Elearnspace

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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A learning system to meet the needs of a complex knowledge era

I had the opportunity to stop by edX last. I gave a talk on the type(s) of learning system(s) that are needed to address complex knowledge needs. A video the talk is available here. A key point that I wanted to communicate in the presentation is the importance of thinking about the intended needs of knowledge in society when talking about the future of higher education.

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Neoliberalism and MOOCs: Amplifying nonsense

I’ve said this many times over the past six months: If 2012 was the year of the MOOC, 2013 will be the year of the anti-MOOC. Things are unfolding nicely according to plan. Faculty don’t like MOOCs. Critiquing MOOCs is now more fashionable than advocating for them. Numerous quasi-connected fields that thrive on being against things have now coalesced to be against MOOCs.

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Join us: Stanford Learning Analytics Summer Institute

While MOOCs are sucking all of the oxygen out of the educational technology conversation, significant trends are developing under the radar. One of the most significant trends is around learning analytics. Next week, we (SoLAR, IEDMS and others) are organizing a Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI). A call for attendance was held earlier this year and the event was/is (massively) oversubscribed. We were only able to accept 100 attendees due to space and cost constraints.

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EdTech Innovation Conference

Our edtech innovation conference, held in Calgary May 1-3, is now more or less planned: http://edinnovation.ca/
I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that there won’t be an edtech innovation conference in Canada this year that will have as stellar a line up of keynote speakers and panels: http://edinnovation.ca/conference/edinnovation-2013/

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