OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
Aug 13, 2014

Active players in a network tell the story: Parsimony in modeling huge networks
Amit Rechavi, Sheizaf Rafaeli, First Monday, 2014/08/13

One problem with studying networks is the huge amount of data generated. But what if you just studied the active members of a network, thus reducing significanty the data that hs to be crunched? Would it be reliable? In some cases, yes. "The partial network has several basic topological parameters that correlate with activity parameters of the entire social network and, hence, make it suitable for depicting the dynamic parameters of the huge network." There's a risk, though. By definition, for example, dropouts would no longer be counted in, say, MOOC statistics, effectively eliminating dropout rates as a measure. But then again, that might not be a bad thing.

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Are Courses Outdated? MIT Considers Offering ‘Modules’ Instead
Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, 2014/08/13

More on the move to shorter courses. "That question is a major theme of a 213-page report released on Monday by a committee... exploring how [MIT] should innovate to adapt to new technologies and new student expectations." It's the sort of thing, though, that works uniquely online: "The logistics of 10-minute lectures on a residential campus would be infeasible—the setup time and the time to walk between classrooms would be too great.” What this tells me, though, is that things like the setup time and the walk are essentially waste produced by in-person learning. But I guess the Chronicle wouldn't see it that way.

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Bad practices in mobile learning
Michael Trucano, EduTech, 2014/08/13


Yes, there are failures in the deployment of learning technology, writes Michael Trucano. For example, "the one tablet per child project in Thailand 'has been scrapped' [and] the decision of the school district in Hoboken, New Jersey (USA) to 'throw away all its laptops'." But "Learners would not be terribly well served if educational planners in 2014 simply decided to emulate the impulses and actions of Silesian weavers back in 1844 and smash all the machines in reaction to the spread of new technologies."

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Incredible Images via Wellcome
Doug Peterson, doug - off the record, 2014/08/13


Another source of free (Creative Commons licensed) images. Doug Peterson writes, "You would be hard pressed to find a comparable collection.   I came across the site while looking for some World War I images the other day and, I’ll confess, I stayed and explored the site far longer than I ever expected."

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Federal Reserve Board backs up e-Literate in criticism of Brookings report on student debt
Phil Hill, e-Literate, 2014/08/13

The 'Brookings Report' has been cited by some as a reason to doubt that student loan repayments pose a significant economic risk. The authors write, "Despite the tremendous interest in the perceived problems in the student loan market, there is relatively little empirical evidence to support the discussion." My own view is that we will see dramatic and immediate evidence of the risk should interest rates rise significantly. But we don't need my intuition; there is data showing the Brookings Report is misleading. There is, writes Phil Hill, "clear evidence that the student loan crisis is real and will have a big impact on the economy and future student decision-making."

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Using technology in music teaching – my workflows
Simon Dring, drummer / teacher, 2014/08/13

As I read posts and articles on education technology and digital pedagogy I find myself often wishing that writers would be more reflective. In an article about, for example, the workflow involved in teaching music online, the important bits aren't the broad overviews that anyone could figure out - creating handouts on Sibelius, storing notes on box.com, typing quick notes using of Drafts. What's interesting and relevant are the details that come of direct experience. That's what's missing in this article, and so many other articles like it. Go deep - how do you use these technologies, where do you do your writing and teaching, what mindset to you adopt to frame your lesson?

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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