by Stephen Downes
Feb 01, 2016
The Limits of Open
Inside Higher Ed,
At a certain point they should be required to drop the word 'open' from their offering, right? Coursera has now started charging op front for students to take some of their courses. As George Siemens says, the company is "playing a short-term venture capital game" instead of offering open courses. "The deep pool of a visionary and re-architected future ended up being about as thick as a dollar bill." Of course, this is a story that - given the actors - could have ended no other way. Silicon Valley investors were never going to risk their money for the common good.
Making a MOOC ‘successful’
Technology Enhanced Learning Blog,
What exactly is it that makes a MOOC successful? David Hopkins links to a number of schemes (here, here, here, here and here) based on things like "interactions, journeys, optimum length, appropriate materials, platform, etc." but suggests that what really makes a MOOC successful has far more to do with how much attention you can drive to it. He recommends paying more attention to things like endorsements, coverage and marketing. "In order to make the courses successful we need to reach out to individuals to whom these courses could be important, or certainly interesting. If we can’t get to them directly, through whatever channels we have, we need to reach out to the places they congregate; the trade publications, the fan sites, the online communities, the conferences, etc." Is a MOOC successful only if it has large numbers of participants?
Here's another look at the competing 'camps' in machine learning, this time depicted by Jason Eisner as three in number, and based on real work in the field: classical, Baysean, and deep learning. Also interesting in this article is the brief account of the history of dividing fields of study into distinct 'cultures', as well as the division of progress into 'stages' or 'steps'. The two are often related: "Jason presents his intellectual simplex in an a-historical frame, but of course there has been a temporal sequence, as the term 'classical' suggests."
Wondering if Life Would be Easier With an OU – or FutureLearn – Compute Stick…?
This is such a terrible model I fear that it will actually be implemented. Not that it doesn't have its attractive features. But imagine this: "At the start of their degree, students would get the compute stick...The compute stick would have enough computational power to run the applications, which could be accessed over wifi via a browser on a 'real' computer, or a netbook (which has a keyboard), or a tablet computer, or even a mobile device. The compute stick would essentially be a completely OU managed environment, bootable, and with it’s own compute power." Why bad? This, ultimately, is the imagined future of the book - completely self-contained little computers. You could access them and use them, but they're little tiny silos, resisting use by or integration with anything else you use. And forget about sharing them.
Pearson chief brands critics 'naive and ignorant' as company cuts 4,000 jobs
Living in another world, here Pearson executive John Fallon: "What I think is completely overblown, frankly, is the comparison between education and the music industry. What happened there was people started downloading individual songs and unbundling albums. That can’t happen with university courses and testing." Sure it can. What do you think YouTube is doing to education? Though of course Pearson is trying very hard to keep learning materials expensive and hard to obtain.
It's funny. Mike Caulfield wonders "why more OER sites don’t grab material from one another and populate their own sites with it, instead of linking out" while I wonder why they want to combine materials together instead of just linking to them. Clearly we're both grasping at something, but is it the same thing? Here's Caulfield today: "the current model of the web, which is based on the places where things live instead of the names of things, creates natural choke points and power inequities... A newer model would look like email, torrenting, or git, where multiple copies of things were stored across the web, but connected and authenticated by protocols, data models, or other conventions." Image: Aphyr.
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