OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 30, 2013

Treating MOOC Platforms as Websites to be Optimised, Pure and Simple…
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, January 30, 2013

More stuff on the tech front - this is from a Tony Hirst post where he looks (sceptically) at FutureLearn. What does it mean to say "the USP is going to relate to the quality of teaching/pedagogy?" Anbd will it be open? How much will be drawn from Moodle? Meanwhile, he notes "I notice that JISC Advance’s Generic eMarketplace (or GeM) for Work Based Learning ('gemforwbl', or looking at the logo, 'gee em for weeble'? (will it wobble? will it fall down?) is now open and ready for business… and as for the logo, what on earth is it supposed to represent?" Another example, probably, of management shooting and missing - but still, you can tell there are some solid ideas behind these projects.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Quality, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)]

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Both MOOCs and Textbooks Will End Up Courseware
Mike Caulfield, Hapgood, January 30, 2013

Where are MOOCs headed? Not toward massive classes, writes Mike Caulfield. "It’s broadly used courseware — software that provides much of the skeleton of standard classes the way publisher texts do today." That's my call as well. He continues, "it’s not a new shift, either. It’s been quietly happening for quite a long time now. And after all the talk about first tier schools and massive class sizes burn off, we’ll be left with questions we’ve been asking for quite a long time now: What is courseware? What can it do/not do? What are its implications?" I had fun with this web page reloading it and reading the ads for new and improved courseware at the bottom (One of them is pictured above - I thought it was part of the article at first, but it's just some ad network).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Books, Networks]

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EEF / Toolkit
Education Endowment Foundation, January 30, 2013

Seb Schmoller points to a really interesting site that summarizes a couple dozen popular educational interventions and assesses their effectiveness in promoting positive educational outcomes. The presentation is a bit unintuitive - the interventions are scored in terms of cost (that's clear enough), stars (representing the number of studies supporting the assessment), and effectiveness (confusingly represented in terms of months - so, for example, the 'average impact' of peer tutoring is '+6 additional months', whatever that means). While a site like this is useful, it needs to be read with caution - your "improved educational outcome" might be my "severe psychological trauma". That said, the sort of things one would think are useful - like feedback, meta-cognition and self-regulation, and yes, peer tutoring - are at the top of the list, while those things we would think are useless - like school uniforms, performance pay, physical environment and ability grouping - are at the bottom. It would have been nice to see what the Toolkit says about standardized tests, but it unfortunately ducks that issue completely.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Assessment, Online Learning]

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Hotspots and have-nots
John C. Abell, Reuters, January 30, 2013

Interesting perspective on the One Laptop Per Child project. As summarized by Alexander Russo, "the main problem Negroponte faced was that the problem he proposed solving -- getting computers into peoples' hands -- was about to be solved on its own through cheap smartphones and netbooks. The main problem he didn't solve -- Internet access -- remained a massive obstacle.  The solution? According to this columnist, it's a massive universal Internet access initiative." It's hard to imagine how good internet access for all would not change things for the better, but it's quite another matter to show how it would.

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

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Sustaining Our Digital Future:Institutional Strategies for Digital Content
Nancy L Maron, Jason Yun, Sarah Pickle, JISC, January 30, 2013

JISC has just published a study on sustaining digital record (91-page PDF); "this study includes a more exploratory look at how cultural heritage institutions think about and plan for sustaining and enhancing the value of their digital collections." In particular, "as it becomes increasingly important to demonstrate impact, this study encourages institutional leaders to think more broadly of 'sustainability' as something well beyond the preservation of content, data and metadata or a particular website."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Metadata]

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University of Illinois at Chicago: Virtual Reality’s CAVE Pioneer
Brad Grimes, Ed Tech, January 30, 2013

Wow, this feels like a black from the past, reading about the CAVE - the first CAVE was launched in 1992. The idea was to create a fully enclosed virtual environment (similar to what we would today call the holodeck). This article talks about CAVE2, launched last October. "CAVE2 flat-panel LCD screens include micropolarizers, which, when viewed through stereoscopic glasses, ­create a 3D effect — or the illusion of depth — like that found in movie theaters showing 3D feature films."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Examining the true meaning of Davos
Don Tapscott, Globe, and , Mail, January 30, 2013

Don Tapscott writes in the Globe and Mail about how people misunderstand Davos (if you've tripped the paywall after reading the Globe's defense of the one percent, I'm sorry, though you can always read the paper they lifted the content from directly(cite)) and that they shouldn't comment from afar ("much like someone describing what is happening on the surface of Mars when they’re not there"). That's like saying you shouldn't criticize TED unless you've been to TED, or that you shouldn't criticize billionaires unless you're a billionaire. Anyhow. Tapscott says, "The key point is that the Forum is really an example of a new model of global problem solving, co-operation and governance." Because, you know, democracy is so inconvenient.

Take e-learning, for example. "In another meeting hosted a private Ukrainian foundation, educators, policy makers and business people had sessions dealing with higher education, and the potential for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Representatives from Harvard, Stanford and MIT all came to Davos to discuss the issue." Because that's how things get decided in the wonderful post-democratic world of Davos. Don't worry about voting; rich people will get together and talk about it. The people from the elite institutions gather with their former students, talk about the latest advances in education (or unemployment, or international development), pat themselves on the back for 'inventing' something, then talk about how they'll monetize it. No, I'll never get to Davos. I don't have the stomach for it.

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

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Give a Little; Get Back a Lot
Doug Peterson, doug - off the record, January 30, 2013

Doug Peterson follows a trail and finds a PearlTree of big data resources. It's interesting how he describes what people should do with it - "If you’re looking for articles, resources, or discussion about big data, check out this Pearltree.  Make sure you tuck it away in your Diigo, Delicious, Pocket, or Evernote account for future reference." I wonder how many people are keeping accounts full of useful links and resources.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Thomson Corporation]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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