OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 20, 2011

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This will be fun: Mother of all MOOCs
George Siemens, Dave Cormier and Stephen Downes, change.mooc.ca, May 20, 2011.

George Siemens, Dave Cormier and I are up to our old tricks as we announce the launch of the 'Mother of All MOOCs' - Change: Education, Learning, and Technology. "we decided to lean on a few colleagues to help run a unique course experience. End result: a MOOC with each week being facilitated by an innovative thinker, researcher, and scholar. Over 30 of them. From 11 different countries. The draft schedule is available here. We're excited about the prospect of a global learning experience. We encourage participants to "write themselves into the course" by setting up sub-group, networks, and personal spaces for interaction and dialogue."

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Organizing Social Media in .Edu
Michael Stoner, mStonerblog, May 20, 2011.

OK, this is a good diagram and concept so far as it goes. But why don't people ever seem to realize that images (from left) one, three and four are functionally identical. The dots have just been moved a bit, but the structure is exactly the same - a hierarchy, where everything derives from the one big dot. I think the tension is implicit in the article, which despite depicting five modes of organization in Jeremiah Owyang's image, describes only three.

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Why Shop Class Is Still Relevant
Joe Astroth, Huffington Post, May 20, 2011.

Pretty much everything I know about industrial drafting and construction I learned in two practical classes I took in high school (which I recall by the names 'drafting' and 'industrial arts', though I'm sure they had more formal names. These were the classes for the 'dumb students', which I always felt was ridiculous. In any case, the practicality of clear writing and drawing, the correct use of a circular saw, the elements of a biscuit join - all these are still with me today, and while I am by no means a professional, I can still design and build some pretty nice things. Joe Astroth asks, "Why would today's wired kids need to know how to work with their hands?" and answers, "The answer is that they still need the inspiration and understanding that results from turning something digital into something real."

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Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges: 2010 Distance Education Survey Results
Fred Lokken, Instructional Technology Council, May 20, 2011.

files/images/ITC-Survey-300x385.jpg, size: 37897 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Tony Bates points to this report describing online and distance education trends in the U.S. and offers a short, crisp good summary. Basically, distance and online enrollments are up about 9 percent, the use of Blackboard is down, most institutions are capping enrollment in online classes (at about 30), development is mostly in-house but servers are outsourced (which is smart), demand for online learning is greater than supply, and U.S. law continues to hamper online learning.

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The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies
Doug Belshaw, Synechism, May 20, 2011.

What Doug Belshaw has to say about digital literacies does not resemble what I have to say in almost any way, but it's an interesting perspective and certainly worth passing along.

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Student evaluations of teaching don't correlate with learning gains
Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, May 20, 2011.

You need to be careful about drawing assumptions that are not in the data. Mark Guzdial summarizes Richard Hake, who cites (slightly) improved test scores, but declining evaluations, in physics classes. "Students don't necessarily 'like' teaching that makes them think," he writes. But the Arons Advocated Method can be argued to be the opposite of that. Hake cites Arons, with emphasis, that "It must be emphasized, however, that repetition is an absolutely essential feature of such instruction." That's not learning, it's indoctrination. And, in my view, students are quite right not to like it. That doesn't mean they should never do it, nor to reject everything in Arons (there's a lot to like there). But walking into a university physics class and having this imposed on you is something else altogether.

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10 things that define a true professional
Alan Norton, Tech Republic, May 16, 2011.

I've worked with professionals and I've worked with others and I definitely prefer the former. I don't always avoid the toxic characteristics in my own behaviour, but I do try. Certainly, in the workplace (or in the school), these characteristics of a professional are worth cultivating.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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