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January 16, 2013

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Jay Cross, January 16, 2013

Jay Cross introduces a new handbook and resource guide authored by a group of people including himself and Howard Rheingold called Peeragogy. "This project seeks to empower the worldwide population of self-motivated learners who use digital media to connect with each other, to co-construct knowledge, to co-learn." It's a nice concept, and something that has been at the core of the work we have been doing here on MOOCs. This overview gives you a good sense of the concept. The connection with MOOCs is evident in the section on How to Organize a MOOC. There's a lot more - explore using the menus on the lefty. Give yourself a few hours for this one.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Books, Project Based Learning]

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Graph Search: Facebook and Microsoft team up to take on Google’s search dominance
Brian Jackson, ITBusiness.ca, January 16, 2013

facebook and Microsoft announced today a new 'graph search' service. "Graph Search will be the new empty field next to a magnifying glass icon that appears at the top of every Facebook Page you visit, eventually. The tool is in limited rollout to the market right now and only available to select US English users. The search tool will supersede Facebook’s current key word search tool by focusing on phrases to group up information in a context that’s personally useful." A graph search makes sense, and would eventually provide better results than Google, but it really depends on people being engaged enough with Facebook to generate useful data, and that is far from clear. More from E-Commerce Times, Social Media Today, BBC News, Mashable, Brian Kelly, ClickZ, Technology Review, Ben Werdmuller, Wired News.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Microsoft, Books, Google]

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Yes, You Can Make Money with Open Source
Igor Faletski, Harvard Business Review Blogs, January 16, 2013

I am constantly asked to make this case in my day job, despite overwhelming evidence in the form of Apache, MySQL, Moodle and so much more. The most recent request for 'a case' came in the morning email. Here are the ways listed in this article:

  • Paid support is one of the most common sources of revenue - annual service contract or a la carte.
  • Package more substantial (and expensive) professional services with open source software.
  • Sell commercial versions of popular open source - quality-tested versions; license management; code maintenance.
  • Augment it, make significant improvements, and then sell it under a more restricted license.

Not that I haven't mentioned all of these (and more) in the past. But if management won't listen to me (and oh they won't) maybe they'll listen to Harvard Business Review.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Source]

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5 Wishes for the Next Stage of Online Learning
Contact North, January 16, 2013

Interesting discussion paper from Contact North that doesn't stay with the usual observaions and recommendations typical of such papers. Surveying what was important in 2012, the author points to the arricval of MOOCs (ofcourse) but also at new approaches to credit recognition and private sector engagement. The second is most important - the idea that we can't transfer credit from one institution to another is a relic of the Medieval age. The "wishes" for 2013 are as follows:

  • a focus on pedagogy - "In higher education, especially university graduate programs, the focus for learning
  • is more on discovery and exploration"
  • supporting and maintaining academic service standards for all students
  • a focus "on increasing access to and success in college and university 'gateway' courses"
  • e-Apprenticeship - "thinking about how we educate for trades, how we supervise trades trainees and how we build on a trades education"
  • better data and analytics - "simple and reliable data is not available for reasonable policy and strategic review and analysis."

These are reasonable wishes, and I appreciate the emphasis on practical approaches to solveproblems of access, effectiveness and affordability.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Graduate Education, Academia]

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As California Goes?
Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, January 16, 2013

California has taken centre stage in the discussions around online learning and MOOCs in recent weeks, prompted by passage of tax increases (see more and more) to cover rising deficits in the state's higher education system. An organization called 20 Million Minds (20MM) organized a conference to discuss proposals. E-Literate provided very good coverage of the event, which was called Re:Boot California Higher education - a post listing statements made before the conference, some opening thoughts from Michael Feldstein, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's introduction, and bottleneck courses. At WCET, Phil Hill describes the state's increasing rolein the governance of the system.

What will the future hold in the rethought California system? Tanya Roscorla summarizes three major points:

  • One idea or technology will not solve higher education's affordability problem.
  • An adversarial relationship won't work within or outside of higher ed.
  • Education leaders must look forward and think creatively to make higher education relevant.

These are addressed especially at the introduction of MOOCs, but other voices are speaking of an expanded role for MOOCs in the system. The NY Times reports on a big push for the open courses.  The system will experiment with offering credit for MOOCs - see coverage by Audrey Watters. But there is pushback. Some argue it will only help companies selling software. And there are alaso calls for clickers and peer instruction (in a post that seems curiously out of touch).

Tony Bates observes, "California appears likely to be a key battle ground regarding the role of the private sector and online learning in post-secondary education." Maybe, but there are other issues at stake as well. As Feldstein writes, Part of the problem, I think, is that we have grafted modern ideals onto what is essentially still an aristocratic model for education." The problem, to my mind, is that the aristocrats - the professors - fundamentally don't care whether the sysem is accessable or affordable. Tha's what has to change. Feldstein proposes:

  • aggressive program of experimentation and evaluation
  • a data-driven and public conversation about the cost and sustainability models
  • personas and use cases that help the stakeholder groups have focused and productive conversations

I think the initiatives have to reach beyond mere planning (there's always the clarion call from  professors for "more research" and a "coordinated program" and an "emphasis on quality", but at a certain point it becomes more important to do than to plan, to try a bunch of things on a larger scale and take notes about what worked and what didn't).

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

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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