May 2, 2012
Open, free access to academic research? This will be a seismic shift
The Guardian, May 2, 2012.
A disagreement has flared up in the JISC Repositiories discussion list following the publication of this item suggesting that Jimmy Wales is being brought in to consult on the open standards that will have to be agreed upon and implemented in order for open access to be a success. A leading proponent of open access, Stevan Harnad, erupted in disagreement, saying "Wikipedia is based on the antithesis of peer review. Asking JW to help make sure peer-reviewed research is available to all is like asking McDonalds to help the UK Food Standards Agency make sure that wholesome food is available to all." Of course this raises the question of whether open access and peer review need necessraily be tied together. But while I may disagree with Harnad on the details, there is a flavour of "we just discovered open access and now need a famous face" aspect to this story.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Open Standards, Research, Discussion Lists, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Learning Object Repositories, Wikipedia, Open Access, Academia]
Why Floundering Is Good
Anne Murphy Paul,
Time, May 2, 2012.
More study is obviously necessary. But the supposition oft-proposed by people like Kirschner and Sweller that students provided instruction and examples learn best is just that - a supposition. It is equally arguable that "the more you struggle and even fail while you’re trying to master new information, the better you’re likely to recall and apply that information later" - especially if you're trying to learn how to solve problems or create solutions, and not merely to remember some facts. Here's the direct link to the study. "The apparent struggles of the floundering group have what Kapur calls a 'hidden efficacy': they lead people to understand the deep structure of problems, not simply their correct solutions." Via Mark Guzdial.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]
Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses
New York Times, May 2, 2012.
George Siemens - a "a MOOC pioneer who teaches at Athabasca University, a publicly-supported online Canadian university" - is quoted in this New York Times article that describes the rise of MOOCs. It's nice to see someone other than the Stanford professors cited in this context. But the way they phased it raises another thought in my mind - the fact that MOOCs were developed and implemented and proven in public institutions for several years before being adopted by the private sector. I think this happens a lot - but people don't realize it, because the private sector pays a lot more attention to messaging and marketing.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Marketing, Canada]
The world’s largest supplier of free online learning?
Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, May 2, 2012.
Tony Bates reminds us that the world of elearning is larger than most of us can comprehend. "Who do you think is the largest supplier of free online learning? MIT? Stanford? Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learn Initiative? iTunesU? The UK’s OpenLearn? The Khan Academy? The University of the People? Well, what about ALISON? Who, you may ask, is ALISON? ALISON.com is 'the world’s leading free online learning resource for basic and essential workplace skills. ALISON provides …. interactive multimedia courseware for certification and standards-based learning.'" ALISON may be free, but it's not open - materials are not available for downloading, and the site demands a registration before course content can be viewed.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Online Learning]
Video Intro for Upcoming MOOC and IU Press on the Event
Travelin Ed Man, May 2, 2012.
Intro video for Curt Bonk's 'Blackboard MOOC' (I wonder how much Blackboard itself is putting into this project). The level of support from his home institution makes me envious: "IU has been highly supportive. Last week, there is a university press release as well as an article in the student newspaper. And my instructional systems technology (IST) department had a short online news story as well." Not everybody is enthused, though. A comment to the Inside Higher Edarticle points to "a long list of serious problems with Blackboard Course Sites that render it unusable for a MOOC" - there's no blog subscription options, no profile pages for participants, and no blog comment notifications. As Nancy White says, "the design issue here is designing for a networked experience, not a group experience (which is foundational in a lot of Dr. Bonk's work with a focus on community, etc.) Bb is not network centric." See also Sail's Pedagogy, "blogging within an LMS is just wrong." And Lisa Lane writes, in "Leaving an open online class," that "it's the same old Blackboard, with more white space, nicer fonts and some cool icons."
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Video, Blackboard Inc., Web Logs, Subscription Services, Networks, Experience]
Humanities Ph.D. in 4 Years
Mitch Smith ,
Inside Higher Ed, May 2, 2012.
At a certain point, a PhD program becomes a money factory. This may be that point. But the logic is inescapable - "Few believe the current model – in which humanities students often study for 8 or 10 years only to enter an uncertain academic job market – is smart or sustainable." It makes me think that the traditional Bachelor-Master-PhD cycle ought to be eliminated, that a single degree would mark the completion of academic studies, and that a degree based on your work after graduation - your work outside academia - may replace the traditional PhD. This could be the degree you need to get an academic job, and you don't get it unless you leave academia for a number of years and gain the respect of your peers.
[Link] [Comment][Tags: Academia]
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