OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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February 21, 2013

Coursera Adds 29 Schools, 90 Courses And 3 New Languages To Its Online Learning Platform
Rip Empson, TechCrunch, February 21, 2013

EdX is 'going international' with the addition of six new partners, including the University of Toronto and Montreal's McGill University, as well as Rice University (home of Connexions - I wonder whether there will be any tension there). Coursera meanwhile is adding 29 schools and new languages (including French, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin?) and Italian). That is all.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Connexions, China, Online Learning]

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The Most Thorough Description (to date) of University Experience with MOOC
Phil Hill, e-Literate, February 21, 2013

I thought we have been pretty thorough with our own accounts of MOOCs (Rita Kop alone generated more description of our MOOCs than anything else I've seen) so I'm not willing to cede the title of "most thorough description" to this 21-page report(PDF). Too often pundits south of the border don't look north of the border before awarding attributions of 'first' or 'most' or 'best'. It seems to be a national characteristic.

But my point here is to offer a counter-example to the model described in this report, because some of the numbers are astonishing. "Over 600 hours of effort were required to build and deliver the course, including more than 420 hours of effort by the instructor." And "Nearly 22 gigabytes of data files were created in connection with the course, including over 11 hours of video for the 8 week course. More than 1000 files were created including 97 'final' videos published to the Coursera course site (12 videos per week, plus a promotional video for the launch page)."

You'd think no resources existed anywhere on Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach before this course was launched. But there are some 296,000 results in Google on bioelectricity. I looked through a few and while some are clearly off topic, the bulk of them are useful resources that could support an open online course. And I've said this before: the model of open online learning where you hire professors or other experts to build bespoke content is not sustainable. It's much more sustainable - and much more educational - to have the learning community source and where necessary create the learning content.

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

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In a Violent Media World, YouTube is an Oasis
Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard, February 21, 2013

I found this interesting. "Amateur creators are providing the kind of realistic depiction of violence—with an implicit anti-aggression message—that the mainstream media are not." Non-professional media are often called to account to the standards of 'quality' and 'accuracy' set by professional media, but too often the question is not asked about the quality and accuracy of what we currently consume through our televisions, newspapers, and even schools.

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

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Apollo Group’s Technology Investments
Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, February 21, 2013

People are going gaga over the hundred million or so collectively invested in MOOCs. It's an impressive spend, even if distributed across a number of companies, but dwarfed by the $1 billion investment Apollo Group is making to support "basically their entire learning- and learner-focused technology portfolio." Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix and other online learning properties, may not be in the news so much these days, but it's still one of the dominant players in the field. This article reports on an interview with Apollo's Chief Innovation Officers and Executive Vice President, Rob Wrubel. A big focus for them is "getting the right mix of students in terms of their skills and abilities [that] can be critical to the success of the cohort," as well as learning analytics and (maybe) activity streams. Also, "He scoffed at using Google-like tricks to personalize learning through big data magic (which is very much in line with my recent critique). Instead, he talked about automating the thus-far labor-intensive process of discovering skill maps for different subjects and disciplines." This is good, smart stuff. The details matter, of course, but if I were investing a billion dollars, this would be where I put a good part of it.

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

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Beyond the Buzz, Where Are MOOCs Really Going?
Michael Horn, and , Clayton Christensen, Wired, February 21, 2013

This post is evidence that you can't really predict where something is going if you don't understand the subject. The authors, trying to argue that MOOCs are a disruptive innovation, comment, "the big, reputable universities are the ones leading the MOOC wave. This includes MIT and Harvard (through edX) as well as Stanford, whose groundbreaking AI course morphed into Udacity (and whose professors independently founded Coursera)." Yes, that did happen - three years after the invention of the MOOC. The evidence that MOOCs are disruptive is that the commercial elites have signed on and invested millions. And where are they going? The elites have morphed MOOCs into their own image, and will be capturing media attention for a while - but the real innovation is continuing in the many non-elite MOOCs that are following a more distributed and open model. The future of MOOCs is as learing communities, not Napster on steroids. But don't try telling the magazine that predicted the long boom.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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