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This is a badge-based initiative from the Association for Learning Technology. "CMALT, our Certified Membership scheme, is a peer-based professional accreditation scheme developed by ALT to enable people whose work involves learning technology to have their experience and capabilities certified by peers and demonstrate that they are taking a committed and serious approach to their professional development." There are some webinars and guides, including information about portfolio reviews. More guidelines. Though ALT is for people based in the UK, the CMALT registration includes special sections for Australasia and Hong Kong. Fees apply, of course. I like this as an experiment in portfolio-based badge-based assessment.[Link] [Comment]
My worst year in university was my first and I studied like the students described in this article studied, by reading the text and my notes. In the summer before my third year I learned to approach it more methodically, taking these apart and reconstructing the knowledge from scratch (classic constructivism, I know). This is the sort of self-regulation described in this paper (12 page PDF). For example, "Self-regulated learning refers to learning that occurs largely from the influence of student’s self-generated thoughts, feelings, strategies, and behaviors, which are oriented toward the attainment of goals (Schunk & Zimmerman, 1998, p. viii)." This plus skill in clear journalistic writing developed at the student newspapers was the key to success and straight As by the time I graduated. The research in this paper lies mostly in documenting the inability of the students described to do this, but several promising lines of inquiry are suggested in the conclusion: would 'grit' promote self-regulation? Would presence? Is self-regulation influenced by cultural factors? Would an artificial tutor help? Image: Dörrenbächer and Perels.[Link] [Comment]
Despite the learning style sceptics, academic papers devoted to learning styles continue to appear. This paper (8 page PDF) serves the useful function of calling for people writing about learning styles to be clear about terminology and of describing and clarifying some learning approaches to learning styles in terms of their meaning, reproduction and orientation, "making inconsistencies appear to be less of an issue." They also seek clarity on whether the author thinks the dimension in question is fixed or changeable. All of this goes to show, I think, that thinking of 'learning styles' as a simple four-dimensional taxonomy used for differentiating instruction is narrow and unhelpful. We can look at factors related to intrinsic interest, the relation of ideas and evidence, the structure of critical reasoning processes, intention, and more. Additionally, "the author should, if possible, refer to an overarching term such as learning patterns or learning dimensions as suggested in this paper, and most importantly specify the model used if based on existing models, as well as the tradition to which the research has been most based." That should apply to critics as well as researchers.[Link] [Comment]
I'm thinking that this is exactly the opposite of what the world needs: "our goal is to identify and develop the most elite talent through our Online and Academy platforms and place them into the fastest growing, top technology companies around the world." This is the goal of Woz U, which will run this 'elite talent' through "an aggressive 12-16 month fully-immersive program" of "entrepreneur programs (and) how to finance and capital raise for start-ups." This seems to me to be more like brainwashing than education. This sham initiative is run through Exeter Education and is "considered" part of Southern Careers Institute (SCI).[Link] [Comment]
Raising Robot Literacy: Universal Robots Expands Unique Online Academy, Offering Free Interactive Modules in Robotics Programming
OK, this is just a press release for a free course in robot programming, though of course its claims that you can "become a robot programmer in only 87 minutes" is obviously ridiculous. Don't follow this link; it will only encourage them. It reminds me once again that advertising is the original fake news. But it sent my mind off in a different direction: robot literacy training. After all, eventually we will madd produce robots, and they will learn using artificial intelligence, but artificial intelligence needs to be trained. Right now all that is pretty specialized but eventually there will be a new field of employment: robot training. There will be robot training academies, a discipline of instructional design for robot training, and all the rest. And I'm wondering how much overlap there will be with human training, and how much each field will learn from the other.[Link] [Comment]
I can answer that question from my own experience. It's really hard to put hundreds of people, let alone thousands, into a live interactive streaming conference. This article doesn't seem to recognize that difficulty. "It’s possible—in a course with scheduled lectures—for students to tune in, listen to a lecture in real time, ask questions, and participate in discussion from a remote location." Well yes, it's possible, but not in video. We've had interactive sessions in things like Big Blue Button or Google Hangouts, but you have to limit the number of participants. This means that the rest are relegated to tyoing comments in the chat. That's what Arc - touted in this article - also does. But even that can get out of hand if you have thousands of participants.[Link] [Comment]
This is week 2 of George Siemens and David Wiley's Open Education course and this week asks the question, "How did we get here?" Jenny Mackness offers a lucid discussion of the past and its issues as well as linking to some relevant posts by others. Richard Coyne captures the sharing dilemma: The darkest side of this sharing narrative is that consumers and the short-term contracted labour force are fed the idea that they are participating in a new democratised economic order. The sharing economy is just part of a sales pitch, and a way of dressing up inequities and dodgy business practices."[Link] [Comment]
There's certainly room for criticism of the entire endeavouyr, as Audrey Watters makes clear in this post, and I prefer to steer well clear of the U.S. policy debate. Plenty of pundits (incluiding Watters) have made that their main focus. What interested me here was the list of "experts" assembled by Inside Higher Ed: consultant Bryan Alexander; Lindsey Downs, communication manager, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET); Michael Horn, chief strategy officer, Entangled Ventures; co-founder, Clayton Christensen Institute;Adam Newman, managing partner, Tyton Partners; Jonathan Poritz,office in the American Association of University Professors; and James Wiley, principal technology analyst, Eduventures Research. They each offer their own equally idiosyncratic lists of readings, which if taken together create a bit of a Frankenstein model of the field.[Link] [Comment]
This article is both a follow-up to the recent UNESCO Open Educational Reources Conference and the 10-year anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. It spotlights the ten follow-up actions emanating from the conference. But also like the recent discussions of open access, it sounds a sour note on progress to date. "We have not made anything near to the progress that we’d dreamed of. Not even close." For example, "Text books are still one of the most monopolized and impenetrable parts of the publishing world, second only to scientific journal publishing." And I found this interesting: "the biggest changes in how people learn seem to have happened elsewhere, outside formal education (and somewhat outside the open education movement even)." These are the people we should be supporting - not the institutions, not the publishers, but the people who are finding a way to support and use open education despite them.[Link] [Comment]
In Phil’s first piece on the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) finding the Western Governors University (WGU) should be considered a correspondence provider rather than a distance education provider, he wrote,
This audit is a travesty in my opinion. Even though it is likely to be rejected by the ED itself, it will have an impact, and the internal review of the audit will likely take years.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that the OIG decided that WGU’s unbundled instructor’s role, with multiple staff roles supporting students in a (largely) self-paced environment, does not count as “regular and substantive interaction between students and teachers,” which is a requirement for classification as a distance learning provider.
Phil believes that this assessment by the OIG was arbitrary and, based on my admittedly limited understanding of their assessment process, I tend to agree. But that doesn’t mean that the OIG is wrong. It means we don’t know whether the OIG is wrong. And the heart of the problem—the definition and test for “regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors”—is a real challenge. While feel fairly confident that the OIG applied too narrow an interpretation of a standard that problably needs to be revised anyway, coming up with a better evidence-based standard is tough. And if we don’t have one, we can’t tell if WGU’s programs should be considered equivalent to more traditional distance learning programs.
There are two positions that one could take in arguing against the OIG finding: (1) that it is possible to deliver the equal of a traditional education without regular and substantive interaction between students and teachers, or (2) that this interaction is necessary but we need a different, perhaps more flexible definition of it.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.Position 1: The Standard is Unnecessary
The more radical of the two positions is that “regular and substantive interactions between students and teachers” is outdated in the sense that such interaction is not necessary for a quality distance education program. In this view, good design and good technology provide enough support for self-paced students. People who take this position tend to have a high opinion of the impact of technology, a low opinion of the impact of the average instructor, or both.
I’m not aware of any research that definitively settles this particular debate and would be surprised if there were any. In fact, I’m not sure it’s possible to produce such evidence in principle, because there are too many contextual factors to come up with just one answer. Some students in some programs studying some subjects to some level of achievement may do as well (or better) in a self-paced, largely self-guided competency-based program as they would in a traditional instructor-led setting. There would need to be an enormous amount of research, including some foundational research that we don’t have yet, to sort out all of the many “ifs” that determine the circumstances under which such a program would be equivalent in effectiveness.
I think it’s dangerous to assume that “regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors” is an obsolete standard, and I do think there are at least three strands of research with results that should give us pause about being too aggressive about taking human teachers out of the equation.
First, there’s Benjamin Bloom’s research on the Two Sigma Problem. Since I recently wrote about this in some detail as part of a longer post, I’ll give you the short version. Bloom found that by using tutors in a mastery learning context, he could achieve two standard deviations of improvement over standard instruction. One could argue that WGU’s model of self-paced learning with periodic assessments and support from course mentors attempts to imitate Bloom’s approach (although one would have to look closely to see whether the degree to which they are actually doing so). The relevant detail for our current purpose is that Bloom could never isolate exactly what it was about the tutors that delivered that second sigma. Without understanding the reasons why having a human tutor involved improves student outcomes by as much as a full course grade, it seems imprudent to assume it can be removed or replaced.
Second, there’s the research conducted by Gallup and Purdue University showing that college graduates were 1.7 times more likely to thrive in all five of Gallup’s measures of wellbeing—physical, financial, community, career, and social—if they agreed with the statement “My professors at [college] cared about me as a person.” They were 1.5 more likely to thrive on those measures if they answered agreed with the statement “I had at least one professor at [College] who made me excited about learning.” Those are pretty compelling results, and it’s hard to see how one would replicate them without some form of regular and substantial interaction between students and instructors. For more on this study, see my post on it.
In a follow-up piece to that post I just referenced, I talked about the third strand of research from Vincent Tinto. He showed that students are more likely to persist at college if they feel a sense of belonging. “[S]Students have to come to see themselves as a member of a community of other students, faculty and staff who value their membership.” Yet again, there is evidence of impact for a human factor that argues in favor of regular and substantial interaction between students and teachers.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that one could not create an educational system that provides real value without such interaction. But it would probably be a different kind of education that provides different kinds and levels of value. The OIG is concerned with classification and equivalence: Is WGU providing educational value that’s similar enough to more traditional distance learning programs that it can be classified as the same type of degree? I don’t think we can let the university off the hook by dismissing the “regular and substantial interaction” requirement as obsolete.Position 2: The Standard Needs Revision
The more conservative argument against the OIG’s evaluation of WGU’s courses is that we still need a standard for “regular and substantial interaction between students and teachers,” but that our interpretation of that standard should be more flexible than the one that the OIG applied. Ideally, there would be some sort of evidence-based test. Let’s see if we can imagine what such a test might look like, based on the three research strands I mentioned above.
It would be hard (and probably pointless) to try to replicate Bloom’s highly controlled laboratory experiments which took place in a very different schooling context. But we might get something from the spirit of the experiment. Simply put, can we come up with some sort of rough measure of the impact of the instructors (or the various folks who individually or collectively fulfill the instructor’s function) on mastery of materials? Can we find evidence of impact? One place might be to look at variance in student performance between instructors teaching the same material. If there is substantial variance that can be reliably attributed to instructors, then WGU could argue that their courses have enough student/instructor interaction to make a difference.
The Tinto and Gallup/Purdue research would be relatively straightforward to draw upon, since they both use student attitude surveys. But only relatively, because I haven’t seen studies applying any of these instruments specifically to distance learning programs. (If anybody knows of such research, please let me know.) One would need to establish a baseline. But that seems like a good idea anyway.
So there are probably a number of ways that the OIG could establish an empirical test to find evidence of student/instructor interaction that is regular and substantive enough to pass an equivalence threshold. It would probably be crude, but a crude test is better than no test at all, which appears to be what we have now.
I don’t know if the OIG assessment of WGU’s courses was wrong. I feel fairly confident that it was made arbitrarily. But the fact that we have no reason to believe that it is right is not the same as saying we have reason to believe that it is wrong. The reason that bears repeating is that, defined this way, the problem exists not only for WGU but for every assessment that the OIG makes. If the standard is completely subjective and therefore inherently arbitrary in its application, then it is meaningless.
“Even Pokémon Go used by extensive Russian-linked meddling effort,” says CNN. Congrats to everyone who argued that Pokémon Go was the future of education. You have really done your part to extend civic values.
Via The New York Times: “U.S. Will Withdraw From Unesco, Citing Its ‘Anti-Israel Bias’.” UNESCO is the UN’s educational and cultural organization.
Via the AP: “The Department of Veterans Affairs abruptly dropped plans Wednesday to suspend an ethics law barring employees from receiving benefits from for-profit colleges. The move comes after criticism from government watchdogs who warned of financial entanglements with private companies vying for millions in GI Bill tuition.”
Via Edsurge: “Betsy DeVos Visits Bay Area Public School for a Lesson in Personalized Learning.”
Via The Huffington Post: “Roy Moore Once Compared Preschool To Nazi-Style Indoctrination.” Roy Moore recently won the Republican primary in the race for one of Alabama's Senate seats.
Inside Higher Ed on “The New, Improved IPEDS.” IPEDS is the government’s database tracking post-secondary education statistics, including enrollments and graduations.
Via NPR: “After 3 Years Under ISIS, Mosul’s Children Go Back To School.”(State and Local) Education Politics
Via NPR: “The Monumental Task Of Reopening Puerto Rico’s Schools.”October 9, 2017
Zuck responds to some of the backlash to his VR Puerto Rico visit, FB PR is pressing on this as well pic.twitter.com/NzR93PHDys— Lucas Matney (@lucasmtny) October 10, 2017
Via Education Week: “One of the nation’s largest online charter schools said it will close within four months, in the middle of the school year, if Ohio’s efforts to recoup $60 million or more in disputed funding aren’t halted.”
Via Education Week: “Florida Virtual School Will Accept 20,000 Puerto Rican Students.” Do Puerto Rican students have Internet and electricity back yet?
Via EdSource: “Virtual charter academies in California must refund nearly $2 million to state.”
Via Chalkbeat: “A 1998 agreement that put the New York City police in charge of school safety has never been revised – until now.”
Via NPR: “What’s Changed In South Carolina Schools Since Violent Student Arrest.”Immigration and Education
“Losing My Legal Status In This Country Feels Like A Cruel Joke” by Buzzfeed contributor and DACA recipient Jason Koh.Education in the Courts
Via Education Week: “A Maine teacher who pleaded guilty to shoplifting a $14.99 blouse after winning the $1 million Global Teacher Prize is accused of violating her conditions of release by stealing a $28 dog leash.”
Via Edsurge: “Major Publishers Dismiss Lawsuit Against Follett Corporation.” Publishers dropped the lawsuit, more accurately, which claimed that Follett was selling counterfeit copies of textbooks.The Business of Student Loans
Via Bloomberg: “Black Americans Twice as Likely as Whites to Default on Student Debt.”The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
Via Mother Jones: “Betsy DeVos Champions For-Profit Schools That Are Deceiving Taxpayers and Vulnerable Students.”
Via ProPublica: “For-Profit Schools Reward Students for Referrals and Facebook Endorsements.”
There’s more news on for-profits in the national politics section above.Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
MOOCs are dead, according to Udacity’s VP. The Economic Times of India reports that “Udacity to focus on individual student projects.” Never one to let a good MOOC story pass them by, Edsurge repeats the story. “MOOCs Are ”Dead.“ What’s Next? Uh-oh,” writes John Warner in IHE.
Also via Edsurge: “MIT Moves Beyond the MOOC to Court Companies, Professional Learners.”
More news about online education and virtual charter schools in California, Florida, and Ohio in the state news section above.Meanwhile on Campus…
“How the School-to-Prison Pipeline Works” by Mariame Kaba in Teen Vogue.
This story from Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy is… something: “Meet The ‘Young Saints’ Of Bethel Who Go To College To Perform Miracles.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside an ‘Unprecedented’ Increase in Campus White-Supremacist Recruiting.”
Via The Wisconsin State Journal: “University of Wisconsin officials announce plan to merge Colleges with four-year campuses.”
Via The Washington Post: “‘In the event of a nuclear attack’: U-Hawaii’s curious email to students and staff.”
Via The New York Times: “Yale Endowment, Often a Pacesetter, Is a Laggard This Time.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Drexel Puts Professor on Leave After Tweet About Las Vegas Draws Conservative Ire.” It’s so important to watch how the whole “free speech” thing on campus plays out – that is, whose “free speech” gets defended.
Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Purdue’s President Says Free-Speech Policy Forces Him to Defend Faculty Critic.”
Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Berkeley‘s $800,000 Did – and Didn’t – Buy During ’Free Speech Week’.”
Via The Journal Sentinel: “The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday passed a policy pushed by Republican state lawmakers to punish students on UW campuses who repeatedly disrupt campus speakers with opposing views.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “An assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas has apologized for blaming President Trump for the recent shooting massacre in the city after a student secretly recorded her comments and shared them with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.” The White House wants an investigation.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Campus Carry in Spotlight After Police Officer’s Death.”
Via The Hollywood Reporter: “USC Rejects Harvey Weinstein’s $5M Women’s Program Donation.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How the CIA secretly exploits higher education.”
Boston University and Wheelock College have reached a deal on their merger.
Via Edsurge: “Inside the Incubators: The Anatomy of a University Innovation Team.”
“The History of School Lunches” by Malcolm Harris.Accreditation and Certification
Via The New York Times: “Some Charter Schools Can Certify Their Own Teachers, Board Says.” I look forward to this logic being applied to doctors.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education is a new group that is exploring alternative approaches to accreditation in higher education. With funding from the Lumina Foundation and through the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the QA Commons last week announced a pilot project to assess higher education programs at 14 institutions around the country.”
Via Forbes: “How Blockchain Can Stamp Out China’s Fake Diplomas.”Testing, Testing…
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson is fighting to halt a decision by the state of Iowa to award a $31 million testing contract to the American Institutes for Research, arguing that the scoring of bids was riddled with ‘preferential treatment and bias.’”
Via The Fayette Tribune: “All West Virginia high school juniors will begin taking the SAT as the statewide summative assessment in spring 2018, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced earlier this month. The College Board was selected as the successful bidder following a competitive review process for the high school assessment.”Go, School Sports Team!
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Collegiate Athletic Association will not punish the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after it created fake courses in which students were given credit despite never attending classes, and no faculty members ever taught them.” Sham courses. Sham oversight from the NCAA.
Via Deadspin: “How UNH Turned A Quiet Benefactor Into A Football-Marketing Prop.”
Via MS News Now: “O’Bannon football players suspended from team for taking a knee during national anthem.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Albright College Athlete Is Dismissed From Team for Kneeling During National Anthem.”
Via The New York Times: “An N.C.A.A. for Esports? Rivals Angle to Govern Campus Video Gaming.”
Via The Atlantic: “Towns are weighing the practicality of artificial fields against the potential health risks for the kids who play on them.”From the HR Department
I missed this news earlier this year. Coddy Johnson, hired last year as the COO of AltSchool, is back at the video game company Activision. “He was granted $15 million in stock options and performance-linked restricted shares that vest over four years, as well as a $2.2 million ‘contract inducement’ to come back,” Bloomberg reports.The Business of Job Training
Via The New York Times: “Google Unveils Job Training Initiative With $1 Billion Pledge.”Contests and Awards
The MacArthur Foundation announced its new “geniuses.” Among the recipients of the fellowship: education writer Nikole Hannah-Jones.This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
“Can VR be a tool for inspiring empathy in higher ed?” asks Education Dive.
(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)Upgrades and Downgrades
Via Education Week: “Questions Linger Over Companies’ $300 Million Computer Science Pledge.”
It’s 2017 and many critics agree that social media is full of trolls and harassers, that it helps subvert democracies here and abroad, but hey: “To Teach Digital Citizenship Effectively, Educators Say It’s Time to Unblock Social Media,” says Edsurge.
And of course, there’s an app for that. Via Techcrunch: “Kudos wants to be a gentle introduction to social media sharing for kids.”
Via Spectrum News: “Despite dearth of data, firms sell brain training as autism antidote.” US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an investor in one of these companies: Neurocore.
Edsurge on the Injini ed-tech accelerator in South Africa: “Why the World’s Youngest Continent Got an Edtech Accelerator.” The accelerator was founded by former State Secretary for Education Michael Gove’s policy advisor Jamie Martin.
Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Unizin Membership Now Set As Annual Fee Of Up To $427.5k.”
Via LinkedIn: “Instructure is Utah’s newest $Billion Company.”
Via the Microsoft press release: “Introducing Education Resources, a source of Open Educational Resources within Office 365.”
Elsewhere in proprietary OER, via Inside Higher Ed: “Cengage will offer open educational resources, curated and adapted to include proprietary assessment tools, from $25 per student for general education courses.”
Also via Inside Higher Ed: “ResearchGate, a popular tool used by scholars to share their work, is taking down many researchers’ work, apparently in response to demands from publishers.”
TNW claims that “Socratic is morphing into a distraction-free ‘Snapchat for homework’.”
Baruch College’s video-based feedback tool Vocat is now open source.
“Why Do the Boy Scouts Want to Include Girls?” asks The Atlantic.Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF
Via Techcrunch: “Mattel releases biologically inspired foldable robot bugs.”
“New AI tool helps teachers tackle math,” eSchool News claims. The tool in question: IBM’s Teacher Advisor with Watson 1.0.
“10 Disruptions That Will Revolutionize Education,” according to Education Week. The list includes AI, of course.(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform
Via The New York Times: “Eli Broad, Patron of Los Angeles, to Step Down From His Philanthropy.”Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
Andela has raised $40 million in Series C funding from GV (Google Ventures), Spark Capital, Salesforce Ventures, CRE Venture Capital, TLcom Capital Partners, VentureSouq, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, DBL Partners, and Amplo. The African coding bootcamp has raised $81 million total.
Knowbox has raised $30 million in Series B funding from Bertelsmann Asia Investment Fund, TAL Education Group, Baidu Ventures, and New World Strategic Investment. The Chinese “homework help” company has raised $55.7 million total.
Shaw Academy has raised $1.46 million in crowdfunding for its MOOC platform. Someone should inform them that MOOCs are dead.
Qualified and Upswing have raised $75,000 from Village Capital, “which runs peer-selected startup competitions across the globe.”
Venture capital firm Educapital has closed a $53 million fund to invest in education companies. Investors include Bpifrance, Hachette Livre, and Education for the Many.
Apollo Global Management has acquired West Corporation, maker of SchoolMessenger, for $5.2 billion.
Volaris Group has acquired Edumate.
I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding – despite all the proclamations that AR and VR are the future of education. Magic Leap – a wealthy vaporware company that claims it’s building something amazing with AR – is trying to raise $1 billion in funding. The company has raised $2.88 billion total – and has nothing to show for it.Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
“Filter Bubbles and Privacy, and the Myth of the Privacy Setting” by Bill Fitzgerald.
Via The Verge: “Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything.”
Similar news about Microsoft products. Via MakeUseOf: “Cortana Is Listening Into Your Skype Conversations.”Research, “Research,” and Reports
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Historians Blame Lack of Support for Slow Technology Uptake.”
Via The New York Times Magazine: “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”
“Do You Know the Edtech Adoption Rules in Your State? SETDA’s New Guide May Help,” says Edsurge.
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Demands From K–12 Schools for Contracts Surging at State, Local Level.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Small increases in course loads can increase the odds that students will stick with college and eventually graduate, particularly part-time students. That’s the central finding of a new report from Civitas Learning, a student success company with a focus on predictive analytics.”
Via Bloomberg: “The Fraternity Paradox: Lower GPA, Higher Incomes.”
Via the Pew Research Center: “Online Harassment 2017.”
Icon credits: The Noun Project
I wrote this essay for the World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto next week. It's one of a series of articles commissioned for the conference. This essay is addressed to both the teachers of today and to the students of tomorrow. It is addressed to policy makers and pundits, to technology designers and developers, and to those who by virtue of office or inclination have the voice to speak to the future, to inform the weld of what we can do and what we want to do.[Link] [Comment]
The idea of the 'meta-game' is that "you click a button to make money and use that money to buy upgrades which gives you more money per click," and so on. The reference here is to a thought experiment by Nick Bostrom reprinted in the Economist: "Imagine an artificial intelligence, he says, which decides to amass as many paperclips as possible. It devotes all its energy to acquiring paperclips.... This apparently silly scenario is intended to make the serious point that AIs need not have human-like motives or psyches." What I take away from that story is that humans need not have human-like motives. The meta-game is also the game that defines our economy, and that yields outcomes like the bitcoin bubble. When you play the meta-game, you're playing a broken scale-free system.[Link] [Comment]
I read a little while ago an article describing the the 'rise of the useless class' of people who have no gainful employment in an automated world. This sort of thinking is offensive on several levels, but it's the sort of value set that underlies things like the current proposal wherein people would be induced to train for socially valuable jobs, like teaching, by the mechanism of tax incentives on employment. "Socially useful" in the current context is defined as the generation of "spillovers," for example, how "good teachers raise the eventual incomes of their students." Of course, we could simply tax high earners, like hedge fund managers, and use the money to pay more to teachers, but the whole purpose of this article (it seems to me) is to make sure we don't raise top tax rates or raise taxes on top earners. Hence the convoluted morality of an HBR article.[Link] [Comment]
Oct 13, 2017
One thing a lifetime working as a philosopher has taught me is that advances in thinking are truly incrental. Even the greatest thinkers - Descartes, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein - advanced the state of the art only a few inches. So I'm not at all surprised to see so many of the 'new' ideas of today reflected in writers from the past. In the present case, as outlined by Will Richardson, it's Carl Rogers, who though "best known as a psychotherapist who championed 'client-centered therapy,' was also a vocal advocate for one of today’s most prevalent edu phrases, 'student-centered learning.'" Some of what he wrote would fit perfectly in a contemporary blog post. For example: "Learning is facilitated when the student participates responsibly in the learning process. When he chooses his own directions, helps to discover his own learning resources, formulates his own problems, decides his own course of action, lives with the consequences of these choices, then significant learning is maximized."[Link] [Comment]