I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


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How we scaled professional recognition for staff working with Learning Technology at the University of Edinburgh


This is a quick case study combining professional development with the University of Edinburgh's strategic digital plans describinbg “a digital culture that will culminate in a university where: every core service is fully digital; every educator is a digital educator; and every student is a digital student.” I'm actuallyu hoping the students will be real students. ;) Anyhow, the idea here is that the university identified "Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT) as an appropriate professional qualification for staff development" and then supported staff by holding regular meetings of the CMALT applicants group providing them with support to put together a portfolio. 

Today: 118 Total: 118 Santanu VasantSantanu Vasant, ALT, 2018/01/16 [Direct Link]

UBC Strategic Plan


Alex Usher captures an item of significance in UBC's new strategic plan. "Under Draft Strategies for Transformative Learning (page 14) it says: ”Reframe undergraduate academic program design in competencies rather than credit hours: we will move towards competencies as a primary metric of program structure and completion." I think this is areflection of a wider trend. Usher advocates caution. "Trying to move an entire major institution from one system to another in one go is like trying to do wheelies in a Sherman tank." Actually it's not that hard tp pop a wheelie in a tank; you just have to be going fast enough (pictured).

Today: 127 Total: 127 Alex UsherAlex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, 2018/01/16 [Direct Link]

Google Memory Loss


My experience is oddly the opposite: I am constantly setting Google to search only the last year because I keep getting irrelevant results from 2002. This is because the things I am searching for are often truly obscure. Tim Bray notwithstanding, Lou Reed’s Rock n Roll An­i­mal al­bum is not obscure. But the main point here is that Google "cares about giv­ing you great an­swers to the ques­tions that mat­ter to you right now." It keeps track of things like how popular a page is. Bray says Google "it needs to be in­dexed, just like a li­brary." It does not.

Today: 123 Total: 123 Tim BrayTim Bray, Ongoing, 2018/01/16 [Direct Link]

What I Wish I Knew When I Started ‘Active Learning


Discussion of active learning from the perspective of lessons learned. Some of it is overstated ("Students always come through (despite their fears).") Some of it is trivial ("I can’t control everything.  Neither can they.") But there are some good points: "Students are as afraid of active learning as we (profs, teachers) are" and "Almost nothing about the way we learn in school is 'natural.'" There's an emphasis on preparation in active learning which I think translates well to online lerarning.

Today: 124 Total: 124 Cathy DavidsonCathy Davidson, 2018/01/16 [Direct Link]

What Will You Do When They Come for Your Proxy Server?


This article begins on a negative note about the RA21 authentication project, but reconciles itself by the end. The premise is that IP-based access to paywalled scholarly publications is coming to an end and will be replaced by (something like) RA21, which is an identity federation. This makes sense because the current system for accessing publications - even ones your institution has paid for - is irredeemably broken. But the cost is pervasive tracking and data collection. And the intent is probably to end anonymous access as a counter to services like Sci.Hub. It will also create a greater burden on smaller publishers, which works perfectly for the majopr players. More: Aaron Tay’s Understanding Federated Identity, RA21 and Other Authentication Methods

Today: 144 Total: 144 Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe, The Scholarly Kitchen, 2018/01/16 [Direct Link]

The Rise and Fall of Baby Einstein


This is a case study that will probably be repeated for some time. Baby Einstein launched more than 20 years ago with the proposition that selected videos could propel children into advamced achievement. It was acquired by Disney in 2001. However, "Disney was forced to admit that the videos had no educational value and offered full refunds to parents who had bought them... The idea that a vaguely highbrow video can make a child smarter now sounds like a kind of old-timey tech utopianism, like the idea that social media would democratize the flow of information and unite people around the globe." Via Joanne Jacobs.

Today: 114 Total: 238 Ruth Graham, Slate, 2018/01/15 [Direct Link]

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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.