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Where xMOOCs and Adaptive Analytics Both Fail (For Now)
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateDec 25, 2012

Good analysis from Michael Feldstein on 'the missing viola player' aspect of online learning: it's inability to comprehend and respond to student questions. I respond at more length to this article here how cMOOCs are interended to respond to this: "You don't need an expert for this - you just needs someone who knows the answer to the problem. So we have attempted to scale by connecting people with many other students. Instructors are still there, for the tough and difficult problems. But students can help each other out, and are expected to do so."

Today: Total:1838 [Comment] [Direct Link]
MOOCs in 2012: Dismantling the Status Quo
Phil Hill e-LiterateDec 24, 2012

Phil Hill offers the thesis that MOOCs are the beginning of change, not the final outcome. "The real significance of xMOOCs," he writes, "is that they are acting as the foreign element triggering the end of the status quo. The key method of this change was the removal of the core assumption that online learning is necessarily inferior to face-to-face education... The challenge is that the higher education system has not found the transforming idea yet. We’re in the chaotic period where system performance is fluctuating wildly, and in many cases the changes brought by MOOCs and other forms of online education actually are harming the output."

Today: Total:1839 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Postscript to “This Time Is Different: Enrollment and Employment Divergence”
Phil Hill e-LiterateDec 12, 2012

Phil Hill updates his post from yeasterday, responding to comments from myself and Thomas Warger. In particular, he addresses my remark that "the apparent spike in enrollments is created by a lot of part-time and online learning" by adding full-time enrollments to his chart, which shows the same spike. He writes, "There are tremendous macro-economic stresses being placed on the higher education system due to the large increase in number of enrolled degree-seeking students without a corresponding large increase in the number of jobs available." He adds that "The effect of these macro-economic forces should force the system to come up with new, lower-cost, and more-flexible options for people seeking degrees." But more, he writes, the system has passed beyond the point of predicability. "I suspect we are seeing non-linear effects. We are leaving the previous status quo, and we are in transition to a new, unknown status quo."

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This Time Is Different: US Enrollment and Employment Divergence
Phil Hill e-LiterateDec 11, 2012

I don't agree with the proposition that "this time it's different." Here's what Phil Hill writes: "The conventional wisdom holds that enrollment jumps when employment drops, and the data does show some divergence followed a few years later by a correction. What is different this time is A) the magnitude of the divergence and B) the start of the divergence fully two years before the recession started in 2008." I think the apparent spike in enrollments is created by a lot of part-time and online learning, and that it is a bit illusory. It's also caused by echo-boom effects, as the population born between 1982-1995 is in post-secondary education between 2002-1015, give or take. If (and it's a big if) employment improves, I would expect a dramatic drop in (traditional) enrollment.

What's really different is that world population is reaching a breaking point, climate change is disrupting food supplies and other industry, resource depletion has become a significant problem, and (by contrast) worldwide prosperity, literacy and general awareness has led to an increasingly restive global population. There is moreover a chronic economic imbalance, with increasingly large quantities of wealth simply being hoarded instead of invested (it's an amount that if deployed would make money itself meaningless). U.S. demographic trends - which could be rendered obsolete with one major wave of immigration - are irrelevant in the face of these wider forcess.

Today: Total:6824 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Initial Thoughts on McGraw-Hill Education Acquisition
Phil Hill e-LiterateDec 02, 2012

McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) is being purchased by Apollo Global Management. This is not the same company as Apollo Group, the owner of the University of Phoenix. The purchase price was $2.5 billion dollars, more or less. Phil Hill comments, "Despite the usual press releases touting great opportunities, this was a distress sale." McGraw-Hill has already announced it wanted out of the education business.

Today: Total:1883 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Babson Report on OER in US Higher Education
Phil Hill e-LiterateNov 29, 2012

Phil Hill reports on this survey of a fairly narrow spectrum - U.S. higher Chief Academic Officers (CAOs), and (separately) some U.S. faculty leaders. The survey reveals an awareness of open educational resources (OERs) - but not so much as one might think. It's hard to reconcile the CAO report that OERs are used 50 percent of the time (p. 30) while faculty report 83 percent usage of digital materials (the bast bulk of which will be OERs). Difficulty finding and lack of a catalog are the biggest barriers to the use of OERs - no surprise there.

Today: Total:1378 [Comment] [Direct Link]
“Can I Use This?” How Museum and Library Image Policies Undermine Education
Beth Harris and Steven Zucker e-LiterateNov 29, 2012

I have on numerous occasions (including this week) used museum and gallery policies as examples of the phenomenon of 'enclosure' of open access and public domain works. Basically, the museum obtains the artwork, places it in a room, and then prohibits by policy any photography. So, if you want to see it, you either pay the admission price, or you purchase one of the museum's (copyright) reproductions from the gift store. This article illustrates just how unfriendly gallery and museum policies are, with licenses that range from outright lock-down to (in a few happy cases) open access. One thing I like about the Botero Museum in Bogota - free admission, photos encouraged. (Photo: me)

Today: Total:1606 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Is Coursera Facebook, Amazon, or Pets.com?
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateNov 16, 2012

Interesting (and accurate) take on the 'innovation' brought to the field by Coursera and the other xMOOCs. "It’s an uncomfortable truth for educational folks," writes Michael Feldstein, "that one of the principal innovations of the xMOOC is the store front. It is the ability to find courses in a catalog. If you look at what Coursera is right now from a platform perspective, it is primarily a store front on top of an LMS." Given this, where will Cousera and the rest move in the future. Feldstein suggests three directions:

  • Facebook - "the platform gains value primarily not from the content but from the people in the network."
  • Amazon - "the main value of the store front is as…well…a store front. It is a sales channel."
  • Pets.com - "store front as a stand-alone for-profit company is a passing fad."

I think there may be additional business models: as a histing service, for example, as a cloud service for institutions, even as an extension of advertising and marketing. But yeah, if you take the view that MOOC services are store-fronts, this is basically your list of business models.

Today: Total:1854 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Everybody Wants to MOOC the World
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateNov 06, 2012

Michael Feldstein writes, "it’s worth asking what it means for the traditional LMS players to be marketing themselves as platforms for MOOCs and other open courses." In particular, he looks at Instructure's Canvas. "The main new capability," he writes, "seems to be the catalog that allows courses to be discovered across institutions." More interesting, he says, are the comments made by Instructure executives, specifically those to the effect that MOOCs are more about open education, that you don't need a fancy business model to build them, and that services like Canvas make MOOCs feasible for everyone. It makes sense to question the innovation. Peter Levine of Udacity says "Udacity aims to democratize education by delivering world-class coursework to hundreds of thousands of students everywhere." But that's hardly innovative (even if Levine thinks the software will "eat" education). What's missing in all of these, says Feldstein, are first, a sustainability model, and second, pedagogy. "While the cMOOCs are doing some interesting experimentation in pedagogy, I see little innovation in either course design or platform affordances in the xMOOCs."

Today: Total:2168 [Comment] [Direct Link]
More Venture Capital for Higher Education: $10.75 million for rSmart
Jim Farmer e-Literate[Sept] 03, 2012

From the article: "Why does GSV like rSmart? There is a major shift underway in the higher education software market today, largely driven by continuing IT budgetary constraints, demand for higher ROI [return on investment] on technology investments, and most critically, the rapid consolidation of alternative LMS platforms." Jim Farmer closes with this very puzzling advice, which seems to suggest that private equity has the answers the rest of us don't, and that public awareness and opinion are something to be avoided.

Today: Total:1352 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Blackboard Inc.: The Rise of the New “Online Learning” and the Race for Profits
Jim Farmer e-LiterateAug 20, 2012

Good analysis of the new Blackboard from Jim Farmer, wrapped around the changes to online learning brought about by companies like Coursera. "Adapting current systems to meet the extensive requirements for courses planned for Coursera, Udacity and edX may be feasible [but] A new system may be preferred... Blackboard reduced its software development expenses electing not to integrate their three current learning-management systems into a single system. Speculation suggests alternatively a strategy based on the platforms of Ascend Learning and its acquisitions."

Michael Feldstein explands on the platform strategy. On the surface, he says, it looks like yet another learning object repository. But "something has changed... One clear driving factor is the shift of educational publishers to digital." There has been, he notes, a lot of talk about integrating with publisher offerings. "Of course, the publishers are very aware of the iTunes model as well and may be leery of letting an LMS vendor control their sales channel." Blackboard is also banking on improvements in tagging and metadata, as well as the "amturity" on IMS learning object standards. And finally, "they’re taking advantage of the cloud to build something that encourages cross-institutional sharing... to peel off pieces of what have traditionally been considered core LMS functions and offer them as separate SaaS offerings."

Today: Total:2123 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Four Barriers That MOOCs Must Overcome To Build a Sustainable Model
Phil Hill e-LiterateJul 25, 2012

The barriers, Phil Hill tells us, are as follows:

  • Developing revenue models to make the concept self-sustaining;
  • Delivering valuable signifiers of completion such as credentials, badges or acceptance into accredited programs;
  • Providing an experience and perceived value that enables higher course completion rates (most today have less than 10% of registered students actually completing the course); and
  • Authenticating students in a manner to satisfy accrediting institutions or hiring companies that the student identify is actually known.

What I read from this is that in order to be successful, MOOCs need to be like traditional learning. But what if they don't? What if it's traditional learning that needs to change:

  • to get past needing commercial model? (inexpensive education could be publicly funded!),
  • to get past certificates or degrees (data-mining a person's record tells us everything we need to know),
  • to get past completion anxiety (go in, get what you need, get out; programs are for computers, courses are for horses)
  • and to get past fingerprinting and identification cards (ID is properly a government's responsibility, not a university's).
Today: Total:2356 [Comment] [Direct Link]
How to Keynote an Unconference
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateMay 15, 2012

When we tried it our unkeynote was less than a success. But to judge from comments after the event, says Michael Feldstein, his effort at an unkeynote went reasonable well. So what worked? "The point of an unkeynote should be to prime the conversational pump," he writes. But how? He considers some of the creativity exercises in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. The idea is to have yourself (or your audience) create something, anything - a collage from a magazine, or a solution (written down) to a problem. Whatever. (Contrast with what we did: we asked people to begin by speaking out loud in front of an audience.) "So," he writes, "I gave a talk that didn’t demand immediate group participation, but it was all questions." Me, I think a keynote composed of questions is still a keynote, not an 'unkeynote'. But I think he maybe made the right call in getting up there and delivering a talk, rather than turning it over to the audience, even in an unconference. But you know, I like the collage idea...

Today: Total:1115 [Comment] [Direct Link]
What Are Ed Tech Entrepreneurs Good For?
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateMay 07, 2012

Markets are something we create, argues Michael Feldstein, and tech companies are just following the markets we give them, doing what they do as though guided by the law of gravity. "The LMS market is a good case in point. Want to know why the LMS industry has a reputation for building crappy, expensive products? ... College LMS procurement processes are long and complex." And they tend toward large companies with big products that have lots of features. I have a less sanguine view of these companies than does Feldstein. I think they have played a significant role in shaping these markets. "The recent evolution toward learning platforms are partly a direct consequence of the fact colleges are getting more sophisticated in their approach to the product category," he says. No thanks to the LMS companies and the publishers and the rest, in my view. What has really forced a change? As Mark Oehlert says, "our ecosystem is commodified."

Today: Total:922 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Google Apps for Education: When Will It Replace the LMS?
Audrey Watters e-LiterateMay 03, 2012

In view of data provided by Jonathon Rees (image above) Audrey Watters writes, "if, indeed, people are primarily – heck, overwhelmingly – using the LMS to share documents and send announcements, then wow, we need to really look closely at what Google Apps for Education is providing campuses." OK, but there's still not on the chart. Like integration to the university's student record system, for example, tracking and analytics, and of course the positioning of the LMS as a portal for resource and textbook sales. Other people - not just professors - use the LMS, often in ways that are not visible to professors.

Today: Total:1524 [Comment] [Direct Link]
What the Microsoft Investment in Barnes & Noble Means for E-textbooks
Rob Reynolds E-LiterateMay 01, 2012

"This morning," writes Rob Reynolds, "Microsoft and Barnes and Noble announced that the software giant is investing $300 million in a new B&N subsidiary that will include the Nook and B&N College divisions. Microsoft’s investment gives it a 17.6 percent stake in the newco and ensures that Windows 8 will launch with the Nook digital bookstore in tow." He suggests that the result will mean increased competition for Amazon and ultimately lower textbook prices, which it will, but I would not expect these commercial interests to reduce prices dramatically.

Today: Total:1250 [Comment] [Direct Link]
More on the Sakai/Jasig Merger
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateMay 01, 2012

Michael Feldstein explains the dynamics behind the proposed merger of the Sakai (an LMS) and Jasig (ePortal solutions) communities into one overarching community that would be called the Apereo Foundation (which would be modeled roughly on the Apache Foundation). He focuses on the 'community source' model, in which development is by and fora particular community, rather than (say) the general public. This model, he argues, makes sense when the acquisition cost of the commercial product is high, and when communities want to control their own futures. But as the product matures and as the commercial market commodifies, there is less inclination for community members to donate to development or even community support, hence the need for a foundation to manage the projects. What this tells me is that both projects have reached a kind of end point.

Today: Total:1202 [Comment] [Direct Link]
MOOCs: Two Different Approaches to Scale, Access and Experimentation
Phil Hill E-LiterateMay 01, 2012

There are two types of MOOCs, wreites Phil Hill, the connectivist branch and the Stanford branch. He adds:

  • "The two current branches of MOOCs are different and will not merge – despite the common name, they have different aims and methods. It is a mistake, in my opinion, to overlook the differences.
  • "Both branches are early prototypes or pilots. The future of MOOCs will be based on further developing the concepts and techniques – we should not expect massive adoption until future generations of MOOCs evolve"

And while the MOOC is not as yet the "answer" to anything in particular, he suggests they will be, as they are merged with either badges or accreditation.

Today: Total:1732 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Who Realy Owns General Education Content (or Can Any Gen Ed Title Really Be Unique)?
Rob Reynolds e-LiterateApr 06, 2012

"Who owns the scope and sequence (Table of Contents ) of a course?" asks Rob Reynolds, and then answers it the way I would: "I don’t think anyone can legitimately make this claim. More importantly, I suppose, is that fact that such claims will become less relevant int he coming years as we move away from the content collections we call textbooks and into disaggregated content models." Good discussion with some detailed examination of the claims in the recent lawsuit. Today: Total:1627 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Ultimate Hack: Re-coding Textbooks and Other Learning Content (Introduction)
Rob Reynolds e-LiterateMar 26, 2012

"Radical change is inevitable for the modern textbook," writes Rob Reynolds, and it's impossible to disagree. Once you've made that change to digital, the limitations imposed by the paper model - whether based in paper economics, the physical form of paper, or just custom and habit - no longer make sense. Gradually at first and with increasing rapidity we move away from the old form. "After all, when it comes to learning content we are all potential hackers. We all have access to the ultimate coding language – the written word – and each of us knows the basics of this language well enough to create powerful learning products with it." I'm looking forward to Rob Reynolds's 'book'. Today: Total:1386 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Emerging Landscape of Educational Delivery Models
Phil Hill e-LiterateMar 22, 2012

Two parts (thus far; Part One, Part Two) of a series by Phil Hill on new educational delivery models. "Why does it matter that we describe these educational delivery models with finer granularity than just traditional and online? Because the aims of the models differ, as do the primary methods of how these models are created and delivered. As an example, there are really two variations of MOOCs with quite different approaches – witness the Stanford and MITx version vs. the rhizomatic version. Given the changing landscape, the judgment of how successful these models will become, as well as how well learning platforms help solve the associated problems should differ as well." Today: Total:1928 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Great Title, Flawed Post – Khan Academy Enables Out-of-the-Box Approaches
Phil Hill e-LiterateFeb 27, 2012

I had just unsubscribed from TechDirt in my RSS Reader - eventually, you get tired of reading the same thing over and over again - when I encountered this post in (the always fresh) e-literate weblog. Phil Hill cites Keith Devlin's Huffington Post article to the effect that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs "fail to recognize the equal importance of domain expertise in education." For example, one such executive was quoted in TechCrunch offering the Khan Academy as an example of innovation. But, says Devlin, "'all' Sal Khan has done is take the traditional textbook instruction and put it up on YouTube." Hill objects: "did I mention that the instruction is provided free, without typical boundaries of classroom, institution or software / publishing license? Not only that, but Khan Academy encourages its usages as components of online or face-to-face courses, combined with the appropriate pedagogical model." All very well, but there's so much more to the world of Ed Tech than Sal Khan. Today: Total:1265 [Comment] [Direct Link]

LoudCloud Systems Announces Adaptive LMS General Release
Phil Hill e-LiterateFeb 08, 2012

Phil Hill writes: "The news today is that LoudCloud Systems is officially announcing their LMS solution’s entry into the general higher education and K-12 markets as described in a Campus Technology article:
- LoudCloud appears to be providing the first disaggregated LMS on the commercial market; and
- The system has an integrated analytics engine that supports personalized content delivery."
My own view is that these are incremental changes, not game-changers. They are, however, worthy of note as they set the bar in a slightly new position.
Today: Total:1445 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Farewell to the Enterprise LMS, Greetings to the Learning Platform
Phil Hill e-LiterateFeb 03, 2012

"We are going," writes Phil Hill, "from an enterprise LMS market to a learning platform market." The difference between an LMS and a learning platform is that the latter "does not contain all the features in itself and is based on cloud computing – multi-tenant, software as a service (SaaS)." Definitely have a look at the article for a number of links to examples. "Another trend that is becoming apparent is that many of the new offerings are not attempting to fully replace the legacy LMS, at least all at once." Today: Total:1509 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Educational Publishers Appear to be Supporting SOPA
Phil Hill e-LiterateDec 24, 2011

Not surprisingly, educational publishers are supporting onerous and unpopular copyright legislation in the United States. "While no one should be surprised that education publishers support SOPA, as the bill is designed to protect content and media companies, I suspect that this support will come back to haunt these supporters. There is a strong backlash growing against SOPA, and if it is enacted as law, this backlash will grow exponentially." Companies listed as being in support of the bill include Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, Macmillan, Scholastic, and others. Today: Total:1385 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Bold Idea Essential for Student Privacy
Jim Farmer e-LiterateNov 11, 2011

I think I'd have to think about this before endorsing this idea. Jim Farmer relates "a bold proposal" from Tracy Mitrano: "[the] most important action that can be taken to protect student privacy is a contractual requirement that contractors follow the same privacy requirements—including FERPA (Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act)—as colleges and universities themselves follow." It sounds good in principle. But then's there the concern about whether FERPA will be enforced - there's the suggestion that it isn't being enforced now. And FERPA is intended to cover data related to financial aid, and therefore things like tax return data. Which may lead some to suggest that if companies are governed under the same rules, they should be able to access this sensitive data, something I would not support. I wonder whether a better plan might not to be to impose less stringent requirements and to not give them sensitive data in the first place. Because, after all, the likelihood that companies will adhere to the letter and spirit of the law is effectively nil. Today: Total:1390 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Can Enlightenment Scale?
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateOct 28, 2011

I forget where I heard this but I heard it recently: the one thing that scales proportionately with student numbers is student numbers. And this is the key to understanding how new educational technologies scale. Not though industrialization, not through enterprise architecture, but by tapping students themselves to create the scale. This I think is what's behind MOOCs, what's behind drive-by creatrivity and the DS106 phenomenonon, and what's behind Michael Feldstein's really useful observations in this post. As he writes, "if we can create a world in which the average community college student asks her professors what their credentials are to teach their classes, then all else becomes possible in educational reform." I can just imagine to myself some monks looking at a room full of specially trained scribes reading and writing text in the old languages and asking, "Yes, but will it scale?" Today: Total:2296 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Quick Follow-Up on the OpenClass Post
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateOct 25, 2011

The always worth-while Michael Feldstein has posted once on Pearson's OpenClass and in this short item he offers a follow-up to clarify. He writes:
- I think Pearson is trying to create a platform in the way that Google and Facebook are platforms.
- a platform approach entails a very different relationship with the vendor than simply licensing a hosted LMS
- Pearson’s marketing efforts have been finely tuned to emphasize free and easy
All of which sounds reasonable to me. Pearson's effort could be worthwhile, if they can get past the 'big publishing monopoly' phase, and focus on the 'what can we do for you' phase. Today: Total:1484 [Comment] [Direct Link]

New Mentality Entering LMS Market
Phil Hill e-Literate[Sept] 16, 2011

New money is entering the field of educational technology, and when that happens, writes Phil Hill, the landscape changes. In particular, Hill highlights two technology companies, Instructure and by LoudCloud Systems. "The change in the market will be more significant than just having two additional competitors. The real significance will be the entrance of a new mentality – one based on new investment (venture capital, private equity, strategic publisher moves), one based on startup companies willing to challenge the status quo with new approaches... Instructure and LoudCloud designed their systems based on market analysis and feedback, rather than by taking a single-institution project and attempting leverage into the market." Today: Total:1579 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Emerging Trends in LMS / Ed Tech Market
Phil Hill e-LiterateAug 25, 2011

This post is a bit late in getting to you (blame my camping vacation) but I certainly wouldn't want to pass it over entirely, as Phil Hill offers this good overview of the LMS market (I did link to one pot that summarized some aspects of this discussion). In particular, Blackboard's " picking up only a handful of new LMS clients, while they are losing hundreds of LMS clients per year." Today, "The market is more competitive, with more options, than it has been for years (but) it is also interesting in what is not being seen as a strategic blurring of lines – between LMS and student information systems." Today: Total:2521 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Emerging Trends in LMS / Ed Tech Market
Phil Hill e-LiterateAug 10, 2011

“. . . [Blackboard’s] position of being a safe bet is now gone, they are picking up only a handful of new LMS clients, while they are losing hundreds of LMS clients per year. The theme behind these observations is that Blackboard’s future prospects ‘are having and will have a major impact on the overall LMS and educational technology market, affecting educational customers as well as technology vendors and their investors. If you misread Blackboard’s strategic direction, you might misread the upcoming changes in the educational technology market.’ ”

Put another way, as Lou Pugliese commented in a post by Michael Feldstein on the LMS Market – ‘Typical disruptive markets (Clay Christiansen) are repeatable events exist where (a) over-served customers consume a product or service but don’t need all its features or functionality (b) there is broad based industry concern about the effective use of overly complex, expensive products and services (c) features that are not valued and therefore are not used and (d) decreasing price premiums for innovations that historically created value but in the current market are now irrelevant. The street will eventually see it this way no matter how you NPV a business’s customer base. . . . I would argue that there is an exact parallel here and the education market is not immune to the same disruption experienced in other markets.’ “

“What I believe we are seeing in 2011 is a transition to a market no longer dominated by Blackboard and other players’ reactions to Blackboard. This new market that is emerging will look quite different from the market we have seen for the past 6 – 8 years, and we should no longer view this as an evolving market, but instead view it as a market being disrupted, with new competitors and new dynamics.” . . . Today: Total:2302 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Investment Bankers and Blackboard’s Future, Part One: If …
Jim Farmer e-literateJul 04, 2011

Today's first ongoing story - the Blackboard sale:
- Jim Farmer's analysis, part one - the acquisition could provoke a change of management
- Ted Curran - What does it mean for schools?
- Elliott Masie - watch for 2 or 3 more major deals in the coming months
- e_shool News - coverage
- Chronicle - coverage
- Inside Higher Ed - yet more coverage
- Alfred Essa - summary of coverage
Today: Total:1955 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Textbook Publishers and OERs
Michael Feldsetin e-LiterateJun 10, 2011

Michael Feldstein on the reactions of the publishers to various OER initiatives: "There’s a bit of kabuki theater going on in the industry right now. I can virtually guarantee that most or all of the companies represented by the textbook executives on that panel has some sort of OER-related initiative going on or at least in the planning stage." Today: Total:1600 [Comment] [Direct Link]

LMS Vendor/Textbook Publisher Partnerships
Michael Feldstein e-literateFeb 07, 2011

So I suppose it was inevitable that we'd see an open-source/closed-content combination. That is what appears to be happening as MoodleRooms has signed a deal with Cambridge Global Grid for Learning. Michael Feldstein explains, "as far as I can tell, this partnership is roughly similar to ones that Blackboard has previously announced with McGraw Hill and NBC." It's good for MoodleRooms, it's good for the publisher. The ones who pay, of course, are the students. Today: Total:2023 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Instructure Goes Open Source
Michael Felstein e-literateFeb 01, 2011


Some sudden moves in the LMS market, courtesy of upstart Instructure. Michael Feldstein elaborates: "Instructure has just announced that they will be releasing an open source version of their Canvas LMS product. Between this announcement, the winning of the Utah Education Network contract (109,000 college students and 40,000 K12 students), and the oh-so-ever-brief lawsuit by Desire2Learn about that win, Instructure has been making quite a splash lately." See more commentary from Alan Levine, to wit, "I did like the use of flame throwers in the Instructure video, even the fun out takes at the end, looking like they had some fun there." See also the Chronicle. Today: Total:1081 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Evolving LMS Market, Part II
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateDec 22, 2010

Part 2 of Michael Feldstein's analysis of the LMS market begins with the observation that "there are roughly 875 WebCT and ANGEL customers who will have to migrate to a new LMS in the next few years, in an environment of strong budget pressures." There are some significant anecdotal results suggesting that many large Blackboard clients are about to walk away. Not enough data to establish a trend. The expiry dates of the WebCT and ANGEL contracts suggest "the LMS versions that are available in calendar year 2011 are the ones that they will be evaluating, by and large," says Feldstein, but beyond that, "by 2014 we may see it beginning to change the whole picture for educational technology infrastructure in some fundamental ways." Which sounds exactly right to me, from my perspective. Today: Total:2103 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Evolving LMS Market, Part I
Michael Feldstein e-literateDec 21, 2010

Distractingly interesting analysis of the LMS market trends in the U.S. post-secondary education market space. This market, of course, is divided neatly into two parts: Blackboard, at roughly 70 percent, and everything else. The everything else divides mostly int Moodle and Sakai, the open source alternatives, and Desire2Learn, the major commercial alternative. Feldstein looks at migration factors and gives us a projection shoing non-Blackboard alternatives reaching 60 percent by 2014. Bad news for Blackboard, if nothing changes - but there is every reason to expect significant change between now and then, including Pearson's Frontier or Instructure's Canvas LMS. And the LMS market as a whole could be shaken by out-of-market developments. Today: Total:1993 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Interview with Martin Dougiamas
Michael feldstein e-literateNov 09, 2010

Michael Feldstein interviews Moodle founder Martin Dougiamas and writes, "It's interesting to compare Moodle's trajectory with Sakai's. On the one hand, there's evidence that the Moodle and Sakai communities are moving toward each other in terms of vision. The design principles that Martin describes as having guided Moodle development from the beginning are similar in approach and overlapping in content with the "lenses" that the Sakai community is adopting to guide Sakai 3 design." Today: Total:1359 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Xplana.com: Is This a PLE?
Michael Feldstein e-Literate[Sept] 04, 2010

Michael Feldstein looks at Xpana.com, a service well worth exploting. While he questions whether it's a PLE, I would characterize it more as a social leaving network. It's not a PLE because there's no sense of ownership – you log on to the Xplana site and work within Xplana's environment. Why is that important? This is why. That said, Xplana certainly offers a lot worth looking at. It draws from some of the best features of social networks, encouraging people to upload content while at the same time offering them a wide content selection. Today: Total:1448 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Interview With Desire2Learn CEO John Baker
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateJul 20, 2010

Michael Feldstein interviews Desire2Learn's CEO John Baker. Feldstein writes, "I do see a vision for the future of the LMS emerging from D2L's development work (although it's hard to convey a clear sense of it in the interview format). It's a vision that is significantly different in some ways from Sakai's, Moodle's, or Instructure's. My sense is that it's also different than Blackboard's... Desire2Learn is headed straight into the thicket of some thorny cultural change management problems at the university. Adopting and sharing learning objectives, sharing learning content, taking a systemic approach to ePorfolios, discovering metrics in student activity and performance data." Today: Total:2904 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The LIS Standard Moves Forward
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateJul 14, 2010

With Blackboard supporting the IMS Learning Information Services (LIS), writes Michael Feldstein, things look good for the specification. "By the time Blackboard finishes their implementation, we'll have the first tier of LMS applications all standards-compliant and will be hopefully filling out the ecosystem with up-and-coming LMSs and some non-LMS systems that could benefit from the same type of integration." Today: Total:2395 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Sakai Conference: Kamenetz Keynote
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateJul 02, 2010

I haven't watched this yet, but Anya Kamenetz's keynote at the Sakai conference is an odd enough mix to be intriguing. Michael Feldstein gives the talk (which starts about 23 minutes into the video) a polite, almost enthusiastic, write-up. "The keynote," he writes, "provides a significantly evolved and refined version of her argument." In order to grow DIY U ("which I'm increasingly inclined to think of as simply a trendier and more provocative name for open education," he writes) we need to pay attention to content, socialization, and accreditation. Or, as George Siemens has said more clearly, we are creating open learning in three phases: open content, open classes, open assessment. Feldstein finishes with what I would consider the starting point of the personal learning environment project: "it's worth asking ourselves how technology can help scaffold learning experiences to foster a sense of autonomy, increasing mastery, and greater purpose." Today: Total:1557 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Coming Digital Textbook Wave
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateMay 12, 2010

Publishers have been able to ignore the coming digital wave, but they won't be able to for long. "Once digital textbooks begin to cannibalize a surprisingly low percentage of traditional print sales (13%), then the traditional revenue model for textbooks starts to fall apart quickly. At that point (which the Xplana authors project to hit some time in 2014), expect the textbook publishers to become a lot more aggressive about eTextbooks if they haven't already. It will be life or death for them then." Good summary of a longer report from Xplana. Today: Total:1244 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Should Pandora Have Opened the Box?
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateApr 17, 2010

Good post from Michael Feldstein on edupunk and a fascinating reply from Chuck Severence. I think Feldstein refutes Severence's point, which was that DIY - as in punk bands - is very difficult to sustain. Also, an odd comment from Anya Kamenetz on persistence: "Yes. Roman Empire falls. Rome (city) thrives to this day." One of the most haunting passages I read in Gibbon was his account of the great Byzantine general Belisarius standing at the gates of a depopulated and destitute Rome, an empty city full of nothing but memories and ghosts. Rome did not survive; it had to be rebuilt from scratch. "Like Thebes, or Babylon, or Carthage, the names of Rome might have been erased from the earth." Today: Total:1048 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Thoughts On Anya Kamenetz and the Open Education Movement
Michael Feldstein E-LiterateMar 30, 2010

"If we are not careful," warns Michael Feldstein, "open education may actually end up reinforcing economic divides." He explains, "It's easy for those of us in the open education movement to see our work in opposition to proprietary technology companies, proprietary textbook companies, and the gatekeepers in the university system. But it's not the 'evil' LMS companies, or the 'evil' textbook companies, or the 'evil' administrators and bureaucrats that are failing these students. It is all of us." Really? Even those working in the edupunk movement - the subject of this post - who are doing everything they can to throw open the gates of learning to all comers? Even the people trying to free learning from the shackles of publishers and vendors that are trying to destroy public education and lock down all learning content? I would like to have it explained to me in what way it is "all of us". What are we not doing? Today: Total:2107 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Sakai Blogging
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateDec 07, 2009

Michael Feldstein is now on the Sakai Foundation Board and Product Council, which I think is a good thing, as he writes of his intention "to use e-Literate as a platform for increased transparency into the Sakai community." We could use more of this from all of these organizations and projects. Today: Total:1297 [Comment] [Direct Link]

IMS Learning Information Services: The State of the Union
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateNov 09, 2009

The IMS Learning Information Systems (LIS) specification (see here, here, and here) is intended to link learning information (as found in learning management systems) with student information services (as found in the Registrar's office). It facilitates things like access to online courses upon registration, or easier recording of grades from LMS records. This post outlines the 'state of play' of IMS-LIS, listing those "shipping code" (PeopleSoft, Sakai, Moodle, Schools on Facebook), "committed to adoption" and "thinking about it". Today: Total:940 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard's Response to Open Source: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateOct 30, 2009

Michael Feldstein analyzes a letter circulated by Blackboard responding to an evaluation of open source competitors (specifically, Moodle and Sakai) being considered by the University of North Carolina. The Blackboard response is arguably pernicious (in a way people who have read their legal filings can attest) and highly misrepresentative of open source software, as Feldstein demonstrates: "Blackboard is making demonstrably false and/or irrelevant arguments against open source, even as they tout their 'openness' and promote their open source Blackboard add-on community." Ironically, Blackboard is just fine with open source when it suits their purposes. Today: Total:2140 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Cost of the Blackboard Patent Suit (and Who Pays It)
Michael Feldstein e-LiterateOct 27, 2009

Well, I think we know who pays it. It's interesting, though, to see qwho benefitted. "The amount [that Blackboard will have to pay Desire2Learn, including the original award plus interest] will probably be over $3.8M USD from my rough estimates which is higher than the expected writedown Blackboard took. ... What's also interesting is that Blackboard's top execs made record bonuses before this writedown." Today: Total:2160 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Blackboard Files Yet Another Lawsuit
Michael Feldstein e-Literate[Sept] 18, 2009

According to an article in the Washington Business Journal, Blackboard bought a patent, used it to sue a company, settled with the company and licensed the patent to them, then tried to renegotiate the price at which they bought the patent originally, and have now launched a pre-emptive lawsuit against the people it bought the patent from. Well, like they say, be wary who you sign business deals with. Today: Total:1926 [Comment] [Direct Link]

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(Still working on this)