This paper (15 page PDF) proposes "a framework for secure, trustworthy social networking that also creates value for user-generated content by using a blockchain-enhanced framework for social networking." Obviously a similar approach could be used in educational networking. The framework proposes mechanisms for authenticating authorship, sharing options, recognition or reward, and algorithms for nuisance management (sentiment, trolling, spam). Where blockchain comes into play is in enabling these functions in decentralized systems while protecting user privacy. We're probably still a number of years before we see anything like this widely used, but it suggests the direction we're heading.
This might seem like a really good idea - until you work through the consequences. The idea is that aspiring college students sell stakes in their future earnings on something like a student stock market. “I envision a whole new equity market for higher education in the next five years where today there’s only debt,” says Chuck Trafton, who runs a hedge fund. Ah, but I can see the problems already. Not all students will be able to sell options - and the ones declined will be the usual set of minorities and less affluent students. As well, when companies sell stock, they assume a fiduciary responsibility to prioritize earnings - will the same apply to graduates? Will the options be traded? Will there be scams and insider trading? If we have to use a loans-based system, I'm in favour of income-based repayment - but not an options market.
Clint Lalonde reports on "system wide testing of an accessibility product called Ally with 5 institutions: UBC, VCC, NIC, Langara College & Camosun College." Created by Blackboard, and advertised as LMS Agnostic, Ally scans learning content and helps institutions provide accessible versions. Lalonde's post summarizes the testing project final report (12 page PDF). Ally is seen as useful and a good part of an overall strategy., though cost is an issue.
This survey of some 90,000 software developers on Stack Overflow is heavily weighted toward European and North American respondents, and of course is self-selecting, but it still provides some pretty good insight into the field. Let's deal with one myth right away: the idea that programmers don't go to school. Wrong - the vast majority of them have a university degree. The vast majority are also employed full-time. But the rest of the stereotypes all fit. They are overwhelmingly young white males. They're not heavily into social media, but if they are, it's probably Reddit. Apart from their degree, how do they learn? Generally by teaching themselves, otherwise by taking a MOOC.
Terry Anderson's Equiv Theory is essentially the idea that "though interaction is critically important in distance education, it can take many forms and further that one form can substitute for another." It's the sort of theory that's difficult to quantify and evaluate - what is it for one sort of interaction to have the same outcome as another? And how do you apply it when the outcomes are complex - for example, as I read this article I couldn't help thinking that the purpose of a PhD program is as much to socialize or enculturate prospective professors as it is to advance knowledge. Anyhow, this post is a summary and review of Constance D. Graham and Liezel Massyn's review of the Equiv Theory (30 page PDF). Anderson is generally pleased with the study, though as he says, Equiv may be more useful as a tool than as a theory.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.
Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.