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This is an interesting exercise in coding: "trying to create a search engine for finding learning resources by searching LRMI-tagged web pages." The search engine they created works pretty well. But it only returns results from BBC and Open University, so far as I can tell. Which proves (yet again) that designing the standard and creating the search engine are the easy part - getting the rest of the world to tag their materials using it is the hard part.[Link] [Comment]
In his first blog post in almost a year, Rodd Lucier reflects on his experiences at the Microsoft Global Summit (no link but probably this) focused on the the Millennium Development Goals. He describes a project pitched at the conference, "an inquiry project called 'One World'... an open and social hub was created for this project at www.about.me/oneworldnetwork." It's interesting to see him react to the evaluation experience: "My project team invested many hours in a project that took but minutes to be judged according to a rubric. We invested our time, talent, emotions and intellect, yet to date, we have received no feedback on our work." I guess a lot of students feel the same way.[Link] [Comment]
Last week I was off the grid (not just lack of Internet but also lack of electricity), but thanks to publishing cycles I managed to stay artificially productive: two blog posts and one interview for an article.
- Post at 20MM on Textbook Preference Report: It’s Difficult to Prefer What You Can’t Access
Last week brought news of a new study on textbooks for college students, this time from a research arm of the National Association of College Stores. The report, “Student Watch: Attitudes and Behaviors toward Course Materials, Fall 2013″, seems to throw some cold water on the idea of digital textbooks based on the press release summary [snip]
While there is some useful information in this survey, I fear that the press release is missing some important context. Namely, how can students prefer something that is not really available?
- Post at EvoLLLution on Big Data Hype: The Day the Big Data Hype Died
March 28, 2014 may well go down as the turning point where Big Data lost its placement as a silver bullet and came down to earth in a more productive manner. Triggered by a March 14 article in Science Magazine that identified “big data hubris” as one of the sources of the well-known failures of Google Flu Trends, there were five significant articles in one day on the disillusionment with Big Data. [snip]
Does this mean Big Data is over and that education will move past this over-hyped concept? Perhaps Mike Caulfield from the Hapgood Blog stated it best, including adding the education perspective . . .
- Interview as Part of Buzzfeed Article: Why Education Startups Rarely Go Public
This is the fun one for me, as I finally have my youngest daughter’s interest (you made Buzzfeed!). Buzzfeed has added a new education beat focusing on the business of education.
The public debut last week of education technology company 2U, which partners with nonprofit and public universities to offer online degree programs, may have looked like a harbinger of IPO riches to come for companies that, like 2U, promise to disrupt the traditional education industry. At least that’s what the investors and founders of these companies want to believe. [snip]
“We live in a post-Facebook area where startups have this idea that they can design a good product and then just grow, grow, grow,” said Phil Hill, an education technology consultant and analyst. “That’s not how it actually works in education.”
Numerous online learning consortia have come and gone over the years, and none has really emerged as a market leader. Why not? Tony Bates examines how this mode of organization is fraught with difficulties. These comments are made in the context of Rachel Fishman's recent report, State U Online. "What the report does not adequately address are the economics of online learning," writes Bates. When courses are shared, who provides online support? Additionally, "Another major barrier is academic distrust of other institutions: 'Our courses are always good; yours are garbage.'" P.S. Russ Poulin comments, " WCET is maintaining a list of consortia in the U.S. and Canada."[Link] [Comment]
Phil Hill reports on the extent and impact of the changes Blackboard made two years ago while acquiting open course vendors Moodlerooms and NetSports and reorienting their corporate strategy. But: "While Blackboard has kept their word and made a major change in strategy, the question arises of whether that matters. According to the Campus Computing Survey for 2011 and 2013, Blackboard’ s market share (combining Learn, WebCT, and ANGEL product lines) has continue to fall in the US over the past two years, from 51% of institutions to 41%."[Link] [Comment]
Terry Anderson poses the question in the title by means of an example from David Wiley: "the cost of renting 75,000 movies ($9.00 a month from NetFlicks) or renting any of 20 million songs from Spotify ($9.99/month) with the cost of renting a college text book . A single biology text book rents for $12.99 a month from BookRenter." Thus, he writes, "the time is right for a 'market correction' that exploits the affordances of the Net to create drastically lower cost of quality higher education experience." It's long past due.[Link] [Comment]
This short paper reflects on the offering of a cMOOC on the topic of Open Educational Resources in 2013. I'm curious to know what platform is used, but this is not described. The experiences, though, are similar to my own. For example, "All the convenors reflected on the challenge of managing multiple virtual spaces and following the conversations that participants had in those virtual spaces." As well, "It remains an open challenge to balance collaborative planning with “ playing-by-ear” facilitating in newly emergent situations."[Link] [Comment]
This is generally a good paper though I disagree with some aspects. Basically, the idea is that 'cultural translation`- which is roughly "flexibility to allow students from diverse cultures to adjust the courses to their specific settings" - can be enabled in MOOCs through student-selected projects or student-formed groups. Where I disagree with the paper is in how this activity is framed - the author writes of "The inclusion of tasks, activities and assessments that are relevant to various cultural and professional settings" as though it's the professor that is doing this (or minimally, allowing this). But in fact these are activities created by supporting student autonomy and diversity in the course - the more the professor lets go of control, the more inclusive and relevant the course can be. And for that reason too I think that 'translation' is a particularly poor word to use in this context. (10 page PDF).
(p.s. papers in eLearning Papers are still branded 'Open Education Europa', with no mention of 'eLearning Papers' on the web page, but don't cite them as 'Open Education Europa' or they will complain and suggest that you are at fault for getting this wrong).[Link] [Comment]
A class from Ohio University's social media certificate program called Content Curation skyped with the CEO & Co-Founder of Scoop.it, a social curation site. Students live-tweeted to capture the advice and inspiration from Scoop.it CEO & Co-Founder, uillaume Decugis.
See it on Scoop.it, via Educación flexible y abierta
Based on information about an unpopular UPenn seminar for media on MOOCs Steve Kolowich wrote this article about the possibility that media are losing interest in the story. I suppose a decline in interest in inevitable and I'm not surprised that the Chronicle's editors would want to pounce on that. But it may be premature; Kolowich wrote me asking if I had data, and thanks to the script I wrote for mooc.ca to extract news coverage of MOOCs I did have data, so I wrote up a quick script that extracted it. Here is the result. My own conclusion is that media coverage hasn't declined significantly.[Link] [Comment]