OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 27, 2012

A True History of the MOOC
Stephen Downes, September 27, 2012, Future of Education, Online, via Blackboard Collaborate

A one-hour live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar hosted by Steve Hargadon on the "true history" of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with Dave Cormier, Alec Couros, Stephen Downes, Rita Kop, Inge de Waard, and Carol Yeager. While a wave of courses from prominent universities are now labeled as MOOCs, we'll drill down on the connectivist roots of the early MOOC offerings and discuss the importance of the differences between them and the current breed. Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is here and a portable .mp3 recording is here. Mightybell Space: Resources, videos, links, and conversation about the interview can be found here.

[Link] [Audio]

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Merging Data Sets Based on Partially Matched Data Elements
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, September 27, 2012.

This is a difficult read (especially as the code is not authored with clarity in mind) but it's a really interesting topic. At issue is how you equate data elements that are only partially matched. For example, human readers have no problem knowing that the string "S. Korea" and the string "South Korea" refer to the same country. But to a computer, this is a difficult problem. This post describes one algorithm for matching these sorts of pairs. You might think, it's just country names, do it by hand. But gRSShopper extracts author data from posts. Are "Clayton Wright" and "C.R. Wright" the same person? I have 8617 author records; I can't do it by hand. So - a difficult but significant problem.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: RSS]

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Coming to Voice
Kelli McGraw, , September 27, 2012.

I like this: "Coming to Voice is a collection of ‘literary videos’ from students at Sir Joseph Banks High School. The video production by Westside is 5 minutes long, and showcases an innovative layering of student stories, voices, and animation." Meanwhile, the most negative ed blog on the internet harrumphs, "Liberating students to discover the power of their voice? Sharing personal narratives? ... this impulse toward authenticity is profoundly idealistic, seductive, and wrong, writes Robert Pondiscio in The Atlantic."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Video, Web Logs]

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We Need to Talk About Kevin, er, Open Access
Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2012.

When critics talk of the 'sustainability' of open access, what they often mean is something like 'how can publishers keep making the same money they are now'? It's like a comment that was made yesterday, 'how do universities maintain revenue offering open courses?' My response is, "maybe they can't." It's like this post says: "the open access movement is not about finding ways to sustain publishers, any more than all of our health care reform solutions depend on maintaining the revenues of insurance companies." We need to remember, "There are two distinct issues in play:

  • Too few people have access to research, and that diminishes our ability as human beings to use the fruits of scholarship to better ourselves.
  • The current system is more expensive than it needs to be.

A simple answer to a complex problem is to find lower-cost ways of making research more widely available. This is doable. It’s not easy, but it’s doable." And, it being doable, it should be done, and the publishers and universities can take care of themselves, as they have always done.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Open Access]

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Nothing Can Stop It!
Giulia Forsythe, G-log, September 27, 2012.

Some fun illustrations of MOOCs. And as Giulia Forsythe says, "The best thing to come out of the MOOC phenomenon is that people are talking about teaching, instructional strategies, and assessment. Lots of people." 

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment, Paradigm Shift]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.