OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 16, 2013

MOOCs Changing the Way We Think About Higher Education
Helen Hu, Diverse, April 16, 2013

Good overview of the arrival of MOOCs, from their first instntiation by George Siemens and myself, to later university versions, to some of the fallout. "The sudden rise of MOOCs has prompted criticism of higher education, which some say is inefficient, slow to change, does a poor job of teaching and retaining students and saddles people with heavy debt. The Internet tidal wave that shook up the newspaper business and other fields is now hitting higher education, highlighting its weaknesses, educators say."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

More than meets the eye: In conversation with Mark Kaigwa
Alicia Mitchell, eLearning Africa News Portal, April 16, 2013

Worth a read: "Mark Kaigwa is a digital strategist, consultant, speaker, writer and self-proclaimed 'power networker.' Nairobi-based Mark makes it his business to keep absolutely up to date with the developments of the technology and communications sectors and uses his expert knowledge to help businesses, start-ups and non-profits to launch into the thrilling environment of African entrepreneurialism."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks, Africa]

Google Operating System
Alex Chitu, Google Operating System, April 16, 2013

Alex Chitu, who is nornally pretty positive about Google, is experiencing a warped Catch-22 world in the land of DMCA takedowns. To begin, he received a takedown for a Blogger web page about a Greasemonkey script that allowed you to show music lyrics in the YouTube interface (pictured). The takedown (which he had to search for on Chilling Effects, they don't actually send it to him) states, "The URL listed below is one of nearly 20 song lyrics sites who have attempted to post lyrics for the song titled 'Alden Howell' by the artist Inspection 12." Fair enough, but the page doesn't post Alden Howell lyrics and the blog doesn't mention 'Alden Howell' at all, ever. So he appealed and... Google stuck by the takedown, and for good measure added threats about compliance and blocking Adsense revenue and such. This is why I run my own web server (though, you know, nobody's immune - for uttering the words 'Alden Howell' my web service provider SoftLayer could decide to go Google, or my ISP Bell-Aliant could decide to shut me down - we need some protection against this, as it's obviously being abused. Three parts: part one, part two, part three.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: YouTube, Video, Web Logs, Patents, Google, Copyrights, Blogger, Web Services]

Know Your HTTP
Github, April 16, 2013

Putting these things on GIT is a bit of overkill, but they are nonetheless useful documents to have around:

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

Mooc platform to focus on group learning
Emma Boyde, Financial Times, April 16, 2013

The Financial Times (of all places) reports on a new MOOC start-up from Stanford called NovoEd. As the headline suggests, the defining feature of the new software is a group-forming algorithm. Groups were originally formed of people from the same geographic area but with a range of experience. Members rated each other, then participants were asked to reform into new groups. "The top 200 teams were assigned, or found, mentors" (which to me sounds like a logistical bottleneck). NovoEd was founded by Stanford professor of management science and engineering Amin Saberi and PhD student Farnaz Ronaghi. It has secured startup funding. The website lists nine courses, all from Stanford. See also coverage in Stanford News, Forbes, Silicon Valley Business Journal, GigaOm, and Venture Beat.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Mentors and Mentoring, Experience]

MOOCs and the Funnel of Participation
Doug Clow, The Open University Open Research Online, April 16, 2013

Interesting paper introducing the metaphor of a 'funnel of participation' to illustrate the steep drop-off inactivity in a MOOC. It uses three MOOCs as cases and observes that the number of people registering is much greater than the number of people making "meaningful learning Progress." Good set of references (though it suggests to me I ought to publish more). One quibble: the author argues that the existence of the funnel of participation "shows that MOOCs alone cannot replace degrees or most other formal qualifications" because "the significant efforts that institutions put in to supporting their learners to reach a commonality of learning outcome are necessary, and have a real effect." This doesn't follow at all, and is a conclusion that (true or not) goes well beyond the evidence presented here.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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