OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
May 16, 2014

Disrupting Colonial Mindsets: The Power of Learning Networks
Catherine McGregor, In Education, May 16, 2014

This paper offers an example of "how one particular teacher-learning network—the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) in British Columbia, Canada, offers a powerful example of how teacher learning networks can enable deep and transformational change among participating teachers and leaders." It merges the concept of the community of practice with the need for non-hierarchal and inclusive leadership. From Sachs: "The activist teacher professional creates new spaces for action and debate, and in so doing improves the learning opportunities for all of those who are recipients or providers of education”

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“In Over Our Heads” – My Simmons commencement address
David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, May 16, 2014

David Weinberger hits the mark with this talk about information overload. We don't feel overloaded by the effects of 1.3 million apple pie recipes or 7.6 million cute cat photos. Why not? Because we're not expected to master them. But with information it's different, because there used to be so much less that we could master all the information. But not any more. "We’re all in over our heads. Forever. This isn’t a temporary swim in the deep end of the pool. Being in over our heads is the human condition." But hey - that's a good thing.

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LAe-R: A new learning analytics tool in Moodle for assessing students’ performance
Ourania Petropoulou, Katerina Kasimatis, Ioannis Dimopoulos, Symeon Retalis, Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology, May 16, 2014

This paper summarizes the state of the art in Moodle analytics tools and presents "a new cloud-based assessment tool, called Learning Analytics Enhanced Rubric (LAe-R), which has been developed as a Moodle plug-in (version 2.2+). See the current issue of the Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology. Past issues.

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Why We Hate Recommending Software Downloads To Our Readers
Editorial, HowToGeek, May 16, 2014


Good article pointing to some of the problems associated with software download sites (and I would add that it's not only freeware - you will be subjected to these scams on pay sites as well). Even good and reliable sites change hads and start doing things like bundling search-hijack services (like Conduit, which actually in stalls software that blocks your attempts to change your search provider back to DuckDuckGo). Fake download links surround the legit download link and lull you into installing adware, spyware and other malware. Sure, there are ways these can be avoided - but the point is that while it's easy for experienced computers to avoid, it's really hard for new users, and a lot of people are fooled.

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An Alternative Perspective on Group Dynamics
Jenny Mackness, May 16, 2014

In this post Jenny Mackness offers a rethink on the need for group formation. "How could it ever be right to not support the weakest member of the group? ... There were some lovely people in our walking group who shared these values, but also some who didn’t seem to understand that in a situation such as walking the West Highland Way, commitment to the group was important." It's an interesting challenge. I'm sure that when people signed up for the walk, they weren't signing up for the task of helping an older person walk 96 kilometres. Yet the group dynamics seems to impose this responsibility on them, to the point where they are criticized for not 'sharing' these values. On the other hand, how is it right to leave an older person behind on a Highlands hike? I think that depending on group formation to establish a basis for morality is a mistake. But that morality itself is not a mistake.

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The MOOC Problem
Rolin Moe, Hybrid Pedagogy, May 16, 2014


Interetsing article about the appropriation of terms like 'MOOC' and '2.0' to support marketing. The author concludes "MOOCs have been sold not only as an agent to democratize education, but also as a necessity because the real crisis is about employment and not learning." But also, this is worth noting: "in reality the MOOC as a learning system has underperformed traditional models and shows no large-scale cost benefit to education providers. At this point, the MOOC as an instrument is a failure.  However, the MOOC as a landscape-altering educational phenomenon is a fascinating success, in large part due to shifting the definition of education away from its historical roots to a skills-based, instrumentally-defined exercise."

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Conventional Online Higher Education Will Absorb MOOCs, 2 Reports Say
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, May 16, 2014

I think that the most interesting thing about this headline is that it asserts that there is such a thing as 'conventional online higher education'. Even a few years ago the words would have choked in the Chronicle headline writer's pen. So the two reports are from Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute, which released the Bellwether report, and Teachers College at Columbia University, which released a report cited here the other day. That institutions will simply absorb MOOCs doesn't surprise me - they have very different goals and ambitions from the rest of us. But ask the question differently, and you get a different answer. Will massive open online learning survive? Almost certainly - part of the new reality institutions must now deal with is that free versions of their course materials (or materials very similar to their course materials) will exist online. And institutions won't absorb that. They can't.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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