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A CBC survey says that "thousands" of students in Canada were caught cheating (though admittedly that means maybe one percent of theem). Of course, many more people may actually be cheating than get caught. Other studies have found around half of all students admt cheating (a figure that is interestingly consistent with the poll at the bottom of the article). I think that if the system is designed such that cheating helps you get ahead, people will cheat. Without going into the details (which I know are really the sticking point) I would want to design a system where students harm only themselves by cheating, whether or not they are caught.[Link] [Comment]
I would hesitate to call the three commentators in this article 'experts' but I do think their reflections on their initial exposures to MOOCs are interesting. Here's Rosental Alves of the Knight Centre, who has been running MOOCs on Journalism for a year or so: "Our MOOCs are a human experience. This is not a book. It's not a self-directed course. It has a beginning, middle and an end, and it is led by an instructor. These aren't college classes. It's a workshop and a community. We don't expect that everyone who comes will do it. We don't mind if you come, watch a video and go."[Link] [Comment]
Cada activitat es presenta en format fulletó, de manera que les podeu imprimir individualment, doblegar-les i plastificar-les... per fer-les servir a l'aula, d'una manera més senzilla i dinàmica. El format també permet projectar-les a l'aula i poder-les comentar en petit o gran grup. Vosaltres trieu com aprofitar-les a l'aula!
Ja us podeu descarregar les Scratch Cards en català!
Tot i que les activitats estan seqüenciades per ordre de dificultat de l'activitat proposada, podeu seguir diversos itineraris i de ben segur que arribareu a bona destinació... ;-)
Overview of this edition
IRRODL (International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning), Volume 15, Number 1 is now available, for free downloading as open educational resources.
Once again, this is an invaluable resource on the latest research in open and distance learning from authors in 15 countries/regions, covering the following topics (thanks to Diane Conrad, the co-editor, for this classification of otherwise disparate articles):
- cultural aspects (impact of DE on First Nations/aboriginal communities in Canada; community and identity in MOOCs; DE and gender in Saudi Arabia; and cultural issues affecting DE in South Korea)
- MOOCs and OERs
- evaluation of different technologies used in DE
- effective teaching approaches or factors influencing this.
Altogether this journal consists of 15 articles. I will in later posts review at least some of the articles, but I want to focus this post on one paper in particular, because it deals with a particular important issue here in Canada.
Experiences of students in a rural First Nation
This paper, written jointly by two First Nations people and two academics from the University of New Brunswick, is focused on distance education in a M’kmaw community in Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick). It is unusual as it seeks the views of 20 aboriginal students from the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick who have taken distance education courses.
In a summary of previous research on DE and aboriginal education the authors note:
[Previous researchers have] found several innovative initiatives delivering high school and post-secondary education programs [into remote Aboriginal communities] by distance delivery that have achieved dramatic success. However, few education institutions and education directors know of these successful models and few have been able to learn from these experiences. The best practices…. include the involvement of on-site tutors, flexible delivery models, and the need to develop personal relationships between the students and instructors.
The Simon et al. study is unusual because it is based on the experience of First Nations students who had taken post-secondary distance education courses, gathered through in-person interviews. The authors’ conclusion:
Our study suggests that more support for and attention to the students’ preferences for learning styles will lead to more successful distance education programs in these communities. This suggestion aligns with the concept of “First Nations Control of First Nations Education” advocated by the Assembly of First Nations. It also suggests that more appropriate post-secondary distance education options will allow more families to remain in remote and rural First Nations while they study instead of moving to the cities, contributing to the long-term sustainability of their communities.
The First Nations University of Canada
There is only one post-secondary institution in Canada that is run by and for aboriginals, and that is the First Nations University of Canada (formerly the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.) FNUniv’s courses, programs, and instructors are accredited by the University of Regina, a publicly funded provincial university in Saskatchewan, which is a partner of FNUniv. FNUniv currently has 800 full-time students. FNUniv is a unique Canadian institution that specializes in indigenous knowledge, providing post-secondary education for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students alike within a culturally supportive environment. Its Northern Campus in Prince Albert maintains the responsibility of coordinating and delivering community-based and distance education programs. FNUniv shows that it is possible to partner successfully with a recognized Canadian university, and many other Canadian universities run campus-based programs aimed at aboriginal students in partnership with local First Nations.
However, my understanding is that to date, FNUniv has not developed any distance education programs of its own, using mainly relevant and appropriate distance education courses from the University of Regina. Indeed I don’t know of any post-secondary courses or programs developed by aboriginals for aboriginals in Canada. (Please correct me if I’m wrong).
This article is essential reading for anyone interested in the potential and challenges of distance education for Canada’s First Nations. Once again, the problem is not that we don’t know what to do; it’s just that we don’t do it.
Aboriginal education in Canada is, in my view, a national disgrace: under-funded, neglected and incompetently managed by the federal government, and in some cases subject to incompetent or even corrupt management by some First Nations – and that’s without going into the appalling colonial history of aboriginal education in Canada, which is largely but not entirely the cause of the current situation.
There is a new agreement just recently negotiated between the federal government and the Assembly of First Nations that gives more control over the management of their schools by First Nations, and also increased funding. It will though be operated completely separately from the provincially managed school system, and will still be underfunded in comparison.
At the same time, although a number of universities and colleges run special programs for aboriginal students, there are almost no post-secondary distance education programs designed specifically for First Nations communities. (If there are, please let me know)
I have heard it argued that distance education is not appropriate for First Nations. I don’t believe this. Distance education programs that are not designed or are not adapted to the needs of First Nations may not be appropriate for many aboriginal people living on reserves. But I do believe it is possible for online or hybrid programs to be successfully delivered into First Nations if they are designed specifically for this purpose, and that means involving aboriginal people in both designing and supporting such programs.
Therefore I believe the time is more than due for the development of post-secondary distance programs by aboriginals for aboriginals that take account of their cultures and languages. The challenge is that there is not one aboriginal community but over 600 different First Nations, with over 60 languages in 12 distinct language groups, within Canada. Thus achieving economies of scale is really difficult. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of communality between First Nations, not only within Canada, but internationally. Digital technology now enables ‘core’ materials to be developed that can be adapted and/or supplemented to reflect differences between First Nations, especially if they are created as open educational resources.
What is lacking though is an online or hybrid program designed and managed by aboriginal peoples that reflects the realities and the cultural needs of the aboriginal groups at which it is aimed. If anyone knows of any such initiative that aims to deliver programs remotely into First Nations’ communities that leads to recognized post-secondary qualifications while still being designed and delivered primarily by aboriginal people themselves, I would love to learn about it. In the meantime, perhaps the Assembly of First Nations could take a look at the possibility of a national online program of some kind.
I’d love to hear from aboriginal educators on this topic, from both within and outside Canada.
In the meantime, I will cover some of the other excellent articles in this issue of IRRODL in another post.
We're running a MOOC en franç ais starting next Monday on Open Educational Resources (OERs). There's a page available where you can sign up. It's not a long MOOC - 10 weeks - and it will feature a variety of interesting participants. The MOOC was created by the L’ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and was developed by the Université de Moncton. I will be facilitating and a good numner of NRC people are also contibuting (see the introductory video for more).[Link] [Comment]
Cathy Davidson was more than a little surprised and bemused when she was arbitrarily named one of the leading figures in MOOCs by the Chronicle of Higher Education. "I've been ambivalently interested in MOOCs," she wrote at the time, "with more than a healthy degree of scepticism that the current form will persist in the future." Still, she has since then embraced her newly minted expert status with gusto, having worked since then to learn something about the subject in which she was now a designated expert. So we have here today an article listing ten things she learned from actually making a MOOC. It takes her nine points to get to the main point of MOOCs, but at least she getss there: "The best use of MOOCs may not be to deliver uniform content massively but to create communities and networks of passionate learners galvanized around a particular topic of shared interest." See also the HASTAC Future Ed Discussion group link.[Link] [Comment]
The other day, I wrote a post about community-negotiated focus and how we want e-Literate TV to be a kind of “choose your own adventure in ed tech” experience, both for individuals and for campus communities. You can get a sense of how we’re trying to do that in the first series with Phil’s interview of Inside Higher Education Editors Doug Lederman and Scott Jaschik. They talk about the changing landscape of education, why different topics in educational technology come up in the first place, and how the ways in which those topics are raised can have either a positive or a negative impact. This is the anchor episode for the series and is intended to provoke discussion that would lead to the group finding a focus in their collaborative ed tech investigation that’s important to them.