OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 25, 2012

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Michael Sandel’s Famous Harvard Course on Justice Now Available as a MOOC: Register Today
Dan Colman, Open Culture, December 25, 2012.

This post focuses on a new MOOC being offered by Harvard, a reprise of Michael Sandel's 2009 course, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? (YouTube - iTunes - Web). It also notes that EdX is offering a slew of ither new courses this spring, including The Challenges of Global Poverty, Justice, and The Ancient Greek Hero. All this makes me think of one aspect of these courses that has not really been discussed: coming from these major U.S. private universities, these courses offer a certain point of view and political perspective.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: YouTube, Video, Private Schools]

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Where xMOOCs and Adaptive Analytics Both Fail (For Now)
Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, December 25, 2012.

Good analysis from Michael Feldstein on 'the missing viola player' aspect of online learning: it's inability to comprehend and respond to student questions. I respond at more length to this article here how cMOOCs are interended to respond to this: "You don't need an expert for this - you just needs someone who knows the answer to the problem. So we have attempted to scale by connecting people with many other students. Instructors are still there, for the tough and difficult problems. But students can help each other out, and are expected to do so."

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

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The Digital Native Debate in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Recent Literature
Erika Smith, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, December 25, 2012.

This paper outlines the origins of, and major principles of, the digital native theory of technological adaptation. It then outlines major criticisms, and then briefly discussion of the concept in the Canadian context. "These research findings from various contexts ultimately counter monolithic characterizations of native and immigrant generations in post-secondary environments, and illustrate the importance of further research regarding these nuances in different Canadian settings." But that said, "those originating ideas of the Net generation as digital natives, including Prensky and Tapscott, appear to be reaffirming and even building upon their previous definitions of generational characteristics rather than discarding of them." If typiologies are necessary, suggests the author, there are alternative typologies that could be explored. For example, "Kennedy, Judd, Dalgarno, and Waycott (2010) argue that we might see beyond the digital native/immigrant dichotomy by understanding 'four distinct types of technology users: power users (14% of sample), ordinary users (27%), irregular users (14%) and basic users (45%)'"

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, Research, Canada]

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Just-in-time online professional development activities for an innovation in small rural schools
Christine Hamel, Stéphane Allaire and Sandrine Turcotte, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, December 25, 2012.

Examination of the nature of just-in-time technical support in schools in the Remote Networked Schools (RNS), a systemic initiative funded by the Quebec Ministry of Education, in Canada. The bulk were of two types of interaction: start-up, and trouble-shooting. Additionally, "Above all, participating in an emerging community of practice devoted to teaching in an RNS was, in itself, an opportunity for professional development, and ... such opportunities have the potential of enriching teachers’ professional competencies." I don't know how many times this model has been observed, but it keeps coming up.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Interaction, Canada]

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Helping the poor — without conditions
Dana Goldstein, The Atlantic, December 25, 2012.

Coverage of an assistance plan that "would give poor families in rural Kenya $1,000 over the course of 10 months, and let them do whatever they wanted with the money." The idea here is that if the money is donated without strings attached, people would spend it on what they needed or wanted most. The hard part is for the donors to not make judgments about that. In practice, the program was generally effective. The major problems were theft of the donations by village elders, and jealousy on the part of others in the community. And, of course, "unconditional cash transfers to individuals do little to address the structural factors responsible for poverty, such as government corruption, gender discrimination, and the lack of quality jobs, schools, and health care."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Traditional and Online Courses, Quality]

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How to fund the awesome things in life
Louise Elliott, CBC News, December 25, 2012.

"Every month, Ocampo-Gooding and nine others in Ottawa pledge $100 of their own money. Then, they get together and cut a $1,000 cheque for a project they like." What I like about this is that the definition of "awesome" is wide opemn, and that the money is given with no strings attached. "If you build a giant tricycle that shoots fire, that sounds awesome ... and was actually a proposal in Portland," he says, rhyming off some of his recent favourites. "If you write us saying you want to build animatronic giant teddy bears to put in daycares, that sounds awesome. If you want to host ginormous murder mystery party with hundreds of participants with pieces written for each one, we want to (help you) do that." Too cool. I want to do that.

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

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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