OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 11, 2012

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Toni Westbrook, Weblog, May 11, 2012.

How could I not post this item? "The ultimate goal is a true, functional model of the biological neural network in software grown using virtual DNA. While this is an incredibly lofty goal, the project serves as more of a learning opportunity for me (and anyone else interested)." You can watch Synthnet in action here. "In the first clip, I demonstrate growing a brain from virtual DNA, hooking into my Lego robotic buddy Bit, and then conditioning Bit to associate hearing a tone with getting his touch sensor pressed.  The demonstration is a recreation of classic fear conditioning experiments." Too cool.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Networks, Cool]

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What My 11 Year Old's Stanford Course Taught Me About Online Education
Joshua Gans, Forbes, May 11, 2012.

Good article that gives the reader an observer-level feel of what it was like to take the Stanford AI massive online course. The author watches as his 11-year old son tool the course. I think we can ignore the author's conclusions ("online education is more of a complement than a substitute for offline experiences") and focus on the details ("the most important button for video lectures is not 'play' but 'pause'"). It was interesting to me to see that while the son learned about decision theory his application of it in practice was so ethically lacking. Context does matter, I suppose.

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

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1200 TED Talks Listed in a Neat Spreadsheet — And More Stellar Culture Links on the Web
Dan Colman, Open Culture, May 11, 2012.

I'm no great fan of TED talks, but I am a great fan of great gobs of useful bibliographical data arranged in handy online tables, so this presentation of 1200 TED talks in an open spreadsheet format speaks to me.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Emotive Vocabulary in MOOCs: Context & Participant Retention
Apostolos Koutropoulos, et.al., European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, May 11, 2012.

Well, it's a reasonable theory, the idea that you could examine the emotions expressed by people toward an open online course at the start of the course as a way to determine whether they will be one of those who succeeds in the course of one of those who drops out. There is a precedent for this sort of research, but directed toward social construction of knowledge, not social engagement as is being considered here. The MOOC is perfect for this sort of study; after all, some people participate a lot, some people lurk, and some people just disappear. So is there a connection? It turns out - in this study at least - not so much. "Our team was surprised not to find any significant indicators of participation in the emotive vocabulary of participants."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Research]

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Why Is Mathalicious Raising Money on Kickstarter?
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, May 11, 2012.

I suppose it was inevitable that as the popularity of online learning resources increased there would be more and more of an association between making money and making resources. Hence the latest trend to use Kickstarter to fund the development of things like Mathalicious, a project to create 52 math videos in 52 weeks. They're asking for $164,000 Audrey Watters is asking - reasonably - why? With only $20K raised, the campaign is far from a success. "I have to wonder," says Watters, "if it's just another indication that how we fund education (or how we fail to fund education) -- whether it's with crowdfunding or with venture capital or with property taxes or with philanthropic donations -- is so very deeply flawed."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Video, Online Learning]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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