OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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February 8, 2011

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Validation of Competencies in E-Portfolios: A Qualitative Analysis
Olaf Zawacki-Richter, Anke Hanft and Eva Maria Bäcker, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, February 8, 2011.

The authors write, "Along with the Bologna process in Europe came the paradigm shift from input orientation (what shall be learned?) to outcome orientation (what should students be able to do?)... While the conversion of course organisation has been almost completed, competence-based assessment can be regarded as an 'unsolved assignment' within the European context." That's not though any lack of effort, and this special issue of IRRODL looks at prior learning, especially with respect to competencies and e-portfolios. This paper defines four classes of competence and describes how they inform e-portfolio development. "The prerequisite for competence-based assessment is that the courses of study are themselves based on recognised competence models, which contribute to making a portfolio not merely a collection of artefacts but a systematic presentation of acquired competencies accessible to an assessment by third parties." Other items from this issue include this short note on the emergence of a community of PLAR scholars in Canada, Judith Brown on how connections between different types of learning can be represented in experiential learning e-portfolios, and a step-by step look at a University PLA by Sara M. Leiste and Kathryn Jensen.

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ComFit Online Learning Center
Various Authors, Website, February 8, 2011.

Emily Denaro from ComFit writes, "We are a low-cost, online learning center that helps students pinpoint their exact learning needs and provides them with the tools to fill their skill-gaps. The way it works is as follows: Students take assessments in the core areas of math, language arts, and reading. When they answer a question incorrectly, mini-lessons that regard that question's concept, such as multiplication or verb tense, are put in their 'workout log.' The student then works through concise lessons, test their knowledge in quizzes, and gauge their progress through online reports that track the entire process." It's based on Sweller's cognitive load theory, and while the structure and approach are completely different from what we've been doing here, it seems relevant to share the model, for those interested in the alternative approach.

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Research in Learning Technology - previously ALT-J - Open Access from 2012
Various Authors, Association for Learning Technology, February 8, 2011.

From Seb Schmoller, by email: "From January 2011 ALT's journal has the new name "Research in Learning Technology, the journal of the Association for Learning Technology"; but other much more important changes are afoot. Following last year's reprocurement process, and with the support of ALT's Research Committee and of the journal's Editorial Board, I am happy to report that from January 2012 our journal will be fully Open Access, produced in partnership with the Swedish publisher Co-Action Publishing." Couldn't happen to a nicer journal.

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Personal Learning Environments for Inquiry in K12
Wendy Drexler and Chris Sessums, University of Florida, February 8, 2011.

We have another entry into the world of open online courses: "This course, PLEK12, will allow you to explore the use of personal learning environments both for inquiry in K-12 education and for your own professional development PLEK12 is a free, open course--there are no financial obligations to participate." I look forward to watching Wendy Drexler and Chris Sessums manage their own MOOC entry. Here's the weekly content starting from this week. Here's the syllabus.

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Parents: It's Just a Game
Michael Smith, Principal's Page, February 8, 2011.

Let's hear it for Hockey Canada not just for coming out with the right message - "Relax, it's just a game" - but for being media-smart about the way they do it.

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Dean Groom, Weblog, February 8, 2011.

Dean Groom challenges the dominant teaching-learning paradigm by pointing to the new contender: gaming systems. "The Gaming Paradigm is both flirtatious and promiscuous with learning theory – not devoid of it. This makes it a truly powerful (dangerous, yet not irrelevant) learning network ecology. Game communities know that when learning occurs, the environment gains more power – and we want to not only feel powerful, but be powerful.

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AChecker 1.1 Released
B. Nicolle, CeLEA, February 8, 2011.

From CeLEA: "AChecker 1.1 has been released. AChecker is a free open source Web content accessibility evaluator used to assess Web pages for conformance with international accessibility standards." Use the Public AChecker>/a> to evaluate your Web site or download AChecker to install a copy of your own.

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A Model Lessons Learned System – The US Army
Nancy Dixon, Conversations Matter, February 7, 2011.

The evolution of knowledge management depicted in this description of the US Army's system is typical of the evolution happening across the board. Through the last fifteen years we have seen a migration from the leveraging of explicit knowledge to leveraging of experiential knowledge to, finally, the leveraging of collective knowledge. There are five major elements in the resulting system: data collection; data repository; knowledge transfer process; implementation methods; and data mining and analytics. Via Jim McGee.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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