OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
Jul 30, 2014

Connecting with faculty
Clint Lalonde, ClintLalonde.net, Jul 30, 2014

What I really like about this post is the discovery of entire networks of educators in places unexpected. "I had no idea," writes Clint Lalonde, "no idea that there would be such a strong education track at a general conference." And so we are introduced to the the Chemwiki project, the IONiC (Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists) and VIPEr (Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource) (more). Though I'm not familiar with these groups, I'm not surprised, because everywhere I go, I find another cluster, another community, another little network of reserachers and educators.

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SIMULACRE: A proposal for practical training in e learning environments
Alba Colombo, Muriel Gómez Pradas, RUSC Universities, Knowledge Society Journal, Jul 30, 2014

This article "a new proposal for practical training called SIMULACRE, which is based on a model that combines the theory of simulation games, problem-solving and cooperative learning." As the description suggests, students work cooperatively in a virtual environment to solve problems. "The students compare and contrast various views and then opt for a single proposed solution after taking into account the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats." (This sounds more like collaboration than cooperation) The paper describes an application of the model and evaluations after the learning process (n=80, so don't interpret the data quantitatively, as the sample is too small). See more articles from RUSC Universities and Knowledge Society Journal, including Theresa Koroivulaono, Open Educational Resources: a regional university’s journey.

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Melbourne University pulls Teach for Australia "criticism"
Jewel Topsfield, The Age, Jul 30, 2014

Here's the original criticism of Teach for Australia, which is similar to the U.S.-based Teach for America program: "“Programs like Teach for Australia - while five times more expensive than traditional programs - are increasing despite an absence of a reasonable evaluative basis to continue this support." Needless to say, the decision to remove the criticism from the final submission has resulted in much more publicity for the criticism, not to mention undermining the Melbourne University's academic integrity.

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Learning theories and online learning
Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jul 30, 2014


If you need a short chapter-length overview of (educational) learning theories, this is the place to look. Tony Bates reviews the major contenders from Behaviourism on down. He takes the perspective that a lot is known about the field: quoting Knapper, "there is an impressive body of evidence on how teaching methods and curriculum design affect deep, autonomous, and reflective learning. Yet most faculty are largely ignorant of this scholarship..." Maybe so, but the underlying question has to be answered: how much of this evidence is actually accurate and useful? My own take is: almost none of it. As time goes by, we get more theories of education, not fewer. That's not how it should work. (One more quibble: Bates says, "Connectivists such as Siemens and Downes tend to be somewhat vague about the role of teachers or instructors." I can't speak for George, but I think my papers and presentations on the topic are pretty precise.)

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Open Access and the Public Purse
Julia M. Wright, Academic Matters, Jul 30, 2014

The argument about whether open access (OA) mandates should express support for article processing fees (APC) has hit Canada, which a policy paper leaning in that direction. Julia Wright responds to the proposal: "if the goal is 'Opening Canadian Research to the World,' are per-article requirements the best route? What if that $4.1-13.9 million were kept in Canada to help our journals convert to or maintain OA with minimal or no APCs? Canadian journals as a group could be truly OA, affordable and high-quality—a haven for researchers dealing with per-article OA requirements on their grants." Agreed. More from Michael Geist. Via Academica.

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Chinese cyberattack hits Canada's National Research Council
Rosemary Barton, CBC News, Jul 30, 2014

So this was the big news in the office yesterday. I have nothing to add to the media coverage of the story, except to confirm that we are being told internally basically the same story (less, actually) as is being reported externally: "A 'highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor' recently managed to hack into the computer systems at Canada's National Research Council, according to Canada's chief information officer, Corinne Charette." Note that all my websites (OLDaily, mooc.ca, Half an Hour) are on completely separate systems from the NRC and are not impacted by the current incident. More: Toronto Star, BBC, GovInfoSec, CTV. Related: watch the cyberwars in real time. Warning: addictive.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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