OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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June 7, 2013

How Do We Judge Success in a Democracy?
Deborah Meier, Education Week, June 7, 2013

Deborah Meier writes, "parents are not the problem; it's the conditions under which they have to raise their children, the obstacles they must overcome to cope with daily crises that are the problem—mostly related to poverty and racism." This has a direct impact on assessment, "discarding as useless the data I get from the form of testing we have become addicted to... [and instead] assessment that is based on carefully organized judgments about student work, work presented and defended in front of a panel of both internal and external experts." I've described this sort of approach over the last few years as "evaluation by recognition" (as opposed to "evaluation by measurement"). I know I need to expand on the idea; this post is to make it clear that it's not really my idea, that the idea is out there, and only needs articulating.

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MOOCs, Robots, and the Secret of Life
Kevin Carey, New America Foundation, June 7, 2013


Good article documenting some experiences with MOOCs and making observations about their role generally. Kevin Carey (with whom I normally disagree) spends some serious time examining MIT 7.00x, an introductory biology course taught throuigh edX, and is favorably impressed. "How good can a free online course be? The answer, based on my 7.00x experience, is very good -- better, in fact, that almost anyone wants to admit." And this fact allows him to walk through some of the traditional objections to MOOCs. "How much of the vast expanse of what currently comprises higher education can be taught using a technological foundation, at a higher level of quality than what students currently experience, for less money. Not all of it, certainly. But a lot more than people realize or want to admit."

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Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge
Washington Post, Barton Gellman, Laura Poitras, June 7, 2013


This is a little off-topic, but I have to think it would influence national policies regarding cloud-based services: "The Washington Post and The Guardian report that The National Security Agency and the FBI have direct access to data from nine leading U.S. Internet companies." The companies are widely used by educational institutions: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. The emphasis is on domestic spying, but from my perspective as a non-US citizen, this also amounts to international spying. Interestingly, the writer who broke the story is a self-described blogger and activist. The EFF describes itself as "Stunned. Angry." over the revelations, and adds information about "a report in the Guardian that the National Security Agency (NSA) is currently collecting the call records of every Verizon customer in America." Related: HBS Review, Your iPhone works for the Secret Police.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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