Miscellaneous

Shaping the university in a networked era

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 14:15

David White, Digital - Learning - Culture, Dec 15, 2017

I mentioned in a tweet the other dat that David O. White is new to me. But he's not in fact new; he is the same David White who introduced us to the 'visitors and residents' terminology back in 2011. This explains his placement on a panel with Marc Prensky. I've added his feed to my aggregator but since he posts infrequently don't expect to see a lot (his post prior to this one dates from September). Anyhow, this article will give you a sense of his current thinking. "It’s of great interest to me how an institution approaches the networked environments and practices. Most institutions now understand there is value in the network but often kill that value in the process of institutionalising it." he writes."Our challenge is in creating institutional structures (hierarchy) which can encourage and support those approaches while holding them in an open hand."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Weaving quicksilver: ‘We-searching’ for a pedagogy of small

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:56

Tanya Dorey, Small Stories, Dec 15, 2017

I've been on Mastodon for just over a year; my first post was last December 3. Since then I've written small stories, discussed theory, documented 1500 km of bike rides, and engaged in general banter. What I like about it is that it is a small and informal community I can share with. Some people call it a pedagogy of small. Others call it a pedagogy of slow. If it's a pedagogy at all, it's a pedagogy of harmony (which really, at long last, may be my answer to Friere). Tanya Dorey writes, "With that first step, we are again at an interesting starting point.  Where do we go from here?" This article is a collection of thoughts from her and four others who share the same social space I share on this harmonious platform. P.S. be sure to explore trubox.ca as another interesting alternative form of pedagogical community.

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Internet Pioneers and Leaders Tell the FCC: You Don’t Understand How the Internet Works

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:39

Frederick J. Baker, et.al., Pioneers of Net Neutrality, Dec 15, 2017

I don't know how much damage the end of net neutrality in the United States would cause, but over the long run, it's probably significant. This is in large part because it is based on a flawed understanding of internet technology. In this email Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf, and other internet pioneers release a short letter linking to their earlier submission to the FCC (53 page PDF) in opposition to the ending of net neutrality. Beyond the obvious policy intent, this document is a great short-form introduction to the basics of internet technology, describing the principles on which it was founded, and the changes over the last 15 years. It also provides a significant number of concrete examples of cases where users were harmed in the absence of clearly defined rules.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:24

Duncan J. Watts, David M. Rothschild, Columbia Journalism Review, Dec 14, 2017

One of the more salient stories this year has revolved around the phenomenon of fake news and (via fake news) managing and massaging public perceptions. The gist of this article is that, while social media manipulation is a problem that cannot be taken lightly, it would be misleading to attribute the U.S. election results (and the Brexit vote, etc.) to social media. Instead, write the authors of this report, we should look at mainstream media. For example, "in just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election." I find it interesting that it is this same media that is now affixing responsibility for the outccome on social media, when the scale of the coverage in traditional media dwarfs that found through alternativer sources. And finally, I attribute the election results to the voters (and I use the word 'attribute' rather than 'blame' when putting on my scientific or journalistic hat). 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Wherefore Art Thou MOOC?: Defining Massive Open Online Courses

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:50

Stephanie J. Blackmon, Claire H. Major , online learning, Dec 14, 2017

I don't think this paper really succeeded in its stated objective of defining massive open online courses. What we do get is a sense that there are many interpretations of the form, and that if you sample mostly the xMOOC form, you'll find that xMOOC properties (like instructor-centeredness) predominate. It's interesting for me to observe that as the research moves from primary sources and into secondary sources (and tertiary sources, and more) that the researchers' understanding changes. Now instead of having direct experience they are reporting on what the research says, and with no real constraints on what can be said in research, assertions are replicated and become fact. 

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Care, Communication, Learner Support: Designing Meaningful Online Collaborative Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:09

Heather A. Robinson, Whitney Kilgore, Scott J. Warren, online learning, Dec 14, 2017

The authors writem, "The three main themes that emerged from this study were: the importance of online communication approaches, challenges and supports for online collaborative learning, and that care is at the core of online learner support" (note that the abstract expresses this quite differently). I include this paper here not so much to address these issues (though I certianly have my own opinions) but to ask readers to think about the methodology. The study is based on interviews with four higher edeucation instructors. The authors assert "it was conducted through a post-Positivist paradigm and the findings are not intended to generalize," which is good. But why is this presented as 'research' rather than, say, 'argument' or 'perspectives'? The reserachers knew what they were looking for at the start; "the interviews focused on care expressions in digital delivery settings made within each instructor case." I think there are arguments to be made for the three themes, and they are cogently assembled here, but it just seems misleading to represent them here as discovered through reserach. Read more articles from the special issue on the AERA Online Teaching and Learning SIG.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A repository platform for OERs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 18:47

Panagiotis Stasinakis, Open Education Platform, Dec 14, 2017

"I want to establish an on-line repository with OERs of primary and secondary education," wrote Panagiotis Stasinakis on a Creative Commons discussion list. "I am searching for a platform, an open-source platform, to install it  in my private server and use it for the repository." The result was an interesting compendium of resouces, including:

  • Kolibri, which also offers a learning management system component. 
  • WordPress blogs, eg. this one, where each OER or group of resources is released as a blog post
  • DSpace, with search functionality, categories, OER's meta data etc., but tricky to use
  • Tsugi, by Chuck Severence, with integration into LMS systems like Sakai, Moodle, Canvas and work in Google Classroom
  • Edu-sharing, developed in Germany
  • Gitbook.com and Github.com to write, store, and share OER content, also Github at P2PU, and also github/jekyll
  • OER Content Buffet - they use angular, and they offered to send the code if you write an email
  • HackMD - a realtime, multiplatform collaborative markdown note editor
  • Curriki provides the ability to create Groups for Discussions and create Group related and/or specific resources

Note that the annotations are from the posts on the discussion list, not from me.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Government Adviser Says Stop Investing in Systems that Don’t Work

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 14:22

Press Release, Online Educa Berlin, Dec 13, 2017

According to this press release summarizing a talk at Online Educa Berlin, Pasi Sahlberg argued that education ministers in England, Australia and the United States are continuing to invest in the GERM (Global Educational Reform) model, in spite of evidence that it doesn't work. According to Sahlberg, "unsuccessful education systems are characterised by a belief in competition, standardisation, de-professionalisation, test-based accountability and privatisation. The outstanding features of successful education systems, on the other hand, are cooperation, risk- taking and creativity, professionalism, trust-based responsibility ('not test-based accountability') and ensuring an “equitable” public education for all."
 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines 

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 13:58

David Mellor, Center for Open Science, Dec 13, 2017

I think this is an interesting idea, but the presentation is some of the worst I have ever seen. I've reproduced the basic standards in a post, here. In a nutshell, the Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines are intended to describe different levels of openness (disclosure, requirement and verification) regarding data sources, algorithms, and other factors (eight in all) related to scientific research. The documentatins is broken down as best practices for funders, institutions and journals. There's a supposedly introductory article and the complete guidelines in a user-hostile content management system. They've been published, but you have to pay a subscription fee to see them.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Towards an Ethical Framework for #OpenRecognition

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 15:55

Serge Ravet, Learning Futures, Dec 11, 2017

This is an intelligent and well-thought out account of the ethical implications of open badges. Open badges can be used for good, or they can be used to perpetuate discrimination or to reify the advantages of an already privileged group. "Open Badges are not innocuous," writes Serge Ravet. "They can heal or kill, empower or control, enable or disable, recognise or exclude. In the perspective of Open Recognition, it is critical to define an ethical framework."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Cengage Buffet

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 05:33

Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, Dec 10, 2017

"The new offer, called Cengage Unlimited, will give students access to more than 20,000 Cengage products across 70 disciplines and 675 course areas for $119.99 a semester." That's more than twice what the going rate has been, so I'm expecting this price to drop quickly. But it reflects a trend that we've seen in other industries - mustic, for examplem with Spotify, or video with Netflix. Thee company has also "set a strategic goal of being 90 percent digital by 2019. The new strategy is a notable departure from the traditional publishing sales model, which historically has relied on the sale of individual print textbooks." 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hitting Reset, Knewton Tries New Strategy: Competing With Textbook Publishers

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 05:27

Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge, Dec 10, 2017

Remember Knewton? Pundits loved it. It positioned itself as "the world’s leading adaptive learning technology provider with the mission of bringing personalized education to the world" and drew some $157 million in funding. Now they're executing a pivot "along with mounting criticism that its founding CEO, Jose Ferreira, overhyped its technology." Now the company is trying to compete with publishers. "The secret to its swift entry into publishing was OER (open education resources). Rather than hire authors to write textbooks from scratch, the company is now curating open-educational materials already on the internet." Only the open educational resources won't be free. "Each online textbook costs $44 for two years of access, or $9.95 per month."

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Categories: Miscellaneous

IEEE Consortium Established To Support The Development Of Learning Engineering

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 05:16

IEEE IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering, Dec 10, 2017

The vote to launch this was taken just a couple weeks ago and mine was the sole vote against, this based solely on the name, which I think is a bad idea. The engineers are getting far ahead of the theory in e-learning, and as a result, we're getting solutions thta are inappropriate. And I don't think that learning is something you can engineer as though it were a bridge or an electrical circuit. But it still makes sense to have a consortium supporting the development of, say, learning technology  engineering. 

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These Technologies Will Shape The Future, According To One of Silicon Valley’s Top VC Firms

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 09:24

Daniel Terdiman, Fast Company, Dec 10, 2017

Summary of a talk by Andreessen Horowitz analyst Benedict Evans. The four technologies are autonomy, mixed-reality, cryptocurrencies, and artificial intelligence. But more interesting is some of the discussion around these, and especially the commentary on 'S-curves' which track the adoption of new technologoes. "In each case, as the curve matured, the question became less about the technology itself and more about what could be built on top of it. That’s where we are with the mobile internet, with things like ride-sharing, Instagram, Instacart, and other things we can do with our phones today."

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Insights from Campus Leaders on Current Challenges and Expectations of IT

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 09:15

Kathryn Gates, Joan Cheverie, EDUCAUSE Review, Dec 10, 2017

New rreport from EDUCAUSE based on interviews with 17 higher education IT leaders. Analytics comes up a lot, as do the challenges of changing demographics, enrollment, fuinding, government "intervention", student success and leadership. "The theme that received the most attention by far was foundational technology. As one executive stated, 'We expect for IT to be silently awesome.' ... executives frequently mentioned security; specifically, they cited security as a growing concern and said they expect IT to keep systems secured and the institution 'out of the news.'" 

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Categories: Miscellaneous

How Canada has emerged as a leader in artificial intelligence

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 09:09

Michael Smith, University Affairs, Dec 10, 2017

The question of 'how' is pretty easily answered: we invested in reserach. "This past spring, Ottawa might have made its best bet yet with the $125 million it has set aside over the next five years for a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. That money will go to three academic centres: the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII) in Edmonton, and the new Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, based in Toronto. ... the Quebec government has allocated $100 million to its AI community in Montreal; Ontario has set aside $50 million for Vector; and, in September 2016, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund gave $93.6 million to a trio of universities – Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal." In response, we've seen investments from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. There's no shortcut, and you can't do it on the cheap. And if we waited for the private sector to take the lead on this, we'd still be waiting.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

A Roadmap of the Future of Teaching and Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 08:47
This Spotlight Stage session is for policy makers and pundits, technology designers and developers, and those who by virtue of office or inclination have the voice to speak to the future, to inform the world of what we can do and what we want to do. Join Stephen Downes as he invites you to explore the quantum leaps we can expect in teaching in our digital age. Online Educa Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Lecture) Dec 07, 2017 [Comment]
Categories: Miscellaneous

Majority of Australians say online privacy beyond their control

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 06:15

University of Sydney, Dec 10, 2017

This feels like my sense of it too. "The findings, published in a report launched today (74 page PDF), show 67 percent of Australians take steps to protect their privacy online, but only 38 percent feel in control." Our hopes appear to be beyond our grasp. Forexample, "a large majority (78 percent) want to know how social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are using their personal data." This large majority will be disappointed. And while "some 79 percent say retention of phone call information is a breach of privacy" there's nothing they can really do to prevent it.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Here’s What We Know About Google’s Chromebook Internet Outage

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 14:30

Sydney Johnson, EdSurge, Dec 09, 2017

Atlantic explorer Ben Saunders lost access to all his Spotify music because he had been without internet for a month. Meanwhile, thousands of students lost Chromebook access this wweek as a result of a “botched WiFi policy update pushed out by Google that caused many Chromebooks to forget their approved network connection." There should be a lesson in this. The internet is a great service to access, but depending on that access creates a risk. The result: “diversifying how our devices authenticate, locally or on the cloud, is something that we will really take a look at going forward.”

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Categories: Miscellaneous

gRSShopper in a Box

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 11:38
Overview of server virtualization, setup of Vagrant box for gRSShopper, an overview of the gRSShopper application, including its use in a Firefox panel. Online Educa Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Workshop) Dec 06, 2017 [Comment]
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