Thursday, October 31. 2013
There is a graphic online that shows data from a survey done by Pearson. One stat is that 70% of faculty use social media in their personal lives. But only 41% use it in the classroom.
But as another blogger points out, it was a rather antisocial social media report. There is no no way to embed the graphic or share it on social networks.
A few takeaways from this report. They found blogs and wikis to be the most commonly used social media tools. A lot of us would not count those as social media, although they have social aspects (like commenting). Again, I agree with the aforementioned blog that considers them as "less social and more web 2.0." They are also very content and user-centered. Same thing with the second most popular tool - podcasts.
So, for me, another takeaway: How do you define social media on the context of the classroom?
Wednesday, October 30. 2013
Coursera, EdX, Udacity are still the big names in providing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), but the definitions of "Open" and even "Course" have been changing since I first started listing providers on this blog. Some of the providers in the numbered list below are no longer using content that is open for reuse or sharing. And some courses are not really "courses" in the traditional definition, as they do not have assignments, grades etc. They might be thought of more as Communities or Conversations.
Although a number of these providers offer some non-English courses and almost all have enrollment open to all countries, there are more providers starting outside the United States that focus on other languages, geographical sectors and universities outside the U.S.
Here are a few providers outside the U.S.
The following four providers offer course materials without facilitators or discussions. A do-it-yourself course, perhaps, or a resource for teachers searching for materials to use in their own courses.
Several other sites are listing MOOC providers, though there is no definitive "one-stop" aggregation site where you can go and easily search a catalog of all the MOOCs currently available. mooc-list.com is one such site, but sites are also appearing that a commercial/advertising intent along with offering a way to search. (An example is Russian website at studymooc.org) The mooc.ca site also offers a list of open online courses of different types.
Tuesday, October 29. 2013
I'm headed to talk as part of a MOOC panel today and looking over my notes I'd say that the major players in MOOCville are the same as a year ago. Coursera, Udacity and edX are still the big names.
The infographic above adds Khan Academy which was doing its thing before MOOC became newsworthy, but not many people thought of Khan Academy as a MOOC. It is still debatable that what they offer can be considered a "course," and their new dashboard makes it seem more of a curriculum.
It is more interesting to me to look at the new kids on the block.
MOOC2Degree is Academic Partnerships working with public universities to offer credit-bearing MOOCs with the idea of this as a first step and a free start toward earning a degree. They take the initial course in select online degree programs and convert them into a MOOC. They maintain the academic content and instructors and students who successfully complete a MOOC2Degree course earn academic credits toward a degree, based upon criteria established by participating universities.
I taught a MOOC last spring for Canvas Network which is owned by Instructure. Admittedly, I knew very little about Instructure before 2013, although it was founded in 2008 by two BYU graduate students. They are now legitimately one of Blackboard’s biggest competitors.
Blackboard has just been starting to be a player in MOOCville this past year via its CourseSites platform. Blackboard and Canvas both suffer from two problems so far. They don't have the big, elite universities as part of their team - those are still with the big three. Also, any LMS vendor who gets into the offering free MOOCs is going to be viewed as offering them as part of their marketing for the LMS. Still, that kid taking an engineering class in Canvas or Blackboard is not a potential customer, though his professor might be one day.
Finally, there is Udemy ("The Academy of You") which encourages people (not just established "teachers") to create courses using the Udemy platform. Their unique spin is that they will share the tuition with the creator/teacher. They have courses in entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, and technology and they have teachers that include authors and business professionals. A good example is their music offerings which are taught by a wide variety of people.
Monday, October 28. 2013
An article in the EDUCAUSE Review this month online has five MOOC myths it covers.
The quick list is:
1. It's All about Money
2. MOOCs Create a Two-Tier Educational System
3. MOOCs Are Inherently Inferior
4. MOOCs Are Mechanistic
5. We've Seen How This Plays Out
We can argue if those are myths and if those are the five most important, but they all have some validity in being included in our MOOC discussion. You can read the article for details, but that fifth myth - We've Seen How This Plays Out - is the one that most interested me.
Many in education (I hesitate to say "educators") quickly wrote off MOOCs as just another technology-related educational fad. Naysayers say that technology will not save education. Maybe education doesn't need saving, but the MOOC has been thrown into the mix with articles about predicting the end of education as we know it.
I suspect many of my readers have seen a presentation that includes some slide about how at one time the blackboard, phonograph, radio, films, television, VCR, CD, and online learning were going to revolutionize education. And they did not.
It turns out that most of these technologies have been more evolutionary rather than revolutionary. I suspect the MOOC will follow that model.
But the article points out that one thing that might set MOOCs apart from earlier attempts to adapt technological innovation to education is "their potential for enabling individualized learning." Rather than being ways of "packaging information," MOOCs might change the conventional classroom practice of presentation and delivery of content much more than online learning changed (or failed to change) it.
There are still plenty of sages on stages in higher education and in K-12 classrooms. The MOOC model might just change our focus from "where or from whom one receives instruction" to "how the learning process is designed."
The MOOC is a disruptor, but it may evolve into something else in a few years that really is a game-changer. If you believe in the Hype Cycle, then you might look to other disruptors like Google, Amazon, Facebook, iPhone, iTunes, Netflix and even the Internet itself as disruptors that were once taken much less seriously and our now just part of our lives.
Have we seen the MOOC before? We certainly have seen big (though not massive) courses and free courses and lots of opportunities to learn online. But another consideration the article points us to is that the MOOC has occurred at a time when other trends are active in education. It might be more important to consider how MOOCs mix with these trends to be something more.
The trends that seem to be converging now along with the rise of the MOOC are: what the learning sciences are telling us about changing educational practices; a shift from seat-time to competency-based assessment models; the possible unbundling of knowledge acquisition from credits, credentials and degrees and a global economy where the current model just seems incompatible.
Finally, the article's author, James G. Mazoue, says that
Those who cavalierly dismiss MOOCs as just another fad need to recognize that their significance consists not in their present state but in what they have the potential to become: an evolving model that combines the learning sciences with competency-based assessment. Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative is an example of the first, and Western Governors University is an example of the second. The two models these examples represent have yet to converge. If they were to merge into a unified model, they could serve as a catalyst for creating — not the "MOOCpocalypse" — but a hybrid at the nexus of learning optimization and competency-based credentialing that offers more open, scalable, affordable, and improved forms of learning. Even at this nascent stage of their development, what we are witnessing in MOOCs is not a race to the bottom but rather a progressive upward movement toward operationalizing an infrastructure for learning optimization. Why, then, do the MOOC deniers wish to thwart their incubation and seek their demise?
Thursday, October 24. 2013
The term "online disinhibition" is new to me, but the concept is not. It is defined as being the loosening or complete abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions when online that would otherwise be present in a normal face-to-face interaction.
You can add a whole string of other psychological terms into this area: dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority.
At first, you might think of this lack of inhibition as a negative thing. People can feel free to act badly. What surprised me was that much of the research shows some positive tendencies like becoming more affectionate, more willing to open up to others, less guarded about emotions.
I encountered the term in a talk by Rey Junco, a professor and researcher who studies how technology use affects college students. His talk was focused on using quantitative methods to assess the effects of social media on student development, engagement, and success.
Of course, online disinhibition doesn't only lead to good behaviors. Psychologist John Suler distinguishes between benign disinhibition and the bad behaviors. Users can also do or say as they wish without fear of any kind of meaningful reprisals online. We all have encountered some form of bad behavior online in a forum or with comments or even in a blog post itself. Bad behavior is low-risk with a slim chance of being caught and fairly lightweight punishments.
One much older technology also created this disinhibition. The Citizen Band (CB) radio craze of the 1970s also allowed users to be on-air, obnoxious and fairly anonymous.
The asynchronous nature of the Internet can also affect a person's inhibitions. Places like online forums do not happen in real time and people can post and leave, never to return while their comment lives on and continues to get responses. As anyone who has taught or learned online has learned, without the visual face-to-face cues we are used to in real life, we tend to assign characteristics and traits to the virtual person. That has always occurred for people reading about fictional characters or listening to a voice on the radio and now it occurs constantly online.
Sometimes that lack of inhibition burns people. The person who posted the inappropriate comment or tweet and was fired. In my earliest days teaching online, back around 2000, we always felt the need to include a policy on "netiquette" for students. Unfortunately, there is no universal netiquette policy or enforcement agency on the Internet.
Anonymity online can be a good thing. I remember reading studies about women in online engineering courses being more successful because some of the inhibitions from being in a predominantly male classroom were lifted.
Jeremy Dean says in a post that "These factors work together to create a world in which we can feel freer. But this freedom is an illusion maintained by the online experience of invisibility, anonymity and lack of immediate, visceral, emotional feedback from others, or at least our ability to turn that feedback off."
I'm not sure that comedian Louie C.K. intended to comment on disinhibition, but he certainly doesn't see his kids living on their phones as a good thing.
Tuesday, October 22. 2013
In a recent post, Google noted that The New York Times used Google+ Hangouts to interview U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about Syria’s chemical weapons. Also, The Weather Channel uses Google Earth to illustrate storm damage with before and after satellite images and live YouTube video. And journalist Svenska Dagbladet used the Google Maps API and crowdsourced information from readers to plot disparities in neighborhood mortgage rates as part of a story in Sweden.
Since journalists around the world are using Google tools as for reporting and visualizing data and to further promote that use, they have launched Google Media Tools which they unveiled at the Online News Association ‘13 (ONA) conference. The site is more of a hub where the tools are collected than a new tool itself. That's why it seems to be a good place for teachers and students to also use.
For example, it points you to http://www.google.com/elections/ed/us where you can get up to date information on U.S. politics and elections rather than using a largely unfiltered Google search on those terms.
It will also expose you to tools that you may not have heard of or used, like Google Fusion Tables. This web application lets you host, manage, collaborate on, visualize and publish data tables online. Fusion Tables takes large volumes of spreadsheet data and makes it easy to read, present and share the charts and maps. For example, you can embed them on your website - the sample below is a screenshot from from The Guardian that was used to show meat consumption around the world using Google Fusion Tables.
Monday, October 21. 2013
Trying to Maintain Some Privacy on Social Media and the Web." Is that even possible?
As Mashable reported, just this month, Facebook has removed another privacy setting and Google is alerting users to a change in its terms and conditions which allows your image and name to appear in Google ads. Wasn't that something that Facebook took a load of criticism for a long time ago?
Homeland Security has declared this to be National Cyber Security Awareness Month but people are certainly less trusting now of the government invading our privacy than ever before.
Mashable also posted a tips to privacy list that includes simple things like making sure that you sign in and out of your online accounts and not having your device remember passwords and other login details. Yes, that makes life easier, but...
You can be be a "Friends Only" kind of Facebook user. Any setting other than "Friends Only" means
people you don’t know can see and share a lot about you. You do know that Facebook’s default is to set all of your privacy settings to "public", right?
I tried using Google's 2-step Authentication, but I have to say that it caused so many issues as I switched from device to device and added new apps, so that I had to remove it. It is a good concept because the userid and password we are used to is just not good enough.
Some things - like whole-disk encryption of devices - is a bit beyond the average user. So the fact that the latest versions of Apple's iOS automatically encrypt the entire smartphone or tablet if a passcode is
enabled is the way to go. You don't use a passcide? Foolish for the small inconvenience of typing 4 numbers before you use the phone. On Android devices, encryption is an easy option in the Settings menu.
Here's an old set of tips: Clear your browser history and cookies regularly. Change browser settings so that the cache is automatically cleared every session. Set your browser’s options and tell it to "never remember your history." These will reduce the amount you’re tracked online, but will be a bit inconvenient. You probably like the browser remembering where you have to save URL typing time.
Of course, then you read something in the New York Times about how data trackers are Selling Secrets of Phone Users to Advertisers and you want to just give up on privacy.
I think it's dangerous to link so many programs to your Facebook or Twitter profiles. Everything connected means when someone gets into one of your accounts, they get into a lot of other places too.
This is a small one (and might also be called a vanity item), but I like having a Google Alert on my name. Having Google Alerts for my name (several versions and for my websites and blogs is an easy and automatic way to stay on top of what's being said about me and my writing online. It doesn;t seem to be as fast or as thorough as it once was (Will Google kill this tool soon?) but it's free and interesting and just might alert you to something odd in your digital life.
Friday, October 18. 2013
I have beeen thinking about these graphics created by Jane Hart. She is an independent adviser on Workplace Learning & Collaboration, and Founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies and I have been follow her blog and presentations on Slideshare for several years. She looks at workplace learning trends. They are not so different from the learning trends in education.
Someone asked her what the significant trends in workplace learning had been over the last 5 years. She visualized it as a comet with the new trends in front and the older ones in that comet (farther back than 5 years).
She also added another graphic with her annual Top 100 Tools for Learning from 2013 where those tools fit into a trend.
Wednesday, October 16. 2013
The discussions from the "Academia and the MOOC" course I did this past spring with Mary Zedeck in Canvas Network has continued in our LinkedIn group. The topic of money continues to pop up - money to take them, create them, offer them and, of course, the desire to profit by offering them.
Some comments from members of the LInkedIn group illustrate topics of interest:
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