Miscellaneous

Get the PDFs – Google Search to Google Folder

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 03:37
Tom Woodward, Bionic Teaching, Jan 31, 2019

This is the sort of thing that should be easy but that is (for no good reason) hard. "Is there a way to automatically get the links from the search linked (here) into a spreadsheet? Then, from there, is there a way to automagically get the pdf files into a Drive folder?" Why yes, yes there is, which is why I'm passing this along. But why does it have to be so hard?

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FLO Facilitation Guide

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 03:37
Gina Bennett, Beth Cougler Blom, Sylvia Currie, Sylvia Riessner, BCcampus, Jan 31, 2019

This guide (181 page PDF) "is a collection of one- to five-week online courses that help participants
develop the skills they need to confidently and effectively facilitate learning online." The purpose is "to help individuals prepare and facilitate these courses as well as any courses that emphasize facilitating in a community of learners and supporting collaboration and reflective practice." I'm exhausted just reading through this resource!

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Who will become the Uber of packaged elearning content?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 03:37
Conor Gilligan, Training Journal, Jan 31, 2019

This article offers a corporate-centered discussion of e-learning trends, and specifically, that "the market for packaged elearning content will continue to grow as the hunger from corporates increases and requires more agility than ever. This will be driven by the growing demand for skills development." This ties into the 'Uber' in the headline in the sense that companies are offering to link content creators with these corporate markets. So, "one of the leading LMS providers has decided to join the race to become the Uber of elearning content — yes, Cornerstone on Demand. CSOD acquired a leading packaged  microlearning provider based in New York, Grovo, for $24m. Another leading LMS, Totara Learn, has also announced its plans to create a content marketplace." Not that we haven't seen this talked about for years - but the idea of platform as content-broker instead of platform as closed-marketplace may finally be emerging.

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Top 10 IT Issues, 2019: The Student Genome Project

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 03:37
Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE Review, Jan 31, 2019

This is a follow-up to an earlier article on the top 10 IT issues. The cleverly titled focus of this article is on how to 'sequence' educational data. "In 2019 we are focused on organizing, standardizing, and safeguarding data," writes Susan Grajek, "so that we can use it to address our most pressing priority: student success." This the issues are clustered into three themes: empowered students, trusted data, and 21st-century business strategies. It's no surprise the focus is on data - most of the top 10 IT issues listed focus on data, and the other two themes are almost afterthoughts, interpreted here in terms of data. But I would caution that data is only one of the major sets of issues facing education in 2019. Just as human sciences are not all about the genome, learning sciences are not all about the datum.

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It’s about Trust, Stupid! Why Blockchain-based BlockCerts are the wrong solution to a false problem (0/3)

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 03:37
Serge Ravet, Learning Futures, Jan 30, 2019

This is the first of what may be three or four articles on the subject. The key point in the this first post is this: "Trust is the mortal enemy of public blockchains." Or, to put the same point another way, the core message of blockchain technology is this: "distrust each other, the way I distrusted you." I would have though we had learned the limits of trust in this era of hack attacks, online scams and fake news, but maybe not. But more, even the tone of this article fails to inspire trust - the metaphors and imagery seem more appropriate to a junior year fraternity chat room that to a reasoned discussion of blockchain and academics.

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Improving reuse of design knowledge in a LMS

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 03:37
David T. Jones, Creative dissatisfaction, Jan 30, 2019

This is an article that moves seamlessly from a problem with ugly text in Blackboard (who hasn't had that problem?) to a general commentary about the need to be able to develop and reuse design patterns in an LMS environment. This becomes even more critical, writes David T. Jones, as we consider the implications of next generation digital environments that involve the use of multiple applications in online learning. "Design for learning needs to be more forward-oriented. This means that when engaged in designing for learning proactive thought needs to be given to what features will be required configuration, orchestration, reflection and re-design."

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Is it possible to decolonize the Commons? An interview with Jane Anderson of Local Contexts

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 03:37
Jennie Rose Halperin, Creative Commons, Jan 30, 2019

I admit to having mixed feelings about traditional knowledge (TK) lables. These are lables that denote traditional ownership and limitations on the use of indigenous cultural heritage and artifacts. You can view the lables here. I certainly understand the sentiment behind these lables. As the video accompanying the article makes clear, the colonial past has resulted in the appropriation and debasement of traditional knowledge from around the world, transforming it into Disney princesses or hot yoga. At the same time, I am not comfortable with limitations to the concept of public domain and limitations on access and use based on gender. And while in some cases the stewardship of traditional knowledge is known and obvious, in many other cases, it is not clear who speaks for a given tradition and why we should listen to just any voice telling us what we can and cannot do. I enter into any such discussion with an attitude of respect, of course, but respect does not entail obedience.

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Different Types of Learning Theories – Understanding the Basics

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 03:37
Thais, My Love for Learning, Jan 30, 2019

This is a quick outline description of some major learning theories. It appears in a new blog called My Love for Learning. The author is named Thais and promises to "share information about learning theories, instructional strategies, current trends in this industry, real examples and tools to help you grow in your eLearning career."

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How Much Artificial Intelligence Should There Be in the Classroom?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 03:37
Betsy Corcoran, Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge, Jan 30, 2019

“If our children are educated by AI teachers, then their potential can be fully realized.”  So said Squirrel AI co-founder Derek Li at a recent conference in China, according to this article and podcast episode. "Li painted AI as not just some pale substitute, but as ultimately superior to humans when it comes to some aspects of teaching" and "he hopes to provide each child with a super-power AI teacher that is the combination of Einstein and Socrates." Ah, but should he? Regulation is very important in this domain. "If the machine can learn from the internet and if everybody teaches the machine, that would be out of control."

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2019 Fosway 9-Grids for Learning Systems and Digital Learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 03:37
Fosway Group, Jan 30, 2019

I'm linking to this mostly for the diagram, since there's a spamwall blocking readers from the actual report (I gave my information so you don't have to). The focus is on the learning systems market for the UK and Europe (including learning managent systems (LMS) and Next Gen Learning Environments (NGLE). The category extends to talent managent system like Cornerstone, but what's most interesting is what's missing completely: Blackboard. Fosway says, "Too often, organisations have had to rely on a US-centric view," and this might be one reason why.

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Florida School Tests AI as Virtual Tutor for Online Course

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 03:37
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, Jan 29, 2019

This article is a rewrite of a press release issued a few days ago from Cognii about a trial of an AI system at Florida International University that "can automatically grade students' open-response (short essay) answers and extract rich pedagogical insights and analytics to improve faculty members' productivity." There's no reference or indication of progress from Cognii's 2016 trial at Colorado State University. Of course, the real value of such a system is to help students themselves write better essays (though I'm not sure whether using an AI to assess your essay before submission would count as cheating). This was the sort of approach described by Cognii's Dee Kanejiya in a 2017 article.

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Podcasting Can Work in Any Subject

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 03:37
John Spencer, Jan 29, 2019

What makes this post work is that it not only extols the virtues of podcasting and explains how it can help develop skills across a number of disciplines, it also spends a lot of time suggesting really good and grade-appropriate podcasting project ideas for students from grades 3 to 12. Actually, a lot of these would be good podcasting ideas for adults as well. The article also has a podcast version (naturally) so you can listen while you work.

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Getting Found, Staying Found

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 03:37
Public Knowledge Project, Jan 29, 2019

This is a document published by the Public Knowledge Project (who make Open Journal Systems) to help open access journals publicize themselves. Of course, a lot of the advice is relevant for other open access projects in general. A note on navigation: it isn't obvious when you go to the document - there's no 'next page' or anything like that. I spend several minutes looking for the link to download the document before I realized that the menu on the left hand side is your only navigation. Here's the announcement (the links in which may also lead you astray, which is why I'm linking directly to the resource here).

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VR cameras on the space station for your virtual spacewalk

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 03:37
Emory Craig, Digital Bodies, Jan 29, 2019

OK, I admit, I'm linking to this because I love the idea of a virtual spacewalk and I want to try it as soon as I can! That said, reading through the article naturally brings to mind additional thoughts. Like: what if I want to move? How would they handle that? In space, you could move in a full 360x360 degree sphere of directions, presumable with some simple jet-pack controls (one of the reasons I like No Man's Sky so much is that it really allows you to move freely and fluidly through the environment). But capturing the video for this kind of movement would create a crazy amount of data! I imagine we would scale up to is, and full-motion VR would be quantified by some sort of 3d movement resolution scale. The lowest would be '2', which is what we get in Google Street View - forward and backward, or maybe '4', which is what we get at an intersection. Maybe '6' would also allow you to move up and down. And so on.

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New Message Manual to Improve and Create Consistent Communications in Education

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Wed, 01/30/2019 - 03:37
Alesha Bishop, Getting Smart, Jan 29, 2019

According to this article, the Hewlett Foundation recently released Communicating a Shared Vision for Students and Education. I'm always wary of a 'shared vision' because in my experience there is no such thing. I'm also wary because this guide doesn't seem to be available online. The research for the document was gathered in documents by Hattaway Communication, including this one from 2017, and this one and this one from 2018. The documents are interesting because they give us a look behind the scenes of how a foundation's media messages are crafted. Reading them makes me wonder how much my own thinking may be been influenced by this marketing.

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Metadata for markdown / MkDocs

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 01:37
Phil Barker, Sharing and learning, Jan 28, 2019

I think the title of this should actually be 'markdown for metadata'. No matter. What we have here is a nice clear way of presenting metadata that is easy to write and easy to read. The formal is common in website configuration and scripting languages - so much so it has its own abbreviation, YAML (Yet Another Markdown Language). I think the result could be even simpler - it's not immediatelyu clear what the @ symbols are doing. But it's way better than ugly XML.

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Some reflections on the results of the 2018 national survey of online learning

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 01:37
Tony Bates, Online learning and distance education resources, Jan 28, 2019

Tony Bates reports: "The public report of the 2018 national survey of online and distance learning in Canadian universities and colleges is now available in English and French for free download on the survey web sites": https://onlinelearningsurveycanada.ca/publications-2018/ and https://formationenlignecanada.ca/publications-2018/ He also offers some comments on the results. First, "online learning still a small but significant component of post-secondary teaching." Additionally, "online learning is more widespread institutionally and of less variation in quality in Canada than the USA." Still, he writers, "The most important – and most difficult – is faculty resistance and lack of training." Finally, he writes, "we need to move beyond seeing online learning as just improving access (as important as that is) to seeing it as a key tool for developing 21st century skills."

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Patreon and Twitter are right about freedom of speech

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 01:37
Ben Werdmuller, Jan 28, 2019

I think this is a truism that people would do well to keep in mind: "The mechanisms and legal machinations of freedom of speech aside, any community that allows intolerance to flourish will in itself become intolerant." How this works in a completely decentralized system like Interplanetary File System (IPFS) is a good (and important) question.

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Supporting a Connected Galaxy of Knowledge

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 01:37
Gaby Appleton, The Scholarly Kitchen, Jan 28, 2019

This post outlines four principles which ought to characterize the knowledge infrastructure in the future (quoted):

  1. the information system supporting research must be source-neutral.
  2. components from different providers in the information system supporting research should work together.
  3. transparency... researchers want to know how that recommendation was arrived at, and why it is relevant to them.
  4. we must put researchers in control. People should be able to set their own preferences and parameters.

Right now, we don't have this anywhere. The closest we have is Google, which at least works, but which is opaque and beyond our control. In the academic world, none of the four apply. I cannot begin to calculate the cost our confused and fragmented system inflicts on society.

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Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?

Stephen Downes' OLDaily - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 01:37
Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian, Jan 28, 2019

This is generally a good article providing an overview of the contribution of David Chalmers to the consciousness debate. I like the way Chalmers frames the question as "the hard problem". Consciousness is not the sort of thing we can understand by understanding the physical mechanisms that produce it, it seems. But I disagree with the article's suggestion that the debate has only recently emerged. The problem of consciousness periodically produces some of the best work in philosophy, such as Thomas Nagel's What is it Like to be a Bat? For those interested in my own position on consciousness, you can always read my paper on the subject here (see also Matthias Mecher's summary and diagram).

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