Cable Green writes by email "UNESCO has released a draft "OER Action Plan" and has asked for our comments and feedback. The draft OER Action Plan is available in English and French." The recommendations are pbroken down into five major categories: capacity-building and usage; language and cultural issues; access; changing business models; and policy. The report also "points to the urgency for new approaches, recalling that on current trends only 70% of children in low income countries will complete primary school by 2030; a goal that should have been achieved in 2015." There's a form for input but it comes with the warning that "while all individual inputs are most welcome, we encourage inputs that are submitted collectively and/or endorsed by institutions." Also, input "may be positively evaluated based on such factors as the number of like-minded comments received, the source of contribution including governmental, IGOs, NGOs as well as institutions of teaching and learning, and a balance of geographical representation." That doesn't sound very open and inviting.
This long post makes the case that Blackboard may be turning around but the more interesting reading is the analysis of the market that sees virtually all new implementations in the Canada-USA higher education space being either Instructure's Canvas or Desire2Learn's Brightspace. Blackboard has bottomed out (and according to the authors the turnaround won't start for at least 12 months) and, interestingly, so has Moodle. A big part of this, I think, is that the market is saturated, which means that you can't really depend on this data to make predictions. Blackboard and Moodle still have huge user bases. I'm reading in this article two major things supporting the case for Blackboard: a renewed interest in product development, and an increasing emphasis on openness and honesty.
Nice discussion of Rogers (1969) five defining elements of significant or experiential learning (quoted):
Jackie Gerstein comments, "So the push towards self-directed learning – helping learners develop skills for directing their own learning really isn’t new BUT the Internet, social media, and open-source content just make it easier for the educator actually implement these practices especially when working with groups of students."
Discussion of the game No Man's Sky, which just came out with a new edition called 'Atlas Rises'. I've been trying it out. The same lovely universe is still there for the exploring, but more features and more gameplay has been added, including game-defined quests you can pursue. There's also some very limited interpersonal interaction with other players. What I really like about the game is that while all of these can be scripted in a closed-environment game (just as they can be scripted in a closed-environment course) the designers are taking on the much more difficult task of working in a generated environment that is, for all practical pruposes, unlimited.
This is really interesting. "With eLabFTW you get a secure, modern and compliant system to track your experiments efficiently but also manage your lab with a powerful and flexible database. If you do experimental research, then eLabFTW is for you. Whatever your field is. It is also well suited for teachers, or biotech companies." While it supports the idea of working openly, the implementation is also of interest. "eLabFTW is powered by PHP/MySQL in Docker containers. It should be installed on a server. One install can be for a team, or the whole institution. You can also install it on your computer just for yourself." I will be exploring how this was set up.
Affirmative action swept through the Canadian university system 30 years ago without causing too much disruption. But it did impact me as when looking for my first academic job I was faced with the first wave of "we encourage women and minorities" notices on placement advertisements. I have always been in favour of affirmative action. I was then, and I am now. But it struck me that the target has always been misplaced. The incumbent white male professors who benefited from the old boys network were untouched. People entering the workforce carried the load. And that's still the danger of such programs today. Those in power, the old, the wealthy and the legacy, maintain their privilege. Affirmative action tends to touch only the young, the poor, and the disadvantaged. Social justice cannot focus only on one issue at a time; it requires a systemic approach. There is no justice unless there is justice for all.
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