This appears in Duke University's independent student newspaper and supports what I wrote in my article today: "The most valuable products that elite institutions like Duke sell for over $70,000 a year are not high-quality courses but rather the prestige of the Duke brand as well as access to networks of other talented students, professors and elite employers." Exactly. But here is where we disagree: "It is impossible to democratize access to these goods because their value depends on scarcity." No. Their price depends on scarcity. Their value is defined by the benefit they bring students. If the rest of the academic world - and not just the elites - focused on access to networks of other talented students, professors and quality employers, instead of churning out academic content like so much manufactured pablum, then the value would be increased, the scarcity would be reduced, costs would be lower, and the relative advantage the so-called elites have over the rest of us would be diminished and eventually be rendered quaint. Image: New York Times.
I'm often frustrated by introductory articles that don't really add to anyone's understanding, but they can be done well, and this is a case in point. It's tempting to go over the top when talking about "an emerging interdisciplinary field that brings together neuroscientists and educators" (and yes, the headline goes way over the top). But Raya Bidshahri is relatively restrained in her summary of the field. Introductory articles also frequently offer no means to learn more, but this article has a nice set of links that provide access to articles in the related areas, including neuroplasticity, positive brain states, and active learning. Are these the best articles that could be found? Well, no, not even close - the link selection was obviously done in a hurry. But the method is sound - give people the means to follow up with deeper reading through links. So the article is still a good starting point, even if it's not perfect.
This article doesn't provide the explanation promised in the headline at all. I'm reading it mostly as a vehicle to embed a link to the CWiC Framework. The Courseware in Context (CWiC) Framework is a product taxonomy and set of implementation guides to facilitate the assessment of courseware. Given the basic premise of the site ("Research shows that decision-makers are starved for time to discover and rigorously evaluate courseware") I would infer that over time these evaluations will be provided by CWiC itself, with revenues generated both from "decision-makers" (presumably not professors or instructors?) and from the courseware providers (for assessment and listing in the report). If you give them your name and email (for future marketing no doubt) you can download the tool as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet. I downloaded it and found it was a very elementary assessement tool with only six questions related to whether or not the courseware is 'adaptive courseware'.
I was browsing through the archives of the International Journal of Innovation and Research in Educational Sciences (IJIRES) in an effort to assess the legitimacy of this open access publication. The quality is pretty mixed but I did come across this gem looking at the use of language in the civic election in Jakarta, Indonesia. I liked the specific examples of very colourful language, and also the message to those vying for office: "The political elites should give examples to the public how to communicate well by establishing a polite language tradition in politics and in governing." It's a message that would apply not only in Indonesia but in my own society and culture as well. The journal as a whole is poorly edited and produced, but there's enough good to encourage me to come back, and for those looking, there are also more traditional education reserach articles among those published.
At the end of a movie there is a long (sometimes endless) list of credits acknowledging everyone who contributed to its production, even down to the people who provided catering and security. I have often wondered what it would look like if we provided attribution to other things in that way. Buildings, for example, could list each person who took part in construction. McDonalds wrappers could list everyone who works at the store and provides services to it. A student's diploma could list every teacher, administrator and custodian on the back side. Shirts could name the people who made it on the tag. Ambulances could list entire hospital staff on the side, your car could list all the people at the design and assembly plant, and your coffee could list the names of the people who picked the beans on the side.
Why is this important? Because it points to the way - even in the film industry - we do the exact opposite of that. We give one person credit for the work that resulted from the interactions of hundreds or thousands of people. As Benjamin Blanchard says, " I use the city sanitation service as a tool to clean my house" ("This is not to deny the agency of the individuals that constitute those tools"). I think we need to understand, first, the degree to which individual success depends on sopciety, and second, that this is the result of social cooperation rather than collaboration. We have different purposes and different intents. "I use the city sanitation service as a tool to clean my house. The city officials use me as a tool to facilitate the convenient removal of garbage." Photo: Alex Wild.
Some reserach in the relation between bullying and outcomes in Australian schools. "Overall, our research confirms the importance of the socio-emotional school climate and shows that there are relationships between the nature of this climate and students’ involvement in bullying and delinquent behaviour. Our research also highlights the importance of both support and structure in healthy school climates."
Interesting article pointing to flaws in how the PISA tests measured "disorder and chaos" in classrooms, and flaws in how these results were amplified and exaggerated by traditional media in Australia. "The mainstream press have broadened the research findings to encompass not just 15 year old students in science classrooms, but ALL students (primary and secondary) across ALL subject areas... The mainstream press have cherry picked negative results to get a headline, ignoring such findings in the same ACER report that, for example." This again is why I point out that fake news existed in traditional media long before the current social media panic.
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Copyright 2017 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.