by Stephen Downes
Jun 24, 2015
The EDUCAUSE NGDLE and an API of One’s Own
Michael Feldstein addresses "the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s (ELI’s) paper on a Next-Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) (OLDaily) and Tony Bates’ thoughtful response to it." He also mixes in copious reference to Jim Groom and the Domain of One's Own project, because it's consistent with the ELI paper. There are three major arguments from Bates that he weighs in on (the wording is Feldstein's, lightly edited by me):
- potentially heavy and bureaucratic standards-making process vulnerable to undue corporate influence.
- LEGO is a poor metaphor that suggests an industrialized model.
- NGDLE will push us further in the direction of computer-driven rather than human-driven classes.
His response to Bates is pretty much encapsulated in this slightly condescending overview: "Folks who are non-technical tend to think of software as a direct implementation of their functional needs, and their understanding of technical standards flows from that view of the world. As a result, it’s easy to overgeneralize the lesson of the learning object metadata standards failures. But the history of computing is one of building up successive layers of abstraction." The thing is, in most areas, increasing levels of abstraction made it simple do do difficult things, but in education, increasing abstraction made it difficult to do simple things. And that's the core of Bates's argument, and I think Feldstein misses it.
How to break away from articles and invent new story forms
Jeff Sonderman, Kevin Loker,
Almerican Press Institute,
I have talked in the past about how we as a society are developing a new multimedia language (and in the process, reshaping what 'language of thought' theories could possibly mean). We are seeing more and more evidence of this, beginning with this lead story. It's a great set of thought-experiments on how authors could respond to specific audience needs with more useful and informative multimedia responses. Do they work? Yes - as Poynter points out, the most popular features on the New York Times web site were interactives and multimedia, not stories. And the upstart (and excellent) news site Quartz has just launched Atlas, a site for charts and graphics. We won't recognize that we think of as 'learning content' in just a few years, as we move beyond texts and courses and toward engaging and interactive multimedia.
Revisiting our ‘MOOCs and Open Education Timeline’
Thoughts mostly about learning,
I think this must is true: "The disruptive effect of MOOCs will be felt most significantly in the development of new forms of provision that go beyond the traditional HE market such as professional and corporate training that appeals to employers." And "There is great potential for add-on content services and the creation of new revenue models through building partnerships with institutions and other educational service providers." The big grey box in the diagram, I think, means "we're not sure what happened" and the other box says "this is where we think it's going".
Jisc to retire Jorum and refresh its open educational resources offer
Jorum, self-described as "the UK's largest repository for discovering and sharing Open Educational Resources for HE, FE and Skills," is being closed by Jisc as of September, 2016. There is no solid announcement of what will replace Jorum, if anything - "Jisc will be testing and looking into... (and) exploring..." but not pomising anything solid. Jisc explains, "We have consulted with stakeholders, users and the Jorum technical team who agree that with the evolution of apps and platforms which give greater user functionality and interactivity a next generation version will be welcomed." Jorum contains some 16,000 resources. More details are available from Siobhan Burke on the Jorum-Updates list.
A framework for content curation
No, this is not Dale's Cone (though you'd be forgiven for thinking it is). It is "a framework – for content curation." I've criticized the educational researcher's over-reliance on taxonomies in the past; this old saw is equally the villain. What we see here is very similar to Gagne's 9 events model. And like so many models before and after, it's a step-by-step model of how education or learning does or should work. It's very procedural, it's very prescriptive - and it's so utterly wrong. Education is not a linear process. It's not even something we can flow-chart. It's a constant complex and adaptive process, involving and balancing feedback from dozens of elements, pursuing a strange attractor of varying motivations, means and methods.
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
Alex Reid responds to the push toward conversion of university degrees - even post-graduate degrees, and those in the humanities - toward workforce training. I think that nobody disputes the idea that graduates should be properly prepared for post-graduate life. But what does that mean? Reid raises a couple of ideas worth pondering. One, posted by Eric Johnson in the Chronicle, is that business should pay for its own workforce training. This is not a new idea; it has been discussed in these pages here and here, for example. The other is that "rather than creating more hyper-specialized humanities phds... we should produce more flexible intellectuals: not 'generalists' mind you, but adaptive thinkers and actors." I think it's hard to argue against this.
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