Miscellaneous

What Happens When Crowdsourcing Stops Being Polite And Starts Getting Real

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 26 min ago


J.J. McCorvey, Fast Company, [Sept] 16, 2014

I am reminded of the Oculus Rift, which  sold to Facebook after being supported on Kickstarter, after which the founding community felt betrayed. This is a similar situation. "Once upon a time, members believed they were the sole engine that makes Quirky run. In this new world, they are a resource." Worse, rights they thought they has as contributors have simply disappeared - by circumventing the usual process in designing Aros for GE, they circumvented the right of a member who proposed a similar idea to he heard, or rewarded. This isn't 'real' in any usual sense of the word, except maybe 'real' in the sense that money trumps rights, as (it seems) it always has.

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Games are serious business at news organizations

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 26 min ago


Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, [Sept] 16, 2014

News agencies are learning the same lessons as educators about engagement, including, for example, games. "We process, retain and share experiences differently than reports," Grace said. "Reports can be very efficient, but they may not have lasting impact. You can receive a report and forget the facts and figures, but an experience lasts in a different way."

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On the false binary of LMS vs. Open

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 26 min ago
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D'Arcy Norman, D’Arcy Norman dot net, [Sept] 16, 2014

I'm happy to accept D'Arcy Norman's contention that "We have a responsibility to provide a high quality environment to every single instructor and student, and the LMS is still the best way to do that." But I think he goes overboard i8n his defense of it, and in particular, I think this is wrong: "Any eLearning tool, no matter how openly designed, will eventually become indistinguishable from a Learning Management System once a threshold of supported use-cases has been reached." The history of "history has ended" statements like that is, well, long. And undistinguished. Sure, if you want to keep being a university and teaching classes and such, maybe the LMS is the way it gets done. But why should we believe progress has stopped with the model of the university?

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Protecting Personal Data in an LRS

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 26 min ago
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Ingo Dahn, Google Docs, [Sept] 16, 2014

More from the ongoing discussion around the formalization of the eXperience API specification for learning record stores. "These notes intend to contribute to this discussion on a functional and architectural level in order to form a basis for more detailed specifications at the level of data models, communication protocols and bindings."

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How to ditch Google for more privacy and fewer ads

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 26 min ago
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Derek Walter, PC World, [Sept] 16, 2014

The four methods suggested are: use DuckDuckGo instead of Google Search, use Firefox instead of Chrome, use FastMail instead of GMail, and use Zoho instead of Google Drive. But surprisingly, there's no suggestion of what to use instead of Google+! Via Doug Belshaw.

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Online university skips class to be more accessible

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 2 hours 26 min ago
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Hari Sreenivasan, PBS, [Sept] 16, 2014

The show in a nutshell (transcript is below video): "Almost all of online education today is still based on the credit hour and the course. We don’ t have any courses, and we don’ t have any credit hours, but we have 120 competencies, and you can master those as fast as you like, or as slow. The thing that we don’ t care very much about is time. And that is such a fundamental reversal of the basic structure of higher education."

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Le 21e siècle

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - 11 hours 26 min ago
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Michel Cartier, [Sept] 16, 2014

I've only been able to lightly tough the surface of this website, but it is already evident that it is a significant achievement. It is in French. I'll let Jon Husband summarize from his Facebook post: "It looks at the history of signs, symbols, languages and images as used by humans to make sense of their environment and grow the societies in which they live, and follows the evolution of technology, economics and societal issues, notably through the past half-century, as our inventions and human population and the interrelatedness of our activities have brought us to a point of cultural mutation." The relation between this work and my talk in Pereira is evident.

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Learning and Connectivism in MOOCs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 21:00

In this presentation I examine the phenomenon of MOOCs as I see them, explaining how they result from and support an understanding of the world based in pattern recognition. The presentation is structured along the lines of the six major elements of the underlying literacies of network interaction.

Desconectado IV Encuentro Internacional de Investigadores en EducaciÓn Virtual, Pereira, Colombia (Keynote) [Sept] 11, 2014 [Comment]
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Umbrella Group Backs Unbundling

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 12:00


Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, [Sept] 14, 2014

In the last year or so the American Council on Education (ACE) has offered to provide credit recommendations for online courses (basically, ACE would attest to a university that the work was worth credit, and in theory, the university your agree and grant the credit). This effort has, as the story says, "fizzled". So ACE is trying a new approach. "It  announced  the creation of a pool of about 100 online courses that will lead to credit recommendations. The courses will be low-cost or free."

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Are Laptops Really Bad For Learning?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Darren Kuropatwa, A Difference, [Sept] 11, 2014

In this good summary of the results of  the recent study comparing note-taking with pen and laptop Darren Kuropatwa also points to the underlying reason to be sceptical about the conclusion. In the three studies  students performed better on tests after taking notes with the pen, rather than the laptop. The study authors suggest "laptops may be doing more harm in classrooms than good." But that's not what the results show. Rather, Kuropatwa notes, "laptop is highly correlated with verbatim note-taking," which is not an effective way to take notes. A broef oral warning would not be enough to change that tendency. "Students don't automatically know how to take notes; it's a learned skill, one we have to teach." Moreover, he says, "we have to ask, is taking notes in a lecture hall what we mean by "learning"? Surely what we mean by 'learning' is a far richer experience than that." Correct, on both counts.

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Let me Listen to Poetry, Let me See Emotions

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Diana Arellano, Cristina Manresa-Yee, Volker Helzle, Journal of Universal Computer Science, [Sept] 11, 2014

In a nutshell, this paper described the devlopment of avatars that read poetry. That may sound simple, but the system analyzes the lines being read and then calculates the appropriate emotional response, then indicates this emotional response using facial characteristics. That is, the avatar smiles when it's appropriate to be happy and frowns when it's appropriate to be sad (among other emotional states). We can see how this sort of approach would be used both to recognize emotional states in others, both from words and facial features, and project emotional states in our own software, increasing the degree of presence and sympathy. Good article. Related: The Pedagogy of ModPo.

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The Open Education Professional Directory

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Various authors, Open Education Consortium, [Sept] 11, 2014

If you're looking for speakers, consultants or experts to assist you with issues related to open educational resources, you can't do better than the The Open Education Professional Directory. As Mary Lou Forward from the Open Education Consortium writes, "Through the directory, agencies, institutions and other parties interested in open education can find experienced professionals that fit their needs. Open education professionals will be able to more easily find colleagues for joint projects and other collaborations. The directory will also provide greater exposure and visibility for individuals and the open education movement in general." I'm listed, as are dozens of others to choose from.

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Linked Data Platform Access Control

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
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Ashok Malhotra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), [Sept] 11, 2014

In an email to the respective groups titled "Marriage made in heaven or pistols at dawn?", Phil Archer introduces the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) and the Linked Data Platform (LPD) work groups to each other, this all under the heading of LDP Access Control. "Both groups are essentially talking about access control one way or another. Both communities are asking for a new WG to take this forward." I think we have a pretty good question here: are digital rights and digital platforms the same in this way? To we want to merge the security we use to manage our websites with the security publishers use to manage their digital resources?

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The Launch of Twitter’s Analytics Service

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, [Sept] 10, 2014

Twitter has launched a new analytics service. Here's the announcement. Brian Kelly: "the service provides statistics on tweets (potential impressions, engagement and engagement rate). Additional tabs provide information on followers (changes in the numbers of followers and profiles of their gender,  location and interests) and Twitter cards." I'm not sure I even want this. Reading  my analytics made me feel like I did when I had Klout, bemoaning the fact that I had 0 interactions today (when I should be celebrating) and striving to make the number bigger, as if it mattered. But if I did want this, honestly, I'd want it for my whole network, not just network. But that means Twitter would have to share, and I don't think it knows how to do that any more.

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Balance is an Illusion

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Tim Klapdor, [Sept] 10, 2014

This isn't directly related to educational technology, but it's a point that lies at the foundations of how we thing, and it's important to address a misconception. Tim Klapdor writes, "For many of us balance has become a pervasive goal in our lives.... The problem is balance is a state so infinitesimal, so fleeting and ephemeral that it is more like a mirage than an object." He's talking about things like work-life balance, but the influence of balance is global, informing everything from the way water settles to (for example) the 'settling' phenomenon in neural networks. Balance, as Klapdor says, isn't a state, but that doesn't mean it's an illusion. It's an  attractor - and when you start finding yourself with complex systems, it's a strange attractor, doing the  drunkard's walk (which is what makes sports so interesting) (it's like if you roll a marble in a hole - gravity makes the bottom of the hole an attractor; it influences the direction of the marble - but if you have more than one planet and varying gravity, then what counts as the 'bottom' is always changing, and so therefore are the influences on the roll of the marble).

 

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Licence information in schema.org and LRMI

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Phil Barker, Sharing, Learning, [Sept] 10, 2014

The LRMI (Learning Resources Metadata Initiative) had from the start a property called useRightsUrl, "The URL where the owner specifies permissions for using the resource." But as Phil Basrker notes, Schema.org skipped useRightsURL when it adopted most of the LRMI properties, pending further review. Then last June, it adopted a  rights property which, says Barker, does everything LRMI wants. "It does everything that LRMI wanted by way of identifying the URL of the licence under which the creative work is released," he writes,  but also it "allows one to encode the name, url, description, date, accountable person and a whole host of other information about the licence."

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Coursera

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Jonathan Mayer, Web Policy, [Sept] 10, 2014

Coursera is learning yet another lesson learned long ago by real LMS providers: you can't fake your way to privacy and security; you have to have real measures in place. Stanford's Jonathan Mayer identifies three major flaws:

  1. Any teacher can  dump the entire user database, including over nine million names and email addresses.
  2. If you are  logged into your Coursera account, any website that you visit can  list your course enrollments.
  3. Coursera’ s privacy-protecting user IDs don’ t do much privacy protecting.

To follow up, he writes, "Coursera has acknowledged the issues, and claims they are “ fully addressed.” The second vulnerability, however, still exists." Via Audrey Watters.

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Reflections on community in #rhizo14 – more questions than answers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00


Frances Bell, Francesbell's Blog, [Sept] 10, 2014

A lot of people continue to value community in courses without, I think, comprehending what community is. It's really hard to understand the nature of a community from within. "How can we know about all of the flowers that bloomed? And some of the ones that failed to thrive or died?" Most people, I think, participate in community from their own frame of reference. Bell writes, for example, of Keith Harmon thinking of "the social network involved a social contract." So he sees rules, while by contrast, Bell "didn’ t see the rules that he refers to in #rhizo14 and would not really expect to see them." Or contrast this: "‘ Caring’ is identified as a distinguishing feature of community," which I think characterizes Dave Cormier's view. Is it any surprise, then, that community is characterized by dichotomies - " theorist/pragmatist ‘ divide’ , academics/ others" -? Do we have to agree on what a community is before participating in one? I don't think so (and this probably distinguishes me from pretty much everyone else on the topic - but they'll come around). Do read this discussion thread.

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Flipping Grade 4 and Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy Triangle

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Maggie Hos-McGrane, Tech Transformation, [Sept] 10, 2014

I'm no fan of taxonomies but I'm a fan of the thinking behind this post. By 'flipping' Bloom's taxonomy, we get an approach to education that does not begin with remembering, it ends with remembering. And (I would add) the objective of such an education isn't remembering at all (and certainly not remembering some sort of core content); that's an outcome, but it isn't what we're striving for, necessarily. To quote Maggie Hos-McGrane: "Bergmann and Sams write: "Flipped learning is a bridge from traditional teaching methods which are heavily dependent on content, to more engaging learning methods that focus primarily on the acts of thinking and learning.""

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Twitter, algorithms, and digital dystopias

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 22:00
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Doug Belshaw, [Sept] 10, 2014

So what happened after people exchanged their RSS readers for services like Twitter and Facebook? "What’ s so problematic about all of this, of course, is that whereas we used to be in charge of our own reading habits, we’ ve outsourced that to algorithms. That means software with shareholders is dictating our information environment." A bunch of good links on the topic: " Don’ t Be a Platform Pawn by Alan Levine led me to Frank Chimero’ s From the Porch to the Street and then onto a post about The Evaporative Cooling Effect which, in turn, cites this paper." p.s. Can I say I knew this would happen? Of course I can.

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