by Stephen Downes
Oct 17, 2014
Our Digital Futuire: A Crowdsourced Agenda for Free Expression
"At its best," reads the executive summary of this report, "the Internet encourages us to share, use our creativity, and express ourselves freely. It fosters the same key experiences that help us preserve our imaginations and our capacity to learn as we grow from children into adults." Drawing from contributions from the community, the report makes three main recommendations:
- Respect creators
- Priorize free expression
- Embrace democratic processes
"Citizens, particularly young people, are increasingly questioning the legitimacy and effectiveness of traditional models of governance and hierarchical processes of decision-making; a new method befitting the era of participation is sorely needed."
It's not exactly what I had in mind when I talked about alternative assessment mechanisms recently, but you can see how this website, which rates students based on groupwork, easily fits the category. "A York University MBA grad has launched a website where college and university students can rate their classmates — up to five stars, with room for comments — on how they perform on the pillars of group work: teamwork, competence, dependability, work ethic and communication skills."
MOOCs: A Review of the State-of-the-Art
Ahmed Mohamed Fahmy Yousef, Mohamed Amine Chatti, Ulrik Schroeder, Marold Wosnitza, Harald Jakobs,
CSEDU 2014 - 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education,
This is quite a good overview of the current state of MOOCs with a number of good images, statistics and definitions, making it a great reference paper for future discussions. "84 peer reviewed papers were selected in this study. A template analysis was applied to analyze and categorize the MOOCs literature into 7 dimensions, namely concept, design, learning theories, case studies, business models, target groups, and assessment."
Launching the new Open Access Button. Push Button. Get Research. Make Progress.
Open Access Button Blog,
I'm sure every research has had the same experience: we do a search on Google or follow up a promising reference form some other paper, access the link, and are faced with nothing but a subscription wall. It's a daily occurrence for me, and to my min, these search results are nothing but spam. The Open Access Button is intended as a remedy. "We have gone from an idea to a really useful, workable bookmarklet which has helped track thousands of people running into paywalls. Our bookmarklet was great, we love it but we want to grow and make the Open Access Button better, we’re launching the new Open Access Button on Tuesday October 21st." See also: "Researchers want to be read, acknowledged and quoted."
New LMS Market Data: Edutechnica provides one-year update
Phil Hill gives us a look at a rich source of information about the LMS market, Edutechnica'a one-year update. Although the study is US-focused, it does also have data for the "anglosphere" (Canada, the US, the UK and Australia) (do read the Edutechnica post for an update on the nature of institutions studied). The major news is: Blackboard still leads, Canvas has overtaken D2L, and Moodle has a significant and still growing market share.
Where Has All the Learning Gone?
The Learning Lot,
It has been a couple weeks since the EDUCAUSE conference, but this retrospective is worth reading (and I was in Brazil so I can be forgiven for being a bit slow with this item). Rob Reynolds observes, "At EDUCAUSE, it seemed evident that the problem we are trying to solve is that of making our businesses -- our institutions, companies, products -- more successful." From where I sit, I think that this is probably the result of the withdrawal of public money from education - educators and technology companies look to where the money is, and increasingly, it's not students, it's business and industry.
Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers
It is tempting to want to simply import Germany's successful apprenticeship training model to the United States, says Tamar Jacoby, but such an idea should be approached with caution. For one thing, the system is expensive - from $25K -to $80K per apprentice. It also depends on significant government involvement in industry in order to create and maintain cross-industry standards. And it is focused on blue-collar training, which is seen as second-rate on this side of the ocean. But, on the other hand, the system is flexible and effective, it is popular, and it trains highly skilled workers who produce world-class machinery. But note the attitude: “German companies want to train,” one trade association executive told us, “because they know the schools can’t do it. Especially in today’s tech economy, vocational schools alone can’t prepare the workers we need.”
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