by Stephen Downes
Mar 14, 2017
Japan is the latest country considering free higher education. "Hakubun Shimomura, the LDP’s executive acting secretary general, said at a press conference on Friday that procuring funds for free higher education warrants careful deliberation... A special task force was created within the party on Feb. 15 to discuss the financial aspects of free higher education." This follows sharp growth in California's free college tuition programs. We're also seeing more voices opposed to such plans on the grounds that free tuition only benefits the rich. By that same logic, though, free health care would only benefit the rich, because only the rich can afford health care. Our experience with public health care in Canada, though, proves that the opposite is the case. The poor are the major beneficiaries.
As Class Central reports, "MéxicoX, which has over one million registered learners (is) a MOOC platform backed by Mexican government... unded by Mexico’s Ministry of Education, and it is managed by the General Directorate of Educational Television (Dirección General de Televisión Educativa from the Ministry of Education) in coordination with the National Digital Strategy."
Knowledge workers take note: "The program, called COIN, for Contract Intelligence, does the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial-loan agreements that, until the project went online in June, consumed 360,000 hours of work each year by lawyers and loan officers. The software reviews documents in seconds, is less error-prone and never asks for vacation."
By this headline Mike Sharkey doesn't mean that analytics doesn't exist, nor does he mean it isn't something important. Rather, he says, software is defined by the problem it solves, and 'analytics' isn't a type of problem. "Analytics isn’t a thing. Analytics help solve problems like retention, student success, operational efficiency, or engagement," he writes. He raises this point because 'learning analytics' is dropped from this year's NMC Horizon report." I wouldn’t say that analytics 'has arrived,' so I was a little surprised that it wasn’t called out as a specific trend," he said. It wouldn't be the first time a trend simply disappeared in a Horizon report - analytics also vanished in 2015 only to reappear a year later.
Interview with hilip Cohen, founder of the new social sciences preprint server SocArXiv. "Can the newly reinvigorated preprint movement gain sufficient traction, impetus, and focus to push the revolution the OA movement began in a more desirable direction?" Interestng response: Writing on the LSE blog last year he said, “I hope that SocArXiv will enable us to save research from the journal system.”
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