I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


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What is online learning? Seeking definition


Tony Bates is in the process of running a national survey about online and distance education (which launched today) and in the process resorted to some arbitrary definitions of key terms, which he shares here. It really raises some concerns for me. First of all, it's all about courses, nothing else. Despite the headline we don't learn what 'online learning' really is. And the institutional perspective is deep (not surprising since only institutions (specifically, their provosts or VPs education) are surveyed). This shows in the very odd definition of MOOC, given as "No fee (except possibly for an end of course certificate); the courses are open to anyone: there is no requirement for prior academic qualifications in order to take the course; the courses are not for credit." The third point is especially irrelevant to the definition of a MOOC.

Today: 115 Total: 115 Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, 2017/04/27 [Direct Link]

New Mexico Gov. Martinez vetoes higher education funding. All of it.


So what happens when public funding for higher education is eliminated? Nothing good, I would expect.  That's what's happening in New Mexico. "New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed higher education funding. All of it — and the legislature cannot override her veto." It's such a contrast with, say, Germany, which has eliminated tuition fees for everyone and is seeing the benefits from that. How does that compare with New Mexico? Via Education Dive. Meanwhile, Purdue University is in a deal to acquire privately-held Kaplan University and convert it to a new nonprofit institution. Phil Hill interviews Trace Urdan. Here's more on the Kaplan purchase (and more from Urdan, who reported in his newsletter last week that his position as an education analyst at Credit Suisse was recently terminated due to low activity in the field).

Today: 124 Total: 124 Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, 2017/04/27 [Direct Link]

Should We Stop with the Commenting Already?


I get the feeling that publishers really dislike crowd-sourced and post-publication peer review. Angela Cochran writes that "one thing became clear:  crowdsourced peer review = post publication peer review = online commenting." She then tags these forms of peer review with all the baggage of internet commenting: anonymity, trolls, irrelevance, and more. Part of it is a little bit justified: "Crowdsourced means open to all. Peer review means restricted to peers. We already have a problem with the concept." Fair enough. But the list of reviewers can be limited by any number of means (if I started a journal, the reviewers would be those people who have previously published in the journal (beginning with me)). And beyond that, no, review is not the same as commenting.

Today: 121 Total: 121 Angela Cochran, The Scholarly Kitchen, 2017/04/27 [Direct Link]

Stop killing your social stories with bad headlines and images


Writing on the internet today requires a clarity and precision beyond anything required in the print world, because you do not have an exclusive hold over your reader while they're reading. This is essentially the message in this post from Columbia Journalism Review, and while there's a fine line between good headline writing and clickbait, I think Ryan Craggs hits the mark here. People want to know the significant of a story, they want to know who is involved, and they want to see justice (or at least feel outrage over injustice).

Today: 288 Total: 288 Ryan Craggs, Columbia Journalism Review, 2017/04/27 [Direct Link]

The Essential Underpinnings Of Shifting to ‘Modern Learning’


It's nice to get an update of what Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon are up to these days. Still focused on schools, Richardson and Dixon have "catalogued the ingredients they believe are necessary to make the kind of change they hope all districts will embrace in a whote paper" (21 page PDF). " it is the modern learner’s newfound capability to take full control of his or her learning that is THE educational shift of our times," they write. "Create a vision for classrooms where innovation and inquiry are at the core instead of at the edges. Make time for regular discussions on what changes are happening, and reflect on how to make new systems and practices in school more sustainable."

Today: 282 Total: 282 Katrina Schwartz, KQED, 2017/04/26 [Direct Link]

Creating learning experiences, and spaces, for future students


It could be that I was working on personal learning environments a decade too early. Take this as a description of the next generation learning environment, for example: "The business school’s intention is to create an online space that is less like a content repository and that becomes a dynamic, adaptive space where students take control of their own learning." Or from the OU: "It won’t look like anything. Instead, it’ll be a series of spaces and application programming interfaces (APIs) so that it won’t be a thing in itself."

Today: 354 Total: 354 Lawrie Phipps, JISC, 2017/04/26 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.