I was just going to pass by this article, but it stuck in my head, and then I started wondering what would have happened if I had done that at the start of some of my projects or programs, and then I realized there was something there that I couldn't just pass by. The idea is to have a 'pre-mortem' that will "leverage a psychological technique called 'prospective hindsight' – imagining that the transformation had already failed, and walking backwards from there to investigate what led to the failure." This isn't the same as a risk analysis; "in a pre-mortem we assume that the project has failed, and the question is what did go wrong. The difference might appear subtle, but the change in mindset is actually profound." The article describes in detail how to prepare for and run a pre-mortem. Image: MAA1.
My favourite part of this post is the parenthetical remark: "I will not apologize that I built this model entirely on the tweets of people without doing background research... I hope that the way we presented our model clearly attributed all the ideas to the people who came up with them." I wish we saw more of that in academic. Pretty much everything that is written up in an academic journal had its origins in some informal circle of practice, and the people in such circles (who are often practitioners and non-academics) fail to get mentioned or credited in the articles. In the past, these circles were formed on discussion lists and electronic conferencing, then blog networks, and these days, as Maha Bali shows, on Twitter threads.
This article begins asking you to imagine yourself as a lecturer presenting online. "You conclude, sit down and ask for the thoughts of the students. Silence." Now we are led to believe that this is because of the medium. "Everyone would prefer to be teaching and learning in person. When the cameras are off, virtual learning feels impersonal." But no. First, I've seen exactly the same thing happen in in-person lectures and classes. And I know that, if an instructor stares as intently at a person as a camera does, they'll hide from the instructor too. The article invites us to think of the camera as an invasion of privacy - and in many ways, it is - but it should question more this idea that teaching consists of talking face-to-face, staring into each others' eyes.
Integrating micro-learning content in traditional e-learning platforms
Rebeca P. Díaz Redondo, Manuel Caeiro Rodríguez, Juan José López Escobar, Ana Fernández Vilas, Multimedia Tools and Applications, 2020/11/27
I referenced this paper a couple of times in a talk I gave, and while it doesn't make precisely the point I wanted to make, it's quite good, and leads us straight to it. The concept I was talking about was the Micro-MOOC (which has many antecedents, such as the SPLOT or Microlearning, but is in other ways very much its own thing). This article was focused on personalizing MOOCs, but it does so using the micro-learning approach from traditional LMSs as well as Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) and Learning Information Service (LIS). They base their account of microlearning along Theo Hug's seven dimensions, leading to a formulation of "short self-contain learning pills (typical from micro-learning) that are more oriented to informal consumption." From there it's a short step to the idea of micro-MOOCs. This article goes into a lot of detail about the production and use of such microcontent and is well worth a longer look.
To be clear, these are all alternative ways of delivering advertising, not alternatives that do away with advertising, but we can certainly agree that almost anything is better than the surveillance network we have built around advertising today, right? These alternatives are basically different ways of targeting content, for example, "targetting ads not to individuals but to interest groups that users belong to," or cookies "based on a direct relationship between the website and the user," or advertising platforms that share revenue, or contextual advertising, such as ads "targeted to the keywords we put into search on the website." The thing is, these are all good ways to address content generally, not just advertising, and eliminate the need for surveillance and tracking in other industries, such as education. Basically, it's the principle of "put the learning resource somewhere they'll need it" rather than following them around ready to pounce at any moment. Image: HBR, Ads that don't overstep.
The name 'virtual programming lab' (VPL) tells us what it is in three words, so the question in the title is resolved in the title. This article, though, talks about something very specific: "If you teach computer science and use Moodle as your LMS, good news: you can now have student submit snippets of code easily using the new Virtual Programming Lab." Like other virtual programming labs, "The module allows code editing, running tests and more, all within Moodle... VPL supports nearly 20 programming languages, from Java and Python down to Haskell and Prolog. The environment will let you run complete programs, its performance depending on the server resources available. It is able to provide basic automated checks to ensure code submitted by students runs smoothly."
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 2020 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.