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July 20, 2012

Even MORE MOOC MOOC MOOC! Chronicle article explains the business model
Steve Kraus, stevendkrause.com, July 20, 2012.

Steve Kraus summarizes an article in the Chronicle describing the business model of a MOOc startup: "it seems to me that each of these business plans depends on the rest of the business world decides that it is going to validate and/or accept MOOCs as a legitimate educational/certifying enterprise." As well, we have the idea to sell quality courses to businesses or community colleges, though "'training' is not the sort of thing that elite institutions do," and also, 'there’s already a large enterprise doing this at community colleges and universities alike. It’s called “the textbook industry.'" My own take is a bit different. I think the idea is to create a place where there are a lot of people - the online learning environment. Once you have a lot of people collected anywhere, you can start selling stuff to them - everything from premium content to online conferences to teddy bears. I know, it's hard to get past the business models where the selling of an education is central, but try.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Vocational Education, Books, Quality, Online Learning]

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Political Authority and Political Obligation
Stephen R. Perry, Social Science Research Network, July 20, 2012.

I couldn't resist sharing this paper as an excellent example of contemporary political philosophy. The backdrop is the proposition that, if a government has legitimate authority, its rulings carry a moral force on the population. We have a responsibility to obey the law in such circumstances. But from where would such a legitimate authority be derived? Not simply though power, not simply through the popular vote, not simply because people signed a contract saying they would obey the law. And not - crucially - through and prior obligation to obey the law. Stephen R. Perry argues that legitimate authority depends on the value of the authority: "one person holds a power over another if there is sufficient value in the former possessing the capacity intentionally to impose an obligation on the latter."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Massively Open Online Courses Are 'Here to Stay'
Tanya Roscorla, Converge, July 20, 2012.

As a terminology update, I am now referring to the MOOCs offered by Coursera, Udemy and MITx (among others) as xMOOCs, to be compared with cMOOCs, which is what we offer in our connectivist classes. This article compares the emergence of xMOOCs with the model previously established by cMOOCs. While they have differing approaches, both types orf MOOC represent a permanent departure from traditional learning, online or otherwise. "[Tuesday's] announcement is a pretty loud call to action for other universities," said Jonathan Becker, assistant professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. "What it mostly does is it legitimizes these kinds of courses."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Leadership]

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College Degrees, Designed by the Numbers
Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2012.

You will want to read this article beginning to end, because there's a lot of good information in there, but you'll have to get past the Chronicle's typical anti-technology bias. The article looks specifically at the way Artizona State uses data analysis to help students monitor progress and sign up for new courses. The data - CETIS calls it paradata and I've referred to it in the past as 2nd party metadata - accumulates the information a student leaves in his or her wake navigating through online learning - tests taken, grades received, late night sessions working on problems, the works. The Chronicle is worried that this focus on learning will interfere with the real purpose of a university education: socializing. "Campuses are places of intuition and serendipity," writes the author. "A professor senses confusion on a student's face and repeats his point; a student majors in psychology after a roommate takes a course; two freshmen meet on the quad and eventually become husband and wife." At a certain point, though, the public loses its interest in paying for rich kids to experiment and get hitched.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment, Metadata, Online Learning]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, July 20, 2012

Conversation with Barry Dahl, 12:00 noon easterm, 9:00 am. Pacific - Audio recording here

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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