Despite a really annoying subscription prompt that flies into the screen from all directions, this article is a useful adjective-free summary of the reporting around the recent e-Literate-Mindwires announcement that Canvas as surpassed Blackboard. It's an interesting take because missing in all this discussion has been Moodle, and it's worth noting that Blockboard owns a couple of Moodle hosting services. I do like the approach of "background reading/foreshadowing" leading up to "the reveal". Then the "aftermath", in which there is "no new world order". Again, it's all LMSs. I think the world is moving on.
This study asked instructors what they thought would constitute evidence of 'critical thinking' in online discussions. The responses fell into two distinct categories: "1) demonstrates logic and reasoning (described as offering accurate supporting evidence and strategies and solutions); and 2) creative critical thought processes (described as novel perceptions, bias refutation, and alternative-seeking)." The authors conclude by suggesting "that faculty should use an evaluation rubric that encompasses these two dimensions of critical thinking," but that reasoning feels a little too circular to be useful.
Some very questionable research was published earlier this week associating a person's genetic makeup with the chances of their attaining higher education. With John Warner, I caution against embracing this work. "There is no limit to the damage we can do when wielding a score," he writes. The research correlates a " polygenic score" - which is not the result of one gene but rather looks at combinations of 75 different genes - with likelihood of educational attainment. It has a predictive value of "about 11% of the variation in education across individuals." This sounds like nothing, but I've already seen one article saying this is comparable to the predictive value of socio-economic status. The research as presented in Nature Genetics, covered in the NY Times and already endorsed by a Times columnist.
I was not a fan of collaborative learning in school and demonstrated many of the signs of resistance described in this paper. I didn't like the other team members, I didn't want to deal with them, and I did all the work anyways. What to do with people like me? The authors look at Tolman and Kreming’s (2017) integrated model of student resistance (IMSR) to frame their inquiry. That said, the authors, first, only compared collaborative learning with traditional lectures, and second, didn't find any significant improvement in outcome even after the benefits of collaboration were explained to students. It's unclear why there was no improvement; they theorize "these students may lack experience with institutions of higher learning."
I'm not sure whether the world needed this but we're getting it nonetheless. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has launched a new community group, the Educational Exercises and Activities Community Group, to "develop standards for educational exercises and activities and to make recommendations with regard to other standards." Anyone can join the group; you don't need to be a W3C member but you do need a W3C account.
This pair of posts (part one, part two; summarized at Nieman) looks at what can be done to enhance (or even replace) 800 word article, "the dominant form of online news from most publishers." Short posts (like the ones in OLDaily) work well for sharing. The 500-800 word length " both the focus and share-ability of a short piece and the pay-off of a longer piece." But, then, what? Ways to easily and optionally provide more content work well (which is why I add links to short posts). Adding buttons, autoplay videos and messaging-format posts don't work well (I personally, hate the format where people put a bunch of Twitter posts - complete with formatting and branding - in an article). There's a lot of really good insight in these posts - if you present content online, don't miss them.
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