are looking for thousands of engineers with the skills needed to solve this urgent, global problem. This is why making self-driving car engineering education accessible and efficient is so important.”

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‘Volatile’ but Growing Online Ed Market

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-05-02 02:17

by Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

While overall college enrollment has declined since the U.S. emerged from the recession following the financial crisis, online enrollment continues to grow across all sectors of higher education, data show. In fact, about two-thirds of all colleges reported that their distance education enrollments grew from 2012 to 2015. The share is highest among private nonprofits (68 percent), but not that much higher than among for-profit (63.9 percent) and public institutions (63.7 percent). And the 3.9 percent year-over-year growth rate reported in fall 2015, the most up-to-date enrollment data available, is the highest observed during that four-year period. The findings come from Digital Learning Compass, a report analyzing federal higher education enrollment data, produced by the Babson Survey Research Group, e-Literate and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.

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The 3 biggest Twitter problems for educators—and how to overcome them

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


In the digital age, educator discomfort in using some social media can have a direct effect on students’ digital literacy skills. Here are some solutions.Despite clear advantages to advancing digital literacy, institutions often experience considerable roadblocks to implementing digital literacy initiatives. Interestingly, accessibility often isn’t the biggest factor blocking this process—more often than not, it comes down to an educator’s own comfort with social media. Educators with little to no training on how to integrate digital literacy exercises into the classroom run the risk of compromising their students’ development of valuable soft skills that can produce educational and professional career advantages.

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Virtual Reality Could Change the Way Students Learn

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-05-02 02:05

by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Virtual Reality (VR) is changing the way people see the future. As with video games emerging into the classroom in the early 2000s, this new technology will soon be making its way into classrooms as well. Many teachers are receptive to working with this technology, but some of them are not quite aware of the effect VR can have on a classroom environment. It can change the way students learn in the long run.

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Five Ways to Graduate College Early & With Less Debt

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

CBS Philly

Attending college should be the time of your life, right? But sometimes the social aspect of college can get in the way of the ultimate goal—graduating with a great education with little to no debt. Online classes also run in accelerated terms, and since you can do the work for the online course when it is convenient for you, you can take more classes each semester to fit into your busy schedule. Most schools also have hybrid classes which are classes that meet in the classroom with a teacher 50% of the time, but the other 50% of the work is done online.

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