OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 19, 2011

MIT Now Granting Official Certificates For Their Free Online Courses
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, December 19, 2011.

files/images/mit.jpg, size: 62273 bytes, type:  image/jpeg According to this article, "you can now earn official credits toward an M.I.T. certificate by taking their free and online courses. The school is calling the program 'MITx' reminiscent of TEDx." There's a NY Times article describing it. And there's a frequently asked questions page on the MIT website. Now none of this is live yet - the headline in the Edudemic story jumps the gun a little bit. MIT has a long tradition of announcing things well before they've done them (they will also now get credit for this idea even though it has been in planning stages elsewhere for quite a while). "MIT plans to launch an experimental prototype version of MITx in the spring 2012 timeframe. Once the open learning infrastructure is in stable form, MIT will also release the open-source software infrastructure and will establish ways for other universities, as well as interested individuals, to join MIT in improving and adding features to the technology." Update: see also coverage in the Chronicle.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Traditional and Online Courses, Online Learning]

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#Change11- Half way point reflections
Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, December 19, 2011.

Our #Change11 course has reached the half way marked and we're now one day into a much-needed two week intermission. In this post Jenny Mackness reflects on the first fourteen weeks, with links to each of the weeks (she might now be the world expert on MOOCs, having "now participated in 6 MOOCs and written 5 research papers as a result"). She reports what we have all, I think, felt - the rapidly changing topics week after week have been a challenge - but they don't get boring, either! She also encourages us not to change our approach just because of the low engagement - but it's not really that low, in my view: in addition to the more than 2000 people receiving the daily newsletter, we've had 38,000 visits and 135,000 pages read during the 14 weeks of the course - and that's just on the main site, not counting all the Twitter and blog posts read on other sites. And the have been 1300 blog posts harvested and almost 2500 tweets - you can read 766 blog posts online. I think what we have done much better this time has been to sustain participation (not that it has been easy, and I still think we could have done it better - though, again, as she says, "the whole point is to recognize that we need to learn in distributed open spaces and educators need to help learners to develop the skills to do this").

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Twitter, Research, Web Logs, Google, Newsletters]

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Hanging Out Playing Pechaflickr
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, December 19, 2011.

Here's a fun thing to try: Pechaflickr (I guess we can't play Pecha Kucha now that some trolls have gone out and trademarked it). Pecha Flickr is even more fun because you play it using Google Hangouts. Of course what really makes it interesting si that the 20 images about which you will be talking are selected at random. Try it here on the website before messing around with Google Hangout (type a tag into the big pink bar). It will launch a new window. I'm thinking this might be a great activity to try for my online Hangout French lessons.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Flickr, Google, Copyrights, Wikipedia]

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Research about MOOC pedagogy
Heli Nurmi, Heli connecting ideas, December 19, 2011.

Heli Nurmi summarizes the recent article on MOOC research by Rita Kop, Helene Fournier and Sui Fai John Mak and mentions in passing additonal work by Roy Williams same questions, and Jenny Mackness, suggesting that "a pedagogy of abundance is not enough, we need pedagogy to support human beings." And she suggests that "we already know very much about it, supporting human beings is not totally different in virtual environments." I'm not so sure. The research I see mostly describes how to follow a path. I am working toward the rather more elusive target of encouraging people to find their own path and to take the steps needed to follow it for themselves.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research]

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How to undermine Facebook
Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, December 19, 2011.

In social media, says Martin Weller, it is data integrity that counts. That's why Google+ was so insistent on people using real names, and why Weller suggests that the way to take down Faceook is to feed it false data or bad site suggestions (preferably via automated means). Or, like Alan Levine, you can just go passive. But social networks need to be thought of as a whole; there's no point going silent on Facebook if you continue to be a Twitter nerd; you still end up in the same advertising databases. The way to deal with social media is to use them for your own purpose, not their intended purpose. My social network activity is spread out over a number of sites - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, among others - and I use each for part of my networking needs. But also understand that your activities on any of them are known to all of them. So while I haven't gone silent on any of them completely, but I'm not exactly active on any or all. The best place to be is still to be outside social networks. (p.s. Martin when you put all those utm variables in your links you might as well be posting inside Facebook - that's why I remove all utm data when I post links on OLDaily).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Books, Marketing, Google, Networks]

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TES iBoard: a massive, free collection of high quality interactive K to 6 learning activities
Kevin Jarrett, TES iBoard, December 19, 2011.

I spent probably too much time playing with these interactive whiteboad screens (note that you can play them on the computer screen as well, with your child). As Kevin Jarrett says, "The interactives are extremely high quality. The graphics are crisp and clean, the user interface is simple and logical, and the sound effects are pleasing and well thought out." There is a wide range to choose from math, literacy, geography, history, and much more. Also voa Kevin Jarett, a site that teaches children how to print (sorry about the ads on this one).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Quality]

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Parents advocate Wi-Fi ban despite evidence
Linda Nguyen, Canada.com, December 19, 2011.

The 'sky is falling' brigades are out in full force. In this item, parents with "a very cartoonish view of the world" are afraid wifi radiation will harm their children. "Then they go home and get exposed to another signal. It means their little bodies just can’t get rid of it basically." Whatever that means. Meanwhile, "school districts across the country are imposing strict new guidelines that ban private conversations between teachers and their students on cellphones and online platforms like Facebook and Twitter." No word on whether teachers can have private conversations in person with students.

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

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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