agregador de noticias

University of Toledo Launches Campuswide E-Portfolios

Campus Technology - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 19:09
Students at the University of Toledo in Ohio now can create online identities that capture their educational experience, thanks to a campuswide e-portfolio rollout.

OmniUpdate Debuts New Version of OU Campus CMS

Campus Technology - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 18:53
OmniUpdate has released the newest version of its content management system for higher ed, OU Campus CMS, with an improved edit feature and several new "gadgets."

The Book of Life

OLDaily - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 16:02

Various authors, Mar 02, 2015

Another find from Doug Belshaw is this absolutely fascinating Book of Life. It's organized into Capitalism, Work, Relationships, and Self, each one with a number of subtopics. I did not have nearly enough time to read it all, but I sampled quite a number of the topics (especially 'Capitalism') to get a sense that this is worth reading, even if you don't agree with everything it it. And I really like the approach: "The Book of Life is being written by many people over a long time; it keeps changing and evolving. It is filled with images and films as well as texts. By floating online, it can grow a bit every day or so, as new things come along and it can be equally accessible all around the world, at any time, for free."

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Categorías: General

What Necessary Adult Skills Were You Never Taught Growing Up?

OLDaily - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 16:02

Eric Ravenscraft, LifeHacker, Mar 02, 2015

Doug Belshaw flags this article in LifeHacker asking people to comment on the life skills they never learned growing up. As one commenter says, "I just realized, this entire article boils down to 'give Lifehacker ideas for future articles'." But hey, why not? In any case, the comments section is filled with ideas for good life lessons. Here's a sampling:

  • basic hygiene habits like flossing/brushing teeth, taking showers, shaving, cosmetics, and hairstyling.
  • education on how to have constructive relationships
  • basic finance. My parents handled everything and didn't teach me about budgeting at all
  • how to exercise or be physically fit
  • emotional intelligence. Being able to communicate exactly how I feel instead of sticking my head in the sand
  • knowing a little bit about car repairs and maintenance
  • how to wear makeup
  • how to handle repeated failure. How to be content with doing "alright", not "outstanding" in life
  • how to cook

Sensing a theme?

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Categorías: General

The Voodoo That MOOCs Do

OLDaily - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 16:02

Ryan Craig, Inside Higher Ed, Mar 02, 2015

When friends at the University of Alberta told me about their upcoming Dino 101 MOOC, I was enthusiastic. "It's going to draw a million people," I said. It went on to draw considerably fewer, still a success, but nothing like what it could have been. What happened? The course that was produced was formal, stuffy and academic - designed, almost, to repel interest in dinosaurs, not cultivate it. And that is the sort of mistake institutions in general have been making with MOOCs, writes Ryan Craig in this article. They're targeting them to older professionals, when they should instead be targeting them to a younger audience. "While no institution needs to hurry up to produce MOOCs with DisneyCollectorBR or even Justin Bieber, universities should view MOOCs as an important channel for reaching prospective students around the world, and target content accordingly."

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Categorías: General

11 More Theme Customizing Videos from MoodleBites

Moodle News - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 14:17
MoodleBites has a great collection of theme customizing videos on their Youtube channel, all part of their MoodleBites for Theme Developers series which focus on the tools, tips and processes...

3 practical ideas for using ICT in STEM teaching – Chemistry

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 09:00

More ideas from our Taccle2 Handbooks for teachers, I couldn’t pass up an excuse to get Tom Lehrer on the Pontydysgu website!

Science Songs

Mark Rosengarten has recorded a lot of chemistry tutorials and songs. One of our favourites is “It’s a family thing“ a song about a list of organic molecules. It’s great to use at the end of the lesson so that you can end the lesson on a high. You can also give students the link to use the song as a revision aid. Watch out for humming during exams!

The other classic song (which may only be familiar to those of us of a certain age) is Tom Lehrer’s ‘Elements Song’. Some versions have pictures of the elements for added interest.  Or you can find a version with words.  Divide the class into groups and let them have an impromptu karaoke session – can they keep up with him? A lyrics sheet may nelp! Total chaos but fun.

Divide your class into groups and ask them to write their own song about something they are learning in chemistry.  Create a podcast using Audacity (or GarageBand on a Mac).  If you don’t feel confident about that, make a PowerPoint and add a voice over. Or use Helloslide or Knovio.

All of the Taccle2 handbooks are available to download for free from the Taccle2 website.

Silicon Valley likes to promise ‘digital socialism’ – but it is selling a fairytale

OLDaily - 2 Marzo, 2015 - 03:59

Evgeny Morozov, The Guardian, Mar 01, 2015

One of the things I've learned over the years is to resist letting positions I hold be defined by their opponents. One of those positions happens to be socialism, and while it is true it has evolved over the years, it nonetheless resembles nothing like what is discussed by Evgeny Morozov in this column for the Guardian, or by Kevin Kelly in the  2009 article Morozov is responding to. Morozov warns that Silicon Valley's promise to bridge "the gap in consumption inequality" will ring hollow: "we might be forced to sell our cars and default on our mortgages, but we would never lose access to Spotify and Google." Perhaps when Morozov is discussing socialism he should look up the phrase "means of production". Inequality is the symptom of wider structural issues in society, a natural consequence of a system based on hoarding, and something socialists seek to redress, but socialism is (despite years of caricature in the American press) about making everybody the same. I would add that even the image attached to the article perpetuates the same misinformation - Obama isn't in any way socialist, and should not be represented as such.

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Categorías: General

Moving Beyond Personalized Instruction

Hack Education - 1 Marzo, 2015 - 21:35

This article first appeared on Educating Modern Learners

"Personalization" is certainly one of the most popular and powerful buzzwords in education technology. A lot of hope and hype has been pinned on it. But it took a bit of a hit when the National Education Policy Center released a report on "personalized instruction." Written by UCLA professor Noel Enyedy, the full title gives you a pretty good sense of what the report argues: "New Interest, Old Rhetoric, Limited Results and the Need for a New Direction for Computer-Mediated Learning."

Enyedy writes that,

despite the advances in both hardware and software, recent studies show little evidence for the effectiveness of this form of Personalized Instruction. This is due in large part to the incredible diversity of systems that are lumped together under the label of Personalized Instruction. Combining such disparate systems into one group has made it nearly impossible to make reasonable claims one way or the other. To further cloud the issue, there are several ways that these systems can be implemented in the classroom. We are just beginning to experiment with and evaluate different implementation models—and the data show that implementation models matter. How a system is integrated into classroom routines and structures strongly mediates the outcomes for students.

The report examines some of the recent research on instructional efficacy and on cost-savings, noting that the muddied definition of "personalized instruction" makes it difficult to really perform a solid meta-analysis. (This is a problem with "personalization" that we've examined here on EML before.) But looking across the research and at individual studies, there seems to be little evidence that "personalized instruction" "works" and when it does, writes Enyedy, "it is important to note as well that outcomes primarily reflected procedural (or how to) knowledge, not increased efficacy for declarative (informational) knowledge or strategic thinking. That is, improvements do not effectively yield the type of conceptual understanding, problem solving and complex thinking that the current economy requires."

So if education technology - or at least "personalized instruction" - doesn't really have much of an impact on education outcomes and if it doesn't really save schools money, what are we doing? Why are we spending so much money on it? Why are we, after decades of computers in the classroom, still struggling to see how technology can really transform schools?

Enyedy suggests that we need to "turn to new ways of conceptualizing the role of technology in the classroom—conceptualizations that do not assume the computer will provide direct instruction to students, but instead will serve to create new opportunities for both learning and teaching." That is, we need to move beyond "personalized instruction" and towards a focus on learning. (Learning is always "personalized," because it's always personal of course.)

Enyedy contends that we're stuck, in part, because the model of "personalized instruction" is built upon old metaphors of the personal computer from the 1980s. That is, we’re still tinkering with "adaptive learning systems" and "intelligent tutoring systems" that are decades old and designed around individualized "content delivery." That's what we're still building and still implementing: "computer-assisted instruction."

But technology today is mobile, and it is social, and it is networked. We need to rethink, reimagine how technology can enhance learning - through collaboration and connectedness, for example. We cannot simply use newer technologies to make old practices of lectures and worksheets digital. That's not enough to transform school. And as the NEPC report highlights, that doesn't work. And it doesn’t work, in part, because we know that those practices aren't the best analog pedagogy either.

Enyedy suggests that "All stakeholders should refrain from assuming that Personalized Instruction is the only model for computers in the classroom and be open to investigating new models integrating technology into the learning process."" That seems like a great place to start. But from there, I think that those who work in education technology need to be much louder and much clearer about what moving beyond personalized instruction can and should look like. What are our alternate visions for education technology?

There seems to be such a failure of imagination around ed-tech, and that's a shame - and not simply because schools are spending millions of dollars on devices and infrastructure. EML co-founder Bruce Dixon recently argued that education is caught up in a sort of "truthiness," believing that things work because they just sound like they should. That education technology can offer some sort of "personalized instruction" and that that's going to address problems of efficiency and efficacy - that's "truthiness" for sure. The challenge isn't simply to point out the flaws in the logic (the NEPC report does that well); the challenge is to provide the vision and the leadership to show how education technology can be transformational.

But that involves rethinking much of "school," not just rethinking how computers are used there.

Alternate Ledes for CUNY Study on Raising Graduation Rates

e-Literate - 1 Marzo, 2015 - 21:23

By Phil HillMore Posts (291)

Last week MDRC released a study on the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) with near breathless terms.

  • ASAP was well implemented. The program provided students with a wide array of services over a three-year period, and effectively communicated requirements and other messages.
  • ASAP substantially improved students’ academic outcomes over three years, almost doubling graduation rates. ASAP increased enrollment in college and had especially large effects during the winter and summer intersessions. On average, program group students earned 48 credits in three years, 9 credits more than did control group students. By the end of the study period, 40 percent of the program group had received a degree, compared with 22 percent of the control group. At that point, 25 percent of the program group was enrolled in a four-year school, compared with 17 percent of the control group.
  • At the three-year point, the cost per degree was lower in ASAP than in the control condition. Because the program generated so many more graduates than the usual college services, the cost per degree was lower despite the substantial investment required to operate the program.

Accordingly the media followed suit with breathless coverage[1]. Consider this from Inside Higher Ed and their article titled “Living Up to the Hype”:

Now that firm results are in, across several different institutions, CUNY is confident it has cracked the formula for getting students to the finish line.

“It doesn’t matter that you have a particularly talented director or a president who pays attention. The model works,” said John Mogulescu, the senior university dean for academic affairs and the dean of the CUNY School of Professional Studies. “For us it’s a breakthrough program.”

MDRC and CUNY also claim that “cracking the code” means that other schools can benefit, as described earlier in the article:

“We’re hoping to extend that work with CUNY to other colleges around the country,” said Michael J. Weiss, a senior associate with MDRC who coauthored the study.

Unfortunately . . .

If you read the report itself, the data doesn’t back up the bold claims in the executive summary and in the media. A more accurate summary might be:

For the declining number of young, living-with-parents community college students planning to attend full-time, CUNY has explored how to increase student success while avoiding any changes in the classroom. The study found that a package of interventions requiring full-time enrollment, increasing per-student expenditures by 63%, and providing aggressive advising as well as priority access to courses can increase enrollment by 22%, inclusive of term-to-term retention. At the 3-year mark these combined changes translate into an 82% increase in graduation rates, but it is unknown if any changes to the interventions would affect the results, and it is unknown what results would occur at the 4-year mark. Furthermore, it is unclear whether this program can scale due to priority course access and effects on the growing non-traditional student population. If a state sets performance-funding based on 3-year graduation rates and nothing else, this program could even reduce costs.

Luckily, the report is very well documented, so nothing is hidden. What are the problems that would lead to this alternate description?

  • This study is only for one segment of the population, those willing to go full-time, first-time students, low income, and one or two developmental course requirements (not zero, not three+). This targeted less than one-fourth of the CUNY 2-year student population where 73% live at home with parents and 77% are younger than 22. For the rest, including the growing working-adult population:

(p. 92): It is unclear, however, what the effects might be with a different target group, such as low-income parents. It is also unclear what outcomes an ASAP-type program that did not require full-time enrollment would yield.

  • The study required full-time enrollment (12 credits attempted per term) and only evaluated 3-year graduation rates, which is almost explains the results by itself. Do the math (24 credits / year over 3 years minus 3 – 6 as developmental courses don’t count for degree credit) and you see that going “full-time” and getting 66 credits is likely the only way to graduate with a 60-credit associate’s degree in 3 years. As the report itself states:

(p. 85): It is likely that ASAP’s full-time enrollment requirement, coupled with multiple supports to facilitate that enrollment, were central to the program’s success.

  • The study created a special class of students with priority enrollment. One of the biggest challenges of public colleges is for students to even have access to the courses they need. The ASAP students were given priority enrollment as the report itself states:

(p. 34): In addition, students were able to register for classes early in every semester they participated in the program. This feature allowed ASAP students to create convenient schedules and have a better chance of enrolling in all the classes they need. Early registration may be especially beneficial for students who need to enroll in classes that are often oversubscribed, such as popular general education requirements or developmental courses, and for students in their final semesters as they complete the last courses they need to graduate.

  • The study made no attempt to understand the many variables at play. There were a plethora of interventions – full-time enrollment requirement, priority enrollment, special seminars, reduced load on advisers, etc. Yet we have no idea which components lead to which effects. From the report

(p. 85): What drove the large effects found in the study and which of ASAP’s components were most important in improving students’ academic outcomes? MDRC’s evaluation was not designed to definitively answer that question. Ultimately, each component in ASAP had the potential to affect students’ experiences in college, and MDRC’s evaluation estimates the effect of ASAP’s full package of services on students’ academic outcomes.

  • The study made no changes at all to actual teaching and learning practices. It almost seems this was the point to find out how we can everything except teaching and learning to get students to enroll full-time. From the report

(p. 34): ASAP did not make changes to pedagogy, curricula, or anything else that happened inside of the classroom.

What Do We Have Left?

In the end this was a study on pulling out all of the non-teaching stops to see if we can get students to enroll full-time. Target only students willing to go full-time, then constantly advise them to enroll full-time and stick with it, and remove as many financial barriers (fund gap between cost and financial aid, free textbooks, gas cards, etc) as is feasible. With all of this effort, the real result of the study is that they increased the number of credits attempted and credits earned by 22%.

We already know that full-time enrollment is the biggest variable for graduation rates in community colleges, especially if measured over 4 years or less. Look at the recent National Student Clearinghouse report at a national level (tables 11-13):

  • Community college 4-year completion rate for exclusively part-time students: 2.32%
  • Community college 4-year completion rate for mixed enrollment students (some terms FT, some PT): 14.25%
  • Community college 4-year completion rate for exclusively full-time students: 27.55%

And that data is for 4 years – 3 years would have been more dramatic simply due to the fact that it’s almost impossible to get 60 credits if you don’t take at least 12 credits per term over 3 years.

What About Cost Analysis?

The study showed that CUNY spent approximately 63% more per student for the program compared to the control group. The bigger claim, however, is that cost per graduate is actually lower (163% of the cost with 182% of the graduates). But what about the students who don’t graduate or transfer? What about the students who graduate in 4 years instead of 3? Colleges spend money on all their students, and most community college students (60%) can only go part-time and will never be able to graduate in 3 years.

Even if you factor in performance-based funding, using a 3-year graduation basis is misleading. No state is considering funding only for 3-year successful graduation. If that were so, I have a much easier solution – refuse to admit any students seeking less than 12 credits per term. That will produce dramatic cost savings and dramatic increases in graduation rates . . . as long as you’re willing to completely ignore the traditional community college mission that includes:

serv[ing] all segments of society through an open-access admissions policy that offers equal and fair treatment to all students

Can It Scale?

Despite the claims that “the model works” and that CUNY has cracked the formula, does the report actually support this claim? Specifically, can this program scale?

First of all, the report only makes its claims for a small percentage of students that are predominantly young and live at home with their parents – we don’t know if it applies beyond the target group as the report itself calls out.

But within this target group, I think there are big problems with scaling. One of which is the priority enrollment in all courses, including oversubscribed courses and those available at convenient times. The control group was at a disadvantage as were all non-target students (including the growing working adult population and students going back to school). This priority enrollment approach is based on scarcity, and the very nature of scaling the program will reduce the benefits of the intervention.

I have Premier Silver status at United airlines thanks to a few international trips. If this status gave me realistic priority access to first-class upgrades, then I would be more likely to fly United on a routine basis. As it is, however, I often show up at the gate and see myself #30 or higher in line for first-class upgrades when the cabin only has 5-10 first class grades available. The priority status has lost most of its benefits as United has scaled such that more than a quarter of all passengers on many routes also have priority status.

CUNY plans to scale from 456 students in the ASAP study all the way up to 13,000 students in the next two years. Assuming even distribution over two years, this changes the group size from 1% of the entering freshman population to 19%. Won’t that make a dramatic difference in how easy it will be for ASAP students to get into the classes and convenient class times they seek? And doesn’t this program conflict with the goals of offering “equal and fair treatment to all students”?

Alternate Ledes for Media Coverage of Study

I realize my description above is too lengthy for media ledes, so here are some others that might be useful:

  • CUNY and MDRC prove that enrollment correlates with graduation time.
  • Requiring full-time enrollment and giving special access to courses leads to more full-time enrollment.
  • What would it cost to double an artificial metric without asking faculty to change any classroom activities? 63% more per student.
Don’t Get Me Wrong

I’m all for spending money and trying new approaches to help students succeed, including raising graduation rates. I’m also for increasing the focus on out-of-classroom support services to help students. I’m also glad that CUNY is investing in a program to benefit its own students.

However, the executive summary of this report and the resultant media coverage are misleading. We have not cracked the formula, CUNY is not ready to scale this program or export to other colleges, and taking the executive summary claims at face value is risky at best. The community would be better served if CUNY:

  • Made some effort to separate variables and effect on enrollment and graduation rates;
  • Extended the study to also look at more realistic 4-year graduate rates in addition to 3-year rates;
  • Included an analysis of diminishing benefits from priority course access; and
  • Performed a cost analysis based on the actual or planned funding models for community colleges.
  1. And this article comes from a reporter for whom I have tremendous respect.

The post Alternate Ledes for CUNY Study on Raising Graduation Rates appeared first on e-Literate.

El BOE afirma "la incapacidad de la persona de alcanzar la felicidad sin ayuda de Dios"

Educación flexible y abierta - 1 Marzo, 2015 - 01:23

Los alumnos deberán asumir el creacionismo y la incapacidad de ser felices si no creen en Dios.

See it on, via Educación flexible y abierta


e-Literate - 28 Febrero, 2015 - 23:00

By Michael FeldsteinMore Posts (1015)

A little while back, e-Literate suddenly got hit by a spammer who was registering for email subscriptions to the site at a rate of dozens of new email addresses every hour. After trying a number of less extreme measures, I ended up removing the subscription widget from the site. Unfortunately, as a few of you have since pointed out to me, by removing the option to subscribe by email, I also inadvertently removed the option to unsubscribe. Once I realized there was a problem (and cleared some time to figure out what to do about it), I investigated a number of other email subscription plugins, hoping that I could find one that is more secure. After some significant research, I came to the conclusion, that there is no alternate solution that I can trust more than the one we already have.

The good news is that I discovered the plugin we have been using has an option to disable the subscribe feature while leaving on the unsubscribe feature. I have done so. You can now find the unsubscribe capability back near the top of the right-hand sidebar. Please go ahead and unsubscribe yourself if that’s what you’re looking to do. If any of you need help unsubscribing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Sorry for the trouble. On a related note, I hope to reactivate the email subscription feature for new subscribers once I can find the right combination of spam plugins to block the spam registrations without getting in the way of actual humans trying to use the site.

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Talking tech

Learning with 'e's - 28 Febrero, 2015 - 12:40
My latest interview appears in this month's edition of Teach Secondary magazine in conjunction with a review of my new book. Here it is:

Do teachers have a choice about whether to engage with technology?
Technology is already so embedded in the fabric of schools, it's probably unavoidable now. Whether it's teacher technology, including wordprocessors, electronic record keeping or databases, or student technology, such as laptops, educational software or personal devices, technology should now be viewed as a set of tools that can be harnessed to extend, enhance and enrich the learning experience. Add the exponential power of the Web into the mix, and the argument becomes compelling. Technology offers us unprecedented opportunities to transform education. The question is not whether teachers should engage with technology, but how.
If you had to pick out the single most important technological development for education over the past ten years, what would you choose and why? 
The final line of Learning with 'e's offers a clue when I say we literally hold the future of education in our hands. The personal, mobile device has started to transform learning in both formal and informal contexts. Learning in any place and at any time is going to gain traction in the coming years, and the emphasis will be on personal learning. Students can gain access to any amount of resources and connections that will help them to learn; they can use their mobile phones to connect with others; and also create and share their own content with potentially huge audiences outside and beyond the walls of the classroom. The value of this is immeasurable.
So, you've accidentally invented a time machine, and travelled forward to the year 2115. What do the schools look like?
Communities will always need schools. How education will be conducted, and how teachers will work, is an entirely different question. I foresee a time in the not too distance future when learning spaces will blur their boundaries with the outside world, and where the use of technology to connect schools and people together while they are learning will be paramount. It's already beginning to happen. I believe the boundaries will blur in our roles too, with teachers and students becoming co-learners. The silos of subjects will also open, and trans-curricular learning will emerge - something that will be vital for the economies of the 21st Century and beyond. Children will learn new skills and literacies that will prepare them for a future we can't clearly describe. Technology will play a key role in this preparation, and teachers will remain central to the process. I don't think technology is a threat to future education. It's something we should embrace. Teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who use technology will replace those who don't.
Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra on Flickr

Talking tech by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

Won’t somebody please think of the children?

OLDaily - 28 Febrero, 2015 - 03:46

Dylan Collins,, Feb 27, 2015

So this sounds so unlike Europe, but maybe I'm just naive: "There is a new generation of kids startups focused on platform, tools and adtech fuelled by a broader structural shift in the sector. Occasionally referred to as ‘ kidtech’ , they are tackling opportunities in the kids market that are worth billions of dollars in the adult sector." The tenor of the argument is that the U.S. Children’ s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits behavioural online advertising, and that this is being adopted by Europe, creating a spending gap that is being addressed by, well, what? Advertgising? Kidtech? "Already kids brands are doubling and tripling their digital ad spend for 2015 and it seems highly likely that kids digital ad market will be a $2 billion space inside two years driven by the availability of kid-safe platforms..." It seems to me that if they're loaded with advertisements, they're not exactly kid safe. But like I say, maybe I'm naive.

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Categorías: General

A Town Where a School Bus Is More Than a Bus

OLDaily - 28 Febrero, 2015 - 03:46

Sam Chaltain, New York Times, Feb 27, 2015

Sam Chaltain is gaining traction for some ideas that will be familiar to readers of this newsletter (plus one about school buses that is new to me). From his newsletter: "What if... we started to design schools in ways that imagined young people moving more like a murmuration of Starlings than, say, a regiment of soldiers? What if, in order to reimagine schooling, we got specific about all the things we have always done that we will need to hold onto - and all the things we must let go of in order to make space for something new? And what if, instead of viewing a thing like a school bus as merely a vehicle for transporting children to and from school, we viewed it (as one community has done) as an essential link in the chain of our overall effort to support the needs of children?"

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Categorías: General

Greg Mankiw Thinks Greg Mankiw’s Textbook Is Fairly Priced

e-Literate - 27 Febrero, 2015 - 23:37

By Michael FeldsteinMore Posts (1014)

This is kind of hilarious.

Greg Mankiw has written a blog post expressing his perplexity[1] with The New York Times’ position that textbooks are overpriced:

To me, this reaction seems strange. After all, the Times is a for-profit company in the business of providing information. If it really thought that some type of information (that is, textbooks) was vastly overpriced, wouldn’t the Times view this as a great business opportunity? Instead of merely editorializing, why not enter the market and offer a better product at a lower price? The Times knows how to hire writers, editors, printers, etc. There are no barriers to entry in the textbook market, and the Times starts with a pretty good brand name.

My guess is that the Times business managers would not view starting a new textbook publisher as an exceptionally profitable business opportunity, which if true only goes to undermine the premise of its editorial writers.

It’s worth noting that Mankiw received a $1.4 million advance for his economics textbook from his original publisher Thomson South-Western, a division of the company now known as Cengage Learning. That was in 1997. Now in its seventh edition, Mankiw has five different versions of his book published by Cengage (not counting the five versions of the previous edition, which is still on the market). That said, he is probably right that NYT would not view the textbook industry as a profitable business opportunity. But think about that. A newspaper finds the textbook industry unattractive economically. The textbook industry is imploding. Mankiw’s publisher just emerged from bankruptcy, and textbook sales are down and still dropping across the board.

One reason that textbook prices have not been responsive to market forces is that most faculty do not have strong incentives to search for less expensive textbooks and, to the contrary, have high switching costs. They have to both find an alternative that fits their curriculum and teaching approach—a non-trivial investment in itself—and then rejigger their course design to fit with the new book. A second part of the problem is that the publishers really can’t afford to lower the textbook prices at this point without speeding up their slow-motion train crash because their unit sales keep dropping as students find more creative ways to avoid buying the book. Their way of dealing with falling sales is to raise the price on each book that they sell. It’s a vicious cycle—one that could potentially be broken by the market forces that Mankiw seems so sure are providing fair pricing if only the people making the adoption decisions had motivations that were aligned with the people making the purchasing decisions. The high cost of switching for faculty, coupled with their relative personal immunity to pricing increases, translate into a barrier to entry for potential competitors looking to underbid the established players. Which brings me to the third reason. There are plenty of faculty who would like to believe that they could make money writing a textbook someday and that doing so would generate enough income to make a difference in their lives. Not all, not most, and probably not even the majority, but enough to matter. As long as faculty can potentially get compensated for sales, there will be motivation for them to see high textbook prices that they don’t have to pay themselves as “fair” or, at least, tolerable. It’s a conflict of interest. And Greg Mankiw, as a guy who’s made the big score, has the biggest conflict of interest of all and the least motivation of anyone to admit that textbook prices are out of hand, and that the textbook “market” he wants to believe in probably doesn’t even properly qualify as a market, never mind an efficient one.

  1. Hat tip to Stephen Downes for the link.

The post Greg Mankiw Thinks Greg Mankiw’s Textbook Is Fairly Priced appeared first on e-Literate.

U New Mexico Turns To Mobile App for Improved Safety

Campus Technology - 27 Febrero, 2015 - 22:51
The University of New Mexico has deployed a mobile app in an effort to better ensure the safety of 27,000 students.

Princeton Uses 3D Printers for Custom Lab Equipment

Campus Technology - 27 Febrero, 2015 - 22:27
Three-dimensional printers have emerged as an important tool to help researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University produce laboratory equipment.

Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education - 27 Febrero, 2015 - 21:35
Education Law and Politics

The FCC voted 3–2 that broadband Internet will be regulated as a public utility. A win for Net Neutrality and the open Internet (but let's remember, none of this is really "neutral").

The US House of Representatives is working its way through the 40-some-odd amendments tacked on to the No Child Left Behind re-write. (It was initially scheduled to vote on the bill today. The White House has threatened a veto.) The House also voted to expand the college savings plan that President Obama had (at least in his State of the Union address) indicated he wanted to scrap.

Fears arise that Alberta's Athabasca University will be lost as tough budget looms.”

From The Onion, “Arne Duncan Spends Visit To Local Elementary School Looking At UFO Books In Library.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not win enough votes to secure a second term in office. He’ll face Jesus “Chuy” Garcia – a candidate backed by the teachers’ union – in a run-off.

The US Department of Education released model Terms of Service guidance “aimed at helping schools and districts protect student privacy while using online educational services and applications.” (It’s, um, interesting that the “best practice” guidelines suggest that TOS should say schools – not students – own the data, including all IP.)

Much like its neighbor state Wyoming, Colorado is now looking at allowing concealed weapons at K–12 schools, repealing a law that makes schools “gun-free zones”.

A lawsuit was filed this week charging LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines of sexual harassment.

ISIS has burned the Mosul Library, which housed over 8000 rare ancient books and manuscripts. ISIS also released video footage of them destroying Assyrian and Akkadian artifacts in Mosul, some that date back to the 7th century BC.


From The Chronicle of Higher Education, “How [Jerry Falwell’s] Liberty Ubecame an unexpected model for the future of higher education.” Um. “A standard syllabus, even in a course with no obvious religious connection, encourages students to pray in online forums.” Prayer and grit. That’s all you need, kids.

Well here’s another business opportunity for MOOC providers: the Corrective Education Company offers online courses for those busted for shoplifting. Via Slate:

Imagine you're browsing at Bloomingdale's when a security guard taps you on the shoulder and accuses you of shoplifting. He takes you to a private room, sits you down, and runs your name through a database to see if you have any outstanding warrants. Then he tells you that you have two options. The first involves him calling the police, who might arrest you and take you to jail. The second allows you to walk out of the store immediately, no questions asked - right after you sign an admission of guilt and agree to pay $320 to take an online course designed to make you never want to steal again.

If learning how to not shoplift isn’t your thing, perhaps this: “Want to hone your school reformer skills? Jeb Bush’s foundation has a MOOC for you.”

Michigan State University is experimenting with using telepresence robots for distance ed students so that they can participate in face-to-face classes.

“A global network of fraudulent online universities is using high-pressure sales tactics and phony scholarships to extract money from students who end up with worthless degrees,” reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. MUST University, which boasts that it’s the “world’s largest university,” lists its address in San Francisco. Because of course, where else would you run a scam like that, eh.

Meanwhile on Campus

Sam Chaltain writes about a new program in Hartsville, South Carolina “where a school bus is more than a bus.”

For the “technology will never replace teachers” set: “Quebec school has no French teacher, using Rosetta Stone instead.”

Erskine College has banned gay sexuality at its school.

Bloomberg reports that the Canadian government has shut down for-profit Corinthian's 14 schools in the country. (Meanwhile, Rolling Jubilee’s Debt Collective is helping students with their loans – and with elimination of and reprieve against repayment.)

Alliant International University, a non-profit institution in California, has changed its tax status to become for-profit benefit corpotation.

Kean University is the latest to send admissions letters in error. 3000 people were mistakenly notified that they’d been accepted to the school.

Colorado schools “face a dilemma,” says NPR, now that pot is legal in the state.

Inside Higher Ed reports that “Eleven Wesleyan University students were hospitalized this weekend with symptoms consistent with use of the club drug known as Molly,” that is a form of Ecstasy.

Stanford Discourages Students From Viewing Their Admissions Files.”

A student named Dean ordered some fake IDs from China. They were supposed to be delivered to him on campus. Instead they went to the dean at his school, who shares his last name. LOL.

“Ivy League Grads Are Turning Their Backs On The Peace Corps.” (The number of Ivy grad volunteers has fallen by 63% in the last decade, reports Vocativ. This story is sorta odd as the number of volunteers from other schools has stayed about the same and far surpasses those from Ivy League schools. But ya know, the arc of education reporting is long and it bends towards the Ivies.)

Inside Higher Ed’s Ry Rivard examines the promises and side deals that colleges, struggling with debt, are making to their investors.

Go, School Sports Team!

The University of Oregon filed a counter-suit against “Jane Doe,” the woman who was allegedly raped by three of its basketball players last year. She’s filed a lawsuit charging the university of violating Title IX, in part by not investigating the rape charges. WTF, Ducks. Thankfully, by the end of the week, the university had backed away from the countersuit.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA Blamed for Baylor’s Dismissal of Once-Homeless Athlete”

Western Nevada College is scrapping its athletics program.

From the HR Department

Wednesday was National Adjunct Walkout Day, an attempt to call attention to the work of precarious labor in the universty.

Valerie Dean has been named the next president of Swarthmore.

Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Upgrades and Downgrades

Snapchat has launched a “Safety Center” which, among other things, reminds teens not to use the app to send nude photos. CYA.

Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak says it’s improved its reporting process for abusive posts.

Barnes & Noble announced that it was splitting off its ~700 college bookstores into a separate but wholly owned company, B&N Education.

Chegg is expanding its partnership with Ingram announced last year. The textbook distributor will no longer distribute textbooks – Ingram will handle that. Chegg will instead focus on digital services. Its stock price is up with this news, trading currently at $8.14 a share.

Google has launched YouTube Kids, which is a curated set of “family friendly” videos, available on iOS and Android. (A “hands on” with Techcrunch’s Sarah Perez.)

Google updated Classroom with some new features, including – revolutionary – the capability to add images to teacher pages. Edsurge reports that emoji are also available on the Classroom Android app (Psst. Edsurge: (^‿^) is not an emoji.)

Android Kids’ Tablets Full of Dangerous Security Flaws.”

Via The New York Times: “A team of Google researchers has created a machine that can figure out how to play and win video games.”

One Education, an Australia-based spinoff of One Laptop Per Child, has released details about its XO-Infinity laptop project. It says it’s “delivered 50,000 XO computers to disadvantaged children around Australia and in the process became a leading provider of technology for primary school aged children.”

IBM is working with Elemental Path to build toys that use its Watson AI technology. The toys “will be capable of engaging in age-appropriate conversations with children.” What could possibly go wrong.

The Crow Machine: automating Skinner’s work, with crows instead of pigeons. Think of the ed-tech possibilities.

From Phil Hill: “LoudCloud Systems and FASTRAK: A non walled-garden approach to CBE.” (That is, competency-based education – what will be the over-hyped acronym of 2015, I betcha.)

Also from Phil Hill: a first look at Instructure’s new corporate learning management system, Bridge.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As High-Tech Teaching Catches On, Students With Disabilities Can Be Left Behind.”

Funding and Acquisitions

GuideSpark has raised $22.2 million from Meritech Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Storm Ventures, and IDG Ventures. The company, which turns paper-based HR training materials into digital training materials, has raised $42.2 million total.

WriteReader has raised $800,000 in seed funding from Egmont. The company makes literacy apps.

Mediacore has raised $4.5 million from Vanedge Capital. The lecture-capture company has raised $6.5 million total.

Locomotive Labs has raised $4 million from Softbank Ventures Korea, TAL Education Group. K9 Ventures, Kapor Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund, Joe Gleberman, D3Jubilee, and Jerry Colonna. The company, which makes apps for children with special needs, has raised $4.6 million total.

Ardusat has raised $1 million in seed funding from Space Florida, Fresco Capital, Spire, and other undisclosed investors. The startup makes satellites that students can send into space to conduct experiments.

An online booking service for field trips, edtrips has raised $1.9 million in funding. Investors were not disclosed.

Hobsons has acquired Starfish Retention Solutions. More via Inside Higher Ed.

“Research” and Data

A study by Jonathan Supovitz, Alan Daly and Miguel del Fresno looks at how Twitter has shaped debates about the Common Core. #thankstwitter

Yup, college students still prefer reading print over digital textbooks.

A study by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA looks at out-of-school suspension rates across the US. Among the findings: “Missouri elementary schools have highest rate of suspending black children.”

The Ever-Growing World of College Rankings.

From the National Student Clearinghouse, data on college graduation, broken down state-by-state.

Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy looks at a report from In the Public Interest on the (low low low) graduation grades of the online K–12 provider California Virtual Academies. (That is, just 36%.)

Learning styles don’t exist, teachers still believe in ’em, and The New York Times is on it.

According to a report by FutureSource Consulting, Chromebooks took took 39% of the K–12 market share in the US.

Via Vox: “American millennials are literally the worst (at math).”

Also via Vox: “The more people say they know about the Common Core, the less they actually do.”

Editorial Policy: Notes on recent reviews of CBE learning platforms

e-Literate - 27 Febrero, 2015 - 19:30

By Phil HillMore Posts (290)

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed

- R Plant, Kashmir

Over the past half year or so I’ve provided more in-depth product reviews of several learning platforms than is typical – Helix, FlatWorld, LoudCloud, Bridge. Understanding that at e-Literate we are not a review site nor do we tend to analyze technology for technology’s sake, it’s worth asking ‘why the change?’. There has been a lot of worthwhile discussion in several blogs recently about whether the LMS is obsolete or critical to the future of higher ed, and this discussion even raised the subject of how we got to the current situation in the first place.

An interesting development I’ve observed is that the learning environment of the future might already be emerging on its own, but not necessarily coming from the institution-wide LMS market. Canvas, for all its market-changing power, is almost a half decade old. The area of competency-based education (CBE), with its hundreds of pilot programs, appears to be generating a new generation of learning platforms that are designed around the learner (rather than the course) and around learning (or at least the proxy of competency frameworks). It seems useful to get a more direct look at these platforms to understand the future of the market and to understand that the next generation environment is not necessarily a concept yet to be designed.

At the same time, CBE is a very important development in higher ed, yet there are plenty of signs of assuming that CBE is students working in isolation to learn regurgitated facts assessed by multiple choice questions. Yes, that does happen in cases and is a risk for the field, but CBE is far richer. Criticize CBE if you will, but do so based on what’s actually happening[1].

Both Michael and I have observed and even participated in efforts that seek to explore CBE and the learning environment of the future.

Perhaps given that I’m prone to visual communication approaches, the best approach for me to work out my own thoughts on the subjects as well as share more broadly through e-Literate has been to do more in-depth product reviews with screenshots.

Bridge, from Instructure, is a different case. I frequently get into discussions about how Instructure might evolve as a company, especially given their potential IPO. The public markets will demand continued growth, so what will this change in terms of their support of Canvas as a higher education LMS? Will they get into adjacent markets? With the latest news of the company raising $40 million in what is likely the last pre-IPO VC funding round as well as their introduction of Bridge to move into the corporate learning space, we now have a pretty solid basis for answering these questions. Understanding that Bridge is a separate product and seeing how the company approaches both its design and lack of change to Canvas are the keys.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting some editorial policy stuff at e-Literate:

  • We do not endorse products; in fact, we generally focus on the academic or administrative need first as well as how a product is selected and implemented.
  • We do not take solicitations to review products, even if a vendor’s competitors have been reviewed. The reviews mentioned above were more about understanding market changes and understanding CBE as a concept than about the products per se.
  • We might accept a vendor’s offer of a demo at our own discretion, either online or at a conference, but even then we do not promise to cover within a blog post.

OK, the lead-in quote is a stretch, but it does tie in to one of the best videos I have seen in a while.

Click here to view the embedded video.

  1. And you would do well to read Michael’s excellent post on CBE meant for faculty trying to understand the subject.

The post Editorial Policy: Notes on recent reviews of CBE learning platforms appeared first on e-Literate.