Some realism: "There are no panaceas in higher education: interventions seldom work everywhere and for everyone." Because of this, according to this editorial, there is a need to shift from 'black box' modes of evaluation, also known as 'realist evaluation'. The authors write, "Realist evaluation emerged largely as a reaction to the traditional approach to evaluating interventions, using an experimental or quasi-experimental design. Rather than focusing on the question 'does it work?', realist evaluation is more theory-oriented and pivots around questions such as “how or why does it work, for whom, and in what circumstances?" This is the frame they set for a special issue of Education Sciences on evaluating flipped classrooms.
Count me as being among the punk rock rebels on the internet - even though my punk anthem might be something like Walking on Sunshine. As Laura Balkan says, " I want to be able to be in a society where I have control over my information, and other people do as well." And she adds, "Being a woman in technology, you can see how hideously unequal things are and how people building these systems don’t care about anyone other than themselves." The story focuses a lot on the technical means being employed to create the indienet - distributed data and blockchain, for example - which may or may not work. But the tech isn't the objective, the outcome is. "If we want a more diverse, open, decentralised internet, developers are going to have to wave goodbye to the idea of huge platforms that will supposedly make them rich. We’ve kind of been brainwashed into this Silicon Valley idea of success,” he says. “You know: ‘Unless you’ve made a billion dollars and you’re on the cover of Forbes magazine as the next king, you’re not successful.'" The point isn't to create a unicorn. It's to create an idea.
I am often critical of traditional media in these pages (a tough sell in the age of fake news on social media) but my scepticism of what I read and view in supposedly trustworthy sources is well founded. This article makes a case. It cites as an example a Vox article from a few days ago that states that " virtual students statistically perform much worse than traditional students" based on a single study from 2015 looking at statistics from only 17 states. Now I'm no fan of charter schools but this report is not credible. It also cites a Wired article that says "online education, which is accessible, affordable and relevant, hasn’t lived up to its promise." This is supported only by a link to a previous Wired article which in turn cites no sources. Moreover, the author, Lior Frenkel, "created the online education initiative nuSchool, and serves as a partner with others such as Jolt and altMBA," which are cited in the article as "online educators that have the potential to disrupt education." Interestingly, I was unable to verify the existenmce of a connection between Frenkel and altMBA, which is run by Seth Godin.
This is an alpha release of an application that uses blockchain technology to link the data in your various accounts around the internet. "Most people have dozens of profiles online, many of which include information that is not up to date, resulting in lost time and opportunities. dock.io solves this by connecting different websites and apps you use, allowing you to save information to one source, and control how and where your information is used across the web," wrote Remote.com CEO Nick Macario by email today while announcing their partnership with Dock. I like the idea of Dock.io but it feels skeevy because of the way it offers me money to invite people to connect. I get the sense that Dock wants to centralize all my information (and then what, sell it?) and my concern about that is precisely why my information is scattered across multiple services.
"Social media carries risks for scholarship, and many of them hinge upon these popularity metrics," writes Mark Carrigan. "Many scholars seem to think the huge scale of social media means they are talking to a vast undifferentiated public whenever they post anything. In reality, most of the time we are connecting with only the tiniest subset of potential readers." This seems reasonable to me. There is an upper limit to the size of the audience for the content in, say, OLDaily, and attempting to expand its reach carries with it the demand to change the focus and content into avenues of broader appeal, actually reducing its value. So I focus on content, not marketing. Related: the high price of popularity.
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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.