OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 22, 2013

Too Many Universities? Too Many Graduates? Too Much Debt?
Dave Warlick, 2¢ Worth, April 22, 2013


This sentence struck me as especially relevant: "I had always been destined for college, not a factory." As though the former is of value, and the latter not so much. Now I happen to think that work in a factory is dignified and worthwhile (I frequently think of the workers in Alliston, Ontario, who made my Honda - thank you all). But the problem isn't simply that there are too many university graduates, but also too many factories, many of them producing less and less meaningful products. In general in society worldwide we have too many people for the work that needs to get done, which leaves many of us underemployed or unemployed. This isn't a problem we solve in the educational system. The waste we create in society is not the result of too much education. We need to work less, consume less, and spend our time more meaningfully, which will not happen without a more equitable distribution of incolme.

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

Value-Added Measures (VAM)
Scott Mcleod, Dangerously Irrelevant, April 22, 2013


There's a whole industry based on evaluating teachers - and yet, it seems to me the statistics it relies upon would be dismissed outright if used to evaluate professional baseball players or other athletes. The current measures are quite coarse, like ranking a ballplayer based on wins and losses in the month of April. Nobody would rely on this, and because many variables relate to wins (including the strength of one's opponents, the contributions of teammates, health, and other intangibles) much more fine-grained measures are used. Anyhow, if you're interested in this topic, Scott McLeod has amassed a wealth of resources in this (undated) post.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

Pick My NCTM Sessions For Me. Please.
Karl Fisch, The Fischbowl, April 22, 2013


I thought this was a clever way of (semi-)randomizing his participation at an upcoming conference on education and mathematics. You are presented with a list of sessions, a way to select one, and room for comments. Of course I helped Karl Fisch pick his sessions; my comment at the end: "It's like there's two tracks through this conference, baby-math (aka common core) and adult math (the others). Stay with the adult math. The stuff these papers look at (perspective, visualization, modelling) are the foundations of contemporary scientific reasoning (and the more they link mathematics with scientific reasoning, the better)."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Visualization]

How resilient is “open”?
Brian Lamb, Abject, April 21, 2013

More on the influence of wealth and power on history, open content and open source. "It’s not as if “closed” systems are particularly resistant to the influence of money and power. But resting assured that “openness is the best disinfectant” is likely to fail us as well." Quite right.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Content, Open Source]

Why c and x MOOCs are attracting different number of participants?
Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, April 21, 2013


It's a question I'm sure many people have pondered: why do the xMOOCs attract hundreds of thousands of people, while cMOOCs attract far few. Sui Fai John Mak rounds up the reasons:

  1. branding and affiliation with elite institutions and professors,
  2. well established courses with rich support on resources and assessment (grading/peer assessment),
  3. granting of certificates of achievement or statements of attainment (in recognition),
  4. degrees of difficulties – xMOOCs are much easier compared to cMOOCs,
  5. perceptions of learners – xMOOCs are based on 1,2,3 above, and 4 – learners – cMOOCs would have to curate resources and create blog posts/join forums,
  6. pedagogy,
  7. assessment.

He then discusses each of these in detail. A post well worth reading.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Branding, Web Logs, Assessment]

News of the Week: Robo-Grading Debate, MOOCs Promoting Peer Collaboration & New Ed-Tech Tool
Debbie Morrison, online learning insights, April 21, 2013


This is a summary article of the week's events in educational technology, but it contains a good summary of the debate around (what I guess we are now calling) robo-grading, including links to a NY Times article (with more than 1000 comments), a petition against robo-grading, and arguments against edX on the basis of robo-grading. The same article looks at a new platform called NovoEd , including challenges posed by peer grading. Clearly the whole issue of grading is in the news, which should tell us that traditional grading (now performed mostly by automated multiple-choice testing systems, or underpaid graduate students working on their third Wake-Up) is under fire.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Tests and Testing]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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