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January 17, 2013

What Makes a MOOC Massive?
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, January 17, 2013

I've been asked this a few times recently, so I thought I should expend a few paragraphs describing the difference between online courses that are and are not 'massive'. I argue, first, that it's not the raw count of participants that's important, but how the course is structured. It's not simply a big course. Then given that caveat I go on to explain that a course needs 150 active participants to be thought of as 'massive' - this because 150 people - Dunbar's Number - is more than any one person can attend to, and hence is a course that will resist groupish properties (such as an emphasis on sameness rather than diversity).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Wikipedia]

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MOOCs: ‘dropout’ a category mistake, look at ‘uptake’?
Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, January 17, 2013

Donald Clark is on point in this reframing of the 'dropout argument' against MOOCs: "We need to look at uptake, not dropout. It’s astonishing that MOOCs exist at all, never mind the millions, and shortly many millions, who have given them a go. Dropout is a highly pejorative term that comes from ‘schooling’. The ‘high school dropout’. He’s ‘dropped out of ‘University’. It's this pathological view of education that has got us into this mess in the first place. MOOCs are NOT school, they eschew the lecture hall and are more about learning than teaching. MOOCs, like BOOKs, need to be seen as widely available opportunities, not compulsory attendance schooling. They need to be encouraged, not disparaged." And not just that - the cost of dropping an open online course is effectively zero, as compared to a cost of thousands when dropping a university course. Via Seb Schmoller.

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

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Rent Vs. Own in the Internet Space
James Lambert, .eduGuru, January 17, 2013

Nice analogy. Would you spend $20,000 to upgrade your renatl apartment? No, of course not, you could lose your investment on a whim of the landlord. But companies are investing proportionally large amounts of money into 'rented' space on Twitter, Facebook and other internet landlord platforms. "In real life, the landlord stops by and sees all of the upgrades. He says to himself, 'Man, this place is nice. I’m going to have to double the rent.' And now your friend is paying for the upgrades twice, or perhaps, your friend can no longer afford the apartment. On the Internet, Facebook now asks its page owners to pay all over again to reach the audience they have spent the past few years paying to build." I'll use these service when it's convenient. But I would never make a major investment in them.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Books]

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Stanford Makes Open Source Platform, Class2Go, Available to All; Launches MOOC on Platform Today
Dan Colman, Open Culture, January 17, 2013

Open Culture covers "Stanford’s Class2Go. The platform is open, meaning that you can grab the code base for free and run it on your very own server. Class2Go is also portable, giving schools the ability to move documents and media to other platforms if they so choose. The Stanford platform is interoperable in the sense that it builds on existing software (MySQL, Github, Piazza, MySQL, Python Django, etc.). And, unlike some other platforms, Class2Go gives educators immediate access to valuable data, allowing them to make refinements to the educational experience." I read some thing about how great Python is and how that's why they used it to develop Class2Go. You can view the code library here. I've looked at Django in the past for my own work but decided to go with a much lighter Perl backend (and to use things like JQuery and Bootstrap to do the client-side work). The other thing I don't have, of course, is Stanford's PR department (or anything resembling that). Anyhow, Class2Go has been around for a few months now.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Interoperability, Experience, Online Learning]

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The Open University releases ROLE eBook
ROLE - Responsive Open Learning Environments, January 17, 2013

The Open University has released a book on ROLE. This is good, as ROLE - Responsive Open Learning Environments - is a major project covering many aspects of recent work in fields such as Personal Learning Environments (which some of us in MOOC-mania haven't forgotten). Unfortunately, I can't provide a review, since I'm in the office and hence using my PC Desktop, not an Apple or iPad, and the book was deveped, as neatly as I can tell, exclusively for the Apple platform. There isn't even a PDF - the 'download' they provide is a specialized .ibook format (there's a fun discussion on the Apple support website). OU is generally better than this, which makes me wonder what sent them off the rails this time.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Apple Inc., Project Based Learning, Personal Learning Environment]

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Implementing OA Mandates in Europe: OpenAIRE Study
Iryna Kuchma, Birgit Schmidt, OpenAIRE, January 17, 2013

This is a detailed listing and description of funder and research institution open access policies in Europe (including Norway, Switzerland and Turkey), publishers’ self-archiving policies, and implementation startegies and initiatives. It is hence an essential reference for researchers working in the field of open access. "In European countries, there are robust regional and national networks of open access advocates representing libraries and some research discipline communities. More than half of the eu member countries have already established a national repository infrastructure." The report is presented by the OpenAIRE project - Open Access Architecture for Research in Europe.  177 page PDF. Illustration (above) from the eport, p. 18.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Project Based Learning, Research, European Union, Networks, Learning Object Repositories, Open Access]

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Implementing strategies to encourage deposit
Rebecca Kennison, Repositories Support Project, January 17, 2013

Recording of a webinar (Adobe Connect) on strategies to encourage faculty to deposit resources into an institutional open access repository. Presented by Rebecca Kennison, Director of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University. This is just one of a number of webinar recordings available at the JISC-sponsored website. The Repositories Support Group was founded "to progress the vision of a deployed network of interoperable repositories for academic papers, learning materials and research data across the UK."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Learning Object Repositories, Open Access]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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