If there are enough registrations in advance I will offer a 2019 edition of the E-Learning 3.0 course (last year's: https://el30.mooc.ca ) I am opening the registrations starting today - to register, you can fill in the form here.
As this article summarizes, " Google announced enhancements to Classroom, a new Chromebook App Hub, and certification program for students. These updates should lead to more robust learning tools for both teachers and their students." Google's forays into education bear watching. It is not only developing learning technology, it is offering an increasingly wide array of online courses and certifications. As Inside Higher Ed pointed out recently, "More than 8,000 people have completed the eight-month Google IT support certificate program since it launched in early 2018."
George Siemens comments on this, "It's networks all the way down." And you can see why. The Periodic Table of the Elements has a much more network-like feel after this reworking by mathematicians at the Max Planck Institute. "Our results contribute to the undergoing generalization of network theory to hypergraphs, where the traditional network description as a graph is being abstracted to that of hypergraphs as a mean to model complex relations among multiple entities," they write in their paper.
Bryan Alexander recounts the story of what happened when people in Michigan were given the option of setting budget priorities. “No matter the size of the group, no matter where in the state, the results were always the same: Higher education should go on the chopping block.” He asks, "How will this story play out in the future? How much longer will state governments continue to be such non-partners for public colleges and universities?" It's not a question - nor a crisis - unique to the United States. And I don't think it's just the perception that other things are more important. Educational institutions have not helped themselves; people think (accurately) that they serve a rich elite, and wonder why the average person should be paying for that.
The topic of 'agency' was the last of nine topics in the E-Learning 3.0 course and the one that has given me the most pause for thought recently. I won't say that this article is the final word on the subject - not even close - but it's helpful in framing some thinking. A lot of the time things like freedom and agency are defined in terms of choice. But I don't find this very satisfying (as anyone considering the choices on TV, or in the election booth, can attest). This article defines agency (in part) not as choice but as 'initiating action' - this "invokes existential concepts such as voice, choice, free will, freedom, individual volition, self-influence, and self-initiation." There are some useful links here giving us at least some starting points.
This isn't the way I think about thinking (it's more constructivist than connectivist) but it is interesting nonetheless to read about Barbara Tversky and "structure, dots and lines and boxes and networks and categories and hierarchies and cycles and spirals and descriptions and linear if zig-zag explanations and arguments and conversations and stories and chaotic intriguing collages. Spatial structures that we create by actions of the mind and put into world."
You can't just read the summary; the information isn't there. But the full report (135 page PDF) released earlier today is a quick read. It begins with a summary of the issues raised in the ten interviews with open access publishers; the top issue is, surprisingly, HR and staffing, but this is probably related to number five, sustainability and scalability. Other issues included business models, infrastructure, and infrastructure. There's then a summary of each interview, including a handy 'business model' table for each publisher. Here are the publishers (with links to their home pages) interviewed:
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Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.