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Good insight from Wes Fryer on Giulia Forsythe's visual note-taking. He writes, "Do you take visual notes yet? Have you taught your own students about visual notetaking or graphic facilitation yet? In addition to watching Guilia’s presentation video, check out some of the other videos and tutorials on the “Visual Notetaking” page of “Mapping Media to the Common Core.” Very inspiring ideas to both apply personally and share with students!" I tried taking visual notes during Idea City in 2003, which went well, but did not inspire me to abamdon my existing practice of converting presentations into articles on the fly.
I've long thought that the deal-breaker for big data and learning analytics is personal privacy. Now it appears events are bearing this out, a bit (PRISM notwithstanding). "A $100 million database set up to store extensive records on millions of public school students has stumbled badly since its launch this spring, with officials in several states backing away from the project amid protests from irate parents... The system is set up to identify millions of children by name, race, economic status and other metrics and is constructed in a way that makes it easy for school districts to share some or all of that information with private companies developing education software." Really? They didn't go for that...?
Glenn Kleiman writes, by email, "We have launched a program of MOOCs for Educators (MOOC-Eds) and have opened registration for our second MOOC-Ed, with more coming soon. Information is available at www.mooc-ed.org and I've attached the press release about the math one which starts July 1."
The most useful thing about this article is the link to EdX code, which as the author notes was released in early June. I took a quick look at the git source, there's a lot there, a mixture of Python, Ruby, and NodeJS, built on Django, all using a Mongo database. OK, at least it's not Java. But hosting this still looks like a major commitment. As for the article itself, it on the one hand demonstrates a certain hubris ("we are part of a movement that seeks to change the face of education") and on the other the simplistic 'magic bullet' approach to learning management ("we are now looking at whether professors should assign homework before the lecture, instead of after"). And despite the title, it doesn't really mention teachers at all, nor what they should be doing (aside from moving homework assignments).
Four newly minted (by the media) 'experts' on MOOCs discuss and debate the format. "To date, few discussions of what Aaron Bady has called “the MOOC moment” have focused specifically on how new models of online learning may impact the humanities. The Los Angeles Review of Books invited four distinguished professors, some of whom have experience teaching online, to reflect on the risks and opportunities MOOCs present for the humanities." One good quote from Davidson: "Higher education is becoming the province of the high achieving and the wealthy global 1%. I don’t want a society that massively excludes so many students, nor one where you have to be better than perfect to gain admission to your state university."
Interesting summary and reflection of a 2010 paper by Mackness, Mak and Williams on the four conditions (autonomy, diversity, openness, interactivity) I set for evaluating MOOCs. The paper itself is of limited value as a research paper, being based as it is on a survey of 22 people. But the discussion is interesting, as puzzling that in that recent post Downes doesn’t talk about asking participants about their experiences in a cMOOC at all." But some of the remarks in the paper show exactly why. Consider this: "The researchers provided quotes from two participants stating that they would have preferred more structure and guidance, and one course instructor who reported that learner autonomy led to some frustration that what s/he was trying to say or do in the course was not always 'resonating with participants'." So how is this relevant? So some people didn't like autonomy (one because they couldn't control outsomes) - what do I do, revise the criteria for assessing courses based on this? Clearly not."
Scott Wilson on the changing database landscape: "there has been a steady trickle of announcements from organisations switching from MySQL to MariaDB. From next month, MariaDB will replace MySQL as the default database in Fedora. And now RedHat has announced its doing the same. Even Wikimedia started using it." For my own part, I continue to use MySQL (also also Enterprise Red Hat, though my provider is switching to CentOS, which is responding to RedHat price increases). Also, PostgreSQL is a popular open source alternative to MySQL.
Interesting results from a survey of the first EdX courses. "Educational success in a MOOC, but also in a face-to-face class, is not a wholly individual activity," says Mintz, who was not involved in this study. "It has a social dimension. To put this another way, persistence and success are not simply products of cognitive factors. Noncognitive factors — in this case, social connection — are equally important." The full report is here.
Links and Resources(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)
(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)
Recent Popular Articles
The Purpose of Learning, February 2, 2011.
The Role of the Educator, December 6, 2010.
Deinstitutionalizing Education, November 5, 2010.
Agents Provocateurs, October 28, 2010.
What Is Democracy In Education, October 22, 2010.
A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
Things You Really Need to learn: http://www.downes.ca/post/38502
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
About Stephen Downes
Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".
At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.
Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.
Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.
I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.
Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.
This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.