OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 5, 2012

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Caught between a MOOC and a hard place
Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, September 5, 2012.

There has always been quite a bit of push for us to structure our own MOOCs in a more rigid and pedagogically sound manner - people complained of drifting, of lacking guidance, even of not feeling welcomed and personally connected. So it wasn't a surprise to me to see a MOOC such as Lisa M. Lane's Pedagogy First Programme come along with that more rigid structure. It's designed to ease online novices into the process of teaching online, and so (the argument goes) a greater structure is required. The reactions, though, are a bit surprising. There is, for example, this post from Jenny Mackness expressing her difficulties with the concept. It's open, but "not 'open' enough to cope with the diversity of opinions presented by a diverse mix of novices and experienced online learners." Then there's Alan Levine, who questions the concept itself. "I am not sure people should not be teaching online without some level of basic experience being and doing online," he writes.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Experience, Teaching Online]

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Designing and Running a MOOC
George Siemens, Slideshare, September 5, 2012.

A light presentation from George Siemens outline the nature and history of MOOCs before outlining in nine easy steps how to build a MOOC of your own. I notice that the advertisements on Slideshare are getting more intrusive. Related: a diagram from Mark Smithers on the history and nature of MOOCs.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Marketing]

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Mauritius Communiqué
Various Authors, Commonwealth of Nations, September 5, 2012.

Education ministers from the Commonwealth of Nations have endorsed open educational resources (OERs) at a conference in Mauritus. "They noted that while there was a plethora of initiatives for the development of Open Education Resources (OER), such as scientific publications, eBooks and journals, there was a need to set up a common platform for OER materials for harmonisation and ease of access. They further highlighted the need for a common framework for all open universities of the Commonwealth, especially those in small states." The Commonwealth is a group of nations that were formerly British colonies, including Canada, India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and others, and is influential in education through the Commonwealth of Learning.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Great Britain, Portals, Australia, Canada, Wikipedia, Africa]

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Cal State Online Picks Pearson: a Q&A With Matthew Leavy
Tim Vander Ark, Education Week, September 5, 2012.

Interview with Matt Leavy, President of eCollege, a Pearson subsidiary serving higher education, on the California State University's recent announcement of a partnership with Pearson. It's a wide-ranging agreement, covering "a learning management system, and in some cases includes marketing, enrollment management, retention services, and tech support." Leavy doesn't consider this to be case of outsourcing core competencies; "CSU retains all academic decision making and has a great deal of flexibility in which of our services they take on and how much they pay us on a program by program basis. CSU also decides which programs to put on line and faculty will decide what goes into the individual courses." Via Phil Hill.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Marketing, Google, Academia]

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Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries
Siân Harris, Sage Publications, September 5, 2012.

Interesting and useful report documenting the rise of open access publication, its increasing importance to academics and students, and the role of librarians in supporting this transition. The report feel light at only 16 pages; perhaps there's a longer version soemwhere. The major role for librarians seems to be in the area of resource discovery, though admittedly "the best discovery systems aren’t library ones." Librarians may also have a role managing article charges, as the gold option (where the institution pays the journal to publish the work openly) seems to be institutionally favoured at the moment. But probably the major role for librarians in the future will be the custody of special collections. "‘We’ve collected materials so people can read them. The challenge is to make unique materials widely available in the digital world," was one comment. Related: David Weinberger argues "libraries ought to think of themselves not as portals but as open platforms that give access to all the information and metadata they can."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Open Access, Academia]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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