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Leading a University Into the Digital Future

Campus Technology - 23 Julio, 2014 - 16:30
The University of Oklahoma's One University Digital Initiative is a technology strategy for a broad, sweeping campaign to ensure the university will take its place in the digital realm.

Video: Michigan Moodle Theme based on More

Moodle News - 23 Julio, 2014 - 15:30
If you’re interested in some of the ways that More theme can be leveraged to give your Moodle site a custom look and feel, Chris Kenniburg has posted a 5 minute video giving a tour of his site....

Online Learning Consortium Formalizes Ives as Head

Campus Technology - 23 Julio, 2014 - 15:00
The formerly named Sloan Consortium (rebranded earlier this month) has named Kathleen Ives CEO and executive director, following an interim stint in those roles. OLC is a non-profit organization focused on helping colleges and universities "launch and sustain high-quality online learning initiatives."

Recap of the 7/22 General Developers Meeting

Moodle News - 23 Julio, 2014 - 14:27
If you missed the General Developers Meeting yesterday (<–full minutes and links are available there) here’s a quick recap with approximate time of when the discussion switches to...

What’s the media got to do with education? The freedom to listen, speak and learn

OLDaily - 23 Julio, 2014 - 05:37

Annika Burgess, eLearning Africa News Portal, Jul 22, 2014

The headline in the title of this post I think neatly ties together the link between media and education (and to a large degree why they are both interesting to me). "Dr Auma Obama, speaking on the following day about the work of the Sauti Kuu Foundation. Working in rural and slum areas in Kenya, the foundation teaches children about their 'light, voice and fire' or, in other words, their right to be seen, to speak, to participate and to challenge." These aren't luxuries; they're basic and core to both learning and society.

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Categorías: General

The Bitcoins of Learning?

OLDaily - 23 Julio, 2014 - 05:37

Unknown, Wikispaces, Jul 22, 2014

There isn't time (nor bandwidth in what has become terrible airport lounge wifi over the years) but I think that the concept of a bitcoin for learning is a really bad idea. I get the concept - students are looking for more than just grades; they want a learning 'currency' they can take with them to the workplace. And "currency, ideally, must travel, quickly and simply, and as widely as possible. It's a reductionist, simplistic mode of social interaction." But a substantial proportion of the economic and social woes in today's society stem from the unfettered flow of currency - especially shady currency - into cash hordes in small island nations and banking havens. I am quick to criticize the aristocracies and monarchies currently governing degrees and credentials, but the replacement of monarchy is not libertarian anarchy - that way lies madness - but proper civil and social government. (I have no idea who wrote this; his/her name appears nowhere on it, but it appeared in my twitter stream).

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Categorías: General

Ed-Tech and the Templated Self: Thoughts from the "Reclaim Your Domain" Hackathon

Hack Education - 23 Julio, 2014 - 01:41

Reclaim Your Domain

This past weekend was the 2nd Annual Reclaim Your Domain Hackathon. Or at least that’s what we’re calling it, even though we're already talking about holding another one this fall, to coincide with OpenEd. The event was a follow-up to some of the plotting that Jim Groom, Kin and I started at a “Reclaim Open" event at the MIT Media Lab last year, as well as to conversations we had earlier this year at Emory University’s Domain Incubator. In attendance this time around: Groom, Kin, Mike Caulfield, Ben Werdmuller, Michael Berman, Brian Lamb, Tim Owens, Mikhail Gershovich, Amy Collier, Erin Richey, Chris Mattia, Rolin Moe, Adam Croom, Mark Morvant, Linda Polin, and me.

We called this a “hackathon” but unlike the popular (and arguably, problematic) mandate for code-infused events, it was definitely more "yack" than "hack." We spent much of Saturday talking about various projects and philosophies that are connected to efforts like the University of Mary Washington Domain of One’s Own (and its expansion to other universities, including the University of Oklahoma and CSU Channel Islands) and IndieWebCamp — endeavors that support the creation and control one’s digital identity and the "re-decentralization of the Web."

Some of the projects that we discussed: Kin’s “reclaim” efforts, Smallest Federated Wiki, Terms of Service; Didn’t Read, Domain of One’s Own, Github, Reclaim Hosting, and Known. The latter seemed to elicit a lot of excitement, and folks spent much of Day 2 playing around with it. (Known is a self-publishing platform of sorts that follows the POSSE model: publish on your own site, syndicate everywhere. Known enables you to post your own photos, status updates, blog posts, and sound clips on your own site, and then push them out to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc.)

Many of the attendees at the hackathon have long been making the arguments for reclaiming our domains and our data, and more broadly reclaiming ed-tech: “The Future of Ed-Tech is a Reclamation Project.”  “Reclaiming Innovation.”  “Has the Time Arrived for Hosted Life Bits?” Many have been hacking on the various technologies that could get us there. I think we’re getting better at explaining why “Reclaim” matters, and we’re getting better too at building personal tech that gestures in that direction.

So here are some less than well-formulated ideas:

Ed-Tech and the “Templated Self

"I think about ‘reclaim’ as a personal endeavor,” said Kin as he detailed the steps he’s taken to inventory the tech products and services he uses (personally and professionally). “What tech do I use? Why? Can I get my data out? What do the Terms of Service say about my rights?”

Much of the framing of “Reclaim Your Domain” works this way: it’s becoming a bridge between the “owning your own domain” as forwarded by the UMW Domains initiative — something that is frequently talked about in terms of “content” (education-related or otherwise) and “digital identity” — and larger questions and concerns about “who owns your data.”

I want to tease out the connections here a bit more between ed-tech, identity, and data. That is, I want to talk about ed-tech as a “personal endeavor,” one that enables student agency, and not simply an “institutional endeavor,” one that sees students as the object of education.

Many folks ask already: what happens to student data and student content when students are compelled to use certain products (such as the LMS)? Again, how do the institutional demands conflict with students’ needs. But I’m curious too: what happens to student identity? Their professional and personal identity formation; their professional and personal identity performance. And I’d add, more broadly: what is the relationship between privacy and identity formation / performance?

I recently stumbled across Amber Case’s (@caseorganic) idea of the “templated self." I think it’s an incredibly useful concept:

A self or identity that is produced through various participation architectures, the act of producing a virtual or digital representation of self by filling out a user interface with personal information.

Facebook and Twitter are examples of the templated self. The shape of a space affects how one can move, what one does and how one interacts with someone else. It also defines how influential and what constraints there are to that identity. A more flexible, but still templated space is WordPress. A hand-built site is much less templated, as one is free to fully create their digital self in any way possible. Those in Second Life play with and modify templated selves into increasingly unique online identities. MySpace pages are templates, but the lack of constraints can lead to spaces that are considered irritating to others. [emphasis mine]

While Amber’s examples here point to mostly “social" technologies, education technologies are also “participation architectures.” How do these technologies produce (and circumscribe) a digital representation of the learner-self?

Of course, you could argue that the education system is already incredibly interested in “templating” students as well as “templating” knowledge. We see this in graduation requirements, course requirements, essay requirements, disciplinary requirements, tenure requirements, and so on. Many education technologies loyally reinscribe these templates into the digital world. The LMS is perhaps the perfect example. The call for more adaptive technologies (often connected to textbook, assessment, and LMS technologies), reliant on they are on data models and algorithms, represents the next wave of tools that produce — yes, produce — the “templated learner.” (A "templated learner" that is shaped by and relies on corporate infrastructure, not on public infrastructure, mind you.)

As such, “reclaiming your domain” and "owning your domain" could be acts of resistance, just we see as tech and ed-tech becoming increasingly wielded as surveillance tools. And just as these initiatives give students the "technology skills" that seem to be so highly valued right now, they are also anti-disciplinary practices that empower students (educators, all of us really) to create their digital selves more freely and open-endedly.

Image credits: Andy Rothwell and The Noun Project

Report: Classroom Design Improves Student Engagement

Campus Technology - 23 Julio, 2014 - 01:12
Classrooms designed for active learning can improve student engagement, according to new research from Steelcase, a company that provides furniture for use in educational settings.

U Southern California Extends Computing Resources with Remote Desktops

Campus Technology - 22 Julio, 2014 - 21:49
The University of Southern California has deployed an identity management suite and remote desktop service in an effort to extend access to its learning environment and tools while saving money.

Bundling and Re-bundling

elearnspace - 22 Julio, 2014 - 21:37

I’m at the Knewton Symposium – an event focusing on the future of digital learning. This is the second year that I’ve attended. It’s a small event (last year had ~20 attendees, this year it’s closer to 60+). Knewton brings in a range of speakers and leaders in education, ranging from startups to big edtech companies and publishers to faculty and advocates for some type of change. The conversations are diverse, as can be expected when publishers and open education advocates as well as VC firms and academics share the same stage.

The narrative of educational change is more stable than it was even a few years ago and it’s reflected in this symposium. In 2011, everything was up in the air: universities were dead, faculty would be replaced by MOOCs, California would solve its education crisis by partnering with a small startup, and so on. Now the narrative has coalesced around: 1. economics and funding, 2. access and affordability, 3. innovation and creativity, 4. data and analytics, 5. future university models. While I’m interested in all five of those narratives, particularly the way in which these are being framed by university leaders, vendors and startups, and politicians, I’d like to focus here on one aspect of the conversation around future university models: unbundling.

Unbundling is an appealing concept to change mongers. The lessons of the album and mp3′s is strong with these folks. MP3s lead to newspapers which lead to music and media in general. Since change mongers (a species native to Silicon Valley but now becoming an invasive species in numerous regions around the world. Frankenfish comes to mind) do not have much regard for nuance and detail, opting instead for blunt mono-narratives, unbundling is a perfect concept to articulate needed change.

There are a few things wrong with the idea of unbundling in education:

1. Unbundling is different in social systems than it is in a content only system. An album can be unbundled without much loss. Sure, albums like The Wall don’t unbundle well, but those are exceptions. Unbundling a social system has ripple effects that cannot always be anticipated. The parts of a social system are less than the whole of a social system. Unbundling, while possible in higher education, is not a zero sum game. The pieces on the board that get rearranged will have a real impact on learners, society, and universities.

2. When unbundling happens, it is only temporary. Unbundling leads to rebundling. And digital rebundling results in less players and less competition. What unbundling represents then is a power shift. Universities are today an integrated network of products and services. Many universities have started to work with partners like Pearson (ASU is among the most prominent) to expand capacity that is not evident in their existing system.
Rebundling is what happens when the pieces that are created as a sector moves online become reintegrated into a new network model. It is most fundamentally a power shift. The current integrated higher education system is being pulled apart by a range of companies and startups. Currently the university is in the drivers seat. Eventually, the unbundled pieces will be integrated into a new network model that has a new power structure. For entrepreneurs, the goal appears to be to become part of a small number of big winners like Netflix or Google. When Sebastian Thrun stated that Udacity would be one of only 10 universities in the future, he was exhibiting the mentality that has existed in other sectors that have unbundled. Unbundling is not the real story: the real issue is the rebundling and how power structures are re-architected. Going forward, rebundling will remove the university from the drivers seat and place the control into the re-integrated networks.

Report: Global MOOC Market Continuing to Grow

Campus Technology - 22 Julio, 2014 - 20:27
According to a report from TechNavio, MOOCs ongoing expansion is due in part to the rising costs of higher education and universities' turning to MOOCs for their big data tools.

Carnegie Mellon and Warwick To Join in Research for Next-Generation Applications

Campus Technology - 22 Julio, 2014 - 19:00
Two universities — one in the United States and the other in the United Kingdom — have signed a $10 million memo of understanding to undertake joint research and education projects.

Blackboard’s Big News that Nobody Noticed

OLDaily - 22 Julio, 2014 - 17:34

Michael Feldstein, e-Loterate, Jul 22, 2014

Reporting from the Blackboard conference, Michael Feldstein writes, "the big corporate keynote had to be one of the strangest I’ ve ever seen." High praise! After a long intro, it became (says Feldstein) "a carpet bombing run of announcements— a series of explosions that were over by the time you realized that they had started, leaving you to wonder what the heck had just happened." (What would education be in the United States without endless military analogies?) So what are the changes? A major user interface revision, a cloud version of the platform, bundles products, and other stuff. These actually make a lot of sense, and respond to (in order) longstanding criticisms, the challenge from MOOC platforms, and D2L's positioning. But you can't say any of that if you're Blackboard, so you mumble generalities and then make the announcements, kiss me quick, it's my birthday.

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Categorías: General


OLDaily - 22 Julio, 2014 - 17:34

Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, Jul 22, 2014

This will be (I hope) the last of the posts on D2L's name change. This post from Michael Feldstein essentially expresses incredulity at the verbiage and scepticism about the business plan (to the point of questioning one of D2L's recent acquisitions). It also includes two substantial references: to THE Journal for summarizing the announcements and D’ Arcy Norman’ s post "for an on-the-ground account of the conference and broader observations about shifts in the company’ s culture."

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Categorías: General

Rethinking the nature of inequality and labor: An essay review of Affective Equality

OLDaily - 22 Julio, 2014 - 17:34

Eleni Schirmer, Michael W. Apple, education review, Jul 22, 2014

Good review of the book Affective Equality posing the central question, "Have the implemented educational reform policies mis-appraised the requirements of equality itself?" There are multiple "social systems that structure both equality and inequality: economic, political, cultural, and, affective." And example of this (not mentioned in the review) are parental expectations of their children. But this can't be addressed simply by hiring more staff; "it is a dangerous category error to try to squeeze all such labor into the domain of the economic market." You can't simply compensate 'care work' more generously; at the same time, for example, by offloading hands-on care-type work such as tutoring to low-paid instructors, academia overly rewards higher-paid non-care work such as administration and research. Care, according to the authors, must be recognized as a public good.

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Categorías: General

Kindle Unlimited

OLDaily - 22 Julio, 2014 - 17:34

Maria Bustillos, The Awl, Jul 22, 2014

Normally I use the article title for my own titles, but in this case I've edited it due to the language. So consider this a language warning. That said, I agree with the tome of the article, which asserts in summary that Kindle will now be charging $10 per month for access to six hundred thousand books in its library. As the author responds as a counterpoint, "it is possible to read six million e-texts at the Open Library, right now." And "But it shouldn't cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization." That is, after all, the basis on which the public library was founded (as in, say, New Brunswick). But the publishers and vendors are pushing back against ruling like the recent HathiTrust case, which reasserted the rights of libraries to digitize and lend books from their collections.

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Categorías: General

Unbundling Versus Designing Faculty Roles

OLDaily - 22 Julio, 2014 - 17:34

Adrianna Kezar, Sean Gehrke, Daniel Maxey, American Council on Education, Jul 22, 2014

Those who follow OLDaily will recall that I've written before on what may be called the 'unbundling' of faculty roles (article, presentation). In my presentations I offer some 27 roles that could be mixed and matched in different configurations. This paper focuses mostly on the distinction between the roles of tutor, presenter and mentor. It's one of those papers that appears to be discussing change, but which I think is fundamentally conservative in its outlook. This becomes most apparent near the end as the author executes a"a pivot in terminology" and begins talking about 'redesigning', rather than unbundling, faculty roles. Via Inside Higher Ed, which points to a related paper on  reimagining business models in higher education.

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Categorías: General

Video: Advanced Moodle Gradebook Features by @lancasterbible

Moodle News - 22 Julio, 2014 - 17:00
The video below is about a 75 minute demonstration of advanced grading features as you would see them on a Moodle 2.6 site. The video trainer, Eric Brandt, highlights rubrics, checklists, and other...

Moodle HQ is Hiring: Marketing and Outreach Officer & Level 1 Developer

Moodle News - 22 Julio, 2014 - 15:30
Moodle HQ is hiring in Perth. Currently they are looking for a Level 1 Developer (entry level PHP with knowledge of XHTML, CSS, JavaScript and Ajax) and a Marketing and Outreach Officer to help...

General Developer’s Meeting Starts at 9am EST Today

Moodle News - 22 Julio, 2014 - 14:28
Don’t forget that the General Developer Meeting starts at 9am this morning (July 22nd, 2014). This meeting will feature updates from Moodle HQ on enhancements like the gradebook in addition to...