by Stephen Downes
Apr 15, 2015
OK, honestly, I don't understand all the details, but I think this - or something like this - is pretty important. Keybase is a website where you can "get a public key, safely, starting just with someone's social media username(s)." I used it to create my own public key and associate it with my accounts on Twitter and Github. So why is this useful? If someone wanted to send me an encrypted message, they could get the public key associated with my twitter account, use it to encrypt it, and send it to me; only I would be able to read it. You can also so you can request my key, get my proofs, and verify my identity in any software. It also allows me to digitally sign messages and other document, so you know I am the author of them.
Against close reading
There are some really good observations in this post. The practise of 'close reading' as it is widely taught involves "the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of text." A common criticism of social media and online reading is that students "find nuance, complexity, or just plain length of literary texts less to their liking than we did." I don't think they ever found it to their liking, but let's assume they do. Alex Reid asks, "What does it mean to read your Facebook status feed closely when what is being offered to you has been produced by algorithmic procedures that take account of your own activities in ways that you are not consciously aware?" It's not so much that close reading is irrelevant, but rather, that close reading has changed, and while students may be aware of the new nuances, the same is not clear of instructors still embedded in critical theory (and still bent with noses in books). As Reid says, "we should pay closer attention to the ways in which the operation of text is shifting." Image: Sheron Brown, found here.
The numbers game
Learning With Es,
The assignment of a numeric value to student work is a technology. It's actually a relatively recent technology. Why did we adopt it? Steve Wheeler asks the question and the closest he comes to an answer is in saying "marking of students' work is... about how their work measures up against standards." In the wider scheme of things, though, surprisingly few assessments are made this way. Consider the way you recognize a person in a crowd - do you rate each person ("she's 40% of my grandmother, he's 25% of my grandmother")? Of course not. Do you give numerical values to the correct way (and various incorrect ways) of going to the office in the morning? These alternative assessments are not about "how (to)... get them to understand what they need to do better next time." They speak to a different assessment technology, one not based on grades, but on recognition.
California’s multi-million dollar online education flop is another blow for MOOCs
The Hechinbger Report,
According to this article, "the Online Instruction Pilot Project has become another expensive example of the ineffectiveness—so far, anyway—of once-vaunted plans to widen access to college degrees by making them available online, including in massive online open courses, known as MOOCs." To be clear, in this particular project, "to make the program self-sustaining, non-UC students were allowed to enroll, too—for $1,000 to $2,000 per course—and to earn academic credit." So here's what the story really is: calling courses 'open' and then charging thousands of dollars for them didn't work, so, blame MOOCs.
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