news (external)

Der schnellste Stern der Milchstraße

ScienceTicker.Info - Thu, 2015-03-05 20:00
Den schnellsten Stern der Galaxis haben deutsche Astronomen identifiziert. Der Raser bewegt sich mit erstaunlichen 4 Millionen Kilometern pro Stunde durch das All und wird seine Heimatgalaxie auf immer verlassen. Lesen Sie mehr bei Scienceticker Astro
Categories: Science News

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:54

Mar 05, 2015

Photos from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

[Link] [Comment]

Identifying and Cultivating Student Leaders

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:54

Kylie Larson, Higher Ed Marketing Live, Mar 05, 2015

I spent pretty much the my entire university career as a 'student leader' first as a newspaper writer and editor during my undergraduate years, and next as a student association representative and president during my graduate years. I did not experience any "recruiting" efforts in my direction - quite the contrary, actually. I think this points to a difference between the relation between student associations and administrations in Canada and the US (outside North America I simply cannot say, but I imagine one or the other is common). Both student associations and student newspapers appear to be run as part of the university south of the border, while in Canad our associations and newspapers are fiercely independent of administration - so much so that I think it would be a scandal were it to be discovered that student leaders were being "recruited" by the administration. So I personally find this story a bit surprising and off-putting. Students don't need to have admnistrations recruit their leadership - they know who they are.

[Link] [Comment]

New Hi-Tech Police Surveillance: The StingRay Cell Phone Spying Device

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:54

Clarence Walker, GlobalResearch, Mar 05, 2015

I'm not sure whether they cover this on U.S. networks but it's interesting to listed to a report on Al Jazeera about the 'Sting Ray' surveillance system originally designed for use against terrorists but not in increasingly wide day-to-day use by forces across the country. The system consists of radio towers that emulate cell phone towers an trick mobile devices into sending access information, data and other information. The judicial logic allowing use is that it is not actually surveillance. "The government did not install the tracking device — and the cell user chose to carry the phone that permitted transmission of its information to a carrier," Gorenstein held in that opinion. "Therefore no warrant is needed." The ACLU lists police departments using the system. Here's an EFF report from a couple weeks ago.

[Link] [Comment]

Cathy N. Davidson Keynote Address at UNESCO X International Seminar

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:54

Cathy Davidson, Mar 05, 2015

Video from Cathy Davidson's talk "'Changing Higher Education from the Classroom Up' at the X International Seminar on 'Revisiting the Fundamentals of Traditional Curricula, R/Evolution: what “ R” Would Mean for Education.' The conference was sponsored by the UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change and was held at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya." I haven't reviewed the video but I've seen it referenced in a couple of places. I see Davidson as fairly conservative generally in her thinking but I'll be sure to review this one in the future to test my presumptions.

[Link] [Comment]

xAPI, LRS – The Interview

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:54

Craig Weiss, E-Learning 24/7 Blog, Mar 05, 2015

I was fortunate enough to meet with and converse at length with  Craig Weiss while I was in Riyadh, so I thought I'd post a link to give people a sense of what he's about. He is, in short, a fountain of knowledge of learning management systems and related technologies. In this post he interviews Aaron Silvers (no slough himself) on the activity-recording specification called xAPI (aka Tin Can, aka the Experience API). Here is what it is supposed to do: "We want a system to be able to interpret, appropriately, consistently and reliably, the activity you performed and the context in which it was performed, no matter where it was recorded."

[Link] [Comment]

People Have the Star Trek Computer Backwards

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 14:54

Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Mar 05, 2015

This is a great reconstruction of just what exactly is going on with the computers on Star Trek (the original series). "The Star Trek computer, at least in the 1960s, was not ahead of its time, but *of* its time. It lacked the vision to see even five years into the future... There’ s no keyboard because there is no text, anywhere, on any computer on the Enterprise to edit... Why? Because computers were for math, stupid!"

[Link] [Comment]

4 Reasons You Don’t Have an E-Learning Portfolio

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 14:54

Nicole Legault, Flirting W/ Elearning, Mar 05, 2015

Interesting perspective on why people don't have or use e-learning technology like e-learning portfolios. So why wouldn't you post your best work online? Here are the four reasons:

  • You're too busy
  • You don't have any experience
  • You don't have any e-learning software
  • You signed an NDA

The author argues that none of these reasons really stands the test of intent. If you wanted to share, you'd be sharing.

[Link] [Comment]

To Get Big, Start Really Small

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 14:54

Tim Kastelle, The Discipline of Innovation, Mar 05, 2015

I think this post is a classic example of post hoc ergo propter hoc - "after this therefore because of this". Here's the argument: "Google didn’ t start out by organising the world’ s information.   Google started out as a way to make searching the Stanford Library easier....  Facebook didn’ t start out aiming to connect everyone in the world... It started out as a way for Harvard students to hook up." But if we take these stories seriously, the best we can conclude is that these services became giants by accident. Which is partly what happened. But what also happened is that, while they were small, they developed some very big ideas. I still remember the Google beta, when the Google Logo was still written in crayon. Already at that point they intended to organize the world's information (you get a sense of this reading some of the company's early press). The message of the story should be: to get big, dream big.

[Link] [Comment]

Rules, Attribution, and Doing The Right Thing

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 14:54

Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, Mar 05, 2015

I have to say I'm completely on board with the sentiments expressed in this post from Alan Levine. He writes, "Attribution not just about following rules and avoiding getting in trouble for copyright, it’ s about paying forward the act of sharing content freely." Every single one of the 36,000 or so posts on this site attributes an author and a website, not because it's "required" but because it's the right thing to do. And that, to me, is the problem with rules - they rarely aid people in right conduct, but instead merely become the source of loopholes less scrupulous people can hide behind. (Note that unless otherwise stated, the source of the images on this site are the posts to which they are attached and credited.)

[Link] [Comment]

Swearing in conference presentations works!

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2015-03-05 14:54

Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, Mar 05, 2015

Donald Clark defends the use of swear words and expressions in conference presentations (language warning, not surprisingly). This is also common in various online publications - I frequently see items that would otherwise be good reading except for the irrelevant eruption of an expletive mid-story. And I challenge the claim that it's more effective. I never swear, nor do I litter my online writing with swear words or similarly lazy aphorisms or innuendos. And yet - arguably - it is just as effective as Donal Clark's. Maybe more so. And my own take is that, if your message is improved by swearing, you should maybe examine the weakness in the message, rather than praise the strength in the swearing.

[Link] [Comment]

Instructor Engagement with E-Texts

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-03-05 01:10

by Serdar Abaci, Anastasia Morrone, and Alan Dennis, EDUCAUSE Review

This case study of Indiana University’s e-text initiative reports on the participation levels and motivations of instructors in engaging with digital textbooks. Instructors can benefit from e-text features, including real-time reading and engagement analytics, note-sharing with students, and ability to integrate links, annotations, and multimedia materials into study materials. The findings from this study suggest that instructors play an important role in e-text adoption by modeling active e-text use and creating meaningful interaction around the content. Simply put, when instructors engage with e-texts, so do their students.

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Why You Now Need a Team to Create and Deliver Learning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-03-05 01:05

By Mary Grush, Campus Technology

“Higher education institutions that intentionally move towards using a team-based approach to creating and delivering the majority of their education content and learning experiences will stand out and be successful over the long run.” — Daniel Christian Institutions employing a team-based approach to the creation and delivery of education content and experiences will differentiate themselves and succeed, even as the pace of change — both in technology and in the disciplines — accelerates, says Daniel Christian, a senior instructional designer at Calvin College. Teams, comprised of a range of technology and subject content specialists, will be structured and function differently at each institution, but they all share a prime advantage: the ability to guide their institutions to thrive in higher education’s increasingly competitive environment. CT explored the idea with Christian.

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Growth in online courses shows need for universities to incorporate new technology in their teaching models

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2015-03-05 01:02


Universities expert Chris Martin of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said that the figures showed that online learning was “definitely part of the future of higher education”. However, he pointed out that questions remained over how best to earn income from online learning, while calls for more face-to-face teaching time remained a common complaint amongst students. “The growth of platforms such as FutureLearn comes as traditional universities learn to embrace and use new technologies to deliver education in the way that meets the needs of a new generation of students who want and expect the use of digital technology to be integrated fully in course delivery,” he said. “The best adopters will use technology to enhance their offering, without losing sight of the importance of face to face teaching.”

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Welt-Nierentag unter dem Motto: "Nierengesundheit für alle" am 12.03.2015

Gesundheitsberichterstattung - Wed, 2015-03-04 23:00
Ausgewählte Informationen zum Welt-Nierentag unter dem Motto: "Nierengesundheit für alle" am 12.03.2015
Categories: Science News

Design Elements in a Personal Learning Environment

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-03-04 17:52

In this talk I address the core design elements in the development of a personal learning architecture being developed in the National Research Council's Learning and Performance Support Systems program. This program was developed and approved to address the issue of skills shortages in technical and professional industries in Canada. Please also see the  supporting paper submitted for this talk. Also there are alternative  PDF slides for this presentation.

4th International Conference e-Learning and Distance Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Keynote) Mar 04, 2015 [Comment]

Disruptive Innovation in Universities

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-03-04 17:52

Panel discussion on the nature of disruptive innovations, MOOCs and disruptive innovation, and how and whether universities should adapt.

4th International Conference e-Learning and Distance Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Panel) Mar 04, 2015 [Comment]

How Facebook Is Taking On "Dangerous" Speech

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-03-04 17:52

ReadWrite, Alicia Eler, Mar 04, 2015

Interesting article about Facebook's response to 'dangerous speech'. The article is situated with respect to "the Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who spent seven years in jail for inciting violence against Muslims and now advocates exiling them from Myanmar." The article lists five criteria for identifying "dangerous speech" (and therefore presumably for the banning of it or its utterers):

  • It takes place in a social or historical context ripe for violence, such as longstanding religious tensions or struggles to control valuable resources;
  • The audience has grievances or fears a speaker can exploit;
  • The speaker is highly influential or charismatic;
  • The speech is clearly understandable as a call to violence;
  • The speaker employs an influential medium— typically a radio or television station.

To me, the only criterion of any merit is the fourth: the speech is clearly understandable as a call to violence. The others are merely mechanisms for legitimizing dangerous speech emanating from more traditional agencies or from our putative friends and allies. I think teachers and educators should look at these criteria, and tackle the question of what counts as "dangerous speech", and what we should do about it, directly. P.S., why can't we have options like "'it’ s a rumor or has false information,' 'it promotes violence,' and 'it disturbs social harmony'?" Aren't these things dangerous in North America as well?

[Link] [Comment]

Journal of Online Learning Research

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-03-04 11:52

Mar 04, 2015

The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)  has published the  premiere issue of an open journal called the Journal of Online Learning Research (JOLR), "a peer-reviewed, international journal devoted to the theoretical, empirical, and pragmatic understanding of technologies and their impact on primary and secondary pedagogy and policy in primary and secondary (K-12) online and blended environments." The firsst issue has six articles and  features "the work of some of the individuals who inspired the journal’ s idea in 2010," including the "call to action" from Cathy Cavanaugh, Christopher Sessums, and Wendy Drexler. It also includes an article on  MOOCs and another on mentors.

[Link] [Comment]

The troubling psychology behind how we decide who’s a scientific “expert” — and who isn’t

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Wed, 2015-03-04 08:51

Chris Mooney, Washington Post, Mar 04, 2015

The trouble with experts, according to this article, is that they're unreliable (and our choice of who counts as an expert is unreliable as well). So we should let the wisdom of crowds prevail. Real scientific knowledge is emergent knowledge. "We should trust the scientific community as a whole but not necessarily any individual scientist. Individual scientists will have many biases, to be sure. But the community of scientists contains many voices, many different agendas, many different skill sets. The more diverse, the better."

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