"Skillsoft’s strategy for years was to be the 'one-stop shopping' for corporate online content," writes Josh Bersin. After a pile of acquisitions (NetG, Books 24×7, SumTotal, ElementK, MindLeaders, 50 Lessons, Vodaclic) it found itself declining in popularity and unable to innovate. But with a recent restructuring of its debt (by converting it to equity) it is ready to reposition itself. A few years ago it launched Percipio, a new learning experience platforms (LXP). It refocused on marketing and launched some new product initiatives, such as 'leadercamps'. To me these seem more superficial than anything, but it probably won't take a lot to re-establish its hold on the corporate training market since, as Josh Bersin says, that market is currently red hot.
There's some interesting reading around recent work toward developing a Universal Code of Conduct for Wikimedia. This post is a video interview with Amber Berson, one of the Lead Co-Organizers for Art+Feminism on the Wikimedia effort. The reasoning for such a code is simple, and expressed by a long term Indic language community member: "Many Wikimedians have stopped contributing to the projects because of harassment/personal attacks. This needs to stop." What makes crafting such a code especially difficult is a lack of common agreement on ethics, and significiant cultural differences among people around the world. But the attacks must stop (not only on Wikimedia, but generally).
The core message from this EFF opinion piece is that "No student should be forced to make the choice to either hand over their biometric data and be surveilled continuously or to fail their class. A solution that requires students to surrender the security of their personal biometric information and give over video of their private spaces is no solution at all." I agree. As the article notes, this data is used for commercial purposes, it is leaked by hackers, and they unaccountably create 'suspicion' that a student is cheating.
"The pandemic has exposed higher education’s broken financing model caused by 'profligate spending and mismanagement,'" according to this article, as "U.S. higher education bundled 'teaching and research' with a bunch of other things — residential amenities, sports teams, networking opportunities, career coaching, dating service and so forth." This allowed them to continue raising tuition, but now, "suddenly, the lectures and the homework were the only part schools could still deliver," and students aren't willing to pay the fees. Is the answer really - as Jacobs seems to suggest - to deregulate higher education? I can't see anything good coming out of that.
Technology-supported management education: a systematic review of antecedents of learning effectiveness
Fabian Alexander Müller, Torsten Wulf, International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 2020/08/28
I think this article is worth a look even though I have a number of issues with it. It is a meta-survey of journal articles intended to account for various 'antecedents' and their impact on the effectiveness of technology-supported learning. I find that the set of journals considered is quite small and unrepresentative (it does not include, eg. IRRODL). Many of the references are quite old. It overgeneralizes in bad ways (eg., "Educational technology scholars... take a technology-centered approach in which they suggest pushing technological innovations into the classroom while expecting learners to adapt"). And its depiction of learning outcomes is inconsistent; sometimes 'cognitive processing' leads to 'actual learning', sometimes it doesn't. Maybe if the background were modernized and were the sources broader the diagrams might be more useful (though still subject to the criticisms of 'effect size' research).
The language in this post is a little stilted but the content is good. There are essentially two parts. First is the assertion that TikTok doesn't do anything other companies don't do. Which is quite true; perhaps we've forgotten already the Snowden revelations from a few years ago. The second part consists of very good advice for parents: teach kids to preserve their privacy. Teach them to use nicknames, like superheroes. Set up their computers to automatically use VPNs (Mozilla is offering one these days). More tools.
When I was young I made a life-changing decision: I wouldn't worry about student debt. "They can't take the knowledge back from me," I reasoned. I was saddled with this debt until I was well into my forties. But my education (not my degree, which I barely valued at all) made all the difference in the world. Most people wouldn't make the decision I made, especially now that the size of student debts has soared. And that's the point of this article. "Putting this education out of reach for students who are already economically insecure is elitist and it is wrong. It will make us a smaller, meaner and stupider society." Every time tuition increases, every time the cost of books increases, every time a new barrier is put into place, we become a little smaller and a little meaner.
This website is described as "a stash of 100+ artificial intelligence tools to help entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, and all other business-related personnel in increasing the productivity and efficiency of work." The language in the individual entries sometimes read like marketing hype, but the site does tell you whether there are free trials and/or free plans. Categories include most business applications but also include things like 'competitor analysis' and 'social media'.
If you're saving precious MIT Technology Review reads (because you only get to read three articles free a month (*)) then don't bother with this one, because it tells us what we already know: even GPT-3 doesn't know what it's talking about, so it makes a number of amusing errors. But I wouldn't expect it to; nobody is claiming GPT-3 has completed the project of AI. But I'm more interested in the way this is being phrased. "It has only the dimmest sense of what those words mean, and no sense whatsoever about how those words relate to the world." Well, sure. But all of the mistakes being made in the example are linguistic mistakes (that just happen to correspond to factual errors). Give GPT-3 another order of magnitude more data and these linguistic errors would diminish - at which point we would find it making the same sort of errors less well educated people do. (*) I read them on Feedly, which doesn't care how many articles I've read.
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