Miscellaneous

ASU and edX, Further Thoughts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed, Apr 25, 2015

The  big news this week is that Arizona Statue University will in effect  replace first year studies with MOOCs (that's probably an overstatement, but it will do for now). This article draws out some implications and major underlying issues (these are all quoted from the article):

  • Prior learning assessment -- the mechanism by which credit is granted -- is not covered by financial aid.
  • there’ s nothing stopping someone now from taking a MOOC in a “ gen ed” area and then taking a CLEP exam to get credit.
  • ASU took a nasty funding cut from the state, and responded by growing its reach (contrast with LSU, which is attempting to survive though massive cuts)
  • the edX partnership allows ASU to move failures off-book, thereby keeping its success rates high.
  • many of us in higher ed think of it as an ecosystem. ASU may have decided that it’ s actually a Hobbesian war of each against all
  • the partnership is a desperate attempt to provide something resembling a business model for MOOCs.

In my view, higher education institutions should consider themselves lucky that the MOOCs provided by EdX are replacing first year. There will not be much talk of expanding the model, and the failure rate will we high, Had something like the Connectivist MOOCs and the cooperative approach taken hold, the damage to traditional institutions would have been much greater, as students would have propelled each other to success in spite of, not because of, the institution.

 

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Accreditation Under Fire

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Bernard Fryshman, Inside Higher Ed, Apr 25, 2015

I can't say I exactly agree with the arguments outlined in this article, but it's important to read and understand this defense of the Byzantine system that is the college accreditation process. Bernard Fryshman offers a spirited argument. "There is wide recognition that relying on these proposed quantitative measures has weakened accreditation, with collateral damage. Thus, colleges that were focused on a financial bottom line rather than on student learning found it easy to produce numbers that satisfied quantitative guidelines, but said little or nothing about the learning taking place." There are two presumptions, of course: first, that the numbers are indeed proxies, and second, that the current process of peer review actually does ensure that learning takes place.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

To Get More Students Through College, Give Them Fewer Choices

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Anya Kamenetz, NPR Ed, Apr 25, 2015

Anya Kamanetz reviews a new book that makes an old argument. Drawing on the 'paradox of choice', it is argues that college students should be required to select majors and choose from a more limited set of options. Just as people given fewer choices of jam are more likely to buy jam, it is suggested, people given fewer choices in college are more likely to finish college. It's a seductive argument, because it's always tempting to trade freedom for efficiency. But over and above making the trains run on time, what is there to recommend this approach? If the investment in college weren't so risky for students, maybe it wouldn't matter that they got out rather than continue through a less ideal program. The book is Redesigning America's Community Colleges and the authors, three Columbia University education researchers (who no doubt were not streamed when they made their education choices).

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

MOOCs and Credentialing: A Revolutionary Perspective

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Gordon Rogers, edCircuit, Apr 25, 2015

There's no shortage of plans to create new educational credentialing currencies. Here's why: "Why don’ t we see a mass exodus of students bailing out of colleges and saving themselves tens of thousands of tuition dollars by testing out of their core courses? Simply put, navigating the opaque and Byzantine system of credit transfer rules makes discovering the Higgs-Boson particle look like kindergarten." The problem is that such an environment not only makes currency opaque, it also creates an excellent environment for counterfeiting.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

U.S. Students Awful at Evaluating Reliability of Online Science Readings

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Benjamin Herold, Education Week, Apr 25, 2015

This is particularly interesting in light of some of the discussions today at OEGlobal arount the topic of digital literacy. Because (to me) what good does digital literacy do for you if you are unable to reason your way out of the most basic scientific fallacy. Some of this stuff is pretty basic. "Forzani found that fewer than 4 percent of students could correctly identify the author of an online information source, evaluate that author's expertise and point of view, and make informed judgments about the overall reliability of the site they were reading." Now having said that, I wonder what standard Forzani uses to assess scientific literacy. It's not clear to me that the community as a whole has a good understanding of critical literacies.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

ProctorU Launches Multifactor Online Student Verification

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology, Apr 25, 2015

In a world where exams mean everything, the verification of identity is key. ProctorU is the lastest entry into an increasingly crowded field. The mechanism is similar to Coursera's: "the process begins with a live proctor, who views the student via webcam and checks his or her government-issued ID... Ucard then validates the student's identity through a series of questions based on public data records." And then there's "keystroke analysis software" that creates a user profile.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Knewton and HP Introduce Customized, Personalized Print Learning Materials

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Christopher Piehler, Campus Technology, Apr 25, 2015

It's not clear to me that the world needs more print materials. So that part of the story seems a bit backwards. That's the main reason HP is in the story, though, from the look of it. The bit about customized materials looks more forward. It's basically real-time recommendations - "Knewton will consider the student’ s past work, analyze the new information and determine useful strategies from the anonymized data of similar students to recommend content that the student should work on next."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

10 Bad Common Arguments for College

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Zachary Slayback, The Synapse, Apr 25, 2015

OK, let's first  keep in mind that "the Business Development Director for Praxis, a ten-month program for entrepreneurial learners [and] dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania." The 'ten reasons' include such things as "college is the ideal place to learn" and " College is the best way to guarantee yourself some kind of job." Well, maybe these are overstated. But there's an undercurrent in teh article, I think, as in life, that these would all be really good things were college not so expensive.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Scientists can build an early-warning system for trolls

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Daniel Cooper, Engadget, Apr 25, 2015

I am wary of any headline that tells us what 'scientists' can do. But I also think it's interesting that we can use markers to detect at the onset troll-like activity by forum participants. "researchers from Stanford and Cornell developed an early warning system for trolls. After conducting a study that examined close to 40 million comments, it was found that trolls can be algorithmically identified before they've written 10 posts." I have no doubt - none! - that others are working on this around the world, and that Stanford and Cornell are the ones focused on milking the publicity. It's useful work and I hope that those people actually making the discoveries are credited (as opposed to those with the best PR departments).

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Google wants you to download your web search history

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Jon Fingas, Engadget, Apr 25, 2015

On the one hand, it's cool that Google will allow me to download my search history. On the other hand, it's creepy that Google has my entire search history.

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Open business models, open data, and the public interest

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Sarah Hinchliff Pearson, Creative Commons, Apr 25, 2015

As I type this I'm aattending a panel discussion on the Creative Commons open leadership project. This post discusses related work in business models, policy and data. "Creative Commons is developing new tools specifically tailored for ventures that utilize CC-licensed or public domain content as a central component of their strategies. We are also working one-on-one with a handful of companies and organizations to brainstorm new business models and paths to sustainability."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

EUA launches Open Access checklist for universities

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


European University Association, Apr 25, 2015

Something quick, via email: "The Open Access checklist is addressed to higher education and research institutions that are developing, or planning to develop, a policy on Open Access to research publications. It is intended as a general guide in the development of institutional policies on Open Access and can be useful for different stakeholders, including the leadership, administration, librarians and researchers."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Education and Personal Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
, , Apr 23, 2015
Enclosure: Open_Education_and_Personal_Learning.docx
[Comment] Share |
Categories: Miscellaneous

Open Education and Personal Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
[Slides][Audio]

In this presentation I outline major aspects of the learning and performance support systems (LPSS) program as it relates to open education environments. In particular I focus on understanding OERs as words, aggregating and analyzing OERs, data representation, and learner production and sharing of OERs. I conclude with a number of brief case studies of how work in LPSS supports this perspective.  Full paper available here: http://www.downes.ca/files/docs/Open_Education_and_Personal_Learning.docx

Open Education Global, Banff, Alberta (Keynote) Apr 23, 2015 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Evidence-Based vs. Ideology-Based Open Access Policy

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago


Stevan Harnad, JISC-Repositories, Apr 25, 2015

Stevan Harnad says it perfectly: "In my own opinion there have been four main reasons for the exceedingly slow growth of OA (far, far slower than it could have been) — (1) author inertia and needless copyright worries, (2) publisher resistance via lobbying and OA embargoes, (3) premature and needless fixation on Gold OA publishing and (4) premature and needless fixation on Libre OA (re-use rights, CC-BY)."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Introducing Talkwalker IQ Apps: Actionable Social Intelligence in an Instant

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Richard Sunley, TalkWalker Blog, Apr 25, 2015

More evidence that analytics and recommendations are becoming a commodity. Talkwalker promotes its new products on a web page: "We’ ve developed our social data intelligence platform to facilitate the social data analytics process. Now with the introduction of our pioneering feature, Talkwalker IQ Apps, our social data intelligence solution has become even more powerful and easy to use."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Facebook: please stop with this

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 27 min 42 sec ago
Display


Jay Rosen, PressThink, Apr 25, 2015

This post is a criticism of Facebook's assertion that it does not rank news results. They say: "It’ s not that we control NewsFeed, you control NewsFeed by what you tell us that you’ re interested in." But of course there is an algorithm that constantly elevates Huffington Post results and buries the posts from people I actually know (and believe me, I do not choose this). "Facebook has to start recognizing that our questions are real— not error messages. We are not suggesting that it “ edits” NewsFeed in the same way that a newspaper editor once edited the front page. It’ s a very different way. That’ s why we’ re asking about it! ... we want to know: what are you optimizing for, along with user interest?" Fair questions, and anyone who writes algorithms will have to have answers.

 

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

IMS Global Announces Initiative to Establish Digital Badges as Common Currency for K - 20 and Corporate Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 19:00
Display


Press Release, IMS, Apr 24, 2015

Knowing IMS, the phrase "common currency" was probably very carefully chosen, and it brings to mind Doug Belshaw's  proposal the other day to issue badges using Bitcoin-like encryption. So I wonder whether IMS is thinking that far ahead (it wouldn't be the first time they've picked up on someone's idea like that). According to the press release, "IMS will leverage existing experience, expertise and momentum. IMS Digital Credentialing will complement and further IMS’ s leadership in competency-based learning, including partnerships with AACRAO and the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) to define extended digital transcript and CBE interoperability." 2 page PDF. Image: Chris Appleton - found here (good badge overview).

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Google is making a giant change this week that could crush millions of small businesses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 16:00
Display


Jillian D'Onfro, Business Insider, Apr 24, 2015

I've long been meaning to redesign my website to make it mobile-friendly -- all I need to do really is use JQuery and Bootstrap and do some basic design work. But, you know, I've been busy. But this might spur me to make the change. "The algorithm will start  favoring mobile-friendly websites  (ones with large text, easy-to-click links, and that resize to fit whatever screen they're viewed on) and ranking them higher in search."

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Human-Like Brain Found in Worm

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 17:00
Display


Jennifer Viegas, Discovery.com, Apr 23, 2015

A persistent  statement that frustrates not only me but many researchers involved in thought and perception is this: language is required for thinking. If you ponder it for a bit you realize that this could be true only for the most narrow definition of 'thinking', and would exclude babies, cats, and other animals from 'thinking'. It's far more accurate to state it the other way around, in my view: thinking is required for language. This not only makes conceptual sense, it makes biological sense; witness this article describing fundamental similarities in human and worm brains. Now draw this inference to the next logical step: language is not required for learning, thinking or cognition. What then do these look like?

[Link] [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous
Syndicate content