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December 3, 2012

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A Letter to My Colleagues...the BEST Robotics Edition
Tracie Schroeder, Adventures with the Lower Level, December 2, 2012.

We didn't have robots in the classroom when I was a student, and that's too bad. It is exactly the sort of thing I would have fallen deeply into (maybe becoming a productive STEM specialist instead of an unproductive writer and philosopher). But today tere's no real reason why each school wouldn't have some such project of this sort - if not robots, then flying things, or genetics labs, or some such thing (the closest we got was to go out to the creek and school a cross-section of it into a jar, which became our 'closed ecosystem project'). "Sleep, clean laundry and cooking supper at home are totally overrated. However, should you happen to spend your birthday building a robot, kids feel like they need to celebrate with you and will bring you ice cream cake."

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

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Owning Your Massive Numbers
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, December 2, 2012.

For our MOOCs, completion was never the name of the game - sure, we'd lose people alog the way, but we'd also pick up new people, and after that first big rush things were usually stable. It was always about the journey, people put in or take out what they want, and we never really worried about it. For the xMOOCs though there are tests and achievements and a final certificate to earn. So when you sign up 61,285 people and have only 0.17 percent of them left at the end of the course, you have, as Alan Levine would say, some explaining to do. "So in the end, we have 107 students who got the more personalized attention (doing a project, getting feedback, being part of the Google hangout presentations). This class had one professor and 3 TA, about a 1 : 27 teacher/student ratio. That is pretty much the size of a normal section of a class."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, Traditional and Online Courses, Personalization, Project Based Learning, Google, Assessment]

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Initial Thoughts on McGraw-Hill Education Acquisition
Phil Hill, e-Literate, December 2, 2012.

McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) is being purchased by Apollo Global Management. This is not the same company as Apollo Group, the owner of the University of Phoenix. The purchase price was $2.5 billion dollars, more or less. Phil Hill comments, "Despite the usual press releases touting great opportunities, this was a distress sale." McGraw-Hill has already announced it wanted out of the education business.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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What Price MOOCs?
Donald H. Taylor, Weblog, December 2, 2012.

"One topic has received less notice," says Donald H. Taylor, "How will MOOCs be made to pay?" We could simply invest the same public resources into offering free learning at all levels online that we currently expend in the traditional system, but still there persists this idea that MOOCs, somehow, must make money. Taylor's response is, "Freemium model surely?" In other words, the basic service is free, but premium extras are offered for those willing to pay extra money (in Canada, we call that "two tier"). There is no question the concept is becoming a gamechanger. "In a few years’ time you may be asked to justify your training course against one  provided by Harvard,  by a local college in Hyderabad and by an online training company in Singapore."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Canada, Online Learning]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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