by Stephen Downes
Mar 04, 2016
The 2016 Look At The Future Of Online Learning
Stephen Downes, Mar 04, 2016.
When I was in university the predominate ethos was that we the faculty are the university. The reference in this recommendation to 'the faculty' in the third person is telling. The university has shifted in my lifetime from an institution in which the faculty collectively performed a valuable social service to one in which the faculty are employees, under increasingly tenuous employment conditions, and in some cases (notably sessionals and term lecturers) exploitative conditions. So the role of the faculty should indeed be rethought, though perhaps not in the manner intended.
I suppose this two-page set of outlooks on the future of online learning (17 page PDF with both parts) is good so far as it goes, but I don't think it goes deep enough. This first part looks at technological and structural changes to online learning and is the stronger of the two. The second part looks at changing social and business models, and is substantially weaker. All predictions of the future are a form of opinion writing, by definition, since the future has not happened yet. But this piece would have been strengthened considerably with an underpinning in actual cases and examples. Anyhow. I wrote my own version of the article, responding point by point to the unnamed Contact North author. You can read it here.
Interesting video that touches on a number of interesting topics: online gaming, Twitch, Hearthstone, gender issues, and more. From the video summary: "Kevin Roose visits Hafu and learns what life is like for a female eSports celebrity, and what she thinks could help eSports solve its gender problem. Hafu Chan is a legend. For the past eight years, she's been a star in one of the most popular sports in the world: competitive video gaming, known as eSports. Hafu streams herself playing Hearthstone and other games on Twitch, where she has thousands of subscribers and a loyal fan base. But she says she's been turned off from competing because of sexists and trolls sending her nasty messages." Good comment near the end: the thing that could damage esports in the long term and its popularity in the mainstream is just its lack of diversity.
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