by Stephen Downes
Apr 13, 2015
McGraw-Hill, Microsoft Embrace Open Learning
D. Frank Smith,
According to the McGraw-Hill press release, educators will be able to build what they call "compound learning objects" using Microsoft Office and syndicate them using the McGraw-Hill platform. "Through this vision," they write, "educators, students and developers are able to personalize and enhance McGraw-Hill Education's courseware by creating and combining content that leverages the power of the company's adaptive and analytics platforms." McGraw-Hill has bought into the whole personalization thing. "The shift supports the increasing demands of educators and students to combine learning elements from multiple sources to create learning experiences that are distinctive, personalized and improve results." Via Michael Feldstein.
Kinect to Small Basic
Microsoft | Channel 9,
How much fun can you have in your programming classes (or many other classes!) with this? "Kinect for Small Basic is a set of extension object for Small Basic which allow anyone to program with the Microsoft Kinect Sensor and the information that it captures." With the Kinnect sensor and the right graphics card, you can create programs that respond to the human body. Via Alfred Thompson.
Fee payments lift MOOC completion rates
Australian Financial Review,
I am not at all surprised to hear that charging fees increases the course completion rate in online courses (I refuse to call fee-based courses MOOCs). As I have long argued, the low completion rate in MOOCs is reflective of the low level of risk, and was an attribute, not a problem. Low risk meant that people could sample MOOCs and use them however they want; add fees, and the purpose is limited and the risk is increased. If you want people to complete the MOOC then a fee will weed out those who are just browsing. It will also weed out those who can't pay, but who cares, right? It's all about quality, and fees will create quality, without the need to change anything else.
Why LinkedIn Matters
"Imagine," says Michael Feldstein, "that you wanted to do a longitudinal study of how students from a particular college do in their careers. In other words, you want to study long-term outcomes." Where would you go? LinkedIn, he argues, is the best (and only) source for this information. This makes it one of the most important services in education today. That's why, he says, "The primary value of the acquisition (of Lynda.com) wasn’t content. It was data. It was providing additional, fine-grained nodes on the career graphs of their users."
Driving Disruptive Innovation: developing agile and responsive module production
Little by Littlejohn,
"How," asks Allison Littlejohn, "should professional practice in the Open University evolve to facilitate agile and responsive module production?" It's a good question. In agile methodology you break out of the traditional ADDIE structure (in software design, the equivalent is called 'waterfall') and take a wholistic approach, designing iteratively, releasing frequently, and making adjustments based on feedback. So the professor can't simply "write the content" and then be done with it. So instead we see a "shift for academics from writing individual sections of a module to working on a common object means that the academics and media specialists now work together around the module resources (as a ‘mediating artifact’). The group work together in real time, rather than passing the resource back and forth from the academic team to the LTS team." (p.s. the reference to activity theory in the paper is completely spurious, as activity theory really has nothing to do with the principle of agile design). Image: innerHtml.
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