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OLDaily

by Stephen Downes
April 16, 2014

Time to retire from online learning?
Tony Bates, online learning, distance edcuation resources, April 16, 2014


Tony Bates is calling it a career. "After 45 years continuously working in online and distance education," he writes, "I’ve certainly earned the right to stop." Among other reasons, he is upset about MOOCs - not the concept, but the hubris and nonsense - "Having ignored online learning for nearly 20 years, Stanford, MIT and Harvard had to re-invent online learning in their own image to maintain their perceived superiority in all things higher educational." Bates will continue to write and continue the blog, but most activities will end. I think it's fitting to say here that his contribution has been significant and that if I'm granted another 20 years in the business (I'm 55 to his 75) the impact of his work will certainly be felt in my own.

See also: D'Arcy Norman.

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Stand Up and Be Counted
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, April 16, 2014


So, how is this going to work? Maryland has issued a letter telling distance education providers to students in the state to stand up and be counted. "Higher education institutions offering fully online education to Maryland residents must submit an application to register with the Maryland Higher Education Commission,” the letter reads. If you reply, then Maryland demands you "pay an annual registration fee of $1,000 and a bond valued at five times the average cost of tuition." But what if they don't - what if the provider is from Finland, or India, or Canada? I would resist such a demand to the full limit of the law - because compliance would mean a flood of demands for registration from thousands of jurisdictions around the world. Google or Microsoft can handle that and simply pass on the cost. The rest of us can't. So, what then? Would Maryland start blocking illegal online learning, the way the U.S. blocks casinos and Turkey blocks YouTube? There's no good end-game in that scenario.

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Building a Google custom search engine for LRMI-tagged pages
Phil Barker, CETIS Blog, April 15, 2014


This is an interesting exercise in coding: "trying to create a search engine for finding learning resources by searching LRMI-tagged web pages." The search engine they created works pretty well. But it only returns results from BBC and Open University, so far as I can tell. Which proves (yet again) that designing the standard and creating the search engine are the easy part - getting the rest of the world to tag their materials using it is the hard part.

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One World
Rodd Lucier, The Clever Sheep, April 15, 2014


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In his first blog post in almost a year, Rodd Lucier reflects on his experiences at the Microsoft Global Summit (no link but probably this) focused on the the Millennium Development Goals. He describes a project pitched at the conference, "an inquiry project called 'One World'... an open and social hub was created for this project at www.about.me/oneworldnetwork." It's interesting to see him react to the evaluation experience: "My project team invested many hours in a project that took but minutes to be judged according to a rubric. We invested our time, talent, emotions and intellect, yet to date, we have received no feedback on our work." I guess a lot of students feel the same way.

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Why successful consortia for online learning are so difficult
Tony Bates, online learning, distance edcuation resources, April 15, 2014


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Numerous online learning consortia have come and gone over the years, and none has really emerged as a market leader. Why not? Tony Bates examines how this mode of organization is fraught with difficulties. These comments are made in the context of Rachel Fishman's recent report, State U Online. "What the report does not adequately address are the economics of online learning," writes Bates. When courses are shared, who provides online support? Additionally, "Another major barrier is academic distrust of other institutions: 'Our courses are always good; yours are garbage.'" P.S. Russ Poulin comments, " WCET is maintaining a list of consortia in the U.S. and Canada."

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Two-Year Anniversary of Blackboard Acquisition of Moodlerooms and NetSpot
Phil Hill, e-Literate, April 15, 2014


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Phil Hill reports on the extent and impact of the changes Blackboard made two years ago while acquiting open course vendors Moodlerooms and NetSports and reorienting their corporate strategy. But: "While Blackboard has kept their word and made a major change in strategy, the question arises of whether that matters. According to the Campus Computing Survey for 2011 and 2013, Blackboard’s market share (combining Learn, WebCT, and ANGEL product lines) has continue to fall in the US over the past two years, from 51% of institutions to 41%."

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Where is Higher Education’s Digital Dividend?
Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck, April 15, 2014


Terry Anderson poses the question in the title by means of an example from David Wiley: "the cost of renting 75,000 movies  ($9.00 a month  from NetFlicks) or renting  any of 20 million songs from Spotify  ($9.99/month) with the cost of renting a college text book . A single biology text book rents for $12.99 a month from BookRenter." Thus, he writes, "the time is right for a 'market correction' that exploits the affordances of the Net to create drastically lower cost of quality higher education experience." It's long past due.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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