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July 17, 2012

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The VLE vs. PLE debate
GrĂ¡inne Conole, e4innovation.com, July 17, 2012.

Conole discusses the PLE vs VLE (or LMS) debate of which my recent video was a part. There are additional videos including contributions from Helen Keegan, Jane Challinor, Steve Wheeler, Christina Costa, Joyce Seitzinger, Ilene Dawn Alexander, Chahira Nouhira and Dave Cormier. Conole writes, "the diagram shows how different learning scenarios can be mapped against two dimensions (formal vs. informal learning and VLEs vs. PLEs). So a traditional accredited course delivered through a VLE sits on the botton right, learners can augment that with study guides and materials provided by the institution in the VLE (bottom left). Many teachers also incorporate other tools, outwith the VLE (top right). Finally, something like a MOOC is located on the top left of the diagram."

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GitHub for Education, Revisited
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, July 17, 2012.

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The idea of a 'GitHub' for education is an idea that has some merit. It would be good to have a way to find learning materials and create one's own version of them. But I think that educators - who sometimes need instructions on how to use Twitter - and GitHub are a poor match. Even using software designed for the purpose, it is difficult to navigate the Git environment. Let's see what happens with browser-based programming environments and code libraries - if we can put the whole Git experience into the background, then I thgink we'll have a case where we can create a GitHub for educators.

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Into the Fray
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, July 17, 2012.

So this has been all over the news today - "A dozen more universities have signed partnerships with Coursera, a company that provides hosting services for massively open online courses (MOOCs)." These include the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, Edinburgh, Illinois, Toronto and Washington.

I gave my own reaction in this audio interview for Converge magazine. I note that, in addition to content, universities provide two key elements: first, practice and activities in the domain in question; and second, immersion into a community of practitioners associated with that domain. It is the former that characterizes the x-MOOCs (like Coursera) and the latter that characterizes c-MOOCs (like CCK08). But eventually the models will merge, at which point we see significant pressure on the traditional university model (but a great deal more access for individual learners).

Seb Schmoller writes: "Don't be put off by the slightly stodgy tone in parts of this just-released promotional video from the University of Edinburgh about www.ed.ac.uk/moocs. Instead, listen carefully to what Stanford's Daphne Koller has to say about scale and formative assessment in Coursera's new "breed" of free on-line courses, as well as to the comments from Vice-Principal Jeff Haywood about Edinburgh University's approach to quality assurance. [See also coverage by BBC, Guardian, The Times Higher.]" Meanwhile, Mark Guzdial passes along the email sent to all staff at Georgia Tech last night.

Related: this interview with Sebastian Thrun and David Evans called Udacity: Teaching Online, an online university that came about almost by chance. Lynn Zimmermann summarizes: "William Bennet, in an interview with Thrun for CNN, “asked Thrun whether his enterprise and others like it will be the end of higher education as we know it — exclusive enclaves for a limited number of students at high tuitions? I think it’s the beginning of higher education, Thrun replied. It’s the beginning of higher education for everybody." Exactly - that's the point of the whole exercise (for me, at least).

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Les Cours En Ligne Ouverts et Massifs
Stephen Downes, YouTube, July 17, 2012.

I'm hoping my French was OK for this video (various people on Twitter told me it was) as I attempt to summarize the objective of a MOOC and how to succeed as part of an introduction for a French-language MOOC being offered through this web site. I don't speak enough French day-to-day (especially now that funding for lessons has disappeared) and this was good practice. One person suggested on Twitter "I wouldn't use massif for a course, perhaps cours en ligne ouverts et de grande envergure." That would also get around my difficulties with the plural of massif. :)

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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