OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 21, 2013

Why you want to put the activity first
Cathy Moore, August 21, 2013


One of the canonical rules regarding presentations is this: "Do the demo first." Instead, most conference prsenters pile on loads of theory and reserach, saving the demo for a very rused final five minuted. The result? Bad presentations. Much the same principle can be applied to online learning. Do the activities first. Have people try something out and find the problems for themselves. Then - in the big 'reveal' - show them what the reserach shows and how to address what they're looking at.

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What’s the Difference Between OCWs and MOOCs? Managing Expectations
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, August 21, 2013

Everybody loves MIT's Open Courseware project. But they hate MOOCs. David Wiley points to the fact that they are (at least, the way MIT does them) essentially the same. So why the hate? "We’re seeing a huge anti-MOOC backlash now, but never saw an anti-OCW backlash. Why? Perhaps because even though to the public mind they’re doing essentially the same things – publishing large collections of curated, high quality, freely available course content – OCW managed the public’s expectations better." I have to agree.

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Building the RMOOC Site, Syndication and All
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, August 21, 2013


Alan Levine does a very nice job of describing and showing at length how to set up a MOOC - including feed aggregation - using WordPress. The context is the Art+Reconciliation project that addresses current issues in Canada dealing with the history of residential schools and the ongoing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. So it's a great project, too.

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Lessons Learned from Vanderbilt’s First MOOCs
Derek Bruff, Center for Teaching, August 21, 2013

The lessons learned at Vanderbilt are consistent with lessons learned in our own MOOCs and in other MOOCs offered elsewhere. The lessons include, briefly:

  • Teaching online is a team effort.
  • There’s more to MOOCs than lecture videos.
  • Open content is our friend
  • The cognitive diversity seen in MOOCs is far greater than in closed courses
  • MOOC students are well-motivated students
  • Cognitive Diversity + Intrinsic Motivations = Crowdsourcing Success
  • MOOC students can be producers as well as consumers of information
  • Accommodating students on different time tables can be challenging
  • Instructor presence is important, even in a MOOC

Good stuff; good article.

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A review of the HEQCO report on productivity and quality in online learning in higher education
August 21, 2013

Good summary and excellent criticism of a report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario by Trick and Carey (yes, you read that right) titled How Online Learning Affects Productivity, Cost and Quality in Higher Education: An Environmental Scan and Review of the Literature. He writes, "I would like to have seen a recommendation to government and the institutions to put in the same level of investment as for MOOCs, but to develop a model that combines best practices in online learning combined with new technologies such as social media, to build partly self-supporting student learning communities on a larger scale than current campus-based programs, with high quality learning outcomes and completion rates. I think it could be done, but it needs substantial investment beyond the risk level of most individual universities, which is why government should be a partner."

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You know what would help MOOC articles? Getting the facts and goals right before analyzing
August 21, 2013

Just a post to echo what Phil Hill says: "If we want to get beyond the silly point / counterpoint arguments about MOOCs and online education, we owe it to ourselves to characterize the position of others accurately and to get the facts right. Creating straw man arguments based on false assertions, whether intentional or not, does a disservice to everyone involved." He writes this in response to Keith Devlin's article at Huffington Post titled “MOOC Mania Meets the Sober Reality of Education” (I rarely link to Huffington Post because the page loads so much extra garbage along with the article it's impossible to read).

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Massive Open Online Courses and Beyond: the Revolution to Come
August 21, 2013


Good article on MOOCs in Truthout (a source I have come to trust over the years) by an author who has unfortunately not heard of cMOOCs, and hence, levels a critique appropriate only to xMOOCs. It is becoming increasingly common for writers to suggest reformulating the concept of the MOOC into something more like what George Siemens and I originally built (this 'feminist MOOC, aka the DOCC, is exactly the same model as well). In Trjthout, Ali Ikiz makes a good point worth quoting at length:

"I would like to suggest that “peer philosophies” are at the heart of a radical notion of “openness” and would advocate the significance of peer governance, peer review, peer learning and peer collaboration as a collection of values that form the basis for open institutions and open management philosophies. This form of openness has been theorized in different ways by John Dewey, Charles Sanders Pierce and Karl Popper as a “community of inquiry” – a set of values and philosophy committed to the ethic of criticism that offers means for transforming our institutions in what Antonio Negri and others call the age of cognitive capitalism. Expressive and aesthetic labor (“creative labor”) demands institutional structures for developing “knowledge cultures” as “flat hierarchies” that permit reciprocal academic exchanges as a new basis for public institutions."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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