OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 28, 2013

MOOC-Covered Towers? Online Education's Coming Impact on Traditional College
Scott D. Miller, Huffington Post, January 28, 2013

I tend not to link to Huffington Post articles because the pages have so many widgets they're unpleasant to read. But I wanted to like to this item, the upshot of which is "The challenge is to figure out how to embrace MOOCs and other technological innovations so that they best complement, not replace, that primary and original learning experience." Fair enough, but as Lydia Cline points our in an article, Udacity recently sold a MOOC to San Jose State University, and she suggests (in this LinkedIn thread) that "what I see happening is the flagship MOOC providers (the ones run by Ivy League profs) selling canned courses to all other schools, and the profs at those schools being turned into TAs for the courses. Or just fired and replaced with cheaper TAs." Of course, thus has ever been the lament of traditional faculty regarding online learning. And it begs the question: if they can be replaced by a MOOC, for half the cost or less, why shouldn't they be. Most responses are, if course, in the form of "well they can't be." Well, fine, if so then do what you do and quality will out. But what about the oither possibility? What then?

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Traditional and Online Courses, Quality, Experience, Silicon Valley, Online Learning]

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Moving Towards a Culture of Learning #MOOCs
Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org, January 28, 2013

Miguel Guhlin (citing Lisa M. Lane) divides MOOCs into three categories:

  • Network-based MOOCs - "the goal is not so much content and skills acquisition, but conversation, socially constructed knowledge, and exposure to the milieu of learning on the open web using distributed means."
  • Task-based MOOCs - "emphasize skills in the sense that they ask the learner to complete certain types of work."
  • Content-based MOOCs - "the ones with huge enrollments, commercial prospects, big university professors, automated testing, and exposure in the popular press..."

People haven't really been talking about the task-based courses, but these are probably the most interesting of the bunch, as the tasks can be automated, and the system can step you through a series of actvities. Here I'm thinking of sites like Duolingo, which steps you through language instruction, or Codecademy, which teaches you Python (among other things).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Tests and Testing, Ontologies]

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Making Off I Congreso y II Feria de Innovación Educativa ÁVACO 2012
Monica Leguizamón, YouTube, January 28, 2013

Six minute video created while I was in Ibague, Colombia. I am responding in real-time to questions posed to me, so I'm not speaking as quickly as I might with prepared text. Still, it gives a good overview of my thoughts on e-learning and especially e-learning in Latin America. The video is in Spanish, my remarks are in English, with Spanish subtitles.

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

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The Post-2015 Development Agenda: time to learn and connect
Alicia Mitchell, eLearning Africa News Portal, January 28, 2013

Though rates have varied a lot, access to education in Africa has been improving. But it has not proven to be a panacea. "The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has found that over half of the global extremely poor live in a household where the head does, in fact, have some degree of education. This means that education in and of itself is not currently a guaranteed path out of poverty." Of course, bobody should have presented it as such; education is a necessary but not sufficient condition. That's why it's worrisome to see access to ICT being portrayed in the same light. While it's true "an outlook that fails to recognise the essential role ICT can play in both economic and personal growth is unhelpful," access to ICT is again a necessary but not sufficient condition. The disparity between rich and poor counters the beneficial impacts of education and access to ICT, and these cannot be offered in lieu of a general committment to social equity, not in Africa, nor anywhere else.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Africa]

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Revolution Hits the Universities
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, January 28, 2013

Thomas L. Friedman gushes about MOOCs. "I can see a day soon where you’ll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world — some computing from Stanford, some entrepreneurship from Wharton, some ethics from Brandeis, some literature from Edinburgh — paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion. It will change teaching, learning and the pathway to employment." I think we need to understand that 'best' does not mean (as it currently seems to) 'best marketed', and that the entire world will be competing to offer online learning, not just the Harvard-Stanford-MIT nexus.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Scotland, Traditional and Online Courses, Online Learning]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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