OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 7, 2012

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The Tin Can, Can
Dennis Calahan, Learnstreaming, September 7, 2012.

I've always thought of the web page as the river rather than the static document - that's why I've long been interested in things like RSS (and why I find document-based scholarship, like the authoring of academic papers, so frustrating). So it's interesting for me to read Dennis Calahan write "I think of Tin Can as 'streaming what you’re learning' or learnstreaming." This takes us right into Dave Winer's 'river of news' (or, in this case, 'river of learning'). Be sure to see his JSON River format, just released. Think of Tin Can - the new specification being designed to replace SCORM - as the way you describe the objects used in a learning conversation, as in activity theory. Heady? Maybe - but this is very much in line with my own Speaking in LOLcats thinking, so I think there's something to it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: SCORM, RSS, Metadata, Online Learning, Academia]

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A Gust of Wind Blows Across HE…
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, September 7, 2012.

I've captured a lot of this already but Tony Hirst pulls it together into a nice neat package. Tellingly, he writes, "as the big publishing companies develop a stranglehold over education content, assessment proctering, and assessment setting, should we start thinking about notions of plurality." The story, as Hirst writes, is still running. None of this should be a surprise to anyone - the only people caught off-guard are those who don't know whether they want to be invested in this online education thing in the first place.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Push versus Pull, Assessment, Online Learning]

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The challenge of coherence
George Siemens, elearnspace, September 7, 2012.

Another presentation from George Siemens (I wish he would record the audio of his talks, so we could listen to them). The presentation asks how learners develop a deep and nuanced understanding of how concepts are related when learning occurs in fragments. It's a good question - I remember the English teachers objecting when we structured courses into modules at Brandon Adult Learning Centre in 1998. Some learning objectives, the said, cover entire courses. OK, so it's Siemens, so the answer will be formulated in terms of complexity and networks. He writes, "within complexity and networks we seek coherence and relatedness." Then we're off into a discussion of the need to understand the relatedness of things (probably within a theoretical structure or model). Oh it's all so unsatisfying! I want a transcript I can address directly. Because, to me, it's not about understanding the connections, no more than undertsanding a brick is about understanding its constituent atoms. Knowing that the knowledge is composed of connections doesn't mean that understanding the concept is the same as understanding the connections.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Networks, Learning Objects, Online Learning, Audio]

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The Network University in Transition
Bob Hanke, MIT 7 Conference, September 7, 2012.

Interesting discussion of Russell Francis's assertion that students are "breaking away from the top-down hierarchical structures of the traditional university and educating themselves in virtually figured worlds that transcend institutional and geographical boundaries." The claim is first compared to similar remarks by McLuhan about the impact of radio and television on education. Bob Hanke responds that "that the technical milieu exhibits tendencies and countertendencies within a metastable system." The university has a way of absorbing change. "The live diffusion of cyberpedagogy has become normal in large lecture courses." While "perhaps students will have more user agency to stretch the socio-technical boundaries of higher education," he writes, "a centrifugal tendency towards open education is offset by a centripetal countertendency." Universities, when threatened, will cede just enough power to sustain their importance.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

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MOOCing On Site
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, September 7, 2012.

Another MOOC platform vendor has signed a deal to support in-person testing. "There’s been a lot of talk about how the whole online methodology is not able to verify identification,” said Anant Agarwal, the president of edX, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "This will take online learning to a next level," he said. According to the article, "students who pass exams at a Pearson testing center will be given a certificate that notes that their final exam was proctored." The focus is on university courses, but the MOOC+test approach will be a major play in corporate and compliance learning. Hence, for example, we see companies like Thompson expand compliance training for banking, brokerage and securities firms, and Wolseley focus on its line of customer service training courses developed with suppliers including Ideal Standard, Worcester Bosch, Honeywell and Polypipe. Even companies like Papa Johns are adopting the new approach to enable staff to complete the Food Safety Level 2 certification. Meanwhile, the Chronicle reports that Colorado State University will grant credit to students who complete a Udacity course and pass the test.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment, Online Learning, Tests and Testing]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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