This is the sort of thing that could eat the rest of my vacation (or a lot longer, if you don't have a developer background). Kubeless allows you to manage a "serverless" architecture (it's not really 'serverless', it's just that all of your applications and functions run on other people's servers), and you use software like Kubernetes to set up and coordinate them. This is bleeding edge and far from user-friendly. From Wikipedia: "Kubernetes (commonly referred to as "K8s") is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications that was originally designed by Google and donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation." There's a webinar this Wednesday if you want to learn more.
According to this article, "A new study questions the quality of these programs, as well as the evidence that demonstrates their efficacy." When an article questions whether any form of online learning is "effective", the first question to ask is, "what do they mean by effective?" This is what I wondered on reading this article. I was disappointed, on multiple accounts. First, American Council on Education study cited in the article in no way resembles the coverage in this article. After gnashing my teeth I did some hunting and found a second article by the same authors published by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences which does cover the topic. But on a reading of the article I found nothing questioning their effectiveness (save the oft-repreted comment about MOOC completion rates), only an assertion that there is insufficient research on their quality. Both these reports - by researchers Jessie Brown and Martin Kurzweil - are quality reports. It's a shame the U.S. News & World Report treats them so disrespectfully.
This is a survey document (56 page PDF) tracking research and commentary on the rise of alternative credentials (such as microcredentials, badges and certificates) and alternative learning pathways (such as word-based learning, MOOCs and short courses. The report has very little to say about effectiveness (see the executive summary) though it does make comments in passing as it cites other articles (eg. by the Chronicle). It looks into the historical antedecents and is a detailed examination of the rise of these alternatives, including how they are beginning to be incorporated into traditionaal programs. At the end, it remarks on the dearth of quality assessment for these alternatives: "evidence of the efficacy and value of these alternatives—for students and taxpayers—is still thin. Robust data on many programs’ features, cost, enrollment, and outcomes are simply not available."
This newly released report from the American Council on Education (25 page PDF) begins up front with a definition of instructional quality - sort of: "we maintain that the most sensible approach is to consider both inputs and outcomes, or to look at how actionable instructional inputs impact student outcomes." Reading through the report, though, we ssee the usual: persistance, completion rates, and GPA. It should be noted that this report seems far more interested in their impact on institutional revenue. I read this as an extended logical model; although "we are not aware of any study that directly evaluates the impact of improvements in instructional quality on net revenue" the report makes the case that such a link is there. As such, it does the job quite well.
I search a lot, and I search in fairly precisely defined areas, and I need to keep up on news in these areas, so the new Google service - a feed based on my search interests that updates with news daily - would seem to be perfect. Except, first, it's only available in the U.S.; I'll have to wait a few weeks. And second (and worse, in my mind) it's only available in the Gogle App (for Android, iOS and Pixel Launcher).
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.