July 22, 2013
School of Open, Rrround 2! Sign-up is now open
July 22, 2013
I will be on vacation in August so I won't be taking these or any other courses. Still: "The School of Open is offering its second round of facilitated courses! Starting today, you can sign up for 7 courses during a two week period." Courses in clude a couple of copyright courses (one for Australians, annother for Americans), Creative Commons for K12, Designing Collaborative Workshops, and more.
The course that caught my eye was Open Science. It was designed in a 'course sprint' during Open Data Day last February. Debbie Morrison, who took part, writes, "as I write this, I’m realizing that this is what a cMOOC looks like, what it is— learners collaborating to build knowledge." So I wonder if the best part of the course experience was in the design. See also a report from Billy Meinke, a summary of the sprint, and the course documents in Google Drive (to view folder contents you have to click the little arrow; clicking on the folder title just results in an error).
Weigh In or Pay
July 22, 2013
A little off topic, but nonetheless yet another reason why I am so happy we have public health care in Canada; we have nothing like this, and frankly, I can't even imagine it: "By November, faculty and their spouses or domestic partners covered by university health care must complete an online wellness profile and physical exam. They’re also required to complete a more invasive biometric screening, including a “full lipid profile” and glucose, body mass index and waist circumference measurements. (Mobile units from the university’s insurance company, Highmark, will visit campuses to perform these screenings.)" Can you imagine the reaction in the U.S. if government tried to force this on people? But it's a private insurance company, so it's ok...
Dark discussions with educators
July 21, 2013
Bryan Alexander's 'Dark Post' has been resonating with educators since it appeared last week. "Never in my professional life have I heard so much fear coming from educators." In it, he summarizes educators' comments and fears, as follows:
- little confidence out there in higher education’s business model, with cuts to departments and misguided spending priorities
- professorial tenure declining and adjuncthood on the rise; nobody sees tenure making a comeback
- fear of technology - MOOCs will kill the class, data will dehumanize college, ebooks will kill the book
- political gridlock, a lack of bipartisanship, a disaster in the making int he K12 system
"They don’t mention political heroes who will help them." Nobody will help them. The college and university system has set itself aside for too many years. A country with a greater commitment to public education would find resilience in the support of the people. In Canada and in Europe people march in the streets to support education funding. We don't see that in the U.S., and the people taking the system apart are free to move with impunity.
Learning 100! How Jiffy Lube Upgraded Training
July 21, 2013
This is an interesting case study of 'Jiffy Lube University' (interesting to note how all of these initiatives are called a 'university'), which offers employees and (perhaps more importantly) new franchise owners a series of online courses about the business. A key to the system, reports the article, is the personalization. "It gives you a sense of where you stand personally in terms of the training standards that are set. Individual employees can now take control of their own development." JLU uses a customized SumTotal platform, designed and developed by Intercom. Some of its courses are recognized by the American Council on Education and can be converted to college credit.
Scaling Education: The Absurd Case of the MOOC
July 21, 2013
I think this commentary comes tantalizingly close to solving its own problem, but ultimately fails. The point of departure is Ghanashyam Sharma's criticism of MOOCs, covered here last week. The premise is that the MOOC does not address background, culture, personality and literacy, at least, not the way "speaking to a room of about 25 graduate students" can. We need to carefully consider what it means to take education to scale, Cameron Norman says. "We need to design our educational experience using the same principles or design thinking we would apply to any other service of value... What is being lost in the effort to make a common experience among a global classroom?"
Well, some people (ahem) have thought about this. What do we learn from other services? Does Apple make a different version of the iPod for each group 25 people? No, that would be absurd. Did Stephen King write a different version of The Dome for each reading circle? Of course not. The idea here is that you create something that can be easily modified or used when, where and how people want to use them. That's what our MOOCs did - we took the design thinking of an internet application, and applied it to an online course. And then we encouraged people to adapt, reuse, fold, mutilate and spindle our online work in their own fora to make it work for them. The approach to scale in online learning is exactly not to facilitate a common experience, but rather, to facilitate an experience each person can make their own.
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