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October 30, 2012

Why "Is There an Ed-Tech Bubble?" Is the Wrong Question
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, October 30, 2012.

Audrey Watters in one: "I think the question 'is there a bubble in ed-tech?' asks us to assess the wrong metrics of 'value' in response. Is the 'value' only what matters to investors and entrepreneurs in terms of financial return? What then is the value of ed-tech to schools? What value does ed-tech offer learners?" Quite so.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools]

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The money pours in to fund online learning start-ups – while the public system starves
Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, October 30, 2012.

One wonders where those of us who support a public education system will find funding for research and development. Certainly, not from the same funders who are underwriting enterprises like Coursera and Udacity. Even if they were willing to fund outside the Harvard-MIT-Stanford nexus, which is unlikely, they tend to sustain ventures with a commercial intent, not those that serve the public good. As Tony Bates writes, "This year some of the online start-ups that have received venture capital funding are:

  • Udacity: $15 million this week; total: $21 million
  • Coursera: $16 million in April
  • 2U (formerly 2tor): $26 million in April
  • Codeacademy: $10 million in June."

The money meanwhile to support public education is not forthcoming, he says. " The California two year college system has undergone nearly $1 billion of cuts since 2008, resulting in a waiting list of 470,000 students who cannot get into classes. The California State University system meanwhile is outsourcing most of the services for CalState Online to Pearson." And in time, "these privatized, American online companies will start to gnaw away at the funding behind public education systems in countries outside the United States." Where is the Canadian response?

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, United States, Canada, Online Learning]

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UAlberta, Udacity team up for online learning
Press Release, University of Alberta, October 30, 2012.

The University of Alberta has joined Udacity, signing "a memorandum of understanding today that begins a research partnership for the collaborative development of systems for delivery, measurement and assessment of online learning courses and experiences." Athabasca University associate VP Rory McGreal responds in a comment, "Athabasca University, in the same province as UofA, and  other open universities have been running MOOC-like courses, but not calling them that for many years -- we have been using real instructional designers. And, at Athabasca, challenge for credit, in which learners can take an examination based on their acquired knowledge, have been in place for many years, along with a robust prior learning assessment and recognition system. The new MOOC phenomenon itself was begun by Athabasca University staff member George Siemens with partners across Canada." With more than a little help, I might add, from yours truly.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Experience, Assessment, Online Learning]

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Building the 'Knowosphere': Durable Progress on a Finite Planet
Andrew Revkin, YouTube, October 30, 2012.

Really interesting video in which "environmental journalist Andrew Revkin presents an exploration of ways to share and shape ideas that can foster progress on a finite planet. He focuses in particular on the unique role of universities as hubs of innovation, learning and, most important, doing." Revkin is the author of the NY Times 'Dot Earth' blog on environmental science (it's interesting to hear him talk about a three-metre rise in sea level back in August, which is exactly what this week's storm surge was in New York City). There is good discussion on the way skills can blend to create knowledge representation, on open access science, on the politicization of the dialogue, and more. One of many videos that can be explored at UC television.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Web Logs, Open Access]

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How a youth Reporter Corps could help reinvigorate local journalism
Daniela Gerson, Columbia Journalism Review, October 28, 2012.

Evenings and weekends I devote some of my time to supporting and sustaining an open access local newspaper. One of my longer term objectives with the Moncton Free Press (moving from Open Publish to gRSShopper soon, see prototype here, work in progress) is to engage young people in Moncton by giving them an open access journal to publish commun it news and reports. This post describes the idea nicely: "The service-learning model would train young adults in journalism and teach them how their government works, pair them with a local publication in need of reporters, get them some quality mentors, provide a stipend, and set them loose for six months or a year reporting on their own community."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Adult Learning, Mentors and Mentoring, Quality, RSS, Online Learning, Open Access]

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The Future of Higher Education: Massive Online Open Disruption
Daniel Honan, Big Think, October 28, 2012.

Video of a panel discussing "Massive Online Open Disruption." The focus is completely on U.S. entrepreneur-style disruptions such as Peter Thiel's fellowship that pays students $100,000 to drop out of college. "The real zingers were instead supplied by Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard who said very pointedly 'the idea that there is a massive over-investment in education that needs to get scaled back is very badly wrong.'" Video highlights are available online, and maybe one day, the full video here.

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

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Ed Radio Show Notes, October 30, 2012

Special Monster Storm Pre-Halloween Ed Radio for October 30

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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