OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 7, 2013

How Texting Can Keep Teens on Track to College
Ben Wildavsky, The Quick and the Ed, March 7, 2013

Ben Wildavsky reports on a study that shows a "remarkably cheap and easy technology 'nudge' can keep students on track to matriculate." The idea is to send messages to students over the summer (the report focuses on "low income" students, but that seems a bit patronizing) to offset the effects of "summer melt," or the loss of gains made in the previous school year. The texts were sent "to remind them about tasks, such as signing up for freshman orientation and placement tests, and offering help with deciphering financial aid letters and the like." Neat idea, realtively easy to try. Of course these students would need to (unlike me) actually read their text messages.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Assessment]

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Taking the Testing Effect Beyond the College Freshman: Benefits for Lifelong Learning
Ashley M.D. Meyer, Jessica M. Logan, Psychology and Aging, March 7, 2013

I've been seeing research recently pointing to the utility of testing, such as this item (cited here). I don't see this so much as evidence in favour of testing per se but rather as an instance of the 'use-it or lose-it' phenomenon: tests are a way of using knowledge, and hence constitute a form of practice with that knowledge. Other kinds of practice - things as simple as using flash cards and as complex as applying mathematical formular to caclulate geode densities - will also produce this effect. That it is an effect, and that it persists even in later years, is significant. (Note that this journal article is a link that worked in my office; if it doesn't work at your home because of a subscription paywall, please accept my apologies and let me know).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Subscription Services, Assessment, Tests and Testing]

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‘Binge Learning’ is Online Education’s Killer App
Eli Dourado, The Ümlaut, March 7, 2013

Well this is an interesting perspective, but it makes sense: "a more natural way to learn than traditional educational structures can offer: develop an interest and mercilessly indulge it until another interest supersedes it. It is a method that conserves the mental energy associated with willpower, leaving more of the brain’s resources to focus on the material itself." The phenomenon is associated with the recent phenomenon of "binge viewing," where a person will watch all or many of a television program's episode over Netflix (me: guilty). "Online education, if we do it right, could be like having an exceptionally well-rounded personal tutor who is willing to indulge any interest at any level of desired intensity."

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

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An OER architecture framework: Need and design
Patricia B. Arinto , International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), March 7, 2013

According to the author, "This paper describes the impact of the shift to open and distance e-learning (ODeL), as this trend might be called, on the course design practices of faculty members at a small single-mode distance education university in the Philippines." It's based on "a qualitative study of the ODeL course design practice of 10 UPOU academics." Findings centred on four aspects of course design: content development, teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessment of learning. They show how teachers feel limited when working online, for example, "the reduced opportunity in online teaching contexts for providing direct instruction via lectures." Based on this, the author proposed a framework for developing online and distance education instructor skills. More articles are available from the latest IRRODL, released today.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Traditional and Online Courses, Assessment, Online Learning, Teaching Online, Academia]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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