OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 15, 2013

Fanshawe MOOC
Fanshawe College, April 15, 2013

Fanshawe College is running a MOOC. "Beginning on May 13, in partnership with educational software provider Desire2Learn, Fanshawe College will launch a free, six-week open online course on Applied Sustainability. Students from anywhere in the world will participate in online field trips, perform hands-on tasks, discuss issues and ultimately be eligible to receive a letter of completion from the College." Just in time for Earth Day.

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

A report from Keith Devlin's and Coursera’s Introduction to Mathematical Thinking MOOC
Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing, April 15, 2013

There is not nearly enough time to follow every MOOC out there, so I'm attending closely to summaries of different MOOCs like this one from Seb Schmoller. He reports quite a positive experience taking Keith Devlin’s 10 week Introduction to Mathematical Thinking. "What this course shares with the AI course is the feature that struck me so forcefully in 2011: the feeling that you are getting one-to-one personal tuition from a very skilled and interesting teacher." In the same vein (and from the same blog) Ian Chowcat reviews Modern and Contemporary American Poetryled by Professor Al Filreis of the University of Pennsylvania. Again we read a positive review. "What made it so great? The huge passion and enthusiasm of Al Filreis himself certainly helped... But for me what really clinched the course were the videos produced for each course reading – over 80 of them, with running lengths from nine to twenty-seven minutes."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Video, United States, Web Logs, Experience, Tuition and Student Fees]

Diagramming sentences
Mark Liberman, Language Log, April 14, 2013

The problem with sentences like "Man arrested with fake CIA badge" is that it suggests the fake CIA badge was used to make the arrest. Obviously there's a problem of ambiguity here, which is corrected with proper grammar. But how do we represent, and subsequently teach, the correct grammar? For decades, the Reed-Kellogg system has been used in schools; it diagrams the same basic sentence elements that might be found in, say, phrase structure rules. But the contemporary method of diagramming sentences, the Penn Treebank, is nowhere to be found in schools (at least, according to this post ). Why not? "Who is doing all the research, and writing all those thousands of scholarly, scientific and technical papers? Computational linguists and computer scientists." Indeed, sentence analysis is big business and treebank libraries have been produced for dozens of languages. There is a disconnect here, argues Liberman, between what's being done in the world, and what's being taught in schools. "The people who know about this stuff have done a dreadful job of public relations." (Image: Sentence Diagram)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Research, Patents, Copyrights]

Huge attack on WordPress sites could spawn never-before-seen super botnet
Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, April 14, 2013

Those using WordPress (and thousands of edubloggers do just that) are advised to take extra security precautions as a huge botnet is targeting WordPress sites with a brute-force attack. "Operators of WordPress sites can take other measures too, including installing plugins such as this one and this one, which close some of the holes most frequently exploited in these types of attacks. Beyond that, operators can sign up for a free plan from CloudFlare that automatically blocks login attempts that bear the signature of the brute-force attack."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Security Issues]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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