Miscellaneous

Why data culture matters

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 10/09/2018 - 14:23

Alejandro Díaz, Kayvaun Rowshankish, Tamim Saleh, McKinsey Quarterly, Oct 22, 2018

One of the topics we cover in E-Learning 3.0 us the transition from document-based culture to data-based culture. This article explores that transition. It identifies "seven of the most prominent takeaways from conversations we’ve had with these and other executives who are at the data-culture fore." It presents data as a trool for making decisions, the democratizing effect of data, data as an element in risk management, data as an enterprise's "crown jewel" asset, and the link between data and management and talent.

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E-Learning 3.0 Outline and Synopsis

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 23:08

Stephen Downes, mooc.ca, Oct 22, 2018

We're just in the process of the pre-launch week for E-Learning 3.0, the newest MOOC we are offering on the mooc.ca website. For now, you can read the course outline and synopsis, a fairly detailed description of the sort of things we'll be looking at over the next ten weeks. In a few days I'll post signup-forms so you can subscribe to the email newsletter and submit your blogs for inclusion (note, you do not need to register to enjoy this course). You can also read it as a single article.

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This proposed treaty on copyright exceptions should matter to the Open Education community

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 23:07

Creative Commons, Oct 22, 2018

Creative Commons has thrown its support behind a Civil Society proposed treaty on copyright exceptions for educational and research activities. They argue, " Having clear international norms for exceptions to copyright for education allow OER authors and users to more confidently incorporate third-party materials for reference and illustration of OER content." The danger of such exceptions is that "educational uses" have historically been defined in terms of educational institutions, and not personal learning. The proposed treaty (Article 5) would exempt uses related to teaching, learning, creating educational materials, and research. The protections under 'learning activities' might be sufficient. But the danger is that this section would simply be dropped from the treaty, essentially cementing the exception as a commercial right and not a personal imperative.

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iFixit confirms you can still repair your own iMac Pro or MacBook Pro

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 23:02

Richard Lawler, Engadget, Oct 22, 2018

This is an update on a story cited here last week. The website iFixit looked at the story saying you can't repair your MacBook, tried it for themselves, and found that you atually can repair your computer. " While it's possible that a future software update could change things and make it require specialized software that only official Apple Stores and authorized service centers have access to, we're not there yet." It's always best to check things out for yourself rather than just taking someone's word for it.

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A philosopher explains how our addiction to stories keeps us from understanding history

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 22:57

Angela Chen, The Verge, Oct 22, 2018

I hear a lot of educators talk about how stories are essential to learning, but I'm not sure I agree, and it's not clear they help. Indeed, according to this article, our preference for stories might be misleading us. "These historical narratives seduce you into thinking you really understand what’s going on and why things happened, but most of it is guessing people’s motives and their inner thoughts. It allays your curiosity, and you’re satisfied psychologically by the narrative, and it connects the dots so you feel you’re in the shoes of the person whose narrative is being recorded. It has seduced you into a false account, and now you think you understand." Real explanations "involve models and hypotheses that are familiar in structure to the kind that convey explanation in the natural sciences."

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For Some Scholars, a Full Professorship Calls for ‘a Lot of Paperwork’ That ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything’

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 22:46

Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 22, 2018

A lot has been said about the fact that Canadian Nobel prize winner Donna Strickland was only an associate professor - not a full professor - at Waterloo. It's just a lot of paperwork for a limited benefit. As someone comments, "The raise is v v small & I could write a whole article in the time it would take to put together the promotion materials." I sympathize - I haven't put in for a promotion at NRC for, I don't know, a decade? and so never advanced to 'Principal Researcher'. It's backward, in m view; promotions should be given, not sought for. I think it's more telling, actually, that her Wikipedia page was deleted despite her obvious qualifications, even well before the Nobel prize. It's a sad commentary not only on how society regards women, but also on how it regards scientists.

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Why a Web of Connections—Not a Single Relationship—Should Surround Students

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 22:39

Julia Freeland Fisher, EdSurge, Oct 22, 2018

After the obligatory opening paragraphs offering a paean to teachers, this article cites to research that "points to relationships more broadly as core determinants of students’ chances of getting by and getting ahead. Research from an array of youth development and social capital scholars is clear: students will most benefit from a web of adults supporting their healthy development, academic success and access to opportunity." One study mentiones is the Search Institute’s work on what they call developmental relationships. Another notes that "74 percent of those who choose a career path immediately after high school secure their job through a connection they made as part of their internship." Yes, connections matter. Who knew/

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Google to shut down Google+

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 22:33

Martin Brinkmann, ghacks.net, Oct 22, 2018

It surprises no one to hear that Google is finally announcing the end of the Google+ network. It never came close to being a Facebook rival, despite the effort Google put into it. That said, some parts of it - such as Hangouts - were significant successes in their own right. It's interesting to read that " One of the findings of the project team was that Google+ 'has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption' and that it 'has seen limited user interaction with apps'." This could have been done much differently - I've looked into it with respect to gRSShopper and it is not a trivial process to use the API. Ultimately, though, I think the reason Google+ failed was that it was always about Google, not individual people using the network.

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Kirkpatrick and Open Badges: Can do better!

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 21:59

Serge Ravet, Learning Futures, Oct 22, 2018

This is a nice blending of Kirkpatrick levels of course assessment and open badges. It begins as a criticism of Kirkpatrick's use of badges ("I find it outstanding that after a mere 3-hour training, participants receive a badge specifying that they are able, among other things, to 'plan and deliver training programs with business value in mind.'"). Instead, Serge proposes " to define what I coined as K3 Badges—’K' for Kirkpatrick and ‘3’ for level 3." These are badges that would be certified not by the training institution or the learner, but by managers in the workplace (at K3, signifying that the learning is being applied on the job). This is a lovely idea, and extends the concept of badges in a potentially useful direction. Now all it needs is Bluetooth. I mean, Blockchain. Image: Clan Kirkpatrick badge.

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Top Hat Content Rescue Bookmarklet

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 21:19

Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, Oct 22, 2018

As Tom Woodward writes, "Top Hat has some useful features (and a very aggressive sales team) but it’s not a place that makes it easy to get your content out." This short item offers help. It's a "bookmarklet will select the Top Hat content into a format that lets you cut/paste it into an HTML editor. You can see some of the issues with typical awkward paths for trying to get content out in the video. It’ll also show you how to add a bookmarklet if you’re looking for that." It's ridiculous that this should be necessary.

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Research: Career Hot Streaks Can Happen at Any Age

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 14:00

Dashun Wang, Harvard Business Review, Oct 22, 2018

In my own mind I often compare my own career to that of a musician. Such a career is a mixture of hit songs, near misses, duds, and even periods where nothing seems to be happening at all. And it's very relative; I've never had a gold record, but I could, but it isn't up to me, and doesn't really reflect my work in any case. And this randomness isn't just me; it rules across the board. "We used a given work’s number of citations (as provided by the Web of Science), auction price, and IMDB rating, respectively, as measures of quality and impact. We find that across these diverse careers, the random impact rule holds firm." So what's the lesson? "As long as you keep putting work out into the world, one project after another, your hot streak could be just around the corner." Or not. But it doesn't matter. Do the work. Keep researching, keep digging, keep developing. What happens, happens.

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Education for All… Even a ‘Nazi’?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:57

Greg Toppo, Inside Higher Ed, Oct 21, 2018

I do not like to get involved in U.S. politics because they are essentially the internal affairs of another country. However, Inside Higher Ed has published an article very sympathetic of Peter Cvjetanovic, one of the Charlottesville tiki torch marchers, and  Marc Johnson, the University of Nevada at Reno president who "had one clear, immediate thought: Cvjetanovic must graduate." The article depicts this case as one involving free speech (even though someone was actually killed at the far-right rally), but it is nothing of the sort. "Hate speech, after all, is protected just like other speech," says the article. No it isn't. It is a speech act, and specifically, a violent act, calculated to inflict harm on other people. Freedom and democracy are not about threats, intimidation and violence. Academic freedom doesn't grant the right to be racist and misogynist. People have a right to be protected from these people, even - especially! - on a university campus.

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An Ode To RSS, Moodle’s Most Pressing Interface

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:48

Cristian T. Duque, Moodle News, Oct 20, 2018

On the one hand, some people will say that the world of educational technology will resist decentralization. On the other hand, that same world can't kill it completely. A case in point is RSS, the ultimate decentralized technology, that lives on despite the efforts of even the might Google to kill it. RSS has been central to my own work for two decades, and the idea of a decentralized content and resource network is as robust today as it ever was. Maybe more so, give the now obvious failures of the social network platform model.

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Apple's New Proprietary Software Locks Kill Independent Repair on New MacBook Pros

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:35

Jason Koebler, Motherboard, Oct 17, 2018

As Doug Belshaw says on Mastodon, "Proprietary software is what proprietary vendors do." In this case, that the proprietary vendors do is write an application that presents people from repairing their MacBooks. " The new system will render the computer “inoperative” unless a proprietary Apple “system configuration” software is run after parts of the system are replaced." Yet another reason for me to stay far far away from Apple products.

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Blockchain looking more and more like a ball and chain?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 19:35

Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, Oct 17, 2018

Donald Clark was a fan of blockchain a couple of years ago but he reports that he has "fallen out of love with this technology" because "I’ve still to see a single implementation in learning that is worth the candle." I think this is true, and I think most of the educational implementations to date have been trivial. But I'm more concerned about this: "In truth education and training does not want to be decentralised and democratised or disintermediated, as almost everyone in the field works in an institutions that will protect themselves to the death." This is also true, and what we might see in education is the educational version of Stellar or Ripple: the big banks creating their own version of the tech and setting up their own centralized network. But I also think there more to the picture than badges and credentials. More to come. Soon.

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American Chemical Society (ACS) and Elsevier File Copyright Infringement Lawsuit in U.S. vs. ResearchGate

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 19:01

Gary Price, Library Journal, Oct 16, 2018

The only thing that surprises me about this is that it took this long to happen. The lawsuit alleges that "ResearchGate takes high-quality scientific articles that are written and published by others and makes them freely available via its for-profit platform." There may be examples to the contrary (though I didn't see any) but strictly speaking, this isn't what ResearchGate does. Yes, it does harvest articles - but only open access articles. Otherwise,m what it does is ask authors to upload their personal copies (usually preprints) or (more commonly) posts a link whereby you can email the author asking them to send you a copy (via ResearchGate). All of this is perfectly legal, and will (IMO) constitute the bulk of ResearchGate's defense. This is a developing story and the Library Journal will be updated as new information becomes available. More from Inside Higher Ed

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What Do Edtech and IKEA Have in Common? Persuasive Design.

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:17

Jeffrey R. Young, Sydney Johnson, EdSurge, Oct 16, 2018

This is a partial podcast transcript of a discussion with a panel (Sandra Burri Gram-Hansen, Margarita Quihuis and Safiya Noble) discussing behaviour design using educational technology. I like the analogy with the Ikea showroom, though it suggests something a bit pernicious: you cant't go wherever you want in an Ikea store the way you can in a department store, and the design is not for your benefit, it's for Ikea's. There's a slant to the piece (crediting the 'invention' of the field to a Stanford professor in the 90s; telling us that diversity, in this case at least, "isn't because of kumbaya") and the presentation of the (false?) hope that "if they understand the principles of persuasive systems, then that also means that they are able to reject unwanted influence" but it's worth thinking about.

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Intro to OER: A Wider Spectrum

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 20:56

Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, Oct 16, 2018

The bulk of this post is a revised outline of an introduction to open educational resources (OER) with a lot of links to sources and resources. This is prefaced with an explanation of that structure. "I try to work from the typical conception of OER towards what I feel like are less considered elements," writes Tom Woodward. "That leads to starting with courses/textbooks... I drift a bit farther afield here and start to look at tools for faculty to create OER content... close with social bookmarking."

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Why History Matters

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 20:29

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Oct 16, 2018

Audrey Watters is, as always, interesting, and in this article as in so many there are some great observations. Such as: "much of the pace of change can be accounted for by the fact that many new technologies are built atop – quite literally – pre-existing systems." But there's also this: "[a] key piece to remember about the history of computing technology and the history of education technology: they are deeply intertwined with the military and with technologies of war." And my thought when I read this was: "well sure, in the U.S. maybe, but what about everywhere else?" Despite noting the use of slates for centuries, Watters relates the story of the 'invention' of the blackboard at West Point, but we can read elsewhere that "James Pillans, Headmaster of the Old High School in Edinburgh, Scotland has been credited with the invention.," using it to teach geography. Not war.

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A Comparison of Social Learning Systems: Crochet Alongs and MOOCs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 20:12

Shirley Williams, E.J. Highwood, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, Oct 16, 2018

This is a great paper that introduces us to a type of MOOC that is more like a MOOC than the MOOCs offered by most MOOC providers. The category is the 'Along', as in "Crochet Along', as in'crochet along with me'. "The term Crochet Alongs (CALs) is used by crocheters (sometimes known as hookers) to describe Internet-based crochet projects whereby participants are working together on their own instantiation of an artefact (such as a blanket), following instructions available online and sharing their experiences across an Internet platform such as Facebook, many participations start as soon as a CAL is launched, but completion times vary." The upshot of the work is a set of amendments to Conole's rather institution-focused classification schema for MOOCs.

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