I don't think this metaphor works. I accept that "personal blogging is retreating in favour of corporate social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, and tumblr." But it isn't clear to me that "Just as vinyl records are still listened to, and considered better than the digital format, they exist without having a real impact on the music industry." I think that the internet would be very different without blogs. There has to be more to life than Upworthy and Huffington Post.
Alan Levine is not too pleased with the new Flickr interface. Neither, for that matter, am I. It's getting increasingly difficult to do the things with photos that give them meaning, like adding notes and comments. The 'sets' have been renamed 'albums' and are basically invisible now. I'm not sure how people can view my photos, if at all, other than through the photostream.
People like me sometimes are inclined to think that if people had more and better education, they would not believe anti-scientific myths. For example, they they were told that the Sun is in a cooling cycle, they would not be inclined to blame Sun cycles for global warming. Actual evidence, however, suggests that people continue to believe myths despite the scientific evidence. Myths provide explanations, and merely debunking a myth leaves a gap in that explanation. In some cases, the provision of evidence contrary to the myth can actually strengthen their belief in the myth. Why do I raise this? Education is not a magic remedy for misinformation. See also the Debunking Handbook (PDF) by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky.
Fances Bell explores some of the murky issues surrounding access to 'closed' sites and services such as Facebook groups. These are not accessible to people without a Facebook login, and as such may be inaccessible to people who for one reason or another don't want Facebook. But also as such, these may carry a presumption of privacy on the part of members, some of whom may think posting to the course group isn't 'public' in the way posting a blog port or web page is. Meanwhile, can you post what was said on one Facebook group (or mailing list, or whatever) on another Facebook group? What if it's a 'closed' (members only) group? Tough questions.
Audrey Watters announces the arrival of her online publishing venture with Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon, Educating Modern Learners, "a site dedicated to news and analysis about the future of teaching and learning through a progressive education (and progressive ed-tech) lens." It will, sadly, cost you $35 a month to read. Not open content, obviously.
I don't think there's anything wrong with the digital humanitiesper se but I accept the criticism that it would represent a misapplication of big data. As Stephen Marche writes, "Literature cannot meaningfully be treated as data. The problem is essential rather than superficial: literature is not data. Literature is the opposite of data." In particular, "algorithms, exactly like fascism, work perfectly, with a sense of seemingly unstoppable inevitability, right up until the point they don’ t.`Well fine. But why is this the case? I would say that it's because data (as we know it) is about mass, while meaning is based on context and connection.
I think this is the real challenge to talking about educational technology in the developing world: before you can get to educational technology you have to consider, if not overcome, these barriers. What are they?
training and professional development
value of teachers
Most of these could be solved with money - and in a nation like Canada, they would be - but some, like electricity or internet connectivity, would require a great deal of money, because of the need to build social infrastructure before you can build a learning infrastructure. And most of the discussion around them talks about short-cuts or work-arounds: solar power, for example, or mobile internet. But you can't short-cut the last three, and that's why these problems are ongoing.
The EDEN Executive Committee assigned Dr. Ulrich Bernath as Chief Editor of the European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning – EURODL. Dr Bernath gives an insight to his vision for EURODL:
„EURODL is one of the leading learned journals in the world and provides publishing space for scholarly works in the thematic areas of distance education, open, flexible, online, technology-enhanced, and e-learning. It is outstanding in practicing open access policies. It is my duty to steer the editorial process towards highest possible quality levels and recognition in the respective scientific community.“
With the ceasing organisational activities of EuroPACE, we welcome in the EDEN Community - based on the decision of the Boards of the two Associations - the EuroPACE institutions from January 2014, in order to continue their activities within EDEN.
Alexander Street Press has forged an agreement with Jisc to provide access to video resources for colleges and universities in the UK using the publisher’s popular evidence-based acquisition (EBA) model.
The EBA agreement gives colleges and universities in the UK the opportunity to have unlimited access to Alexander Street Press’ complete suite of academic video titles - more than 33,000 titles - for up to one year at a time. At the end of this period, university staff can use Alexander Street Press’ detailed metrics to evaluate their patrons’ most-viewed titles and select those they’d like to incorporate into their permanent collection.
Gareth Bish, UK and Ireland sales manager at Alexander Street Press said:
“We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Jisc, not only because of their dedication to providing UK institutions with market-leading academic resources for scholarly research, teaching, and learning, but also because they are highly trusted by the academic library community to negotiate license agreements for digital media via flexible business models such as this.
We are thrilled to have their support for our EBA programme. In return, as part of our commitment to driving and analysing usage, we will be working with Jisc on enhanced provision of usage statistics for academic libraries.”
This agreement is the result of heightened interest in EBA, following agreements made in 2013 with the University of Dundee and Leeds Metropolitan University, and will further pave the way for libraries worldwide to add the most highly sought-after content to their collections in a precise, cost-effective way.
Lorraine Estelle, executive director content and discovery and divisional CEO Jisc Collections, Jisc said:
“Jisc Collections is very pleased to work with Alexander Street Press on bringing this evidence based acquisition model to the attention of academic libraries. The model has worked very successfully for some libraries in the acquisition of e-books and we believe it has the same potential in the area of multimedia.”
For more information about Alexander Street Press’ evidence-based acquisition model, please contact email@example.com.
SSL allows websites to demonstrate their authenticity to users. Most universities and colleges in the UK use OpenSSL for this process. Yesterday the heartbleed bug was detected in OpenSSL. Jisc’s Janet Certificate Service provides certificates in order to authenticate your website. This service is designed to speed up the process of requesting certificates for .ac.uk and .gov.uk domains and for other domains owned by UK universities and colleges. This service normally carries a fee of up to £35.
“As a trusted advisor to the education and research sector we are pleased to be offering advice and assistance to those affected by this issue. As well as technical advice we are offering affected universities and colleges replacement certificates free of charge. Any university or college affected and requiring a replacement certificate, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If you have been affected by the heartbleed bug, and as a result need to replace SSL certificates, then please visit our community group to find out how to obtain yours for free.
This framework will be used by the HEFCE, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland to inform the selective allocation of their research funding to higher education institutions. This means that any university which applies for research funding will have to show how they support open access.
This is potentially great news for universities and researchers keen to raise their profile and their impact. However, as with any benefit, it will require some investment on the part of the sector.
Lorraine Estelle, executive director of digital content and resource discovery and CEO Jisc Collections, said:
“There are few things to which universities pay more attention than the REF, so I’m delighted that Jisc is working so closely with our partners to help universities prepare for it, and gain the maximum benefit from doing so.“
Jisc works with the Open Access Implementation Group to offer a range of support and guidance which can help your university choose a model of open access which is right for your institution. We are supporting the open access implementation community with a number of Jisc-funded pathfinder projects, along with events, workshops and briefings over the next two years until the policy comes into force. And we are working with HEFCE, the Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust to provide the Sherpa FACT service, advising authors on complying with open access policies.
Simon Kerridge (ARMA), Stella Butler (RLUK), Sara Marsh (SCONUL) and Neil Jacobs (Jisc) agree that
“working together in this way, our organisations can reduce the burden on universities as they adopt open access in ways that best suit their missions in a diverse higher education sector”
The future of research is open access. Jisc is proud to be ensuring that institutions are involved in shaping that future and equipped to get the best out of it.
Today the Wellcome Library and Jisc are pleased to announce that they have strengthened their successful working relationship by signing a new three year agreement for the digitisation of more than 10 million pages of 19th century published works.
These are focused on medicine and related disciplines and drawn from university and other research libraries across the UK.
The Wellcome Library is one of the world’s major resources for the study of medical history and provides access to a growing collection of resources relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society.
The Wellcome Library is digitising its 19th century collections. Jisc will support the digitisation of complementary collections which are housed within universities to create a comprehensive online resource for the history of medicine and related sciences. The Wellcome Library will also provide support to allow non-university research libraries to participate in the project. Open access to all of the content will be provided across multiple platforms, including the Wellcome Library’s website, the Internet Archive and through Jisc.
By collaborating on the creation, dissemination and aggregation of digital content the charities will streamline the provision of digitised historical medical content by deploying common standards, infrastructure and best practice.
The project will significantly increase the availability of digitised text for teaching learning and research. The project is being undertaken in partnership with a number of higher education and specialist libraries, co-designed with Research Libraries UK (RLUK), and informed by an academic advisory group.
Simon Chaplin, head of the Wellcome Library said:
“We are building on the success of the US-based Medical Heritage Library, which already has over 50,000 digitised books online – our project will add significantly to this. For the Wellcome Library, this forms part of a bigger project that will digitise over 50 million pages of historic medical books, archives, manuscripts and journals by 2020.”
Stella Butler, chair of RLUK and chair of the academic advisory group for the project said:
"RLUK is delighted to be working with Jisc and the Wellcome Library on this important project which will make a step change to the availability of research resource for humanities scholars enabling important projects in areas such as medical history, ethics and the social sciences.”
“By working with the Wellcome Library and the Internet Archive to aggregate dispersed medical collections of books and pamphlets, we are building the UK’s research capability in the most sustainable way.
High quality digitisation allows text to be liberated from its page, and the resulting data enables new forms of research inquiry. The project also meets the increasing demand, from our customers, that traditional content should be made digital for use and reuse.”
Student coursework is not the reason behind the huge increase in the number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received by UK universities last year.
On average, just seven percent of the requests came from staff, researchers and students from other institutions and only five percent from a university’s own students. These percentages are lower than they were in 2005, the first year of the survey.
The Jisc survey is broadly in line with THE’s own survey, showing that the number of FOI requests received by UK universities has risen by 43% since 2012 and by 147% in the last five years.
The 53 universities that took part in the survey averaged 184 FOI requests each, with 426 reported by one. In 2013 universities in Yorkshire and Humberside received most, followed by those in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Universities in the East Midlands and the East received fewest.
Journalists made the most FOI requests (26%), followed by members of the public (17%) and commercial organisations (13%). The key interests were student issues and numbers, followed by financial information, and HR and staff issues.
Last year was the busiest so far for FOI requests, and also the most unpredictable, with numbers varying between an average of just 11.2 in February to 26.8 in November. Moreover, the pattern of requests seen in previous years was broken, with the final quarter being the busiest for the first time since the survey started.
Jisc infoNet researcher and analyst Teresa Tocewicz comments,
“The big upsurge in FOI requests has put an added burden on universities, especially in 2013 when it became much harder to predict when they were likely to be made.
Even so, the HE sector managed to beat their performance in 2012 by dealing with 93% of requests within the 20 working days set out in the legislation. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to sustain that high level of performance without increased resources or organisational change.”
In the recent article “Simulating Learning Networks in a Higher Education Blogosphere – At Scale“, Fridolin Wild and Steinn Sigurdarson introduce into a simulation model built from the iCamp trial data and educational model assumption: they wanted to see what would happen, if trials are scaled up an order of magnitude. The simulation results are [...]
One year after we succesfully went through iCamp project’s last official review, we are wirting down a new post for wellcoming a new version of our Handbook. This is the time for its Spanish version, issued by Win-Win Consultores, with the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Turism under its “avanza2” [...]
The iCamp partner AGH – the University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland, has published recently a Polish version of the iCamp handbook on how to use social software in education. Please click here to get the electronic version.
Since the iCamp experience was very successful in making use of new media for cross-cultural collaboration iCamp competes for the MEDEA Awards, respecively in the European Collaboration Award.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
We now received the final review report where our external reviewers commend us on our excellent work and our valuable contribution to European research in Technology Enhanced Learning.
Here are some quotes from the report, which can also be downloaded:
… In the opinion of the reviewers the products and outcomes of the project are of considerable [...]