by Stephen Downes
Feb 15, 2016
Calling out Pearson on Open Badges
Open Educational Thinkering,
There's nothing good, it seems, that commercial publishers won't spoil. The latest object of their attention is open badges. As Doug Belshaw writes in this article, Pearson is developing badging system called Acclaim that is an Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) compatible. So far so good. But the problem is, users will not be able to export their badges outside the Pearson application. "Given that Open Badges are portable digital credentials", writes Belshaw, "this kind of misses the point." I agree.
US professors aren’t getting any more accepting of online learning—but students definitely are
Amy X. Wang,
I've often said that change in learning and development will come from outside traditional institutions, not from within it. This short but telling article makes it clear why. Even 20 years into the digital age, the majority of professors still do not support online learning. In a very real sense, they are like stage actors who think the new-fangled media of movies, radio and television are just a fad. The qualify of the electric theatre experience, they will say, will never be as good as the live stage. Even if this is true (and I've seen lots of stage theatre, it's not) it doesn't matter. Electronic media open the doors. "The universal appeal is access," he (Jeff Seaman) says. "It’s not that online is inherently better or worse—it’s that taking a course online allows you to complete a program you couldn’t otherwise."
New Textbook Liberation Fund Aims to Save College Students $1 Billion
I'm not sure the target is attainable by this fund alone, but the objective is laudable. This press release announces the launch of the Textbook Liberation Fund which will provide $500,000 in "grants to faculty members or departments who want to transition their courses away from high-priced textbooks." Grant winners will be selected to work with a team from Skyepack, a company that "designs and curates custom digital course packs from Open Educational Resources, faculty created content, and licensed third-party content." Maybe this is just a way to employ low-cost content creators to fill out its content library, which it will then sell to educational institutions. Or maybe this will result in the creation of genuinely open educational resources. probably it's a bit of both. Via Cable Green, by email.
Sentiment analysis of student blog posts
David T. Jones,
The Weblog of (a) David Jones,
One of the more interesting types of analytics to be developed in recent years is sentiment analytics. At the National Research Council, for example, we have developed a mechanism for detecting the sentiment of a tweet. This project by David T. Jones uses the Indico sentiment analysis tool to evaluate the sentiment of blog posts. But what does it all mean? Well, it could be used as a tool to detect problems. "The 'red' blog post from the image above included words like “epic fail”. It tells the story of how the student had problems getting the new software for the course working. It shows as the third post the student made in the semester."
Mapping Our Pangea
Nocking The Arrow,
Metaphors are fraught with the risk of misunderstanding, but this one is among the more imaginative I've seen recently, and the risk is far outweighed by the reward of a new way of thinking about the way we use digital technologies. Robert Schuetz writes, "I have been thinking about learning places, not only physical spaces, like our schools and classrooms, but also digital places like Google and Twitter. Seemingly continents adrift, I find myself asking, what is the appropriate coalescence of virtual and physical spaces for engaging modern learners?" Interesting perspective.
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