by Stephen Downes
Apr 07, 2015
The Virtues of Moderation
The Yale Journal of Law & Technology,
This is a careful, deep, sophisticated article that consumed a large chunk of my morning working my through its 68 pages of detailed explanation and rich referencing. In many respects, this account of internet moderation can be considered authoritative. To view the taxonomy itself, view the table of contents, where we can see listed techniques, distinctions between types of moderation, and community characteristics. There are four case studies. As a note of caution, however, I draw attention to the author's four overall conclusions: moderation is complex; moderation is diverse; moderation is necessary; and moderation is messy. These conclusions are used to draw some 'lessons for law' in the area of the Communications Decency Act and copyright enforcement. This to my view, however, represents a not-so-subtle shift from communities on the internet to the internet as community. And it is by no means clear to me that the taxonomy, nor the conclusions, apply to the internet as a whole. And yet I feel that legislators and critics, on reading this article, will feel such a pull inevitable. At any rate, this is a must-read. Image: Best of Metafilter. Via Jessamyn West, Facebook.
The Future of On-Campus Higher Education?
Inside Higher Ed,
I'm not sure exactly when this came out (it's copyrighted 2100) but it's more Stanford hubris, 'discovering' a future the rest of us have been talking about for years. Here are the major elements:
- Education will be fully envisaged as a lifelong journey, rather than a one-shot, four-year stint
- The education will focus more on skill acquisition than disciplinary topics and therefore the university will be organized around competency hubs, rather than academic fields
- The education model will move from an industrial revolution-style, one-size-fits-few freshman/sophomore/junior/senior classification to a personal-paced learning program
- The school will move away from having students declare a major, toward having them declare a purpose
Of these, the last is the most interesting. But I have the feeling that, in the end, 'purpose' will be selected from a drop-down list. Because, you know, standardized vocabulary.
ClassDojo: Do I Want it in My Kid's Class?
New Tech City,
According to this article, "one out of every two U.S. schools has a teacher tracking that kind of data with one extremely popular app, ClassDojo." According to their blog, they have a user base of "millions more in over 100 countries." The application encourages and rewards specific behaviours in class (see the introduction) such as teamwork, participation, working hard, participating and persistence. Penalties are applied for things like disrespect, talking out of turn, being unprepared or being off-task. The marketing is viral, with one teacher recommending it to others. There have been criticisms of the service, notably from the NY Times, over privacy concerns, to which the company has responded. New Tech City reports, "Sam Chaudhary, co-founder of ClassDojo, tells us flatly 'we are not a data company.' He explains how he plans to grow a tech company without harnessing user data." Via Alexander Russo.
edX MOOC Research Gives Clearer Picture, Challenges Assumptions
The results from one LMS and 68 courses do not define the picture of learning for all time. But it's hard to deny that they're in a different league from the stereotypical 'class of 40 psychology undergrads' when it comes to research on students and learning. So I'll grant them that. And their research replicates much of the work that Fournier and Kop have found working with connectivist MOOCs (a far more substantial body of research that doesn't make the pages of Campus Technology because it's not from MIT, but should). Some of the significant things: First, "equity cannot be increased just by opening doors." Second, "researchers have taken a stand against the idea that energy needs to be put into improving completion rates of MOOCs." Third, "emphasis on formalizing the 'flow of pedagogical innovations' between the MOOCs and their face-to-face counterparts on campus." Image: NY Times.
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