by Stephen Downes
Jan 06, 2015
No Discernible Growth in US Higher Ed Online Learning
So, this is interesting. According to Phil Hill, "Based on the official Department of Education / NCES new IPEDS data for Fall 2013 term, for the first time there has been no discernible growth in postsecondary students taking at least one online course in the US." Now there is of course considerable room for growth outside that one metric. But if this has stalled, one wonders what else is happening. Possibly it reflects lower overall enrolment. Or possibly it represents a shift in private institutions back to in-person education 9which would be their market differentiator over time). Or perhaps it reflect the impact of informal online on traditional learning.
This document has been circulating around the Twittersphere, and while I won't be signing it I think it's worth sharing. Why won't I be signing it? Well, mostly, because I don't really see it as a manifesto, properly so-called. Slogans like "the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed" and "kids are people too" are both old and overused, and more importantly, do not represent any sort of call to action.
Here's What Some Teens Are Using Instead Of Snapchat And Instagram To Share Pictures In Class
advertises describes AirDrop, an application for Apple iPhones. The underlying technology is overtaking Near-Field Communications (NFC) and depends on a combination of Bluetooth and Wifi but is Mac-only. An equivalent, AirDroid, exists for Android phones. As phones are increasingly able to function as wireless hotspots we will see more applications like this that allow direct peer-to-peer sharing. Similar applications also exist for the other phones, and InstaShare is multi-platform, but unfortunately is adware. Another option is SendAnywhere, which has received rave reviews. Because the peer-to-peer sharing is encrypted and does not use any public internet services, it is undetectable by service providers; the only way to discover illegal file sharing to to monitor the devices directly, which I think most people would oppose. So we're in for another round of (albeit slower-moving) file sharing, which this time might be unstoppable.
Academic Journals: The Most Profitable Obsolete Technology in History
According to this article, academic journals are out of date and overpriced. "A better approach to academic publishing is to cut out the whole notion of publishing. We don't really need journals as traditionally conceived. The primary role of traditional journals is to provide peer review and for that you don't need a physical journal--you just need an editorial board and an editorial process." Sure, there's an expense - but it's hard to imagine it equalling the millions of dollars institutions pay to publishers every year.
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