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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The rise of the campus meme


If there's one thing people at elite colleges know how to do really well, it's how to create an in-group. Thus so with memes. The typical meme has been around for ages; I wrote about them in 1999, before the first image meme. These appeared as "I can has cheezburger" in 2007. Since then the format has thrived; sites like Imgur keep the tradition alive. And, of course, so do blogging sites like Tumblr and social media, like Facebook, which of course had its own history as an elite thing. This article is about the latest in-group thing, the campus meme. The idea is that the memes are so obscure you'd have to be a student of the campus in order to get them. But they also become a way for outsiders to look in. "Meme groups have become a mainstay of the United States’ elite universities, and at many schools, there are far more members than students." The meme groups are all in Facbook (natch) and though you have to be logged in to Facebook to view the group home page, you can jump directly to specific images from the listings at the bottom of the article (someone did a lot of work collecting and collating them).

Today: 94 Total: 94 Sahil Chinoy, Ella Jensen, The Daily Californian, 2017/11/21 [Direct Link]



Matthias Melcher diagrams my post on Consciousness and extracts some of the essential elements in an easy-to-follow list of key concepts and ideas. "The greatest takeaway so far," he writes, "was the explanation of the mysterious ‘suddenness’ through recognition, see the last entry of my list."

Today: 106 Total: 106 Matthias Melcher, x21s New Blog, 2017/11/21 [Direct Link]

METRICS: a pattern language of scholarship in medical education


What is scholarship in colleges and universities? Maybe the best part of this post is the background reading you'll have to do to put it into context. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Ernest Boyer's long paper (160 page PDF) on Scholarship Reconsidered even though it dates from 1980 describing three major phases of evolution in the U.S. university system (noting, in particular, their original focus on teaching, and the relatively recent focus on research). Boyer's much shorter (12 page PDF) paper of the same name is an outline of the model (discovery, integration, application, teaching). Glassick, Huber and Maeroff's 1997 Scholarship Assessed model (goals, preparation, methods, results, presentation, critique) is also not to be missed (16 page PDF). Felder (2000) offers a nice summary (4 page PDF). The proposal in the METRICS paper is a seven-part model (meta, evaluation, translation, research, innovation, conceptual, synthesis). It seems to me that the elements of service and social change discussed in the longer Boyer paper have all but disappeared from all three accounts (though maybe they're part of translation and innovation). The need for excellence in teaching seems also to be receding as a goal.

Today: 100 Total: 100 Rachel Ellaway, David Topps, MedEdPublish, 2017/11/21 [Direct Link]

No, you’re not being paranoid. Sites really are watching your every move


Just for the record, my website does not track you when you visit. Even if you sign up for a newsletter, it barely acknowledges that you exist. I like it that way, because there's no data to lose. But my website appears to be the exception. "A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors' keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted." As Steven Englehardt reports in the study, "This data can’t reasonably be expected to be kept anonymous. In fact, some companies allow publishers to explicitly link recordings to a user’s real identity." Via Lindsay Muscato.

Today: 124 Total: 124 Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 2017/11/21 [Direct Link]

Where is Technology Taking the Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger offers projections about the new technological environment. "Machines have started to exhibit associative intelligence," he writes, "Associative intelligence is no longer just housed in the brains of human workers, but emerges from the constant interactions among machines, software and processes." It made me think of e-Trucks interacting with each other to form convoys, for example. Then I began to imagine road construction priorities being automatically determined by automated vehicles reporting bottlenecks and slowdowns. Anyhow, Wladawsky-Berger identifies several key changes in our political economy that result from this trend (quoted):

  • The criteria for assessing policies will change from 'growth' to 'job creation' (or maybe simply access to goods and services)
  • The criteria for measuring the economy will change, as virtual goods "generate unmeasured benefits for the user, cost next to nothing, and are unpriced"
  • Free market economies will be regulated. “In the distributive era free-market efficiency will no longer be justifiable if it creates whole classes of people who lose.”
  • "The next era will not be an economic one, but a political one... until we’ve resolved access we’re in for a lengthy period of experimentation"

I think these changes mught be even more significant than depicted here. If we're looking decades ahead, as Wladawsky-Berger, we may be looking at the replacement of money as a mechanism for exchange, as the assumulation of trillions of unused dollars in secret accounts has undermined its effectiveness for the purpose of regulating commerce.

Today: 170 Total: 284 Irving Wladawsky-Berger, 2017/11/20 [Direct Link]

Pearson, WTF? Badges, patents, and the world’s ‘least popular’ education company


Doug Belshaw has two bits of news about Pearson in this article. First, he reports on Pearson's new application to patent digital credentials (you know, like badges). It's only something Belshaw and others have been working on for years now. "he ‘background’ section uses language very similar to the Open Badges for Lifelong Learning working paper published in 2012 by Mozilla."  Additionally, he notes that " they have closed their DRM-Free ebook store, and will now proceed to delete all ebooks from their customers’ accounts." Well, I'm glad I didn't buy any eBooks from Pearson! "Perhaps I should have been more cynical, as they obviously are," writes Belshaw. "I note, for example, that Pearson waited until Mozilla handed over stewardship of Open Badges to IMS Global Learning Consortium (who have said they will not contest the patent) before filing." Will not contest? Seriously, IMS?

Today: 163 Total: 277 Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, 2017/11/20 [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.