news (external)

There is no such thing as western civilisation

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-11-11 15:18


Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Guardian, Nov 11, 2016

This is a terrific article and one that should force us to re-examine the 'traditions' we seek to pass on through the process of education. "How have we managed to tell ourselves that we are rightful inheritors of Plato, Aquinas, and Kant, when the stuff of our existence is more Beyoncé and Burger King?" asks Kwame Anthony Appiah. Against perhaps the prevailing wind of our times, he argues, "We live with seven billion fellow humans on a small, warming planet. The cosmopolitan impulse that draws on our common humanity is no longer a luxury; it has become a necessity." Quoting Terence, he says “ Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.” “ I am human, I think nothing human alien to me.”

[Link] [Comment]

When Nerve Cells Detect Patterns for Acquired Knowledge

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-11-11 15:18


Mihai A. Petrovici, Johannes Bill, Ilja Bytschok, Johannes Schemmel, Karlheinz Meier, Heidelberg University, arXiv, Nov 11, 2016

Researchers are coming closer to describing exactly how knowledge is stored as patterns of connectivity in a neural network. They create from a framework "by implementing Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling in spiking networks of abstract model neurons." This shows how a neuron can draw an inference from a subset of the data available - a 'partial representation' - selecting from various possible interpretations. It's like: we see stripes in the jungle, is it shadows or a tiger, should we run? and we make a snap decision using this method by sampling the data. The  full paper is very heavy in mathematics and neural network theory. The  press release is a useful summary. Via Matthias Melcher.

[Link] [Comment]

Not Everyone’s Hero

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2016-11-11 12:17


Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Nov 11, 2016

Short article mostly intended to expose and denounce Course Hero, an online learning platform that serves essentially as a homework and assignment help site. It focuses on unreliable assignments authored by users in Kenya, "contract cheating under the guise of student support," and of course accusations of copyright violations after tests and assignments were found posted on the site. The article blames sites like this for forcing universities to shift away from assignments for assessment and toward a reliance on a small number of midterms and finals - a shift that was evident even when I was a student well before the popularity of the internet. Giving students assignments to take away and solve all by themselves is the opposite of "wrestling around with problems" and if this were what universities really intended they would adapt their pedagogy accordingly. Instead, they blame sites like this.

[Link] [Comment]

Report: Video Captions Benefit Virtually All Students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-11-11 01:10

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

The majority of students use video captions and video transcripts to help themselves improve focus, retain information, engage with material and improve comprehension, according to a new study from Oregon State University. However, many institutions do not offer captions or video transcripts despite a legal obligation to do so. The Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit conducted the national study in collaboration with 3Play Media. The researchers surveyed 2,124 students across 15 public and private universities throughout the United States. Of all respondents, 19 percent reported hearing difficulties, and 37 reported vision difficulties. However, only 13 percent had registered with an office of disability services, and less than 12 percent reported they require academic accommodations.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/11/02/report-video-captions-benefit-virtually-all-students.aspx

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MOOCs have become the buzzword with students

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-11-11 01:05

by JIBY J KATTAKAYAM, DNA

Massive Open Online Courses can be a solution to the challenge of accommodating millions of students on limited campuses. Online courses have introduced revolutionary changes to the higher education landscape. Students, mid-career professionals and casual learners no longer need to enrol in traditional brick-and-mortar colleges or distance education centres to augment their skills, acquire specialisations or learn new subjects. With access to course material and streamed lectures by professors from top global universities and at a fraction of the cost of enrolling at campuses, online courses or MOOCs—Massive Open Online Courses as they are called—have become buzzwords with collegians and working professionals. Coursera, the market leader, the other main one being edX, has logged over 22 million registered learners taking courses, specialisations and degrees, of whom 1.7 million are from India.

http://www.dnaindia.com/academy/interview-moocs-have-become-the-buzzword-with-students-2269407

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Five Android apps that will teach you new skills in your spare time

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2016-11-11 01:02

By Brandon Vigliarolo, Tech Republic

There are always a few moments during the week spent staring at a smartphone to kill time. Why not learn something in those spare moments with these five Android apps? Whether you’re laid over at the airport, stuck on the subway, or eating lunch there’s no reason for those bits of idle time to be wasted. There are a bunch of smartphone apps on the market that can help you learn new skills and most lessons can be done in no time at all. If there’s a tech skills shortage, why are so many computer graduates unemployed? Here are five educational apps for Android that can help you make the most of your idle time by teaching you something new or strengthening the skills you already have.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/five-android-apps-that-will-teach-you-new-skills-in-your-spare-time/

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Astrophysics

xkcd.com - Fri, 2016-11-11 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

What Will the Trump Presidency Mean for Education?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-11-10 11:46

By Campus Technology

Disturbingly little is known with any certainty about President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s plans for education. Even credible speculation is difficult, given that Trump is far from a traditional Republican and that his statements on a range of issues have proved somewhat inconsistent over the last year or so. But one thing is certain for a Trump presidency backed by a Republican-dominated Congress: Education policy is going to move in a new direction. In her essay, Higher Education Under Trump,’ published today on Medium,” Goldrick-Rab predicts that with Trump in the White House, “America will be ‘open for business’ when it comes to promoting for-profit colleges and universities . This means cutting regulation and oversight, and defunding public higher education so that students view for-profits as a good deal. Witness: Trump University.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/11/09/what-will-a-trump-presidency-mean-for-education.aspx

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FBI Offers Online Cyber Training for Law Enforcement First Responders

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-11-10 01:07

By Tammy Waitt, American Security Today

Since the advent of the Internet and, more recently, the proliferation of technological gadgets—like cell phones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, even wearable technology—criminals of all kinds are increasingly leaving behind a trail of digital evidence when committing their crimes. And in response, the FBI’s Cyber Division—with the IACP and cyber experts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh—developed the Cyber Investigator Certification Program (CICP). This self-guided, online training program is now available—free of charge—to all local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal law enforcement personnel.

https://americansecuritytoday.com/fbi-offers-online-cyber-training-law-enforcement-first-responders/

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Mini-degree trains self-driving car engineers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-11-10 01:04

Katie Burke, Automotive News

The rising demand for workers experienced in autonomous vehicle engineering has resulted in an unconventional training ground for new talent. Online education startup Udacity launched a self-driving car engineer “Nanodegree” program on Oct. 27. The nine-month, $2,400 online course is aimed at equipping computer science and engineering workers with the necessary skills to develop autonomous vehicles. Fourteen automakers and technology companies, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nvidia and Elektrobit, have partnered with Udacity to help shape the curriculum and gain early access to graduates of the program.

http://www.autonews.com/article/20161031/OEM06/310319954/mini-degree-trains-self-driving-car-engineers

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As more turn to online classes, Creighton University ends evening program with low enrollment

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Thu, 2016-11-10 01:03

By Rick Ruggles, World-Herald

Creighton University has terminated a once-popular evening program for adults returning to school to obtain bachelor’s degrees in certain fields of study. Tracy Chapman, an associate dean at Creighton, said online courses have boomed while enrollment in the evening program, called AcceleratedCreighton, has dwindled. “The numbers were steadily decreasing,” she said. Creighton offered bachelor’s degrees in three major areas: creative writing, communication, and health administration and policy. Students took those classes on campus. Creighton administrators discontinued the program two or three weeks ago, she said. About 25 students were in the program, she said. Their academic advisers will work with them so that they can finish. Students who can’t attend class during the day will be offered options such as online courses or independent study.

http://www.omaha.com/news/education/as-more-turn-to-online-classes-creighton-university-ends-evening/article_ecfd34e2-8443-5552-bb47-968c11c98ea0.html

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Trump Victory Jolts Higher Ed

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-11-09 14:41

by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Donald Trump stunned the pundits and confounded the pollsters on Tuesday by being elected president of the United States. Many in higher education — including many college leaders who had long lists of objections to Hillary Clinton’s plan for free public higher education — were horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency. The Republican candidate regularly attacked colleges as politically correct, his comments about non-Americans in the United States worried many college leaders who depend on international students, and he rejected consensus science about climate change and other topics. His student supporters on campus — in many cases outnumbered but active nonetheless — set off a series of conflicts and debates about free speech with in-your-face tactics such as building fake walls to symbolize the one Trump vowed to build on the border with Mexico. Nobody really knows what a Trump administration will be like, given how unorthodox his campaign was, his desire to shake up Washington, his lack of policy details and deep fissures between the president-elect and congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle.

http://continuingedupdate.blogspot.com/2016/11/trump-victory-jolts-higher-ed-scott.html

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10 Types of Credentials You Can Earn Online

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-11-09 01:10

by Jordan Friedmanm, U.S.News & World Report

When it comes to online learning, students should choose a credential that fulfills their goals while providing flexibility — whether it’s a single course certificate or a full degree. “There’s such a wide range of offerings to them at economical prices that allow them to target their education specifically to their career plan,” says Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois–Springfield.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/slideshows/10-types-of-credentials-you-can-earn-online

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Person Education Using Artificial Intelligence In Courseware

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-11-09 01:04

by Jane Reed, University Herald

Online education and resources are essential to today’s professionals. Which is why IBM and Pearson Education are working hand in hand to employ IBM’s Watson to students using Pearson Education’s coursewares. The courseware content is already ready. Both companies have already reviewed the content. It is ready for use. Watson will analyze student responses to provide information and help uncover misconceptions. Pearson once discussed using Artificial Intelligence to help students. According to Campus Tech, it is called “AIEd.” The company explains that artificial intelligence can be used to offer students the educational experience they need. It will be much more personalized and engaging for the users. But they insist that the use of such technology will not replace teachers. Teachers are still considered to be the most important factors to a greater education.

http://www.universityherald.com/articles/46900/20161101/person-education-using-artificial-intelligence-courseware.htm

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Online courses work for Tech’s mid-career students, research says

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2016-11-09 01:03

By Ty Tagami – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It’s still the early days of online schooling, and the research is mixed about whether it will usher in a new era of affordable education, as enthusiasts hope. While it’s returned questionable results in some settings, low cost is driving demand — and it has proved effective in at least one sector: older, motivated students pursuing a technical advanced degree. A new paper, “Can Online Delivery Increase Access to Education?” by researchers at Harvard and Georgia Tech takes a look at Tech’s online master’s degree in computer science. It reports earlier findings that online students “slightly outperformed” in-person students on final exams and reaches its own conclusion that there is large demand for such flexible online programs, especially among mid-career professionals juggling work and family life.

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-education/online-courses-work-for-techs-mid-career-students-/nsz98/

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November 2016

xkcd.com - Wed, 2016-11-09 01:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

What European Leaders in EdTech Think of the State of MOOCs

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-11-08 18:09


Yoni Dayan, Class Central, Nov 08, 2016

I like this three part series (part 1, part 2, part 3) on MOOCs from Class Central. Yes, it's true the term MOOC is being phased out (trend 6). But people are still doing online learning, and even open online learning, and they're doing it in numbers greater than ever before, and MOOCs have found their place (trend 1). They are becoming more diverse, and incorporating more toold (trend 4) and by now they are beginning to professionalize (trend 5).

[Link] [Comment]

Collectively Flourishing

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-11-08 18:09


Randy Swearer, EdTech Digest, Nov 08, 2016

Some good thoughts with respect to maker spaces (quoted):

  • Makerspaces should never be owned by single departments or disciplines;
  • Whenever possible there should be a real-world purpose to the making
  • The flow from construction from studio to fabrication lab is critical.
  • Eliminate barriers to creation by avoiding as many prerequisites as possible.

Accdording to Swearer, "The collaborative environment makerspaces create helps students develop a sense of empowerment and resourcefulness. Thus, they acquire the desire and ability to create change through making."

[Link] [Comment]

November 2016 Preview Clips

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-11-08 18:09


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Nov 08, 2016 Take a listen to our November 2016 preview clips! [Link] [Comment]

Ria #32: Dr. Tom Cavanagh & Dr. Kelvin Thompson On Keeping Up With Reading

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2016-11-08 18:09


, Ecampus Research Unit | Oregon State University, Nov 08, 2016 In this episode, Dr. Cavanagh and Dr. Thompson discuss strategies for keeping up with research reading. [Link] [Comment]

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