OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 24, 2012

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Thinking in Network Terms
Albert-László Barabási, Edge, September 24, 2012.

Interview with Albert-László Barabási, author of Linked. From the text (to give you a flavour): "What is happening right now is that now a new tool is becoming available, but as a result of the technological advances, there's so much data being created about us that science becomes a byproduct of all this data. The question really becomes not as much how you collect the data, but how do you make sense of it? And this comes under many different names. You can call it network science, you can call it human dynamics, you can call it computational social science, you can call it big data. Whatever you call it, down the line, what we're talking about is that there's a huge amount of information collected about us and we need to make sense of it."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]

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The Open Education Evidence Hub
Anna De Liddo, Simon Buckingham Shum, Patrick McAndrew and Rob Farrow, Open University, September 24, 2012.

This article describes the use of Evidence Hub to "to systematically interrogate the Open Education movement on what are the people, projects, organizations, key challenges, issues, solutions, claims and evidence that scaffold the movement." You'll want to view the video describing Evidence Hub before reading the article. The system draws from papers, discussion groups, and the like to identify themes and 'distill claims' made in the papers related to open education.  For example, challenges and solutions are presented in an interface that allows people to vote on potential solutions to the problems raised. Or, for example, claims about relevant topics are presented for response.

This is an approach with a lot of merit, yet the challenges are evident when you browse the resource. For example, the question, "Which policies are needed for open education?" (which presupposes that policies are needed, but I quibble) leads to this presentation of solutions and claims. Many of the solutions are irrelevant (and not even solutions!) while the claims bear no relation to the solutions (and are often trivial, such as "open education requires further empirical investigation," "it's difficult to generalise about OER communities because they are so diverse," and "the way that students learn is changing." Of course, that's as much a reflection of the literature as it is the Evidence Hub. You can find the Evidence Hub at ci.olnet.org. This paper is a chapter from the online book Open Educational Resources and Social Networks.

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

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A business model approach for OER in Open Universities
Ben Janssen,Robert Schuwerand and Fred Mulder, Open University, September 24, 2012.

This paper reports on the liklihood that students will enroll in classes offered by the Open University of the Netherlands should the university offer its learning materials for free. The concern, of course, is that if the materials are made freely available, not only would the university lose a source of revenue, people might no longer register and pay tuition. According to the findings, however, more people would register if the materials are made available as open educational resources. Go figure. This paper is a chapter from the online book Open Educational Resources and Social Networks.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Books, Tuition and Student Fees]

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Chapter 10. The OER university: from vision to reality
Gabi Witthaus, Open University, September 24, 2012.

This paper reports on the outcomes of the TOUCANS project set up to assess opinions about the Open Educational Resources University (OERu). OERu is a collaborative effort whereby participating institutions cooperate in the development of educational resources, offering them openly via platforms such as WikiEducator, and then use the resources in their own program, with fees set "no higher then" 25 percent of regular tuition fees. The responses are mostly projective and aspirational, commenting on what OERu might do or should do. A second phase of the project is briefly summarized at the end of the paper, where representatives from UK higher education institutions responded. "The responses from both senior managers and practitioners ranged from a tentative interest in the concept to outright rejection of it." This paper is a chapter from the online book Open Educational Resources and Social Networks.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Great Britain, Books, Project Based Learning, Tuition and Student Fees]

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Future of Work: Musical Performance in Virtual Worlds
Linda Rogers, hPlus Magazine, September 24, 2012.

Interesting article on the use of Second Life to host virtual concerts performed by classical musicians. The author discusses the types and mechanics of virtual concerts, but the bulk of the article is devoted to the experience. The concerts offer musicians a valuable training environment, enabling them to practice before a live audience and keep up with works they might not perform frequently. And because audience members can text during a performance, it becomes more of a community event. This article is the first I've seen of hPlus Magazine; I've added it to my subscription list.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Second Life, Subscription Services, Experience]

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Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility
John Daniel, Speeches and Presentations, September 24, 2012.

Survey paper authored by one of the more notable figures in online and distance learning on the topic of MOOCs as part of a fellowship at Korea National Open University (KNOU). The paper is offered as an MS-Word document, but for those who prefer not to download the document I have set up access in a generic blog - click here. "The real revolution," writes Daniel, "is that universities with scarcity at the heart of their business models are embracing openness." The article is written almost entirely about the xMOOCs being offered by big name universities; he does not survey reserach on the cMOOCs, nor does he include gRSShoper in the list of MOOC platforms, and the 'myths' he explodes about MOOCs echo the criticisms about xMOOC dropout rates, certificates and pedagogy.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Web Logs, RSS, Online Learning, Paradigm Shift]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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