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Anything on matters of online, networked learning and training
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Will MOOCs help to democratise higher education? | Karen MacGregor - University World News

Will MOOCs help to democratise higher education? | Karen MacGregor - University World News | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

The democratisation of higher education requires widening access to studies that lead to useful qualifications, and giving people more opportunities to select study programmes themselves and easily design their own courses from the rich pool of material freely available, Sir John Daniel told the “Worldviews 2013” conference last week. The question is whether massive open online course, or MOOCs, will help or hinder that process.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

The article is an account of a keynote Sir John Daniel gave at the Worldviews 2013 conference. He unpacks democratisation as either widening access or as students themselves determining what they study. Widening access may simply mean increasing enrolment, but it often specifically refers to removing the stumbling blocks for access, as open universities have done over the four last decades (freedom of place, pace and time of study). Technology plays a role in this but it changes as new technologies become available. The second interpretation of democratising education has a more recent origin and is nowadays referred to as open educational resources. What I find interesting about this account of democratising education is that it connects the characteristics of open universities with the availability of open educational resources (OERs) and reveals them to be two sides of the same coin. 

 

Do these sides come together in MOOCs? From my perspective they might do in cMOOCs, which heavily rely on OERs and through their online character put no constraints on time (but they do on time and pace). They certainly don't in xMOOCs. Although access to the course materials does not require a fee, the materials are not open in the sense that they may be edited or even used by third parties (such as non-participating universities). Here too, there is no constraint on the place of study but there is on the time and pace. Which prompts the question of whether a marriage of these two kinds of democratisation would indeed be an interesting development and, consequently, whether this is something open universities should pick up. Two initiatives suggest this is already taking place. The one is FutureLearn (http://futurelearn.com), initiated by the Open University of the UK, the other is OpenupEd (http://www.openuped.eu), an initiative of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (http://www.eadtu.eu), backed by the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme. (@pbsloep)

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MOOCs and Distance Education Institutions | Terry Anderson - Virtual Canuck, Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric world, blog

MOOCs and Distance Education Institutions | Terry Anderson - Virtual Canuck, Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric world, blog | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Much has been written and much more will by the time you are reading this article, from when I write it in March 2013 – the MOOC terrain is under very rapid development. John Daniel (2012) article, does a good job of defining and describing MOOCs and clearly notes the different models and pedagogy (xMOOCs, cMOOCs) that differentiate pedagogies, practices and profits involved in today’s MOOC offerings. In this article, I attempt to update our map of the terrain and provide a lens through my 2003 Interaction Equivalency Theorem (Anderson, 2003) to help us understand and explain this latest development and/or fad in higher education.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

After unpacking the acronym (and saying some very useful things about the O of openness), Terry Anderson discusses MOOCs under the headings of:

- pedagogy: "I am not so quick to denigrate this [cognitivist-behaviourist] pedagogy …"

- loss of academic jobs: "… technophiles have been making predictions and teachers dreading the possibility of their replacement by advanced communications technologies. Prior to MOOCs these promises have not materialized …]

- participation: "… there many different types of students attracted and they have wide variety of expectations and commitments …"

- credentialing: "Perhaps between these two competing systems [degree credits versus certificates of completion] lies an opportunity for nimble open education institutions."

- business models: "Two features of MOOCs have most concerned politicians, press and academia. These are the lack of a clear revenue model to justify institutional expenses and entry of ‘silicon valley’ mindset…."

- implications for open and distance education: "MOOCs and especially those developed by for-profit companies can be perceived as yet more unwelcomed competition to distance education institutions. But …"

 

The article is written from the perspective of how MOOCs affect open universities, but has a lot of sensible thinking to offer to anybody with an interest in MOOCs. Terry's willingness to make unpopular claims, adds to this: "It is quite surprising to me how many of my educational colleagues seem so skeptical of any potential improvement in education effectiveness, as if our profession is incapable of exploiting technological and pedagogical innovations that are available to us." Highly recommended reading! (@pbsloep)

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'MOOC' Provider Coursera Jumps Into K-12 and Teacher Ed. | Sean Cavanagh - Education Week

'MOOC' Provider Coursera Jumps Into K-12 and Teacher Ed. | Sean Cavanagh - Education Week | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Coursera, a major player in the world of providing "massively open online courses" in higher education, is making its first move into the K-12 landscape through an effort to provide free training and professional development to teachers in the United States and other countries.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

If you have doubts about the quality of the education that MOOCs provide you now have cause to be worried even more. According to this announcement, not only the student entering higher education have been taught through MOOCs, so have their teachers. So much for the quality of eduction. 

 

Of course, I am exaggerating, people will come to their senses and realise kids in K-12 don't need knowledge be poured into their brains, they need a socially rich environment with a human being for a teacher and other kids in which and because of which you learn. MOOCs for continuous development of teacher are not such a bad idea. The majority of MOOCs is used by people for continuous development anyway, so why not for teacher education. Still, there is some reason to be concerned. Research (see note) has shown that it is  not so much content itself that helps teachers keep up and become better, it is content put in the context of teaching their topic, it is pedagogically enriched content. So although a MOOC might be a good way to dip into something new, to be able to teach it requires more than just listening to lectures. (@pbsloep)

 

Note: there is a lot of literature about this. A good point of access is Van Veen, K., Zwart, R., Meirink, J., & Verloop, N. (2010). Professionele ontwikkeling van leraren; een reviewstudie naar effectieve kenmerken van professionaliseringsinterventies van leraren. (Reviewstudie in opdracht van en gesubsidieerd door NWO-PROO Grant no. 441-080353). Leiden. Even though the mean text is in Dutch and presumably lost on many, it being a review study means it contains a welter of useful references to English papers: http://tiny.cc/wqwpyw

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Personal learning environments' emerging as K-12 trend to watch | Katie Ash - Education Week, Digital Curricula Evolving

Personal learning environments' emerging as K-12 trend to watch | Katie Ash - Education Week, Digital Curricula Evolving | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

It's clear that more and more schools are aiming to prepare students for a global marketplace that requires networked learning experiences, an understanding of digital citizenship, and a way to navigate and organize a stream of information and resources from a variety of different sources.

...

"This sort of [networked] learning actually helps students organize themselves in a very busy world," Mr. Hollinger said. "Before, when students were working, they would get lost in the hubbub of everything that happens online. We found it was essential for them to be able to create a space [for those resources]."

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Many have argued that maintaining employability in a knowledge society demands that learning doesn't stop when graduating, rather it requires that the formal, school-based learning be succeeded by a life of continuous learning, mostly in informal settings. Sensible though this may be, there is a problem. Formal learning breeds an attitude of dependence, listening to your teachers and complying with school rules. Informal learning is largely independent, self-guided learning, which requires almost the opposite attitude of being selective about what others claim and making up your own rules. Therefore, if lifelong learning for the knowledge society has any chance to take root, schools (starting at the secondary level already, K-12) should help their students and pupils to become independent learners. Since this requires nothing less than a change of philosophy, it goes without saying that actually doing so is not easy. 

 

The article's idea of teaching children to create and maintain their own personal learning environment therefore is a much to be welcomed initiative. Thus far, PLEs have mainly caught on in the realm of professional development, with people as Jane Hart and Harold Jarche arguing for the important role they can have in the corporate world. However, this article shows that people in secondary education have perfectly understood that children already should be trained to do so. 

 

The article makes much of the use of Symboloo, with which I am not familiar. But it is important that the children are not taught the tricks of a particular tool but rather become familiar with the idea of creating and maintaining a PLE, irrespective of its implementation in a particular tool. (@pbsloep)

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Louise Lewis's curator insight, June 7, 2013 7:04 PM

PLEs are the environment of the future

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MOOC as Courseware: Coursera's Big Announcement in Context | Phil Hill - e-Literate

MOOC as Courseware: Coursera's Big Announcement in Context | Phil Hill - e-Literate | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Today’s {May 30th] big news is that Coursera, the largest of the MOOC providers, has signed with 10 public statewide systems. … One key aspect of this announcement is Coursera’s full-fledged move into courseware as a new business line to complement their standalone courses. … In essence, courseware is everything but the instructor and interactive discussion, certification and support. 


Via Alberto Acereda, Ph.D., gideon.shimshon
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Although posted already a week ago, this is too important a scoop to miss. According to Phil Hill, Coursera's moving into the courseware business is a reflection of a number of different things. First, according to Coursera's Daphne Koller it is prompted by their desire to cater more for HE students' initial education than for professionals who seek to develop themselves. But speculates Phil Hill, another dominant reason could be the desire of the venture capitalists to find a revenue model. Courseware is like books, it allows universities to use them and turn them into genuine course by putting a wrapper around them, i.e. by assigning teachers to them, fitting them into a curriculum, giving credits for them. 

 

Courseware as a notion is at least 20 years old (see my previous Scoop http://sco.lt/4k2TeD). In that sense, Coursera's move is a step back. It brings MOOCs back into the fold of HE as we know it; the claim that MOOCs are a disrupting innovation that makes obsolete almost all universities but a few elite ones (as suggested by among others Sebastian Thrun) immediately falls flat. To me, this is a very welcome move, one that removes the hype and gives us back a sense of proportion, enough to let educational professionals (rather than news papers and Silicon Valley gurus) decide on how MOOCs are going to be useful to improve education across the globe. (@pbsloep)

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timokos's curator insight, June 4, 2013 4:02 AM

More thoughts on Courera's move into the LMS & Courseware market

ifrank's comment, June 5, 2013 8:30 AM
It looks like Coursera has come up with a business model that supports offering courses simultaneously to more than one university at a time across state lines.
Could another company like Blackboard have offered a similar service at attractive rates? Looks like the universities didn't shop around.
Nan Yang's curator insight, June 7, 2013 2:43 AM

A step for chasing profit

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A year of content curation with Scoop.it | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL

A year of content curation with Scoop.it | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

A blog post of mine about ... well, the title says it all (@pbsloep)

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Pieter de Vries's curator insight, June 1, 2013 3:36 PM

Recommended!

Pippa Yeoman's curator insight, June 7, 2013 6:23 AM

Offering one's considered opinion - telling others what you found interesting and why you think it's important in a format that is richer than a tweet and less dense than a formal publication. 

 

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The pedagogical foundations of massive open online courses | David G. Glance, Martin Forsey & Miles Riley - First Monday

In 2011, the respective roles of higher education institutions and students worldwide were brought into question by the rise of the massive open online course (MOOC). MOOCs are defined by signature characteristics that include: lectures formatted as short videos combined with formative quizzes; automated assessment and/or peer and self–assessment and an online forum for peer support and discussion. Although not specifically designed to optimise learning, claims have been made that MOOCs are based on sound pedagogical foundations that are at the very least comparable with courses offered by universities in face–to–face mode. To validate this, we examined the literature for empirical evidence substantiating such claims. Although empirical evidence directly related to MOOCs was difficult to find, the evidence suggests that there is no reason to believe that MOOCs are any less effective a learning experience than their face–to–face counterparts. Indeed, in some aspects, they may actually improve learning outcomes.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

The authors focus on the evidence that is currently available on the pedagogical soundness of MOOCs. They see MOOCs as offering opportunities for such forms of learning as online learning, retrieval learning, mastery learning, peer learning; they collected data on their efficacy through a systematic survey of the literature. Unfortunately, they have no direct evidence of, say, the effect of fora in MOOCs, but this does not detract them from concluding that "… MOOCs have a sound pedagogical basis for their formats." 

 

I have some quarrels with this conclusion. By generalizing over all sorts of contexts, the authors effectively suggest that context only introduces error, never systematic bias. However, context does matter both qualitatively and quantitatively. Only recently Tony Bates in a blog wrote (and justified) that wholesale comparisons between various media in an effort to contribute good or ill effects to them is too undiscriminating an approach. Effects of media are context dependent, he argued (http://www.tonybates.ca/2013/01/26/no-1-aha-moment-media-are-different/). That means that the conclusion that MOOCs have built on a solid foundation is premature. All we can conclude is that there is no evidence yet that they have not been built on a solid foundation.That said, the article is a welcome attempt to unearth and assess the pedagogical pillars that many MOOCs have been built on. (@pbsloep)

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Maria Persson's comment, May 26, 2013 9:00 PM
Appreciate your comments Paulo - insightful and provokes further thought. Thanks for the comment.
Peter B. Sloep's comment, May 31, 2013 6:46 AM
Great comment Paulo!
Hein Holthuizen's curator insight, September 29, 2013 3:27 AM

A great outcome for those who don't like travelling (not me) and want to train/teach those who are in need of knowledge they are able to give.

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The World Is Not Flat | Ry Rivard - Inside Higher Ed

The World Is Not Flat | Ry Rivard - Inside Higher Ed | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Online higher education is increasingly hailed as a chance for educators in the developed world to expand access and quality across the globe.

Yet it may not be quite so easy. Not only does much of the world not have broadband or speak English, but American-made educational material may be unfit for and unwanted in developing countries ...

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

It is about time an article like this appeared. Kudos to Ry Rivard and Inside Higher Ed for doing so. Ry summarises and illustrates the case against the simplistic idea that MOOCs will democratise education because everybody now has access to US branded, world-class content. In January this year, I already called this an example of cultural imperialism in a blog post of mine (and argued why, using Michael Sandel's work - http://tiny.cc/igu3vw), Ry talks about cultural neo-colonialism. Same difference.  Not only does not everybody have fast internet connections, not only does not everybody speak English or wish to be educated in a language other than their native tongue, but vast and deep-seated cultural differences make the very notion of educating the world with USA-made courses highly problematic. Ry illustrates this point with a variety of different examples, ranging from not being at ease with the Socratic, dialectic way of learning to preferring to put group interests above individual ones. Even if half of his examples turn out to be wrong, the remaining ones should give more than enough pause for thought. (@pbsloep)

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A hard act to Swallow | Steve Wheeler - Learning with 'e's

Reputation can be bought it seems. But is one's reputation dependent upon online presence only? ... How many of us still take content and personalities at face value when we encounter them online? These and many other questions about online identity, reputation, provenance and trust are still to be answered.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Interesting blog post by Steve Wheeler about Santiago Swallow, a faked identity on the social web, who gained quite a reputation for himself. Which is why Steve asks the above questions, including the question of how long the ruse would have held out, had not Santiago's inventor exposed it himself.

 

All of these questions are of the kind 'what would happen if ..". These counterfactuals become factuals, statements the truth or falsity of which is determined by empirical research, by actually carrying out the experiments. But people are hesitant to do so for another reason, the ethical question of whether it is ok to have a faked (alternate) online identity in the first place. Santiago's inventor went some way along the line of experimenting with faked identities and so did Steve Wheeler himself. But how unethical is it really to adopt a fake identity, to act as if you are someone else? I have no real answer to that question and, actually, I am sure there is no simple answer. At this stage I have one thought to offer, though.

 

I would think that faking identities is much worse offline than online, that under a set of restrictions (moral imperatives) it might even be a good idea to have several online identities. This is the reason. Our offline identity is always and durably tied to our individuality, to us as individual persons who each takes up a position in space-time, with an origin and a history and a future, even if that is finite. Although people whom we meet necessarily only see particular aspects of us an indivividual, they expect consistency in our behaviour on the basis of the fact that the aspects they experience are aspects of that individual. So if between meetings we act as a different person, our psychology goes haywire.

 

What we see of someone online is not an aspect of someone, the aspect is all there is. An online person is at best a set of observations, connected, but only because they ostensibly emerge from the same account or from several connected accounts. There is no individual these observations are aspects of, although we may surmise there is one. So faking an online identity does not upset our psychology for it does not threaten expectations of continuity and consistency. Whose continuity, would be the question. That is, if someone were to write a persona for an online identity and behave consistently with respect to that persona, people seeing facets of that persona are in no way fooled or misled. Perhaps the person they learn to know online is a bit shallow, but that goes for many characters in novels  too ...

 

I am interested in exploring the ethics of alternative identities because such identities may be a means to fight the threat to our privacy (as an offline individual) that the web poses. If we were able to adopt data management policies on our online data (see my blog of May 2012 for more on this http://tiny.cc/ubtwvw), effectively every one such policy would constitute an alternative identity. And that would be a good idea, I believe.  (@pbsloep)

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Despite courtship Amherst decides to shy away from star MOOC provider | Ry Rivard - Inside Higher Ed

Despite courtship Amherst decides to shy away from star MOOC provider | Ry Rivard - Inside Higher Ed | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Amherst professors voted on Tuesday not to work with edX, a nonprofit venture started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to provide massive open online courses, or MOOCs. In interviews, professors cited a wide range of reasons for rejecting edX -- which currently works with only 12 elite partner colleges and universities -- starting with edX's incompatibility with Amherst’s mission and ending with, to some, the destruction of higher education as we know it.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

This is an interesting turn of events. The MOOC platform providers - Coursera, Udacity, edX - all want to promote their brand by hitch-hiking on the brandnames of several elite universities. They have tried to accomplish the seemingly impossible, that is marrying mass education with the exclusivity that people associate with the elite universities. Thus far, this has worked pretty well, perhaps because universities did not want to be seen missing in this exquisite group. So there were enough applicants and MOOC platforms could afford to turn many of them down. However, things seem to have changed. 

 

Amherst is a school that prides itself in its 'mission to provide 

education in a "purposefully small residential community" and "through close colloquy”.' For the details you need to read the article, but basically Amherst faculty decided that this mission was incompatible with the mass education that MOOCs provide. It seems they spotted the paradox and were not impressed by the fact that many other universities were lining up to join edX and its ilk. The question of course is whether this marks a turning point or remains a unique action. (@pbsloep)

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Dyads & Triads — The Smallest Teams | Christopher Allen - Life with Alacrity

Dyads & Triads — The Smallest Teams | Christopher Allen - Life with Alacrity | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

… I've seen how groups of people act differently at different sizes. As I discussed in my previous blog post on Group Thresholds …, there are pros and cons associated with different group sizes. However, the smallest group that I spoke of in that article was the 'working team size', which is a group of four to nine members (but ideally about seven). I didn't talk about groups consisting of less than four members-specifically dyads (a group of two people) and triads (a group of three people) ... .

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Networked learning is about learning as an individual in punctuated interaction with various fellow network members (peers). In the course of doing so, groups of people may be formed, either at the behest of the learner him or herself, or through the intervention of teachers themselves or of tools that act on the teacher's behalf. An example of the latter is research my colleagues and I did on ad-hoc transient groups, groups that are formed on the fly to answer a question some fellow network learner is unable to answer (cf. Sloep, 2009). An important question for designers of such networked learning environments is the most appropriate size of such peer groups. In the ad-hoc transient community experiments, we settled for a size of three. Our choice was based on a mix of considerations. One of them was that large groups would rapidly diminish peer willingness to answer questions as they got too many turns. Another one was that large groups would foster social loafing. A third one was that the limited knowledge available in small groups would increase the chance of giving mistaken answers. 

 

Our considerations at the time were based on little more than common sense arguments. We could not find any hard evidence on optimal group sizes. Although Christopher Allen's piece does not site much scientific evidence either, he has amassed a lot of personal experience that can be used to inform optimal group size choices in different circumstances. I am glad to see that, after the fact, his experience supports the choice we made at the time. (@pbsloep)

 

Sloep, P. B. (2009). Fostering Sociability in Learning Networks through Ad-Hoc Transient Communities. In M. Purvis & B. T. R. Savarimuthu (Eds.), Computer-Mediated Social Networking, ICCMSN 2008, LNAI 5322 (pp. 62–75). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1820/1198

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Patricia Daniels's curator insight, April 16, 2013 3:37 AM

Patricia Daniels's insight:

H817 students this is a good contrast to Siemens and Downes insights on connectivism. There have been a few forum and blog postings about some of our learners feeling slightly isolated within this MOOC and commenting about what they perceive to be inactivity. Others are still having navigational problems so perhaps a case of the technology getting in the way of communication. What can we do? Should we be paying more attention to getting ourselves involved in smaller but distributed groups? I have had a few interesting discussions via the forum and via blogs which have taken my thoughts a step further. So out of the masses the most intense dialogue I have had, has been through connecting with groups of twos and threes i.e. dyads and triads respectively. In contrast, the content being produced by the cohort has been a rich source of information and has made me think more critically. What have your experiences been to date?

 

H817 MA students, the points in this paper may be worth reflecting on in view of our Block 3 group work.

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Costs of Teaching Online Classes | Andrew Erlichson - 10genEducation

There are two sets of costs to running online classes: the capital cost of buying the equipment and the variable cost of the labor. In this analysis, I am going to look at first year cash costs. The capital equipment can be amortized over multiple years in a true accounting analysis.  

 

The economics of online education are amazingly good. There is at least an order of magnitude improvement over the costs of teaching in person.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

For everybody contemplating to get into the business of teaching online, using a MOOC-like set-up with videotaped lectures, this is a must read. Although lots of things may be done differently - more cheaply  or more costly, with a different way of amortising the capital equipment, with different numbers of students, with different equipment - the figures amassed here are very useful. But it is not just the figures themselves that are useful, so are the choice of equipment and the kinds of activities that have been taken into account (@pbsloep)

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MOOCs and Intellectual Property: Ownership and Use Rights | Joan Cheverie - Educause

MOOCs and Intellectual Property: Ownership and Use Rights | Joan Cheverie - Educause | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Some commercial MOOC platforms have highly proprietary terms and conditions that claim ownership of course content and prohibit sharing or remixing of material. … Looking at the Terms of Service for Coursera, edX, and Udacity revealed some licensing language that colleges and universities should be cognizant of when contemplating joining a MOOC.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Two very important elements of all licenses are that i) it is the platform provider owns the content, which then users my access under very strictly regulated conditions; ii) any user-generated is also owned by the platform. The first point matters to universities, the second to the students, who basically seem to handover the rights on the texts they themselves have produced. So much for openness …. Educause promises to "continue to monitor and report on this [licensing] issue" (@pbsloep)

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Pinterest: digital identity, Stepford Wives edition | Bonny Stewart - theory.cribchronicles.com

Pinterest: digital identity, Stepford Wives edition | Bonny Stewart - theory.cribchronicles.com | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Using social media shapes who we are, and how we see ourselves. Social media relies on identity: on handles or names or pseudonyms that represent us and our contributions to the rest of our networks. Pinterest is the same: when I sign up, I get an account, under a name of my choosing. People can see what I share. Being “re-pinned” means what I’m sharing is stuff people want to see. To our networks, we are what we share. ... Curation is as much a part of our digital identity practices as creation, today. It’s what Pinterest operates on, entirely. But at the express expense of creation.

 


Via catspyjamasnz
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Our online or digital identity matters. Whaf if the image we portray of it consists of 'scooped' or 'pinned' materials only? Our identity then is a borrowed one, not even reflecting who we are but who we aspire to be. Of course, curation in the pre-online age was about creation too and so it still should be in the digital age (see also my blog about a year of content creation http://tiny.cc/ncc8yw) (@pbsloep)

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Clare Treloar's curator insight, June 25, 2013 6:14 PM

Now here is an article English students could sink their teeth into! Shaping of identity and social media are not only topical but our kids needed to get into deeper issues re what their accounts project.

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MOOCs & Quality | Martin Weller - MOOC Quality Project

MOOCs & Quality | Martin Weller - MOOC Quality Project | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

I’m tempted to suggest that above all MOOCs should hang a sign that declares “abandon all quality measures”, because most of the ones we have developed for formal education don’t apply in MOOCs. We have developed a set of quality measures based on a specific relationship between the education provider and the student. That relationship is fundamentally altered in a MOOC, and so those of existing measures are not applicable.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Martin Weller then goes on to examine quality using the intentions of MOOC providing institutions and their students as yardsticks. He argues that particularly learners have intentions that vary widely from students in formal education, not worse or better, just different. Thus he identifies leisure learners (for enjoyment), drive-by learners (because it is free), and antagonistic learners (to check whether I am right in not wanting to learn about this topic). And then of course there are those who engage in MOOC learning for professional development. With the differing intentions should come different quality measures, Martin argues. This is also needed because formal education and MOOCs have different filtering mechanisms: formal education restricts input, MOOCs output. Therefore, say, completion rates as a measure of quality cannot be compared across formal education and MOOCs. 

 

This is a very valuable contribution to the discussion about MOOCs, one that probably goes wider than the assessment of quality: MOOC learning is a different beast than formal education, so treat it differently. Doing so would also imply that pitting MOOCs and formal education against each other as alternative ways of providing and education to our children, makes no sense. If anything, then, they are complementary. (@pbsloep)

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M.A.P.'s curator insight, June 24, 2013 3:00 PM

An important essay that I hope our team will read it.

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The MOOC bubble and the attack on public education | Aaron Bady - Academic Matters

The MOOC bubble and the attack on public education | Aaron Bady - Academic Matters | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

MOOCs are, and will be, big business, and the way that their makers see profitability at the end of the tunnel is what gives them their particular shape. … the MOOCs which are now being developed by Silicon Valley startups … aim to do exactly the same thing that traditional courses have always done -transfer course content from expert to student - only to do so massively more cheaply and on a much larger scale. … MOOCs are simply a new way of maintaining the status quo, of re-institutionalizing higher education in an era of budget cuts, skyrocketing tuition, and unemployed college graduates burdened by student debt. … the California legislature proposes to solve a real systemic crisis - collapsing public resources, diminishing affordability, and falling completion rates in the state’s higher education system - by sending its students to MOOCs. … If this bill passes, the winners will be Silicon Valley and the austerity hawks in the California legislature … To put it quite bluntly, MOOCs are a speculative bubble, a product being pumped up and overvalued by pro-business government support and a lot of hot air in the media. Like all speculative bubbles—especially those that originate in Silicon Valley—it will eventually burst. 

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

This article does not really sing a song that is much different from the song sung by many other opponents of MOOCs. However, it does so quite elegantly and forcefully. For that reason alone it is worth reading.

 

MOOC proponents have never shied away from making bold predications, like Sebastian Thrun who predicted that "Fifty years from now there will be only 10 institutions in the whole world that deliver higher education" (http://tiny.cc/83ygyw). Aaron faces them squarely when he claims that "MOOCs are a speculative bubble … [which] will eventually burst". I would hope it does, in the way he describes them as affecting Californian HE. I hope too, though, that the discovery of distance teaching that MOOCs exemplify, has a lasting effect, by making people reflect on the pedagogy, organisation and economics of (higher) education. (@pbsloep)

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MOOCs and Beyond - eLearning Papers 33 released | elearningeurope.info

MOOCs and Beyond - eLearning Papers 33 released | elearningeurope.info | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Issue number 33 of eLearning Papers focuses on the challenges and future of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a trend in education that has skyrocketed since 2008. 

[…]

Among other topics, eLearning Papers 33 explores whether MOOCs may be a viable solution for education in developing countries and analyses the role of these emerging courses in the education system, especially in higher education. Furthermore, valuable examples from the field are presented, such as the quad-blogging concept and a game-based MOOC developed to promote entrepreneurship education.


Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

I have little to add to this other than that the collection of papers provides a distinctive European perspective on MOOCs. As a consequence (?), the focus is more on the pedagogy than on the economics of higher education (@pbsloep)

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The MOOC as Three Kinds of Learning Management System | Justin Reich - EdTech Researcher, blog

Coursera describes itself as a "education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free." … If Coursera is selling courseware to universities, what exactly are they selling?

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Justin Reich then uses a taxonomy of learning management systems (LMSs) pioneered by John Richards (http://tiny.cc/wjj1xw) to clarify the question he asks. I must admit that the distinctions he makes are not entirely clear to me, but this is how I understand them. The first kind is your typical LMS (or VLE in the UK?), a platform for course development, such as Moodle or Blackboard. To me, they are an example of a  substitutive technology, they provide alternative means of doing what people used to do already. As the name Blackboard aptly illustrates, traditional LMSs by and large conserve lecture-based teaching in classes, and only add alternative means to make learning materials available and add additional communication channels. The second kind Justin describes are self-contained online courses, with PLATO as an example (for those who still know this system). Here, there's no need for a teacher, they allow for fully independent learning, and to the user the technology (platform) and content blend seamlessly. This is an example of a transformative technology as it upsets dominant modes of teaching and learning. The third kind, which Justin dubs a digital teaching platform, sits in the middle: "This is a learning management system that is pre-populated with content and learning objects, but designed to be used by students in a classroom with a teacher." The punch line is that Coursera (and presumably the other MOOC providers too) are trying to be all three at the same time. Although this is new, Justin wonders whether such a hardly focused strategy will work. 

 

My understanding of what Coursera cs are trying to do is different, though. To me, MOOC providers are essentially providers of a technological platform (compare a 2011 blog post by George Siemens - http://tiny.cc/8mm1xw - who discusses a similar notion). They provide a comprehensive and consolidated set of tools and technologies that not only afford a hopefully first-class user experience to the student but also take the dull logistic work out of the hands of the course providing professors and school (but see my blog post on the responsibilities MOOC providers could and should assume - http://tiny.cc/u8m1xw). In my perception then, Coursera cs best match the third kind in Justin's classification.

 

So the question is not so much whether Coursera cs will fail because of a lack of focus, but rather whether in the way we have organised our educational system there is room for such platforms. It seems to me that given the socio-political situation, in the USA there is whereas in continental Europe there isn't; or, put differently, that MOOCs will take a different form on both continents. The recent launch of a MOOC initiative by the European Association for Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), backed by the European Commission, seems to support this view (http://tiny.cc/2en1xw). (@pbsloep)

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timokos's comment, June 4, 2013 5:05 AM
I agree that there is a completely different socio-political system in the USA and Europe, but I'm not sure if the OpunUpEd initiative will be able to compete with the reputation of the universities that have partnered with Coursera c.s. I wouldn't be surprised if Coursera tries the same strategy in Europe with lesser ranked universities (just as with their deal with the 9 State System Universities in the USA)
Peter B. Sloep's comment, June 5, 2013 7:29 AM
I am not sure about Coursera's business strategy. However, playing the elite university card has much more traction in the US and presumably many developing countries than it does in Europe, which has a more egalitarian educational system, France and the UK perhaps excepted.
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MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013 – Report #1 | team at U. Edinburgh

In January 2013, the University of Edinburgh launched six MOOCs on the Coursera virtual learning environment (VLE) platform [www.coursera.org]. These were short fully-online courses, each lasting either 5 or 7 weeks, and they had a total initial enrolment of just over 309,000 learners. … Each MOOC team chose a course structure best suited for the delivery of their subject matter; as a result, six different course structures were produced, with several teams experimenting with content delivery and collaboration methods outwith the Coursera VLE. … Of those who responded to the Entry survey, 75% indicated this was their first experience of a MOOC, and 53% were enrolled on only one MOOC offering. 203 countries were represented, with the highest proportion of respondents living in the USA (28%) and UK (11%). 33% were between 25-34 years of age, with ‘Teaching and education’ (17%) and ‘Student (college/university)’ (15%) as the highest represented areas of current employment. Over 70% of respondents indicated completion of degree-level academic achievement; a total of 40% respondents had achieved a postgraduate degree. These demographics were very similar to those of respondents in the combined Exit survey.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

 

This comprehensive 42 pages long report is a thorough account and evaluation of the University of Edinburgh's experiences with MOOCs. For that reason alone it is a must read. The courses offered range from Artificial Intelligence (which seems to be must have for any university that embarks on the MOOC path) to Equine Nutrition, just picking two that to me seem to be at the opposite ends of a continuum of topics.

 

The report discusses why U. Edinburgh wanted to get involved with MOOCs, how they designed and built them (with a degree of uniformity across the various courses), what the demographics of the students are, how active the students were (less and less as time progressed), how successful the courses were. Two findings that struck me: first, the MOOC learners were most akin to lifelong learners, second, they were more like independent learners than social learners. (@pbsloep)

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All my scoops in April 2013 | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL

All my scoops in April 2013 | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

As a service to my scoop.it followers and readers, a blog post of mine containing the publication date, title, author and source of all my scoops in March, 2013. There are hyperlinks to the scoops as well. 

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Learning in the Workplace 2013 survey results | Jane Hart

Learning in the Workplace 2013 survey results | Jane Hart | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

The Learning in the Workplace Survey has now been taken by over 600 people, and although it is still open if you want to cast your vote, I am going to release some interim findings here today as the results has been pretty stable for some time now.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Very interesting result, though hardly surprising, of a survey held by Jane Hart about learing in the workplace. The main conclusion is that professionals do not like company-based training or e-learning and do like self-organised and self managed learning, preferably with team collaboration. The question now is how to organise this from an instructional perspective, after all, self-organised and self-managed should not mean 'you figure it out yourselves'.

 

My answer to this is to set up clever ways of providing peer support, using trust enhancement, recommender systems, etc. I have furhter detailed this in a fortcoming book chapter in Littlejohn, L. & Margaryan A. (Eds.) Technology-enhanced Professional Learning: Processes, Practices and Tools. London: Routledge, which is still in the works however (expected publication date early 2014) (@pbsloep)

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uTOP Inria's curator insight, April 24, 2013 7:47 AM

(Learning at workplace - 23 avril 2013)

Louise Lewis's curator insight, April 24, 2013 9:30 PM

On track

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MOOC Mania: Debunking the hype around massive open online courses | Audrey Watters - School Library Journa

MOOC Mania: Debunking the hype around massive open online courses | Audrey Watters - School Library Journa | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

MOOC mania taps into powerful narratives—both true and false—about the relevancy of the curriculum, the cost of college, and the adaptability of education institutions. Many institutions are joining MOOCs, hoping that the mania pans out and that these free online classes will, if nothing else, keep their brands up-to-date. But the questions about who exactly they’re serving with these classes will have to be answered sooner or later as having tens of thousands of students sign up for a class is hardly the right metric upon which to build the future of education.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Audrey Watters discusses the familiar history of xMOOCs, the rhetoric surrounding that (Thrun: in 50 years there'll be only 10 universities left on the entire planet), the towering attrition rates, and the fears of many university admins to be left behind if they don't junp on the MOOC bandwagon (but see my yesterday scoop on Amherst http://sco.lt/8p5Ig5). And then she discusses the distinction between cMOOCs and xMOOCs, something not everybody knows about. Now you could argue that cMOOCs might just as well be left out of the discussion, being such an entirely different beast than the xMOOC that the only thing they still seem to share is their name. But Audrey makes an interesting use of the contrast. 

 

She rightly points out what nobody to my knowledge seems to have highlighted so far, that xMOOCs are designed by computer scientists and cMOOCs by education scholars. As it happens, their approach to teaching is as different as it imaginably can be and it is this difference of approach that is responsible for the contrast between xMOOCs and cMOOCs. Which brings up the following question: do we want to place the fate of (higher)  education in the hands of a number of entrepreneurial computer scientists or do we entrust it to education professionals? Put this way, the question is not so hard to answer. (@pbsloep)

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suifaijohnmak's comment, April 20, 2013 11:42 PM
Great insights Peter. I will respond to this. People are "buying" in with the xMOOCs for reasons as simple as: branding and easier to learn (as all information are already curated for them), and that a strong belief still with the instructivist approach reigns best, at least, that is what institutions want to see - a complete control under an institutional framework of education. Is that xMOOC sustainable? From a historical perspective, this fate would be like cMOOCs being "decimated" and "replaced" by xMOOCs (to some extent". But then this trend would appear in the K-12 sector soon, when automation of education and gamification, mobile learning takes their foothold in changing the education arena into "commercial minefield". Mobile technology could and would help in improving digital literacy, though it might not be reflected easily in improving the basic literacy on Science, Maths, Reading and Writing in the K-12. As I have shared, we are now in the Lord of the Ring game, where those who win takes all. Education is now a game, not as much as the once enlightenment or passion sort of education vision, but a pragmatic sort of education of whether one could get a job after taking a course of study, or getting famous through "educating" others in MOOCs. It is the media that would likely determine who is the winner, not the test anymore, as no one could objectively test or examine what is really "competent" or "capable" under those framework, mainly because they are producer driven, not user driven. John
Peter B. Sloep's comment, April 21, 2013 2:46 AM
Thanks for this, John. Future gazing is hard. I would hope you're wrong, but the US seems to be falling into the trap you describe without even realising it. I am of course referring to the initiative in California to set up a credit award system for xMOOCs.
suifaijohnmak's comment, April 21, 2013 10:19 AM
Thanks Peter. As you said, I do hope that wouldn't happen, though when institutions are seeing a few millions students registering with the MOOCs, wouldn't they think that is what the future lies? Here is my consolidated post http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/why-c-and-x-moocs-are-attracting-different-number-of-participants/ As you said, the initiative in California is just the start of the game. More will come along, when the k-12 MOOCs start to take its turn. I don't have the crystal ball, but I reckon this would attract more Venture Capitalists to invest in that area, as it is a multi-billion education business that no one wants to miss. Privatization and monetization based on a MOOC model has already started and would snowball with more institutions joining in.
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Stanford’s Venture Lab MOOC Platform Goes Private, Relaunches as NovoEd | Matt Enis - Library Journal

Stanford’s Venture Lab MOOC Platform Goes Private, Relaunches as NovoEd | Matt Enis - Library Journal | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Stanford has become a hotbed of activity in the MOOC field, with NovoEd now the third MOOC platform to emerge from the university during the past two years following Udacity and Coursera. According to Stanford professor and NovoEd founder Amin Saberi, this latest platform is unique in the way it facilitates and emphasizes interaction between students, encouraging the formation of groups and collaboration on projects. Students also rate the work and participation of others within their groups, creating a system of accountability to one’s peers.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

This is an interesting development in that this new platform tries to introduce social learning into MOOCs. Admittedly, the course is still very much content led, unlike cMOOCs, but this xMOOC developer is starting to make the right noises: “It’s actually a social experience. You’re working with a team, and some of these teammates are people that you have recruited or people you know. It makes you more committed. You feel like you have to get to the end.”

 

Apparently, this increased commitment is reflected in the numbers. Of the 80,000 that started Saberi's course on technology entrepreneurship, 37,000 hung in long enough to start a collaborative project. 10,000 did indeed finish the course. With 12.5% this is an unusually high completion rate for MOOCs. All the more regrettable that, although the course may be open, the NoveEd platform isn't. I would have like to see an independent (that is by someone not the platform and course developer) confirmation of this low drop-out figure. And if it is as good as it purports to be, other should be given the opportunity to profit from the platform's superior design too. (@pbsloep)

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Peter B. Sloep's comment, April 16, 2013 4:46 AM
Glad to be helpful (again apparently ;-)
Parke Muth's comment, April 16, 2013 5:03 AM
Great information. Thank you.
JohnRobertson's curator insight, April 18, 2013 10:10 AM

I can't help wondering how this compares to other efforts. For example, @openstudy who run social structures and support around opencourseware such as some of MIT's OCW. As a clear example I'm still struck by how the Mechanical MOOC ( @MOOC_E ) pulled together 3 or 4 services (including openstudy) to provide a framework around OCW. I'm not sugesting their approach would work for every discipline but I'm a little surprised at the fanfare NovoEd has got in the press. 

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Humans and Machines. The role of people in technology-driven organisations | The Economist


Via GRIAL Univ Salamanca
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Although the focus is on the interaction between machines (technology) and humans in various areas of societal activity, in the present context the chapter on teaching and learning (pp 17-19) is the most relevant one. It doesn't hold much news for a reader of these Scoops, noting the advent of MOOCs and flipped classroom, wondering about teaching without teachers, and exploring the power of (serious) games in education. But perhaps that is what makes this contribution so interesting, that the discussion is still couched in terms of the purported contradiction between classroom teaching with teachers and content pushing with MOOCs. In defense of the article, I should add that ultimately it concludes that the role of technology in teaching will increase without diminishing the role of the teacher. So some sort of marrage between the two is anticipated. Unfortunately, what that marriage looks like remains unclear. This is as much a lack of education-specific knowledge of the technology pushers (e.g. Khan was a financial analist before he started his academy) as it is a lack of imagination of education professionals (many teachers are proud to be technology ignorami). (@pbsloep)

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Helena Capela's comment, April 18, 2013 6:54 AM
Very good comment.
Peter B. Sloep's comment, April 18, 2013 7:41 AM
Thanks Helena!
Maria Persson's curator insight, May 20, 2013 7:58 AM

Need more time to read with depth...reserving my right to not comment :-)

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My MOOC Tech Ecosystem | Martin Weller - The Ed Techie

My MOOC Tech Ecosystem | Martin Weller - The Ed Techie | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

On my open course H817Open I use a mixture of technology, and thought it might be useful to describe these here, and also to indicate what I'd like to do beyond this. …

 

What I would like is an open course DIY toolkit. You come along, select which functions you want and it recommends a bunch of open technologies (although not necessarily open source) with examples of where they've been used, and hey presto, you roll your own MOOC.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Such a toolkit would indeed be very useful, not necessarily for MOOCs only, but more for networked learning in general. The tools that Martin discusses - e.g.  Wordpress for blog aggregation, Twitter, Google Plus - certainly suggest a wider applicability. 

 

From my point of view, the interesting thing about such toolkits is that they support a view of learning that embraces the idea of personal learning networks (PLNs), yet allows one to organise learning in courses. The course sets the topic, time period as well as interaction and communication structures, the tools used to make the course happen are a selection of the tools that people already use anyway to sustain their PLNs. To the extent that students do not use any such tools already or a limited subset of them only, the course also introduces them to their use and in doing so helps them to start building their own PLNs. This kind of course set-up amounts to a view of education that not only seeks to enlighten students on the course topic, but also prepares them for a career as a lifelong learner (or helps them sustain that career). It amounts to a shift from an institution-centric view to a genuinely student-centric one. This is good news for students, now we only need to convince educational institutions that it is also good news for them.

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