I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


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The University Is Not a Technology


Actually, the university is a technology, but thats periphrial to th main point. This article response to a critique of universities that has two major parts. Frst, "a small subset of elite universities are disproportionately represented in the most prestigious journals in the literary humanities." And second, it "isn’t simply that elite advantages in publication distribute prestige inequitably — it’s that they produce a damaged body of knowledge." The technology angle comes into play by metaphor: if you consider the university, then the flawed output can be predicted. Hence the objection: "the alleged need to replace the folk-knowledge of the discipline with a set of algorithms suggests a rather dim view of the basic competence of humanists to know what, in their own fields, matters." The problem with folk-knowledge - you know, like "Harvard has the best professors" - is that it is often demonstrably wrong.

Today: 128 Total: 128 Sam Fallon, Len Gutkin, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2017/10/19 [Direct Link]

MIT Introduces Digital Diplomas


People have using blockchain for certification for a number of years now so it's no real surprise to see MIT's new digital diplomas. "Using a free, open-source app called Blockcerts Wallet, students can quickly access a digital diploma that can be shared on social media and verified by employers to ensure its authenticity. The digital credential is protected using block-chaintechnology. The block chain is a public ledger that offers a secure way of making and recording transactions, and is best known as the underlying technology of digital currency Bitcoin." More.

Today: 125 Total: 125 Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, 2017/10/19 [Direct Link]

Tracking online learning in Canadian universities and colleges

According to the press release, "Online learning is now a core form of delivery for Canadian universities and colleges." This is the result of a national survey of Canadian universities and colleges. Key findings of the report are (quoted):

  • almost all Canadian colleges and universities now offer online courses;
  • online enrolments have expanded at a rate of 10%-15% per annum over the last five years; online learning now constitutes between 12%-16% of all post-secondary teaching for credit;
  • online learning is providing students with increased access and greater flexibility;
  • two-thirds of Canadian post-secondary institutions see online learning as very or extremely important for their future plans.

The report can be downloaded from http://onlinelearningsurveycanada.ca or in French from http://formationenligneCanada

Today: 109 Total: 215 Tony Bates, Contact North, 2017/10/18 [Direct Link]

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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.