OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 3, 2013

Why are digital books more expensive than printed books?
June Breivik, Tanker, April 3, 2013

How many ways can you say 'scam'? "The printed books, in hard cover  even, are significantly cheaper than the digital version. You can even get the book cheaper as an audiobook than in digital form. What in the world is the purpose of it? The only reason I can find is that people prefer digital form rather than printed."

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

Online Learning: Two Big Distractions
Contact North, April 3, 2013

Unattributed article from Contact North pointing to two big "distractions" that draw our focus from what's really happening in educational technology. The distractions are, first, "transformative talk" that suggests institutions will change dramatically, and second, "technology hype" that inflates what technology can accomplish. In the case of the former, suggest the author, "the real transformation that is now occurring is in relation to the pedagogy within institutions rather than the nature of the institutions themselves." And in the case of the latter, "the new technology tools and resources are built, but their use for decision making is weak and, at the faculty member level, almost non-existent." Maybe so. But as institutions blunt the impact of technology they render themselves less and less relevant. The real impact of educational technology is taking place outside the institution, and we should look to how the public at large is adapting, not at educational institutions and their faculty members.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

Rosetta Stone Acquires Online Language Company Livemocha
Business Wire, April 3, 2013

Rosetta Stone has purchased an online language learning community, moving it much more firmly in the direction of distributed social learning. MOOC providers like Coursera should take note, as it points to a community and cloud based future (like cMOOCs) rather than the old-style 'follow the lectures of experts' mode of learning. Indeed, when one thinks of language learning, the whole model of 'learning from the greatest experts in the world' seems very suspect. Rosetta Stone writes, in a press release, "Livemocha will enable us to quickly migrate our legacy products to a future-proof technology stack with a modern, cloud-based architecture and contemporary means of distribution," said Rosetta Stone Chief Product Officer West Stringfellow. "But even more exciting, it gives our customers more choice. Livemocha presents us with a low-cost or even free alternative product to offer learners around the world. It becomes a 'ladder of learning and value' for our customers." Via TechCrunch.

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

Accreditors Without Borders
Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, April 3, 2013

Interesting article (with a terrible world map graphic) on the question of whether U.S.-based accreditors should expand their scrutiny to institutions in other nations (what they call 'foreign'). The tone is overwhelmingly one of whether these international institutions will measure up: "can standards built on values underlying American higher education be upheld with integrity in other cultural contexts?" Or would they be "accepting circumstances at foreign institutions that they wouldn’t tolerate domestically." I would be more inclined to ask whether the values of U.S.-based accreditation agencies apply in an international context. As Philip G. Altbach says (see the very bottom of this long article) "We accredit some pretty lousy institutions here [in the U.S.]." Personally, I think the rest of the world can do better.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States]

Pre-Hire Assessment Science Revealed: Value for Employers, Value for Candidates
Josh Bersin, Bersin by Deloitte, April 3, 2013

Probably the most common question I am asked about MOOCs is what people will do for credentials if they're not getting degrees from universities. I've talked about mechanisms of direct assessment usin g available data from the open web. Now I can point to an actual instanceof that idea: pre-hire assessment. "I/O Psychologists look at jobs in great detail. They examine tasks at work and try to diagnose the skills, personality traits, experiences, and knowledge someone needs to succeed at this job (often called “KSA’s” or knowledge, skills, and abilities)... you now have the core of a 'pre-hire assessment,' or test and interview script which can help you identify the top people for a position."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Personalization, Experience, Assessment]

Break a Few Eggs - Stepping Away from Google
Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org, April 3, 2013

Miguel Guhlin reviews what he would have to part with to eliminate his dependence on Google. He depends on the search-engine giant a lot more than I do (I tend not to rely on one provider). I don't really use GMail at all (because if I did, all notifications would by default be sent to GMail, which I don't want). Nor do I use Picassa. I do use Blogger, but it's all automatically backed up. I also use Reader, but Google is taking take of that dependence for me. I use Google+ but it's more of an annoyance than a service. The one big thing is Google Drive, to which I signed up just before Google went on its anti-open campaign. But I can kill that account and migrate over to DropBox (at least until I learn how to make cloud storage out of my own WD Drives.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Blogger]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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