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Digital Learning Research Network, National Institute for Digital Learning, Aug 17, 2017
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Helge Scherlund links today to the Digital Learning Research Network, part of Ireland's National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL). The Network "fosters a network of leaders and strong communities of practice at the forefront of research on new models of teaching and learning." Projects include Mahara analytics, MOOCs in open education, Lego innovation, and more. Keep up to date by following the NIDL blog (the most recent post is from two days ago, an encouraging ... [Direct Link]


MOOC Adaptation and Translation to Improve Equity in Participation, Freda Wolfenden, Simon Cross, Fiona Henry, Journal of Learning for Development, Aug 01, 2017
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This study shows why it's important to test hypotheses with different models and different user groups. It describes a MOOC in India offered first in English and then in Hindi, attracting more than 40,000 students in all, and achieving completion rates over 50%. "Our findings challenge previous research (Milligan & Littlejohn, 2014), which found little transfer of learning to on-the job practices for health professionals participating in MOOCs," write the authors. "... [Direct Link]


What if MOOCs Revolutionize Education After All?, Jeffrey R. Young , Barbara Oakley, EdSurge, Jul 26, 2017
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Some pragmatic thinking with a pinch of a push for content knowledge. The premise is that MOOCs are actually going to challenge the classroom model, and ultimately, universities and the teaching professors. "Once they begin becoming broadly available for college credit, it's going to start changing the scenario of higher education." Best line in the post: "The thing is, moving a university is a little bit like moving a cemetery. You can't expect any help from the ... [Direct Link]


Are MOOCs, Bootcamps and Other Alternative Education Options Effective?, Kara Voght, U.S. News & World Report, Jul 22, 2017
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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 ... [Direct Link]


The Complex Universe of Alternative Postsecondary Credentials and Pathways, Jessie Brown, Martin Kurzweil, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jul 22, 2017
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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 ... [Direct Link]


Making friends in MOOCs: It is No Fluke!, Curt Bonk, TravelinEdMan, Jul 14, 2017

Curt Bonk summarizes some of the work from a journal article on the subject (unfortunately he doesn't offer a link or even a title for the article) about whether people make friends in MOOCs. He seems to focus on whether instructors make friends, which seems to me to be totally beside the point - I would be looking for MOOC participants to make friends with each other. Anyhow, here is the line of thinking: "Giving away one's writing is one way to generate new ... [Direct Link]


10 apps to use for the 2017-2018 term, Meris Stansbury, eCampus News, Jul 14, 2017
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One of the things I do when I read a 'top 10 tech tools' article like this is to ponder which of the tools the list was designed to promote. In this case I'm guessing it's EdCast, self-styled as "the Netflix of Knowledge". We read, "EdCast’s app allows users to discover their most relevant learning opportunities, including those from co-workers, internal experts, formal and informal courses, external experts, MOOCs, and the internet." So, like Google ... [Direct Link]


The Mechanical Universe, David Goodstein, James F. Blinn, CalTech, YouTube, Jul 12, 2017
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O'Reilly summarizes this as follows: " a critically acclaimed series of 52 30-minute videos covering the basic topics of an introductory university physics course. So, like a MOOC or Khan Academy, but from 1985." So, yes, except now it's on the internet so everyone can view it for free. And there are no subscription fees (unline some MOOCs). The animations are lovely and there are snippets old old films and whatever. So 1985, but so good. [Direct Link]


OpenStax Launches Learning Platform, Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 11, 2017
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Rice University's OpenStax, which once upon a time was known as a free textbook site called Connexions, has launched Tutor Beta, an online learning platform that will make three courses -- biology, physics and sociology -- available this fall. I'm thinking that the textbook project felt it was missing out on the MOOC phenomenon (MOOCS: still not dead). "Tutor Beta breaks OpenStax’s textbooks into smaller chunks, testing students with short answer and multiple-choice ... [Direct Link]


“The best part was the contact!”: Understanding postgraduate students’ experiences of wrapped MOOCs, Tasneem Jaffer, Shanali Govender, Cheryl Brown, Open Praxis, Jun 30, 2017
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I generally think of the "wrapped MOOC" as neither massive, nor open, nor online, so I view them with a bit of scepticism. And we learn very little about the actual details of the implementation in this case. But I did appreciate the discussion of MOOCs with respect to the CoI (Community of Inquiry) framework (Anderson, Archer and Garrison) describing the role of social, cognitive and teaching presence in distance learning. The authors suggest that the framework doesn't capture ... [Direct Link]


The future of open learning, Grainne Conole, e4innovation.com, Jun 23, 2017
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Good post on open learning summarizing commentary during a panel on the subject a few days ago. "It is not clear what pedagogies are most appropriate to support open learning.  For OER work that I did with colleague found the following barriers to uptake: i) the pedagogies of OER were not clear, ii) the difficulty of repurposing, iii) the lack of clarity of perceived benefits, and iv) a culture of academics wanting the create their own resources." For all that, open learning ... [Direct Link]


Open Learning, Open Networks, Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Jun 07, 2017
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Open online learning entered the mainstream with the growth and popularity of MOOCs, but while interest in open online courses has never been greater MOOCs represent only the first step in a broader open learning infrastructure. Adapted from a talk given March 9, 2017, at the State University of New York in Syracuse, this essay describes several key innovations shaping the future of open learning: distributed social networks, cloud infrastructures and virtualization, immersive reality, and ... [Direct Link]


MOOCs and Open Ed book Interview in China Ed Tech and Upcoming Preconference Symposium at E-Learn in Vancouver, Curtis J. Bonk, Travelin Ed Man, Jun 05, 2017
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Curt Bonk has written two more books on MOOCs than I have, something I note with some surprise. This post catches us up with the traveling ed man as he prepares for a talk in Vancouver. He links us to a recent paper published in China, talks about his book, and discusses his preconference symposium. [Direct Link]


Why Haven't MOOCs Eliminated Any Professors?, Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, May 15, 2017
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I clicked on this post by accident but while I'm here I may as well comment. Joshua Kim asks "why haven’t the MOOC robots taken the faculty jobs?" The first thing you should always ask of a why-question is: is it really true? Inside Higher Education itself reports on a tightening PhD job market, so maybe job losses are actually occurring. Also, terminology matters. What are "MOOC robots"? Does he mean robot tutors, which appear to be everywhere? This is more evidence that job losses are ... [Direct Link]


MOOCs Started Out Completely Free. Where Are They Now?, Dhawal Shah, EdSurge, Apr 21, 2017
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It really is a sad story. "The fact that MOOCs were free sparked widespread interest in them... But once the hype died down and MOOC providers tried to monetize, they found it difficult to do so without charging for content... Every MOOC provider has expanded their product lines to target multiple price points from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars." That's why I become unhappy when the venture capitalists get involved and when a provider of 'free' learning starts to ... [Direct Link]


The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon, D'Arcy Norman, D'Arcy Norman Dot Com, Apr 17, 2017

D'Arcy Norman summarizes and reviews The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomeno by George Veletsianos and Rolin Moe in EDUCAUSE, an article worth reading in its own right. The EDUCAUSE article makes three major assertions: The edtech phenomenon is a response to the increasing price of higher education (aka 'market-driven') The edtech phenomenon reflects a shift in political thought from government to free-market oversight of education (... [Direct Link]


Coursera’s Rick Levin On the Evolution of MOOCs and Microcredentials , Jeffry R. Young, EdSurge, Mar 31, 2017
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Interview-style article. Coursera CEO  Rick Levin really does sometimes sound like he's from another culture. "The quality differential is so striking, I think the faculty and universities will realize they can truly up-level what they're able to do by using materials from the top universities in the world." Up-level? [Direct Link]


Teachers’ Awareness of Guidelines for Quality Assurance when developing MOOCs , Ulf Olsson, Mar 17, 2017
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This article at least gives a nod to Martin Weller's plea to let MOOCs define their own standards for quality. "Let people play and explore in this space without tying it down with the types of quality overhead we already have in formal education." And then it shrugs as says "whatever". "MOOCs must be shown to meet some of the same quality standards that other online courses are expected to meet," writes the author, without justification. It then proceeds to question "How aware are ... [Direct Link]


The open in MOOC must include the ability to create courses, Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, Mar 15, 2017
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"If we want truly open education," writes Graham Attwell, "then we need to open up opportunities for creating and facilitating learning as well as participating in a programme." I agree. He also adds "Brian Mulligan responded... with a link to the Moocs4All web site. the web site includes this promo video for a free course held last year on ‘Making MOOCs on a budget.'" But as he notes, "it is possible to hack a MOOC platform together with WordPress or to install Open edX. But ... [Direct Link]


Arab Universities and MOOCs: Cautious Cooperation, Sabah Hamamou, Al Fanar Media, Mar 09, 2017
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Good article providing an overview of the two major Arabic-language MOOC platforms, Edraak and Rawaq. "In the Arab world, as universities struggle to reach thousands of students with few qualified professors, many educators feel that MOOCs still have potential. But the number of available courses is relatively small." [Direct Link]

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