OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 12, 2012

Postscript to “This Time Is Different: Enrollment and Employment Divergence”
Phil Hill, e-Literate, December 12, 2012.

Phil Hill updates his post from yeasterday, responding to comments from myself and Thomas Warger. In particular, he addresses my remark that "the apparent spike in enrollments is created by a lot of part-time and online learning" by adding full-time enrollments to his chart, which shows the same spike. He writes, "There are tremendous macro-economic stresses being placed on the higher education system due to the large increase in number of enrolled degree-seeking students without a corresponding large increase in the number of jobs available." He adds that "The effect of these macro-economic forces should force the system to come up with new, lower-cost, and more-flexible options for people seeking degrees." But more, he writes, the system has passed beyond the point of predicability. "I suspect we are seeing non-linear effects. We are leaving the previous status quo, and we are in transition to a new, unknown status quo."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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Secure Yourself by Using Two-Step Verification on These 16 Web Services
Chris Hoffman, How-to-Geek, December 12, 2012.

OK, I agree that passwords can be hacked and that two-factor authentication is more secure. For example, "Facebook’s 'Login Approvals' feature requires you to enter a code whenever you login from an unrecognized computer. The code will be sent  to your mobile phone via SMS." But I have resisted the repeated (and repeated, and repeated) entreaties of Google and others to use my mobile phone for this, because I know that they just want my mobile phone number (and hence, access to a billing account, courtesy of my phone service provider). It has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with marketing and data analysis. There are mechanisms to do it without a smartphone, but as you can see, it's a lot of fuss and bother (so much easier to hand over your verifiable phone identity). But more and more solutions are coming on stream, and two-factor authentication may well become mainstream (and mandatory) in the next year or two.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Marketing, Google, Security Issues]

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Openness Beyond the Course Container
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, December 12, 2012.

Alan Levine highlights a problem with the recent crop of open online courses: "It’s that weekly ramming speed pace that bugs me," he writes. "Just as a topic opens in this pace, the course zooms on to other topics. If you do not row along, you either go your own, or just give up. When not let people join the boat they want to be on, and decided where to go, how fast to row there?" I'm totally agreed. I signed up for the Scope Badges course, but while I was in South America it was blasting me with two writing assignments a day (and not much else, but that's a separate issue). I found the same thing with ds106 - they're on to video while I'm still messing around with audio. "Rather than making everyone go on the same boat going at the same speed, why not launch a fleet of boats," he suggests. I agree completely. But then it wouldn't be an open course in the model of EC&I 831 or ds106, it would be, well, a MOOC.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Video, Audio]

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Babyboomers Eat Babies, or a Weak Critique of Domain of One’s Own
Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, December 12, 2012.

isaac_eddyonlineidentity.jpg, size: 25025 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Jim Groom isn't particularly thrilled with recent criticism of his "A Domain of One's Own" presentation. I think that the presentation itself makes a good point; for my own part I find hosting my own domain insulates me from arbitrary policy changes and marketing practices common on hosted platforms such as Google, Facebook or Twitter. But critic Larry McCallum m,ay have a point about the presentation. He writes that Groom "uses a comic-book-superhero avatar, speaks in a steady stream of movie references, peppers his writings with high-wattage expressions ('excited', 'blown away'), and runs a sidebar of 'testimonials' adjacent to every blog post." And he - like myself - is rather less inclined than Groom to self-identify and express oneself through (mostly commercial) cultural icons and images.

I don't think this is generational, I think it's cultural. I would say that Canadians, for example, prefer a much more grounded, more local, softer, and more personal form of self-identification. We don't go in for marching bands, flag-waving, visual effects, super-heroes and explosions quite the way Americans do (probably no other culture does). We don't identify quite so much with corporate icons (other than hockey teams), scenes from movies or television stars. And we definitely don't do the sort of personal branding or self-marketing that we find south of the border. So the Groom style of presentation feels a bit plastic, glitzy, over-the-top and, yes, self-indulgent. That's OK; it works in his own environment. But maybe not so much here.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Branding, Twitter, Books, Video, United States, Marketing, Google, Canada]

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How Do Millennials Like to Read the News? Very Much Like Their Grandparents
Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, December 12, 2012.

This is an interesting result: "Young mobile readers don't want apps and mobile browsers that look like the future. They want apps that look like the past: 58% of those under 50, and 60% of Millennials, prefer a 'print-like experience' over tech features like audio, video, and complex graphics. That preference toward plain text "tends to hold up across age, gender and other groups." Pew reports: 'Those under 40 prefer the print-like experience to the same degree as those 40 and over.'" But I have an explanation: print (and print with images) give the reader control over presentation other formats do not. You can't really skim a video. You can't watch a video backwards the way you can read an article bottom-up. The only way to browse a video is to use text-based chaptger headings. It's not that readers are traditionalists. It's that they like control.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Experience, Audio]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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