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December 13, 2011

Beware ‘open access’ scam: Public Service UK
Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, December 13, 2011.

files/images/Scam-300x224.jpg, size: 20468 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Tony Bates writes to warn about a scam wherein a magazine - apparently it's Public Service Review - calls an author to offer excellent placement of an article in an upcoming issue. "I was then told," he writes, "that I would be expected to pay £6,000 to have the article ‘placed’." It's not uncommon. Those 'gurus' you hear on the airline radio? They paid to be there. I get regular emails, apparently legit, advertising opportunities for placement of my interview or recording in an airline's audio channel (for only $2,750). And, of course, it is well known that conferences have pay to speak deals with sponsors. But more than simply the speaker being ripped off, as Bates suggests, I would say it's the reader, listener or audience member being ripped off, because they are giving their good time to something that, unknown to them, is essentially a paid advertisement.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Marketing, Open Access, Audio]

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Anarchy in Learning
Steve Collis, Twitter, December 13, 2011.

Steve Collis tweets to me wanting me to see 'Anarchy in Learning', a short video with the tagline "We can have an illusion of control but the ticket price is missed opportunities." I watched it while listening to Modern Man. He writes, "It's timelapse footage I took, strapping an iPhone to an armchair, pushing it round." He tells me, "I think you might dig it. 180 self-directing kids + 8 teachers in an open space. Part 2 is Yr 8 (teenagers!) in same set up... our principal is @stephen_h, he blogs [here]. Anyway we want our school to survive the looming school-pocalypse."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Twitter, Video, Web Logs, Online Learning]

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Sir Isaac Newton's own annotated Principia Mathematica goes online
Stephen Bates, The Guardian, December 13, 2011.

files/images/Newton-manuscript-publish-007.jpg, size: 36073 bytes, type:  image/jpeg It won't be for everyone, but some high school students studying physics for the first time are going to read it in the original Newton and see it in a way that was never possible for those of us in the pre-digital age. Will that make a difference? To early to tell; it will take a generation or more to see the results. But I'm betting it does - not, maybe, in the aggregate, but to someone. "You can see Newton's mind at work in the calculations and how his thinking was developing. His copy of the Principia contains pages interleaved with the printed text with his notes." Via Open Culture, which adds, "In October, The Royal Society opened its historical archives to the public, bringing 60,000 peer-reviewed papers to the web, including Isaac Newton’s first published research paper. You can dive into this parallel digital archive here." Latin would be an asset.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Books, Research]

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The university as a flag of convenience
John Moravec, Education Futures, December 13, 2011.

files/images/siena-flags-e1323801540614.png, size: 381051 bytes, type:  image/png Interesting assessment of the significance of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence MOOC. "I don’t think its significant that ‘Stanford’ is doing this, I think it’s significant that [Stanford Professor] Peter Norvig is doing this," says Michael Feldstein, a senior program manager for Cengage Learning and author of the popular education technology blog e-Literate. "He’s essentially using his reputation in the field to provide his stamp of approval on a student’s performance, independent of his institution." I don't know. I don't think that it gets the same coverage, attention or attendance if Norvig does it from, say, the University of Winnipeg.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs, Assessment]

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Great Big Sea gives boost to distance learning
Unattributed, CBC, December 13, 2011.

People don't always thing of things like concerts and such when they think of online learning (see the commentary on the Al-Mahmood paper, below) but they should. Yes, sure, from a pure efficiency standpoint, having east coast band Great Big Sea play to your distance learning may seen to be a non-starter. But from a better perspective, it's just the right thing to do.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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Ascilite 2011 Proceedings
Various Authors, Website, December 13, 2011.

A huge body of content is now available from the recent ascilite conference just completed in Tasmania. I read seven and summarized four of the papers while listening to the Arcade Fire concert in Reading at full blast (Part One, Part Two, because I believe in multi-sensory experiences) ending with the Al-Mahmood paper just below (these posts are always presented in the newsletter most recent first). If I have a chance I'll summarize more, but just in case, be sure to check out this awesom archive for yourself.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Experience, Newsletters]

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Affective Encounters and Spatial Engagements: Pedagogies of Desire in e-Learning
Reem Al-Mahmood, ascilite 2011, December 13, 2011.

Reem Al-Mahmood makes the very good point that "Much of the literature on e-learning tends to bypass the affective and emotion realms, tending towards more instrumental and measurement influenced study designs." Hence this examination of the "pedagofy of desire" in order to "explore how subjectivities and desires are (per)formed in a 'more than human way' and how places of (e-)learning are ―affectively charged." I'm less interested in the perspective from Actor-Network Theory and more in the perspective from Non-Representational Theory (see also the Abas paper, below). This is a very small-scale study, 24 people, focusing on what the author calls "rich design patterns" or as we see here, three "vignettes" - "(Dis)Connections: Sink or swim …?; (Dis)Locations: Encaged and exasperated …?; (Dis)Mantlings: (Sacred) Rituals …?" Now I sometimes find these descriptions in the couse of a study to be a bit forced and artificial - is the subject really feeling disconnected, or is this just a response that is encouraged by the context. But there's still a really important sense in which it is necessary to explore what we (as learners) want and feel in addition to what we know (or need to know). Really good paper.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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The creative graduate: cultivating and assessing creativity with eportfolios
Belinda Allen and Kathryn Coleman, ascilite 2011, December 13, 2011.

We can get the importance of fostering creativity in academic work online, but what about the evaluation of it. The authors identify a "second-generation focus [that] emphasises a personal, practical and socially-oriented creativity, and 'locates the creative enterprise in the processes and products of collaborative and purposeful activity'." The authors also suggest "creativity is best characterised as behaviour in a context, rather than as a skill or a capability." They also identify "a range of identifiers in these different dimensions for the assessment of creativity... Outcome dimensions: Product, process and person; Knowledge and skills: underpinning and core; Reflective and professional practice – acting like a [creative practitioner]." And later they describe "key characteristics of creative behaviour [as] being able to take risks, step outside of one's comfort zone, and to think both divergently and convergently around different domains of knowledge." So it's a bit hard to see how e-portfolio design impacts the assessment of creativity and the advice offered "start small" - "build a program-led approach", etc., is generic and unhelpful. But the topic of this paper is well worth consideration.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment, E-Portfolios, Academia]

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An Investigation into the Learning Styles and Self-Regulated Learning Strategies for Computer Science Students
Ali Alharbi, David Paul, Frans Henskens and Michael Hannaford, ascilite 2011, December 13, 2011.

We've heard ad nauseam that there are no learning styles, or at the very least, that tailoring instruction according to learning styles produces no significant difference in learning outcome. But what about the case where student learning is self-regulated? "This paper examines the different learning styles and self-regulated learning strategies used by students in a core computer science course." According to the authors, "aspects of students‘ preferred learning styles had a significant impact on academic performance in the midterm examination." But also, "metacognitive strategies were the least popular strategies among students," which suggests that intervention focusing on these strategies may have a beneficial result. Maybe Will Thalheimer won't award these authors the thousand dollars, but surely it's sufficient to push the l;earn styles critics off their instructivist perch?

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Learning Styles, Academia]

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Blogging: A multimodal perspective
Suriati Abas, ascilite 2011, December 13, 2011.

This paper "documents how children embed multimodality in their journal entries using blogs." The authors write that "multimodality is the combination of semiotic modes that may include spoken language(s), written language(s), static or moving images and music," a concept that ties in directly to what I've been saying in Speaking in LOLcats. So what do these words and images mean to students? According to Kress, we should see an overall meaning created through an "orchestration of semiotic modes." As noted by the authors, the ceration of meaning goes beyond Peircean representation, and hence "teaching children to solely recognise representational demands are insufficient, to help them use 'language' meaningfully." In particular, "it is crucial in order to shift towards new literacies. In the light of this, teachers need to develop their professional capital on multimodality... they need to work with one another closely to define a set of indicators for several dimensions of texts, which comprise visual, sound, voice, intonation, stance, gesture and movement." (Text, Slides)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs]

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Case Studies in Sustainability 2011
Various Authors, Ithaka, December 13, 2011.

files/images/ithaka-sr-final-logo_art-2.jpg, size: 22207 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This is some interesting reading and relates to work I did in 2006 on sustainability models. "In 2009 Ithaka S+R investigated the sustainability strategies of twelve digital content projects in the higher education and cultural heritage sectors in the US, UK, France, Germany, and Egypt. Two years and one economic crisis later [we] decided to revisit the original twelve case studies to see how their models had held up, where weaknesses might be starting to show, and what new strategies project leaders were adopting in response." One project I had cited in my report, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, had a particularly interesting case because of its dependence on endowment income. There's also a recent webinar from Nancy L. Maron, Matthew Loy - audio (.wmv) and slides (.pdf).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Project Based Learning, Research]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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