Elearnspace

Open presentations on MOOCs and MOOC Research Initiative

Several presentations this next week that might be of interest to readers:
1. Open Access Week at Athabasca University. Daily presentations starting Oct 21 on MOOCs, OERs, open access, libraries, and more. Schedule and access details have now been posted.
2. As part of the MOOC Research Initiative, I’m organizing two open events this coming week:

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Open Symposium: Policy and Strategy for Learning Analytics Deployment

We (SoLAR) are organizing an online symposium on Policy and Strategy for Learning Analytics Deployment. We have a great group of presenters next week.
If you are interested, you can join the course here: https://learn.canvas.net/enroll/T3YMLF

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The greatest MOOC conference in the history of MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to receive a steady stream of media attention. The conversation is more nuanced now than it was a few years ago as attention has turned to credit, the impact on faculty, learner success, and related challenges. MOOCs, like personal learning environments and networks (PLE, PLN) from mid-2000?s, are not a specific thing so much as a movement. Personally, I wish they were more of “a thing” – then we could spend time promoting openness of content and teaching, rather than dealing with a degraded version of openness that merely means “access”.

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What’s wrong with the Canadian conference circuit?

Conferences are the lifeblood of knowledge exchange in academic disciplines, business, and government. This really hit home for me a few years ago when I was interacting with colleagues from Senegal. While I generally have more conference options than I can attend (and certainly more than I can afford to attend), my colleagues informed me that in a continent such as Africa, academics look with envy at the rich conference options available in other regions (notably Europe and US).

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Special Issue: Massive Open Online Courses

Valerie Irvine, Jillianne Code, and I spent time over the past 8 months preparing a special issue of JOLT on massive open online courses. The issue is now available.
From our intro:

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Sebastian Thrun confuses me: Thoughts on Udacity’s openness project

Sebastian Thrun confuses me. He is without a doubt a very bright person, with a resume that includes Google, self-driving cars, and Glasses. He took a bold step early in the MOOC game when he left Stanford to start Udacity. When Coursera and edX aggressively signed up university partners, he actually contracted Udacity’s university affiliation (dropping Dino 101) to focus on technology only courses. He exhibits vision and focus – two vital and often rare attributes. This is the Thrun that I respect.

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Learning and creating knowledge in social networks

Networks are the underlying structure for knowledge, learning, and society. We live in networks. We experience them daily. This familiarity results, at times, in overlooking the significant value that connections provide in understanding the world. When a company has a failed product launch, networks and connections can explain why. When a company, such as Microsoft or Blackberry, fails to capitalize on an emerging market, networks can describe what happened. When a political party fails at the polls, networks can provide insight into lack of resonance with voters.

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Done doing keynotes

I hope that this post doesn’t come across as excessively self-serving. I’m trying to communicate a change in my professional interest to a group of folks that have provided me with many opportunities. I’ve started, stopped, and deleted similar posts about half a dozen times in the last 18 months. Rather than trying to get the statement right, it’s probably best to just get it out!

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How Large Systems Change

Proclamations of systemic change, particularly in higher education, are more hype than reality. In spite of growing enrolments and expansion of higher education systems worldwide, a small number of folks, generally untethered from reality, are proclaiming higher education as a system in demise. These fine folks haver rhetoric and anecdote as their main evidence.

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What’s next for educational software?

Most educational software instantiates physical learning spaces. This is reflected in learning management systems, virtual classrooms, and interactive whiteboards. Essentially, we use new tools to do the work of old tools and largely fail, at first, to identify and advance the unique affordances of new technology.

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