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A Drop in the Bucket
Free, global educational opportunities and their profound impact.
Curated by Liz Hartnett
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Free Online Courses - 1500+ Free Courses and Lectures | Benefits of Online Education

Free Online Courses - 1500+ Free Courses and Lectures | Benefits of Online Education | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
A list of 1500+ free MOOCs and other courses from some of the world’s best schools.
Liz Hartnett's insight:

Thanks to Alvin Baker for this great, comprehensive list of high quality, free MOOCs.

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Open and Shut?: Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?

Open and Shut?: Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done? | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Liz Hartnett's insight:

Journalist Richard Poynder begins a series of interviews that will clarify the current state of the Open Access movement, speaking with OA advocate Mike Taylor.

 

Their discussion touches on Green vs. Gold access, government policy developments, measuring impact, and relative costs.

 

Open access will undoubtably be considerably (as much as 90%) cheaper than the present system, but Taylor makes it clear that cost is not the most important consideration:

           "OA is cheaper, but that's not why it matters. What counts is not that it  has lower cost, but that it has higher value. The real cost in all this is the opportunity cost of not having universal open access."

   

Mentioned in the post is another great -and free- resource on the topic by Peter Suber, Director of Harvard's Open Access Project. His book, Open Access, can be downloaded in PDF, ePub, HTML or Kindle format.

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Library for All

Library for All | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
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Here's an idea...

A platform for a combination of open access and commercially published digital materials, designed to function with low bandwidth, and described by one of my favorite new phrases: device agnostic. 

In partnership with NYU school of business.

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P2PU | School of Open

P2PU | School of Open | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Learning for everyone, by everyone, about almost anything.
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

Gathered on this page, find some very useful information on the rapidly changing topics of copyright, creative commons licensing, and open access to data, research, and educational resources.

 

 

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David Cameron welcomes Futurelearn expansion as British Library and 5 universities join

David Cameron welcomes Futurelearn expansion as British Library and 5 universities join | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
UK Prime Minister welcomes Futurelearn expansion as British Library joins UK's first free open online platform for university courses (MOOCs)
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

Britain's first MOOC platform, Futurelearn, continues to build steam in preparation for a launch later this year, and announced yesterday that they are joined by the British Library.

 

In a single stroke, Futurelearn has set itself above other MOOC platforms by giving students access to the Library's spectacular range of resources. This has the potential to dramatically enrich online instruction, particularly in the Humanities.

 

It will be interesting to see whether existing MOOC platforms will follow suit, and take advantage of the powerful allies to be found in libraries.

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After Aaron, Reputation Metrics Startups Aim To Disrupt The Scientific Journal Industry | TechCrunch

After Aaron, Reputation Metrics Startups Aim To Disrupt The Scientific Journal Industry | TechCrunch | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

Editor's note: Richard Price is founder and CEO of Academia.edu, a platform for academics to share research papers.


Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

There are more options every day for researchers looking to share their findings. This article clearly lays out the reasons that change is needed and the many benefits of freely accessible papers -for the authors as well as users everywhere.  The only losers, obviously, are the traditional, high-cost, selectively accessible journals. Mr. Price predicts that these will disappear "soon."

 

"And as journals lose their significance, the dream of open access will be realized: a villager in India will have the same access to the world’s scientific literature as a professor at Harvard."


The proliferation of alternative platforms for academic publishing (such as PLoS, Figshare, Mendeley, etc.) indicates snowballing interest in more open and immediately accessible sources of research results, and the comment, recommendation, and citation metrics that only the web can provide.


Great article.


http://www.plos.org/

http://www.mendeley.com/

http://figshare.com/

http://academia.edu/


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MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?

MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge? | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?
Liz Hartnett's insight:

     

     In response to the growing importance of MOOCs, academic libraries are considering what place they may have in the conversation. This piece announces plans for what promises to be an excellent discussion of the areas in which libraries can contribute to the improvement of these courses.

 

The meeting, which takes place in Philadelphia in March, is expected to cover such topics as

                           Copyright, Licensing, and Open Access

                           Production and Pedagogy

                           Embedded Librarians

 

A timely discussion, with the potential to greatly enhance the quality of the MOOC.

The meeting is free.

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Africa’s Grassroots Mobile Revolution: A Traveller’s Perspective | Drunken Boat 16

by Ken Banks

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Rather than limiting innovation, the scarcity of materials, capital and expertise in some areas of Africa is leading to remarkable developments in the use of mobile technology.

 

Presented with bare bones equipment and massive numbers (300 million, compared to 327 million in the U.S.) of mobile users with their own needs and priorities, entrepreneurs and companies in Africa have responded with ingenious solutions. Those discussed in the article range from charging phones with a car battery in rural areas to bypassing the banking system by allowing transfers or purchases through mobile phones. 

 

Banks writes:

"When it comes to mobile innovation, the gap between developed and developing countries is not much of a gap at all. Mobile innovation in the West, largely technology-led, sits in contrast to that in the developing world where combating the geographic, economic and cultural constraints of users is considered a more sensible way to go."

 

This strikes me as an example of how shared information can have an impact upon the lives of people in any variety of circumstances. The rate of innovation and fresh approaches taken in developing countries will no doubt prove beneficial to us all, and should be noted by those who aim to provide open access to education.

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A MOOC is not a Thing: Emergence, Disruption, and Higher Education | Open Education

A MOOC is not a Thing: Emergence, Disruption, and Higher Education | Open Education | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Hybrid Pedagogy is an academic and networked journal of teaching and technology that combines the strands of critical and digital pedagogy to arrive at the best social and civil uses of technology and digital media in education.
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

I guess it was only a matter of time...

 

The Journal "Hybrid Pedagogy" will present a one-week course that explores the MOOC and its many implications for the future of higher education.

 

"For one week beginning January 6, 2013, MOOC MOOC will return for a continued examination of the MOOC phenomenon, now grown well beyond a rising surge into a more perfect storm."

 

A lot of interesting discussion about online learning has gone on at this journal, and there are some smart people there who are picking the concept apart and examining the springs and cogs. 

 

 Register here:

http://www.moocmooc.com/

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Providers of Free MOOC's Now Charge Employers for Access to Student Data - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Providers of Free MOOC's Now Charge Employers for Access to Student Data - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Several high-profile tech companies have already signed up for Coursera's new employee-matching service. Udacity offers a similar service.

 

What do Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have in common, besides being four of the most instantly recognizable companies on the planet?  They are all using MOOC providers as a source of possible recruits.

 

Businesses like Coursera and Udacity have been growing and evolving at a tremendous rate. Now major employers are taking advantage of their access to information on thousands of potential employees, and paying for the privilege. 

 

So MOOC platforms can keep their courses free, while still generating capital, students can reap benefits beyond the obvious world-expanding effect of learning, and some major companies can locate potentially valuable employees at a cost that is lower than typical "headhunters."

 

Excellent.

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Udacity Raises $15 Million as Money Pours into Online Education - Bloomberg

Udacity Raises $15 Million as Money Pours into Online Education - Bloomberg | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

 

The "venture capitalists" smell a profit and are investing heavily in online education organizations, including Udacity ($21.1 million raised in the past year), Coursera ($16 million in April alone), and 2U ($26 milllion in April).

 

"With more than 2.4 billion Internet users across the globe and over 1 billion smartphones in use, investors are betting that money-making opportunities will emerge."

 

This sort of financial backing can only accelerate the already blistering rate of growth in free online education.  Let's hope the growth continues to travel in the company of  innovation and improvement.

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What open access science research could mean for the developing world

What open access science research could mean for the developing world | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

 

With the British government's plan to make all publicly funded research freely available by 2014, many institutions and individuals are coming around to the idea that open access publishing must soon become the norm.  This is true for both economic and altruistic reasons.

The article describes the rapid rise in journal subscription rates and the inability of many institutions in developing countries to afford access.

Developments discussed include a boycott of Elsevier that now includes over 11,000 scientists, who, the article notes, put their careers at some risk by taking that stand.

"Winston Hide of the Harvard School of Public Health recently resigned as Associate Editor of the journal Geonomics in protest of '…a system that provides solid profits for the publisher while effectively denying colleagues in developing countries access to research findings.'"

For scientists willing to provide free access to their work, the reward can be tangible: the citation index of open access papers may be as much as 127% higher than subscription, according to the article.

 

 

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California passes groundbreaking open textbook legislation - Creative Commons

California passes groundbreaking open textbook legislation - Creative Commons | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

 

New legislation in California addresses the runaway increase (four times the rate of inflation) in the cost of textbooks for college students.  

 

Two bills " will provide for the creation of free, openly licensed digital textbooks for the 50 most popular lower-division college courses offered by California colleges."

 

These digital textbooks will also be licensed in a way that allows universal free use, distribution, and modification of the materials.

 

The textbooks will be hosted by a California Digital Open Source Library, and the first free books are expected to be available for the 2013-2014 school year.

 

More information from The Atlantic - http://tinyurl.com/9fhz7pa ;

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Moocs data offers promise of perfect teaching

Moocs data offers promise of perfect teaching | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
When students learn online, every mouse click is tracked. Harness this wealth of data and we can create the ultimate in personalised lessons.
Liz Hartnett's insight:

Discusses the MOOC's powerful potential to improve and personalize instruction.

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Coursera Jumps the Shark | HESA

Coursera Jumps the Shark | HESA | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Liz Hartnett's insight:

Is the MOOC train running out of steam? So suggests this post from Higher Ed. Strategy Associates.  Coursera recently announced a partnership with 10 state university systems intended to facilitate the creation of blended courses (http://blog.coursera.org/post/51696469860/10-us-state-university-systems-and-public-institutions&nbsp).

 

This would appear to be a departure from Coursera's original track, but does not  necessarily signal its demise. Coursera's founders have acknowledged all along the difficulty of sustaining a platform that does not charge students, and adjustments are inevitable as the company navigates this uncharted terrain.

 

As developments continue, the tension between improving access to instruction  and maintaining rigor and autonomy continues to hum in the background.

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Reed Elsevier buys academic social network Mendeley for up to £65m

Reed Elsevier buys academic social network Mendeley for up to £65m | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Publishing giant vows to retain 'great culture, talent and collaborative spirit' of London-based startup. By Mark Sweney
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

Sort of like Huck Finn being adopted by the Widow Douglas, in my view...

 

This is great news for the people at Mendeley, but it is causing some worry to the nearly 3 miillion users of that excellent site, who wonder how the two entities will reconcile their differing takes on access.  Mendeley is seen as innovative, open, and collaborative, while Elsevier is a venerable bastion of traditional publishing.

 

It remains to be seen whether Mendeley will be allowed to continue to raft at will, sharing the river with all manner of characters, or be forced to clean its nails, comb its hair, and sit up straight in church...

 

Another great article on the purchase here:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/08/confirmed-elsevier-has-bought-mendeley-for-69m-100m-to-expand-open-social-education-data-efforts/

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MOOCs and online learning: Research roundup

MOOCs and online learning: Research roundup | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
2013 selection of recent research on massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

One benefit that the MOOC provides to institutions, we hope, is access to large amounts of data on how people learn, what topics are best suited to the format, and the most effective methods and technology to use in providing the courses.

 

This article from Harvard's Journalist's Resource discusses ongoing research into online learning and its effects, and provides summaries and links to several excellent papers on topics such as peer assessment, motivation, and the MOOC's potential impact on the cost of college.

 

Very informative.

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Peter Suber - Google+ - Major new bill mandating open access introduced in Congress…

Peter Suber - Google+ - Major new bill mandating open access introduced in Congress… | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

The U.S. Congress is considering a bill, introduced Feb. 14, that will, in the words of Harvard's Peter Suber, "mandate OA for more research literature than any other policy ever adopted or ever proposed."

 

The bill, called the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) act, would apply to research funded by taxpayers at such agencies as the NIH, the world's largest funder of research.

 

This post provides a clear breakdown of key features of the bill, and a link to its text.

 

This forward-thinking bill recognizes that " "the United States has a substantial interest in maximizing the impact and utility of the research it funds by enabling a wide range of reuses of the peer-reviewed literature that reports the results of such research, including by enabling computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies."

 

So sensible...-Who are you, and what have you done with my Congress???

 

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Revolution Hits the Universities

Revolution Hits the Universities | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Nothing has more potential to let us reimagine higher education than massive open online course, or MOOC, platforms.
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

The MOOC continues its reign as a Hot Topic with this enthusiastic Op-Ed piece from the NY Times. The article offers little in the way of new statistical information, but is an excellent discussion of what so many of us find heartening about open online courses: "Nothing has more potential to unlock a billion more brains to solve the world’s biggest problems."

 

Mr. Friedman shares several anecdotes that demonstrate the wide variety of people which stand to gain from the growth of MOOCs, from professors who receive feedback on material and ideas from thousands of students to the formerly isolated, whether by geography or special needs, who are now able to connect and learn.

 

It seems that, in this writer's view, the MOOC is just getting warmed up.

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JSTOR begins offering free yet limited access to its online academic library

JSTOR begins offering free yet limited access to its online academic library | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

"Online digital library JSTOR will begin offering free access to its catalogue of journals, papers, and books."

Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

 

This quick piece on The Verge shares the news that JSTOR is now allowing free access to over 1200 journals in its collection.  Users will have to register, and are only allowed to view 3 items in a two week period, but this still seems a significant move by one of the leading providers of high quality research materials, and it's a nice bit of news for fans of open access.

 

 

JSTOR describes the arrangement, called Register and Read, here:

http://about.jstor.org/rr

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Not Excepting Our Laws | PWxyz

Not Excepting Our Laws | PWxyz | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

The U.K.'s Intellectual Property Office has updated copyright laws to better address fair use in the digital age. 

 

This Publisher's Weekly article summarizes the new provisions, and highlights the importance of preventing contracts and licensing agreements from overriding copyright law. Author Peter Brantley quotes the IPO:

 

"At their best (licenses) may create clarity and enable far more than the limited permitted acts allowed under European law.  At their worst they can erode socially and economically important uses of copyright works.  The Government wishes to mitigate these negative effects while allowing the former."

 

Such legislation is badly needed, and clears the accessibility tangle created by hundreds of different, complex licensing agreements. It will benefit the individual user, as well as institutions such as libraries and museums.

 

Read the IPO's report here:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk//response-2011-copyright-final.pdf

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Times Higher Education - Open University launches British Mooc platform to rival US providers

Times Higher Education - Open University launches British Mooc platform to rival US providers | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Liz Hartnett's insight:

 

Twelve institutions in the UK are already on board with the newest player in the MOOC game.  Futurelearn is being launched by Open University, and is expected to begin offering free online courses shortly after the start of the new year.

 

This is the first platform to be established outside of the U.S., where providers like Coursera and Udacity have reached about 3 million students worldwide.

 

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Elite education for the masses - Washington Post

Elite education for the masses - Washington Post | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it
Elite education for the masses  Washington Post  These students, a sliver of the more than 1.7 million who have registered with Coursera since April, reflect a surge of interest this year in free online learning that could reshape higher education.

 

The work continues among providers of free online courses to address the questions arising related to identity verification, test validity, and sustainability.

 

 Many courses now offer certificates of completion, but these free courses do not yet provide credit toward a degree.

"If credits were at stake, test security and academic integrity would become major issues. It is inherently difficult to assess the work of tens of thousands of people from around the world without rigorous identity verification."

 

To provide a valid testing result and add weight to a certificate of completion, Udacity has begun offering (for a nominal fee) live, proctored exams in 170 countries. The company also offers job placement assistance.

The MOOC has come to the attention of many employers.  Andrew Ng, a co-founder of Coursera, said that the company has begun to connect students with employers: "Quite a few employers have contacted us, unsolicited, asking to hire our top students.”  

 

As the free courses become valuable to potential employers, the problem of sustainability may solve itself, with talent moving to the fore unimpeded by distance or finance.

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PLOS - How Open is it?

PLOS  - How Open is it? | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

 

"OA (Open Access)  is gaining momentum and we are seeing a groundswell of support from authors and funders to colleges and governments. Despite this progress there is still confusion about OA. With this guide we aim to provide greater clarity regarding its definition and components."

 

PLOS (Public Library of Science), in cooperation with SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)  and OASPA ( Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association), is developing a resource, which will be released October 22, called "How Open Is It?".

 

This timely document has the following goals, and should go a long way toward clarifying and standardizing the practice and options in Open Access publishing:

 

* Move the conversation from “is it open access?” to “how open?

* Clarify the definition of OA

* Standardize terminology

* Illustrate a continuum of “more open” versus “less open”

* Enable people to compare and contrast publications and policies

* Broaden the understanding of OA to a wider audience

 

 

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50 Top Sources Of Free eLearning Courses

50 Top Sources Of Free eLearning Courses | A Drop in the Bucket | Scoop.it

An exhaustive list of amazing opportunities for free online learning, whatever your field.


Via Susan Bainbridge
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