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November 22, 2012

Keeping Your Kitchen in Order
Kyle James, , November 22, 2012.

chef-150x150.jpg, size: 9775 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Kyle James writes, "I know you don’t want to admit it, but we all know that you love Kitchen Nightmares as much as I do. I actually enjoy cooking shows of all sorts and like applying their lessons to my somewhat limited selection of Kansas delicacies, which are generally limited to cuts of select beef in different shapes."

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UA_jan2013_Campus_lectures_448x200.jpg, size: 69491 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Students prefer good lectures over the latest technology in class
Léo Charbonneau, University Affairs, November 21, 2012.

Here's yet another example of how data misleads. Read the headline: "Students prefer good lectures over the latest technology in class." Pretty conclusive, right? And listen to Vivek Venkatesh, associate dean of academic programs: "Students are old school – they want lectures. They want to listen to a professor who’s engaging, who’s intellectually stimulating and who delivers the content to them." So, who was surveyed? "A dozen universities across the province, to which 15,000 undergraduate students and more than 2,500 instructors responded," repoonse rates of 10 percent and 20 percent. So - of the population of people who are already succeeding in learning via lectures, about 10-20 percent of them signed on to say it's what they prefer. Well, d'uh. You wouldn't expect to see the failures take this survey, right? The people who would like to enrol but can't because they work, or can't afford it, or live too far away? Nada. It's bad research: it's a biased sample, intended to reach a specific conclusion. It shouldn't be highlighted in a publication like University Affairs. But, of course, you just know it would be.

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Only few day's left to register for our first OERu course: Know of anyone interested in free learning for university credit?
Wayne Mackintosh, Google Groups WikiEducator Forum, November 21, 2012.

So as I have always figured, the end-game for OERu is a commercial product. Created by WikiEducator (and more recently, a bevy of 'founding partners') OERu attracted many with the promise for free online courses. An the courses are free. But according to the announcement of the furst OERu course: "Cost of Assessment services by USQ :  Assignment 1 (AU$50); Assignment 2 (AU$50); Assignment 3  (AU$100) - Includes grade and feedback." That's $200 a course. Or $1000 for a five-course semester. Sure, there's a bit of a savings - but that's possible, I guess, when hundreds of volunteers have been providing education and materials for free. I wonder whether there would have been so much enthusiasm for WikiEducator had volunteers known from the outset that it will still cost $1000 a semester. Even the headline of the email, used as the heading for this post, is misleading: "Only few day's left to register for our first OERu course: Know of anyone interested in free learning for university credit?" OERu: where 'free' means $200.

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How will MOOCs impact executive education?
Adi Gaskell, Weblog, November 21, 2012.

executivelearning.jpgt20121120121827, size: 19751 bytes, type:   So while the rest of us consider such trivia as whether MOOCs will advance learning, make learning accessible, or alter the future of universities, Adi Gaskell asks the really important question: how will MOOCs impact executive education. Please, now. Serously. But like executives in general, this post gets it exactly wrong: Gaskell writes, "I am not sure that online courses with 100,000 or more simultaneous students will be any more than a 'flash in the pan' a few years from now in higher education, period. MOOC’s will remain the province of only very highly-branded, elite higher education institutions." Yes, because nothing can take the place of a $100,000 MBA, not where executives are concerned!

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In Pearson we trust. Really? But our blood is never blue.
Mike Klonsky, Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog, November 21, 2012.

5457792-abstract--background--bleed--blood-color--design--drip--droplets--drops--graphic--grunge--illustrati.jpg, size: 18904 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I have actually covered the issue of 'blue blood' in the past - that is, the misinformed idea people have that human blood is sometimes blue. Blood is never blue. But a Pearson textbook perpetuates this falsehood. The problem here isn't that Pearson is wrong - goodness, I've been wrong many times in my own life, and being wrong can afflict people and corproations alike. No, as described in this article, the problem is that there's no way to correct Pearson when it's wrong. And that strikes me as the wrong way to manage learning and knowledge.

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